Resource Team/Special Needs
Our Student and Teacher Resource Team consists of our director, team facilitator, school counselor, teaching and learning specialist, learning facilitators, and Hebrew language resource specialist. Best practice in special education is to provide learning in the least restrictive environment. We begin to serve children who need additional support in classrooms, but some students receive small group or one-on-one direct service by Heilicher resource faculty.
We believe that an early intervention approach best serves our students in the early grades. If a student would benefit from additional academic or social-emotional skill building, Heilicher’s resource faculty get involved.
Whether or not a student needs additional support depends on a referral process. Those who qualify for Special Education through the local school district must go to the local public school, which will provide the support (Susan Lindgren Elementary School).
For the 2023-2024 school year, we worked with our Resource Team Director Beth Shapiro, a licensed social worker and psychotherapist, to take a new, proactive systemwide approach to serve the needs of our school community.
Our new model is a more formalized system than we’ve had in the past, which helps us better allocate the resources that exist to meet student needs. The resource team provides coaching and support to teachers, while also helping clarify and execute whole-school priorities around education design to meet the diverse needs of students. The team focuses on identifying the social and academic needs of individual students, providing one-on-one support as well as tailored small groups.
What does that look like in a school setting? One great example is the student who is struggling with anxiety and focus. It usually starts with a parent or teacher flagging that the student is having challenges. Our team observes that child in the classroom to better understand their individual needs. They also seek feedback from teachers. Our resource team then offers teachers — and even parents — suggestions to address the problems. Monitoring of the student follows, and we work to build trust between that child and our resource team, continuing to fine-tune the plan as the student’s needs change, grow, or recede. A deeper commitment to consistent communication is a hallmark of the program.