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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

self-contained classrooms

self-contained classrooms

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Due to the terrible financial problems in Alabama, a lot of our students with more profound disabilities will be placed in classrooms with 30-35 students. I can't see this as an advantage. Please comments and advise me on positive solutions for our students.

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Yvonne Davis's picture

What happened to no child left behind. My suggestion is to group several kids in a gen ed class and insure that a para is in the classroom to keep tabs on the kids. Make sure the kids have a resource room to get help....I always connected to their teachers on a daily basis to insure work was getting turned in

LPS's picture
Cross Categorical/self-contained - Teacher

R Rose, My hat is off to you because I know that my own son who was in SC for K-6 grade and then mainstreamed for selected classes. (Vocational) he received most of his academics in Resource 7-12 grade. With additional support he did great. Plus I was very involved with his educational planning. He graduated and has built his own home and is a truck driver. I can't imagine the frustration he would have had in classes of 30 to 50 students. Without training the GE teachers I too have concerns about placement issues. Our district wants to reduce self-contained placements by 50%.. I see this as setting our kids up for failure. My philosophy has always been to set kids up for success and they will be successful. Both my boys earn more than I do. I acheived my goal and that was that they would be able to provide for their own kids. The sad part is that I still can't even buy my own home on a teacher's salary.

Eric Bierling's picture

my daughter, Ainsley, is 6 and is completing her Kindergarten year. She splits her time between a spec ed room and a gen ed room. It is a struggle to know what is the best environment for her. Ainsley's medical diagnosis is unspecified currently but if it were 10 years ago it would be Cerebral Palsy. She is very social but has limited communication skills as a result of her delayed processing and motor delays. What I want most for Ainsley is that she can begin developing relationships with typical peers so she has a support system that is much larger than her family and support staff. The ability for her to interact with her peers can only help raise awareness and all we want is acceptance.

Deven Black's picture
Deven Black
Middle school teacher-librarian in the Bronx, NY

[quote]my daughter, Ainsley, is 6 and is completing her Kindergarten year. She splits her time between a spec ed room and a gen ed room. It is a struggle to know what is the best environment for her.[/quote]

Is there any need to choose one environment over the other for next year? If so, the first consideration might be where your daughter is most comfortable. She will learn more and progress faster where she is at ease. The next consideration is the development of her intellectual abilities. Is she being challenged enough? Too much?

Whatever the decision, it should be re-examined a couple of months into the school year to determine if adjustments are necessary.

JB's picture
Intervention Specialist

I teach pull out Language Arts and Math to special needs students at the jr high level. In our classroom, I am able to work with the students at their reading (some at a 1st/2nd grade) and math levels, push them further, so that they will progress towards their appropriate grade expectations. I am able to met their IEP goals in a setting that is not embarrassing to them. I go with my students to science and social studies, assist them, and anyone else who needs help. The two reg. teachers I work with are terrific and very flexible with expectations and modifications- A MUST! There are so many things my students still need to learn, just to be independent as adults, that are not part of the regular classroom setting, that if they did not have the opportunity to learn them in a pull out class, they wouldn't learn them at all. There is still a need to offer a resource room for some kids- hopefully people do not take that option away for those kids who need it most.

AutismClassroom.com's picture

30-35? That is unheard of. Are the parents aware of this? Please keep us informed of the outcome or of any solutions that worked.

Olga Lingo's picture
Olga Lingo
Teacher of K-5 Severe/Profound students, Statesville, North Carolina

The law says that students need to be placed in the least restrictive environment. That being said, if the students need a self-contained classroom due to behaviors and learning needs, etc. the school must provide it. I don't see the regular ed parents being ok with this and it will probably take a law suite to fix this. Keep us posted.

LPS's picture
Cross Categorical/self-contained - Teacher

I absolutely support inclusion if it is SUPPORTED. I have found that if I am down 1 TA it is nearly impossible for us to support the General Ed teacher and mainstreamed students. When I am short-handed I let the teachers know and if they need us they can call and one of us will come. This year I have 7 students who need 1:1 assistance and there are 4 of us in the classroom for 12 total students. If you do the math it doesn't add up to an equitable system. Unfortunately, my higher functioning students are often left to fend for themselves in the GE setting. I communicate regularly with the teacher and the parents. As well as make modifications and adaptations.

Amy Swallow's picture

I taught a self contained classroom for children with autism this current year that has beeb cut as well. My students, diagnosed with Autism, will be going to a a different self contained classroom with 10-15 students, 1 aide, and mixed diagnosis. I worry about their ability to make progress.

Lynn Steinfeldt's picture

Does anyone else see the problems with these children (mine are High School aged)going to inclusion classes? I am also the mother of a child with CP. She was included, with a personal assistant, as she was in a wheelchair, from 3rd grade on. She was not a behavior problem and she had mild mental retardation. The students I teach would be a total disruption because of their various disabilities. 3 are autistic, 2 have seizure disorders, and 3 are MR. All of them need 1/1 assistance! Some of them have behavior problems, as well! And what about the rights of the regular education students? They deserve a learning environment without distractions. I know this is not exactly the same problem, but it is comming, thanks to NCLB! I do know that my autistic students have done well with my other students! I am very fortunate in that I have 2 full time assistants, and 1 half time! I hope your students do well next school year!

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