Special Education Newsletter
Vision: Chimacum School District recognizes that every student has unique individual needs. We will provide a flexible and equitable program that meets the needs of the whole child so that each student has the desire and confidence to flourish and become an engaged member of a global society.
Mission: In order to create a supportive and inclusive learning environment for our students with wrap around services, we will set aside time to collaborate and seek out meaningful professional development with the purpose of developing a wide array of vocational and strength-based options that meet the specific needs of every child.
Back to School Happenings
Jr/Sr High News from Resource English Classes
This is the moment I wish I would have taken pictures for you to see your students working in our classroom. I will have them for next time. Students in our resource English classes are reading 2 novels. Periods 2 and 5 are reading Whirligig by Paul Fleischman we are on Chapter 3. Students in period 6 are reading Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas we are on chapter 10. The classes are moving along through the chapters with attention to detail and great class discussions.
Period 6 chose the novel they are reading, with Jason Coffer-Murillo leading the book talk each day. We are very excited about Jason’s initiative to take this leadership role in our class. He is leading discussions, facilitating more in-depth explanations on characters and assisting with understanding the author’s point of view.
In addition to reading these novels together, we are exploring how to use assistive technology to support comprehension and summarizing text while reading. The novels are read to the class by Audible and Kami to assist with checking for understanding exercises and writing activities. Kami is a google chrome extension that is embedded within each google classroom.
Kami is a powerful tool that provides the accommodations they require within the lessons for text-to-speech, a built-in dictionary for vocabulary, highlighting and note taking. Students love the wireless headphones that I purchased recently for their ease and mobility. They have been practicing typing skills daily in class with typing.com using their new headphones. The students have also been increasing their individualized skills in grammar, punctuation, writing, and vocabulary using IXL.com. I purchased a classroom membership for reading so that each of them has their own login and passcode. They can work on their individualized lessons/skills at home or at school.
Along with assistive technology, the students are offered alternative seating choices in our classroom with benches, exercise balls, and rocking chairs. We are adding standing desks soon for those who wish to stand and work instead of sit. We recognize that students spend a great deal of time sitting in their school day and grow fatigued from sitting on hard plastic chairs. Students are socially distanced in our classroom at least 6 feet and we recently received an air purifier from the district that is continuously cleaning the air that is circulated within the room. Students are in the routine now of cleaning their desks upon entry and wiping down surfaces that they encounter that is shared between students.
We are so fortunate to have paraeducators who are highly educated individuals who love working with students to help them learn and grow. Mr. Swift is a certified teacher and US Army veteran who served in Operation Enduring Freedom overseas on deployment. Mr. Swift has worked as a social studies, science, and special education teacher for the district. This year he is working in our program as my teacher’s assistant. Ms. Erin is our one-on-one paraeducator who has a bachelor’s degree in law and justice, also a US Army Veteran who served in Operation Enduring Freedom stateside. Ms. Erin’s resume includes working as a Federal Law Enforcement officer after leaving the service. We are incredibly lucky to have Ms. Erin at Chimacum
Junior/Senior High to share her knowledge and experience. Ms. Aidee comes to us from early childhood education. She is working on her degree in teaching while being a paraeducator. Ms. Aidee is specializing in building relationships with our students and helping them when they have behavior issues or need a little extra help with an assignment. Ms. Aidee has taken a leadership role with our afterschool intervention programs.
I am, Ms. Hensiek, I am new to Chimacum School District this year as your child’s special education teacher and case manager. I come to you with 16 years of experience teaching special education. I am excited to be here with Chimacum School District. Learning and growing is important to me as a professional. I am in my third year of doctoral studies in Special Education Leadership with Capella University. I earned my master’s degree in special education with a specialization in Cross-Categorical Eligibilities back in 2007. My bachelor’s degree is from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington with an endorsement in Elementary Education, Special Education k-12 and Business Education 4-8. I have 3 children. I am parent like many of you, two of my children are grown and have families of their own and my youngest is a senior at Port Townsend High School. We have lived in the area since 2016, we love this area and plan to live here for a very long time. I hope to stay with Chimacum School District throughout the rest of my career.
Our talented staff in the Resource room are integrated into the classroom settings 7th through 12th grades to assist your students with reading, writing and math. They are also available on Wednesdays for individualized tutoring and homework support in room 112. Ms. Aidee is available on Monday’s and Thursday for Study Hall in room 200 afterschool for drop-in also. Teachers will be assigning study hall for some of our students who are absent or falling behind, ask your student for those slips because they will need your signature that you have seen them. After conferences the school workload will increase, this will compound over time with 6 periods
a day. We are working with individual teachers to provide digital versions of textbooks within their google classrooms along with individual assignments in PDF format so that students can access them using assistive technologies.
