Our staff at the High Road School of Bloomington have gone above and beyond during the pandemic and recently received recognition from the Illinois Association of Private Special Education Centers (IAPSEC)! The IAPSEC specifically gave a shout-out to one of our teachers who drove more than 200 miles one day to hand-deliver a student’s first packet so they could get started. See their quote below.
“Faculty and staff have done a great job at pivoting to remote learning during the Covid-19 pandemic. High Road staff was already accustomed to delivering some computer instruction through technology applications such as I-Ready, Epic, IXL, Flocabulary, and other platforms. They were also accustomed to Zoom. However, the company quickly gave access and training to teachers to make a quick switch to Google Classroom, and the teachers and staff expertly added a new platform to their skill set.
Faculty and staff met with students up to five times a week through Zoom, Google Classroom, by phone, and by text. Students also received workbooks and other materials such as calendar binders, paper packets, laminated activities, choice boards, dry erase markers, bubbles, laminated number charts, picture cards, math flashcards, sidewalk chalk, visual schedules and other things they would need (individualized for them) to enhance their instruction. One teacher drove more than 200 miles one day to hand deliver the first packet to get his students started.
Individualized remote learning plans were developed for each student. The plans were uploaded to our IEP software, Embrace, and provided to parents and home districts. Behavior was tracked and the information was logged. Contacts with parents and students were logged. Lesson plans were entered into our ABLE platform. If a student was scheduled to work on life skills over Zoom, parents were contacted in advance to gather materials needed such as something that snaps or zips. Various staff made social skills videos and read books to share with students. Incentives were offered for work completion and behavior in the form of Amazon gift cards, which could be delivered electronically.
During this time, some students graduated and some were able to transition back to their home school. Normally we would have a celebration for students who are returning to their home districts. Since the Coronavirus was keeping us all at home and one student never got to say goodbye or have a party, her teacher drove to her home and dropped off a cake and a card. Another student finished his Senior year, and earned a $50 Amazon Card. For Mother’s Day, one class received a set of Legos and their paraprofessional helped them build flowers out of Legos to give to their moms for Mother’s Day. Some of their siblings participated as well. The end of the year routine of creating photo books for each kid in the class was continued. Once created, each day the books were handed off to a different staff member to write personalized notes to each student. Photo books were then mailed out to each student.
The interruption of in person instruction has been a challenge in many ways, but staff and students at High Road School of Bloomington came together to make the best of a challenging situation.”