Judith D. Dixon
I am currently teaching at East Rock Global Magnet School. For the past seven years I've been a special education co - teacher in the regular education classroom. There have been various colleagues that I have worked with. I am currently co - teaching in the 5th grade. Inclusion or co-teaching classrooms include regular and special education students. The disabilities can range from learning disabled (LD) to intellectually disabled (I.D). In between we have speech and language impaired-emotionally disturbed (passive to aggressive range) and OHI-other health impaired ADD-ADHD fall into this category. What I have learned in my teaching experience is that we must educate the whole child. Children have issues and problems that some of us have never been exposed to. They're growing up in a very different society than the environment that we grew up in.
Demographically we have Latino, African American, Caucasian and (ESOL) students who are from other countries. These students are taught the English language. They are part of the regular classroom but spend 1-2 hrs. a day with the ESOL teachers. We also have hearing impaired students who are in regular education classrooms. Our school is unique because we have two classes where there are multiple-handicapped students. Some of them are mainstreamed into classes that are age appropriate to their needs. For example, an austistic child who is eight years old, and has some verbal reasoning skills, can count numbers and complete activities (e.g. puzzles, matching objects or coloring) could be placed in the kindergarten class for 1-2 hours a day, with a one on one aide. The student's age may not meet the chronological requirements, but the mental equivalent.
The two groups that make up the majority of the population I teach are African American and Latino students. They will explore and learn the similarities and differences about their cultures. In total East Rock School houses approximately 850 students. Half of the population of students are African American, ¼ are Latino, and 1/4 are Asian American, Caucasian, and other nationalities such as Kenyan and Nigerian. We've also had Vietnamese students from Laos, as well as Turkish, Russian, and South American. Often times they are refugees and East Rock is their first school experience. All of the students are taught English and are placed in regular education classrooms. The ESOL teachers collaborate with the students to best serve their needs. As you can see our school has a very diverse population.