Bonnie Cooper: Teacher in Springfield reflects on special education

Teacher cites similar issues

I teach in a 100 percent special education school in Springfield. My students have emotional disabilities which often create situations similar to the “chaos” at Bridge Street School described in Thursday’s Gazette (“Union alleges chaos at Bridge Street School”).

At my school, this “chaotic” environment is part of the culture and teachers learn to teach, so everyone learns, in spite of the challenges. The inclusion model is a good one for both the student with special needs and the students without an Individualized Education Program (IEP). We all live in one world with school populations that have a growing number of students who need additional support to learn successfully.

I live in Northampton and have a child with an IEP. The teachers and administration do a great job of meeting my child’s needs including accommodations and modifications to curriculum.

The grievance filed by the Northampton Association of School Employees cites “…understaffed classrooms, chaotic hallways, injuries and constant stress for teachers and students…”

Where I teach, many of these issues are addressed every day. We are underfunded and like the Northampton district, have cut back on teachers and staff.

Source: Bonnie Cooper: Teacher in Springfield reflects on special education

Jimmy Kilpatrick, a national recognized professional special education advocate since 1994.

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