The Bright IDEA
Volume __, Issue __
Student Support Services believes students with disabilities should learn and work together in an inclusive community where individual differences are valued and all students are achieving at the highest levels. We support students’ needs through the use of evidence-based practices and specialized instruction that focus on the unique needs of all students. It is important that we, as a District, provide a broad range of services and supports to strengthen the achievement of students with special needs through a free and appropriate public education.
Great Things Are Happening at Elmcrest ES!
In the Visually Impaired (VI) program, Ms. Robin Rice’s class has been working with Adaptive Physical Education (APE) teacher, Mark “Smitty” Smith, to help students overcome their fears and participate fully at recess and during physical education. Ms. Rice wanted her students to be fully engaged at recess in reciprocal play with all students. The student’s longing to be a part of the fun was stronger than their fear of being hurt.
In a recent demonstration at the Lombardi Recreation Center, students Mary Jane Egan and her friend, Aryah LaRue, demonstrated how amazing they are by jumping rope together, while UNR Kinesiology students sang the ABC song. How is it possible for two students with visual impairments to jump rope when they can’t see the rope? It took a lot of practice and courage as well as the use of rhythm sticks to provide a tempo and rhythm.
It all started when Smitty and Robin began helping students to overcome their fears on the playground. They practiced for weeks by counting bars, steps, rings, and dropping from the monkey bars 50 to 100 times in order to feel confident and to be able to anticipate the ground. Watching the smiling, joyful, girls jump left UNR students and parents in tears.
Another celebration is happening in Ms. Genese Zepmeisel’s Strategies class. Students are pushing into their general education setting throughout the day. Their increased participation and length of time in general education has resulted in an increase in expressive language, in positive behavior, and in assessment scores. One student demonstrated a 26-point jump on his reading MAP score!
Staff at Elmcrest Elementary School have expressed their thanks for Principal Ann Marie Dickson. Staff state that Mrs. Dickson is an inspiring leader due to her ability to distribute leadership amongst the Elmcrest team. She recognizes teacher strengths and empowers staff to improve their learning community through best teaching practices and always putting students first. Mrs. Dickson has high expectations for herself and the entire Elmcrest Family.
Congratulations are in order for the Elmcrest staff and their leader, Principal Ann Marie Dickson!