The Building Aide supports the classroom teachers, specialists, and the principal. Typical responsibilities include providing small group instructional support in classrooms, substituting, and working on special projects.
Early Intervention Literacy Aides
Two Early Intervention Literacy Aides work in consultation with the Literacy Specialist and with classroom teachers to provide reading instruction in the K through Grade 3 classrooms during Reading Workshop.
ELL (English Language Learners) Teacher
The ELL program is designed for limited or non-English speaking students from a variety of linguistic, cultural, and academic backgrounds. The goals of the ELL program are:
• Rapid and effective learning of English for understanding, speaking, reading, and writing
• Integration of bilingual students socially
• Fostering respect for each child’s language and culture to promote a positive self concept
• Promoting multicultural awareness for the enrichment of the Newton School Community
These goals are achieved by creating an individualized program that meets the unique needs of each child through collaboration of the ELL teacher with the classroom teacher. Students are taught in English through a content-based approach. The curriculum follows or supports that of the mainstream classroom. In addition, academic support in the student’s native language may be provided as needed.
The Inclusion Facilitator is a special educator who works collaboratively with all TEAM members to ensure growth and successful inclusion experiences for all involved. ISS (Instructional Support Staff) Ward has part-time teachers each year who serve as Instructional Support Staff. The main responsibility of ISS is to serve as the building substitute when a teacher is absent. When an ISS is not needed to substitute on a given day, s/he has an alternate schedule assisting in classrooms throughout the day.
Learning Center Teachers
The Learning Center teachers work with children identified under the provisions of the Massachusetts Special Education law as having special needs. Children may be serviced individually, in small groups, through a co-teaching model, or in heterogeneous groups within the classroom. Responsibilities include administering and interpreting the results of educational and diagnostic tests, consulting with classroom teachers, and adapting and modifying with teachers the classroom program for special needs students. Learning Center teachers are also involved in monitoring the special education process, attending TEAM meetings with staff and parents, attending consultation group sessions in which techniques for helping children are explored, writing Individual Educational Plans and semi-annual progress reports, working closely with other school specialists, and maintaining contact with parents.
The Literacy Specialist is responsible for assisting the Principal in the coordination of the English Language Arts Program at the school. Working closely with the Principal, the classroom teachers, the specialists, and the special education TEAM, the Literacy Specialist oversees the smooth running of the English Language Arts Program through collaboration, consultation, pilot teaching, model teaching, and co-teaching.
Providing staff development as necessary and appropriate in reading, literature, writing, spelling, vocabulary development, handwriting, and assessment, the Literacy Specialist also monitors student progress in reading and writing through observation, diagnostic teaching, testing, and/or instruction. The Literacy Specialist and Early Intervention Assistant Teachers, implement the Early Intervention Program, a regular education supportive reading program in grades kindergarten through three. The Literacy Specialist also oversees the smooth operation of the building based book rooms, libraries from which teachers borrow sets of books for guided reading instruction.
Additionally, the Literacy Specialist provides a range of school-wide services including coordination, implementation, and database maintenance of school-wide testing in language arts, and inventory and purchase of materials to support classroom language arts initiatives and programs. The Literacy Specialist also provides opportunities for children to challenge themselves and take risks by entering contests in reading, essay writing, and poetry. Finally, the Literacy Specialist is a member of the school Special Education TEAM, participating in TEAM functions as part of the special education evaluation process.
School-based occupational therapy addresses difficulties in areas which limit independent functioning in the school environment. Along with the Special Education TEAM, the Occupational Therapist assesses students’ performance within their classroom and develops a plan to maximize successful educational performance. Occupational Therapists provide suggestions for accommodations within the classroom, as well as individual and group structured teaching in the areas of fine motor skill development and sensory and visual-motor integration. Occupational Therapists also work with students who demonstrate muscle weakness or poor coordination to develop postural strength and coordination in order to maximize their independence within school and for daily living skills.
The School Psychologist is a consultant to parents and faculty regarding child development and mental health concerns. With parental consent, the School Psychologist conducts individual psychological evaluations to describe the student’s learning capacity and learning style in relationship to social/emotional development and academic achievement. The School Psychologist, along with other TEAM members, makes recommendations as to the best combination of programs, services, and approaches needed by the child to function successfully in the school setting. The School Psychologist also provides direct services to students.
The School Social Worker provides support to parents and teachers regarding students' adjustment, development, and transitions in the school setting. S/he knows community resources and can make referrals for issues of child care, social groups, Big Brother/Sister, divorce, domestic violence, camp, etc. As a part of Massachusetts Special Education law, s/he talks with parents about their child's social and developmental history and the educational concerns that need special attention.
Special Education Aide
A Special Education Aide works in classrooms when there is one or more children with an Individual Educational Plan that specifies the need for assistance. A Special Education Aide works part time or full time to support the classroom teacher as s/he implements the curriculum in general and the goals and objectives for the student(s) with special needs.
The Speech/Language Pathologist is available to work with teachers concerning effective classroom strategies and to provide direct services to children identified as having special needs. The specific areas of involvement may include articulation, language comprehension and expression, voice quality, social pragmatics, fluency, and auditory processing of classroom and curriculum information. Children may need to strengthen or refine their classroom performance as speakers, listeners, and group participants in the learning process. The Speech/Language Pathologist also administers evaluations of children referred for closer examination of their communication performance. The Speech/Language Pathologist serves as a member of an interdisciplinary TEAM at Ward, who coordinates the Special Education process for students and teachers.
Working with several local universities, Ward welcomes student teachers each year. In this role, the Ward teacher serves as a mentor to an undergraduate or graduate student. Fall student teachers are typically at school from September to December, and spring student teachers are with us from late January to early May. The student teachers add a great deal to the instruction that occurs in the classroom. The presence of a student teacher allows for increased small group instruction to occur. As part of the student teaching experience, the student teacher assumes full responsibility for the classroom for up to a week under the guidance and supervision of the cooperating teacher.