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Special education program offers opportunities

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Photo of some of the workers that run the Coffee Corner

Photo of some of the workers that run the Coffee Corner

Lauren Vernon

Lauren Vernon

Photo of some of the workers that run the Coffee Corner

Laney Hoggatt, Editor

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With the school’s large size, it is common to see teachers in the halls that many students do not know. Several teachers that typically go unnoticed are those that teach special education. We have 26 special education teachers as well as 20 paraprofessional special education staff members. These teachers not only teach their students the common core curriculum, but they also teach important skills needed for success outside of school.

“[Self-contained] classrooms are created with the intent to provide students with the individual instruction and support(s) that they need to develop tools for both academic and life goals. A structured learning teacher works with a staff to provide instruction in all core academic areas, as well as foster and develop the living, vocational, communication, and physical skills that all young adults need to become independent and successful members of society,” Structured Learning Classroom teacher Ryan Tremain said.

There are two common types of education in general: inclusive curriculum and modified curriculum. This is not only for special education; it applies to everyone no matter the gender, race, or diagnosis.

The inclusive curriculum is where students with individualized educational plans are in a traditionally paced classrooms.

“Inclusive curriculum is a philosophy that believes all students should be given access to all of the same things – curriculum, materials, classrooms, etc.,” Tremain said. “It isn’t even specific to special education; it quite literally means everyone regardless of gender, nationality, ethnicity, or diagnosis is entitled to the same resources and education. Special education falls under this but it doesn’t exist solely for [special education].”

The modified curriculum is where a student’s classroom and education is altered to their needs.

“A modified curriculum occurs when every attempt has been made to include an individual in the general classroom and curriculum, but it has been determined by an IEP team that the child’s needs are best met with modifications,” Tremain said. “This requires a team of professionals as well as the student’s parents to create an individualized education plan that serves as living legal document that details in very specific detail how that child’s education will progress. Only students that are served under special services can have any part of the curriculum modified.”

FHS does whatever gives students the best learning experience.

“Every teacher in this field, including myself, work to make sure that all of our students have the most inclusive educational experience possible while still creating the necessary adaptations or modifications they need to find success,” Tremain said.

There are several ways to make sure students with special needs are involved. The two biggest are the Arkansas Special Olympics and Coffee Corner.

The Arkansas Special Olympics started in 1967, making this year its 50th year being around. Participants do not have to pay any fees because of funders and donations. According to Tremain, there are several events offered throughout the year. FHS hosted the area basketball tournament recently. On March 17, an FHS team is traveling to Russellville to compete in the state basketball tournament.

“The mission of Special Olympics Arkansas is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for all children and adults with intellectual disabilities giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community,” the official site said.

Coffee Corner is a small coffee shop that sells to adults and FHS staff members, and it opened on Feb. 12. It was created to give students a part of the special education through a real life learning experience. These students preform almost all the tasks that coffee shop employees would. They greet customers as well as take and make their orders. They make a daily deposit of the profit. Students are expected to maintain the equipment and the space. They also have to keep, predict, and order inventory.

“The Coffee Corner was created to give students the opportunity for interactive learning in a real-life job scenario,” Tremain said. “There’s no classroom substitute for an authentic experience.”

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About the Writer
Laney Hoggatt, Editor
I am a second year reporter. I typically write Features articles. This is my first year being an editor. In my free time, I enjoy writing, singing, and binge-watching t.v shows. I spend most of my time with my friends and family.I am constantly asking to see pictures of everyone’s dogs because I am obsessed with...
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