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Class Room WELCOME TO CLASSICAL | SPECIAL EDUCATION CLASSROOMS Return To The Classical Homepage

Classical Special Education Department

What an amazing summer! As quickly as it arrived, the fall is upon us and we’re off to a new school year! This is one of my favorite times of the year. It is a time of smiling faces and new beginnings. It's a time for students to set new goals for themselves and it's a time for me to see how mature our upperclassmen have become. The transformation is truly amazing!!

The past four years as Department Head have gone by in a flash! With each year, our department becomes stronger and stronger and our students are more amazing. I continue to look forward to leading the department in an upward direction toward excellence and evolving with the new and ever changing demands of quality education.  The tweaking with the schedules to provide consistency across the different programs has proved to be invaluable. Teachers are teaching their content across the different programs and have an opportunity to educate students within the TLC, LD and the Inclusion setting.  Of course, our priority is, and will continue to be to provide services within the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) to offer our students a more rigorous opportunity with the curriculum. We continue to have had quite a bit of movement of students entering less restrictive environments; some TLC students moved to the LD setting and some LD students wanting to try the inclusion classes have been moved as well.  For some students, they have been released from Special Education services altogether, as they are making progress within the general education setting. It's so refreshing to hear students asking for more of a challenge and it truly demonstrates confidence and determination. Our students will be College and Career ready!!

The Learning Center continues to be a vital component for some students, providing additional instruction and support beyond the core classes. Mrs. Dill and Ms. Picone did an amazing job last year and structured learning experiences which focus on the student's own learning style and their individual goals for school and the "Real World".  I am happy to join Mrs. Dill in the Learning Center this year. Jupiter continues to allow continuous communication between the school, student and parent. 

The Special Ed. Department is the largest in the school representing 16 teachers (including me) and 16 paraprofessionals.

Accomplishments so far:

  • Coach - HUGE jump in School Inclusion – students involved in 3 plays, one student invited to senior prom, half of COACh students in regular ed. PE, other COACh students in higher-level sped classes.
  • Autism awareness month – Extremely successful for the 3rd year
  •  “Autism Awareness” month with student speakers to present to the entire student body their own personal experiences with having Autism or living with siblings who have Autism! Truly a moving presentation!!! There wasn't a dry eye in the gym!
  • Over 1600 “Autism Awareness” ribbons were hand made for all students and staff
  • Autism Awareness posters were hung in the corridors with facts
  • A Puzzle Piece mural with over 1600 facts, thoughts and questions in the foyer
  • COACh students in charge of Supplies and recycling 2nd year
  • COACh T shirts are everywhere!!!
  •  “Youth Group of the Year” at My Brother’s Table for Spring, 2014
  • Lynn Public Schools won “Transition Partner of the Year” from NE Arc for 2015.
  • 19 student helpers for COACh program.  ALL of whom approached us to become a helper. We currently have 40 applications for next year.
  • Special Ed. Department proctored ALL MCAS tests (including re-takes)
  • Our Special Education students continue to take their grades more seriously by using   Jupiter
  • 54 Students have been released from SPED since 2012.
  • Of the 24 Seniors from SY14/15
    • 22 graduated with Diplomas!
    • 3 are moving on to “Fresh Start” at LVTI
    • 18 were accepted to college/certificate programs, which speaks volumes for our general education teachers as well.
  • 1 student received a 4yr. scholarship to Framingham State
  • Students are in less restrictive class settings and in more general ed. classes.
  • 4th Annual Special education parent information evening
  • It takes a village!!!

Our goal as special education teachers is to provide services to students to access the curriculum and provide support for success to prepare students to enter less restrictive environments and become independent active members of the community. This is exactly what we did for 31 students so far. What an accomplishment for the students and the staff! I couldn't be more proud and thankful of our Special Ed. Department, General Educators, Guidance and Administration. Everyone truly works together as a TEAM. The successes of the students are what make our job the most rewarding. It takes a village!!!

Christine Lyman, M.Ed.
Special Education Department Head
lymanc@lynnschools.org

About The COACh Program At LCHS

COACh 2016
COACh stands for Creating Opportunities for Autistic Children. This program is Lynn Public School's initiative to provide a free, appropriate public education for children on the autism spectrum who live in Lynn. Our program collaborates with the May Institute to provide a data-driven and research-based program for students with moderate to severe autism. The foundation of our program is Applied Behavior Analysis, which is the only method of teaching students with autism that has been proven to be highly effective through decades of research. Applied Behavior Analysis is driven by data, which is collected daily and analyzed on a regular basis by classroom teachers. This data is used to measure student progress as well as to develop yearly goals. We have multiple substantially separate and integrated classrooms at the elementary level at Shoemaker School, and two substantially separate middle school classrooms at Pickering.

The COACh program at LCHS consists of two classrooms staffed by two teachers, two classroom paraprofessionals, multiple child-specific paraprofessionals, a Speech-Language Pathologist, and behavioral consultants (BCBA.) Our classrooms are split by age (14-17 and 17-21), and I have the privilege of serving as the teacher for our younger group of students. Our program focuses on teaching students the necessary skills to become adults who are able to integrate into their community, family, and school to the best of their ability. In order to do this, we focus on five skill areas:

- Functional Academics - Skills in this area emphasize increasing a student's ability to acquire and apply academic skills to their everyday lives. Math, Science and ELA are the areas primarily addressed. Examples of skills worked on in this area include demonstrating 1:1 correspondence, telling time, counting money, deciphering word problems, using measuring tools, reading and identifying functional signs, reading functional texts such as menus and schedules, identifying common tools, and writing personal information.

- Communication - Skills in this area emphasize increasing a student's ability to successfully communicate their wants and needs when interacting with those around them. Examples of skills worked on in this area include using a communication device with voice output to make requests, speaking in complete sentences, using sign language to make requests, understanding figurative language, and making phone calls.

- Social/Emotional/Behavioral Skills- Skills in this area emphasize increasing a student's ability to appropriately interact with others in their environment, while maintaining self-control. Examples of skills worked on in this area include responding to peers, turn-taking, decreasing disruptive behaviors and demonstrating a knowledge of stranger safety.

- Pre-Vocational/Vocational Skills - Skills in this area emphasize increasing a student's ability to be successful in a future work environment. Students in our younger group have the opportunity to volunteer once a week at My Brother's Table, while students in our older group work twice weekly at Northeast ARC in a paid workshop position. Examples of skills worked on in this area include identifying functional items, following written or pictorial check lists, filling and delivering supply orders for teachers in our school, and increasing work efficiency on known tasks.

- Daily Living Skills - Skills in this area emphasize increasing a student's ability to be independent in their home. We are fortunate to have a full kitchen to access for our program. Examples of skills worked on in this area include cooking simple meals using the stove/microwave/oven, basic cleaning skills such as sweeping and wiping tables, demonstrating understanding of basic safety skills, transportation training on the MBTA, grocery shopping at Stop and Shop, and personal hygiene routines.

The COACh program at LCHS also boasts a successful peer-integration component. Students are able to volunteer to serve as a student aide in our classrooms each year. They are able to earn one community service credit for doing this. Over the course of the past five years, we have grown from one student aide, to fourteen.

Jessica Ayer
Special Education Teacher - COACh Program
Drama Club Adviser
Classical High School
ayerj@lynnschools.org


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