This morning, I’m in Kellie La Mantia’s room. I watch the students arrive, accompanied by their aides. As they enter the room quietly, it is evident that this routine is well learned. They all take their places in groups of one or two, each group with its own 1:1 aide. Each of the moderate to severe students begins independent reading to their aides or are read to by their aides. They all have unique IEP goals, so there is little whole-group instruction. Various data collectors tally behaviors carefully, so that goals can be adjusted and reset.
PBIS is crucial in this environment because it modifies behavior. In this class, it also is differentiated for each student. Aides monitor token boards to help their students earn their preferred rewards. The rewards are as varied as the students: electronic devices, audiobooks, snacks, even leaves. Positive praise is used abundantly.
Throughout the day, the routines are structured and predictable. Ms. LaMantia's job is like that of a conductor, orchestrating the magic that makes the differentiation in this classroom sing. Kellie thanks her many loyal aides, “I couldn’t do my job without them,” in her characteristically modest way. Read more about Kellie's loyal aides in this issue of PBIS News.
Jenny Morales has been at Los Alisos for five years, working with special needs children before that at New River. "I love coming every morning and seeing our students smile every day." She finds rewards in how they improve in their communication and in doing things independently. She also enjoys cooking, reading, Criminal Minds, and Candy Crush Jelly.
Saroj Luthra has worked at Los Alisos for nine years and has been working with special needs students for 22 years. She remembers she once saved a child who was unconscious.
Lucia Peña has worked at Los Alisos for three years. Before that, she was a medical assistant. Her favorite thing about her job is working with positive people who love their jobs and want to make a difference in students' lives. In her spare time she loves shopping.
Olivia Garcia has worked at Los Alisos for 11 years. Before that she was a stay-at-home mom, raising her own children and going to school. She loves her job and her 1:1 student.
Shakti Goel has worked at Los Alisos for four months. Before that she stayed at home for 13 years. She loves taking care of her 1:1 student. Her hobbies are watching TV, cooking, and sewing.
Jessica Lozano has worked at Los Alisos for seven years. For 17 years before that she worked as a noon aide. She loves to see the children progress and learn new things, to build their trust.
Diane DeWitt has worked at Los Alisos for four years. Her favorite thing about her job is the students. She loves to watch their accomplishments, no matter the size!
If we teach today's students as we taught yesterday's we rob them of tomorrow. ~John Dewey