All of my classroom teaching experience took place in fully inclusive school settings. As a teacher intern in England, I taught at a primary school that specialized in including students with hearing impairments in the general education classroom. My first head teacher position was at a rural school in Frederick County, Maryland where I taught students ranging from typical and accelerated learners to students with dyslexia, autism, and other special needs. Then I became a teacher with Montgomery County Public Schools at Somerset Elementary School in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Again, I taught a wide range of students from “gifted and talented” to considerably below grade level. One-third of my students had IEPs. I also learned to successfully manage a classroom with 24-30 students. It wasn’t easy. The only reason my students and I succeeded was because of tremendous faculty collaboration and family involvement.
What does it mean for a faculty to work collaboratively? Schools have a variety of professionals under their roof to support students and each other. These professionals are varied—classroom teachers, special educators, paraeducators, reading specialists, professional development teachers, school counselors, school psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, administrators, school technologists, media teachers, and “specials” teachers (PE, music, art). While each of these professionals has specific expertise, none has all the answers to any question or student issue. But together, when knowledge sharing and reflective practice takes place, these professionals raise the bar for one another and provide each individual student with strategic and integrated support. The results are amazing.
Since each student has multiple intelligences and relates to various adults in the building differently, our faculty was so much more effective when we worked collaboratively. For some of the most challenged students, teams would come together to review and analyze behaviors, learning issues, potential obstacles, and knowledge gaps. We would brainstorm interventions, put integrated plans into effect, monitor progress carefully and then refine our practices as needed. This approach helped ALL learners to achieve and to feel successful in school. It built our sense of school community and we all held ourselves accountable to each other, to our students, and to our classroom families.
When I left the classroom, I wanted to bring this same team approach to my private practice. I wanted to make this faculty collaboration accessible to any family looking for educational planning with a multidisciplinary team. Through knowledge sharing, brainstorming, open communication, and partnership, our faculty at My Learning Springboard supports students, families, schools, and each other. The results are amazingly successful.
Please contact our office to discuss your family’s needs.By Brad Hoffman, M.S.Ed.
Board Certified Educational Planner and Learning Specialist
My Learning Springboard, Inc.