It will be imperative starting in term 2 that your student increases their focus on classwork and instruction, finish assignments and turn them in for credit each day. When the assignments start stacking up not finished, they get overwhelmed and give up. We don’t want that to happen, it is important for them to attend study hall, do their homework nightly, and ask for help sooner rather than later. Our room 112 is always open for students to come and get help with work or get what they need.
We would also like to ask your help with cell phones, students this year are really addicted to their phones, texting, using social media, and they are distracting. We would like them to leave their cell phones at home, if possible, if not we ask that you support our school policies around cell phone usage. They are only allowed to access their devices in the morning before school, during lunch and after school. They are not allowed to use their cell phones in class, in the hallways or restrooms. Students are encouraged to advocate for themselves with their teachers, asking them to move closer to the teacher or sit by a good role model.
Sports and Clubs are a great opportunity for students to feel part of the school community and feel connected socially. We have a number of clubs at our school that need more students. Feel free to reach out to our office to find out more about clubs and sports being offered in the winter season.
We hope that you enjoyed your parent-teacher conferences and have a renewed idea of the supports and offerings here at Chimacum Jr./Sr High School. Please reach out to us if you have any questions.
Robin Hensiek, M.Ed.
Special Education Teacher/Case Manager
Chimacum Jr./Sr. High School
High school Resource Geometry students have been busy brushing up on old skills and learning new. Geometry is an amazing blend of practical knowledge that can help you build a house or give your reasoning powers a workout. The pencil drawings are examples of constructions done together as we practiced using geometry vocabulary, labeling, and tools. The smaller colorful shapes were created as each student plotted answers to their own interest. Each of the shapes is different just like each student. We will be doing more creating and hands-on activities as we wrap up transformations and head into area, volume, and similar triangles. Also, a reminder that there is tutoring available for junior high and high school students for an hour after school at the high school Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Call Lisa Morrison at 360-531-4980 to set it up.
By Cole Henley
WHAT IS FLEXIBLE LEARNING TRANSITION CLASS DOING NOW?
The Flexible Learning class (Cole, Cindy, Curtiss, Raelynn, and Dyllan) heads to the Gathering Place every Monday, Thursday and Friday, and the food bank every Tuesday. The Gathering Place cooks lunches every Monday, gets creative every Thursday, and makes dog biscuits for man’s best friend on Friday. The Flexible Learning class also works at the food bank every Tuesday.
THE GATHERING PLACE
On Monday, the Flexible Learning class cooks various lunches. On Thursday, the Flexible Learning class paints beautiful pictures on a canvas (The Gathering Place thinks of ideas on what to put on a canvas.). On Friday, the Flexible Learning class makes dog biscuits in many flavors (i.e., Salmon).
THE FOOD BANK
Every Tuesday, Cole, Cindy, Raelynn, and Dyllan joins the food bank for people who have financial problems in need of groceries. The food bank also serves food for pets. From cans of various beans to bags of various chips.
WHAT ARE THE YOUNGER KIDS DOING?
The younger kids in the Flexible Learning Transition Class are heading to the CCP (Chimacum Creek Primary) for Read to Rover. If you don’t know what Read to Rover is, Read to Rover is a program where you get read books to dogs. Any person who participates in Read to Rover gets to read to any person’s dog(s). It can either be a children’s book, or a book of your choice
THE CRAFT FAIR
The craft fair will be held only on December 11, 2021. Our students from the Flexible Learning Transition Class are preparing crafts for said craft fair.
LIFE IS LIKE RIDING A BICYCLE. TO KEEP YOUR BALANCE, YOU MUST KEEP GOING. Albert Einstein
A Big Thank You
Chimacum Special Services would like to thank Port Ludlow DigitalLife for their continued support of our Assistive Technology programs. This local non-profit organization was created to help educate those with digital or computer needs and since 2000 DigitalLife has been providing funds for technologies that reduce barriers to learning.. With the grants, we’ve been able to pilot tools to ensure they will be a good investment for our district. Thanks for DigitalLife, Chimacum has been able to keep up with new, exciting technologies that improve the lives of our learners. Sponsored purchases have included portable keyboards to support students who have difficulty writing; iPads that assist children with barriers to communication; Reader Pens that will read text on the fly and powerful assistive technology programs to support our students’ writing process.
Our most recent program is the use of a writing tool called Clicker 8 at the elementary level. It’s an engaging and intuitive program that uses pictures, word prediction, text to speech and ready-made resources for writing about popular topics. One student recently said, “Clicker helps me when I don’t know what to write.” Another said, “You can make cool stories, it works nice.” We are so appreciative of DigitalLife’s continued support of our students and look forward to the next exciting tool we can implement here at Chimacum.