ESE & Additional Services
The Pinellas County Schools mission of Exceptional Student Education (ESE) is to provide quality services that support effective learning opportunities for all exceptional children. Students ages 3-21 who meet eligibility requirements receive special education services, which include, but are not limited to, educational, vocational and behavioral support. Services meet the needs of eligible students while allowing access to general education instruction with non-disabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate for each student.
At Skycrest, we have three full time ESE certified teachers who push in or pull out in the general educational classrooms each day to meet the needs of all students.
Teachers: Ms. Judges, Ms. Colleton, and Ms. Moore
Our Vision of Excellence in Exceptional Student Education (ESE)
All students are general education students first. We strive to support students in building the skills they need to meet the demands of college, career, and life and to engage as productive citizens of the world. In addition to fulfilling Our Vision of Excellent Instruction for all core content areas:
Students work towards mastery of meaningful Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals in their Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). As special educators, it is our responsibility to engage students in differentiated work designed to support mastery of their academic, social/emotional, and functional IEP goals. We design strong IEPs representative of students’ present levels of performance. We also implement strategies and assess their IEP goals. We collaborate with students’ educational teams to help students master grade-level standards and provide them with access to equal academic and social experiences of their same-age peers.
Students learn the foundational skills they need to engage in rigorous, grade-level content. Students work to develop a foundational set of skills that allow them to access the rigorous, grade-level curriculum and set them up for success in the general education classroom. These include literacy and math skills as well as strategies to improve their metacognition, executive functioning, social and life skills.
Students receive the supports they need to do the thinking. We understand how students’ exceptionalities affect their learning and behavior and create opportunities for all students to demonstrate their thinking. We don’t use students’ disabilities as a crutch and don’t let them use it as one either. In order to help them access content, effectively transition within and outside of the special education classroom, and engage in meaningful and positive relationships with peers and adults, we may need to provide students with additional supports in order to ensure an equitable learning environment for students with disabilities. We provide students only with the supports they need and work diligently to promote their independence by gradually reducing said supports so that students either no longer rely on them, or become self-sufficient in replicating them. In rare circumstances, for students with significant cognitive disabilities, and only when dictated by the IEP, we provide students with a modified curriculum. Students with significant cognitive disabilities may engage in modified instruction that is aligned to grade-level Florida Access Standards.
Students have an advocate for their academic, social, and emotional needs. At the heart of special education is a civil rights issue; all students deserve an equal education, and historically many of our students with exceptionalities have been denied this basic right given their differences. As special educators, we work to ensure our students are provided a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) just like their peers without disabilities. We act as advocates ourselves and empower students and their families to advocate for their basic rights.
All teacher actions are based upon data. Subsequent student actions are a result of the teacher actions. We embrace the paradigm of The Least Dangerous Assumption about educating Students with Disabilities is central to promoting students’ learning, inclusion, achievement, and quality of instruction.
Speech & Language Program
The Speech and/or Language Program provides therapeutic services to students between the ages of 3 and 21, who exhibit difficulty in communication which adversely affects their ability to access their education. Therapeutic services are provided by a certified and/or licensed Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs). Therapy models include direct services, indirect services, and consultation. Eligibility and/or need for services is determined by a team, including parents, who review state and district criteria and student data. Students receive speech and/or language therapy services as determined by the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team.
Skycrest has two certified Speech and Language teachers: Ms. Houston & Ms. Hamilton
Occupational & Physical Therapy Program
Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy (OT/PT) are services provided to students with disabilities in order to enable them to access their curriculum and benefit from their special education services. OT and PT are provided as a direct or indirect service through a continuum of services utilizing a collaborative, integrated approach that may include, but is not limited to the following:
- Direct support for the student to access educational activities and the school environment
- Collaborating with the members of the team to develop and implement strategies and modifications that support a student's individualized goals and objectives
- Assessing the student's educational need for modification of environment, educationally relevant equipment, technology, and assistive devices
- Education of the teachers, family members and others about the impacts of disability on educational performance, and the potential benefits of adaptations or accommodations
- Modeling and training classroom staff, students and parents on how to implement educationally relevant therapeutic strategies and use adapted equipment, assistive technology, and devices
- Liaison with medical professionals
Skycrest has two part time OT & PT teachers: Ms. Spence (OT) and Ms. Demuth (PT)