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Rachel and Leanne were expecting another great year co-teaching a combined 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade class with equal numbers of both general education and exceptional education students. Many students are returning from last year including Thomas, a fourth grader with learning disabilities and ADHD. When Thomas's mother has significant health problems, his behavior regresses and the whole class suffers.
Dad Knows Best
Linda Chapman was deeply disturbed by what she had discovered about Jake, one of her 7th graders. Jake had exhibited some unusual behaviors in class and Linda knew he needed more help than she could give. Jakes father, attending a meeting regarding his sons behaviors, wasnt interested in any of Lindas concerns.
Devoted To All
Charlotte Dempsy is a teacher at a special school for elementary school aged students with severe emotional disorders. She feels that eleven-year-old Charlie is the only student in her 23 years of teaching that she can't reach. Coming from a highly dysfunctional family, and exhibiting extreme obsessive/compulsive behaviors, Charlie is also a master of manipulation. Almost out of ideas, Charlotte decides to reach out and hug Charlie every time he gets in her face. Charlie responds by accusing Charlotte of molesting him and threatens to tell his father.
Two special education teachers attempt to integrate a new student with severe behaviors into their class for students with language and learning disabilities. Because this student takes so much attention and time, they worry about how the other students in the class are faring as a result.
Falling Between the Cracks
Marrissa is a bright child who is friendly and empathetic. Ms. Churchill, her special education teacher, is concerned because she believes that Marrissa is in special education classes only because of her family situation. Although doing well academically in both her general and special education classes, Marrissa is often left with irresponsible relatives where she is severely neglected while her mother goes out of town.
Get This Child Out of My Room
Carls behavior had changed after his parents bitter divorce three months ago, from self abuse to aggression towards his new classroom teacher, Mrs. Taylor. Susan, just out of college, in her first job as a special education teacher is finding it difficult to adjust to the demands of a rural school cooperative system where resources and services are shared and supervision is minimal.
Ginny is a new 9th grade student at Midland High, a school that has received special recognition as completely accessible to students with physical impairments. Ginny, born with Spina Bifida, is grossly overweight and confined to a wheelchair. Diane Lane, the Exceptional Student Education coordinator, is struggling to help Ginny and her family control her weight and hygiene so that she can participate in a school-to-work program.
He Just Needs a Little Discipline
Matt was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder at the age of eight. All of his 8th grade teachers were concerned about his frequent outbursts in class and tried numerous types of interventions. Ritalin was prescribed in the past and it helped, but Matts father believes that his son should learn to cope without medication. Matt recently confided in Jill Gray, one of his teachers, that he thought he could focus better if he could go back on the Ritalin. The situation intensifies as his teachers wonder what to do.
How Far Should We Go
Brian had eight months left in Willow Brook Elementary before he entered middle school: sixth grade, six classes, six new teachers and he was reading at a first grade level! His learning disability was only part of the dilemma LuAnn and Karen, his co-teachers, faced. His dad had died when Brian was in the first grade, and his mom seemed overwhelmed with the demands facing her.
Is It Fair?
New technology is currently available to partially restore hearing to children once profoundly deaf. Optimally the implants are done by age two - Rosa Hernandez is now five and the only school to help her adjust is three hours away. A language barrier seems the largest obstacle to hurdle but the sacrifice may be too large.
Is This Child Mislabled?Serge Romanich, a third grade student and refugee from Serbia, spoke limited English and had seen war first hand; his father killed and mother maimed. His education had been sporadic at best and the new elementary school he was attending had tested and classified him as learning disabled
Let it GoHelen accepted a position teaching special education at the Brokenstraw Reservation public school, but the experience was frustrating. She experienced the public schools on Brokenstraw as bureaucratic and self-serving. The public schools were having difficulty competing with the Catholic missionary schools. The Catholic school had a total student enrollment of 250 Native American children. Meanwhile, the public school where Helen worked had only 40 students in grades K through 12 (all of whom were Native American). It was a struggle to keep the school operating. Helen wanted to be an agent of change, but as she began to make progress with her students, she encountered obstacles.
More Than a Teacher
Linda is a teacher in charge of all the 9th graders with learning and/or behavior problems in a large urban school. Dominique, one of her students, is experiencing serious health and emotional problems. The mother, in the midst of a family crisis, is not attentive to her daughters needs. Linda wants to help but wonders about what her role should be.
Stuck in the Baby Class
When the six special education classes at Valley Elementary have to be realigned into four, Tom Jefferies, a fifth grade student, has to return to his primary class with his old teacher, Lisa Jenkins. Toms subsequent behavioral setback demonstrates a predictable consequence of such an unfortunate action.
Stuck In the Middle
Christine Wallace is struggling to meet the needs of her general education class with the addition of two children with special needs. One of those children, Katy Alvarez, has it designated in her IEP that she will have the assistance of a special education aide while in Christine's class. Having Katy's aide, Ms. Butler, in the classroom makes Christine's job more manageable, but school administration is reassigning her elsewhere on a regular basis. Christine debates how to handle this delicate issue.
The Problem With Simone
Simone was struggling in Lisa Flannerys second grade class despite Lisas efforts to adapt her lessons and support form the bilingual department. Simones family immigrated from the Philippines with high hopes of Simone becoming a doctor one day. Lisa suspects Simone is having learning problems but her family is unwilling to accept a special education label for her.
Train WreckAs Cheryl Atkins reflects on the family circumstances of a former student, she wonders what she could have done to change the outcome. Did she do enough or did she do too much? What is a teacher's responsibility as far as her student's home life is concerned? Was she too involved?
What IS an Appropriate Education?The Burrows family was coping with their eleven year old daughters recent diagnosis of tuberous sclerosis, a rare degenerative neurological disorder. Melissa was experiencing excessive pain and drastic changes in behavior due to the growth of tumors in her brain. The medication prescribed to slow the growth of tumors was indirectly causing obesity. As she became increasingly aggressive, her teachers as well as her family struggled to control her physical outbursts. When a residential placement became a necessity, a dispute arose between the school board and the Burrows over where Melissa should be placed.
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