District Offers Classrooms A Special, Educational Experience
Students needing extra help in the classroom are sometimes excluded from it, getting attention from teachers whose main expertise might not be that particular subject. In the Bemidji School District, staff are working to keep special education students in the classroom through a culture of inclusion.
Over 20 years ago, Maura Johnson helped merge special education students into regular education classrooms.
While at first resistant, since then, teachers have found that it is helpful to have an extra set of hands.
Students who might become distracted or uninterested when they don’t understand have someone there for them to call on.
When the students are having difficulties understanding material, they are offered the opportunity to go work in a smaller group setting. Ross Randall says he works with 11 students this year.
He gives them the boost they need to stay in the same classes as their peers, offering them the chance to still learn through the best educators. The school hopes this provides a sense of equity for students in special education.
School staff say by merging varying strengths in different subjects, the students learn better and can hear a wide range of ideas – a benefit for all.