GLOVERSVILLE - Two new specialists will work with the school district this year to help classroom teachers work better with students with behavioral problems, while a reading coach will oversee a developmental reading program for sixth grade.
The three positions were approved unanimously by the Gloversville Enlarged School District Board of Education on Tuesday.
The two behavior specialists will work with classroom teachers throughout the school district, coaching the teachers in ways the educators can work better with the students. The specialists will be in the school district once a month, observing teachers as the educators work with students whose behavior could impede classroom lessons.
"It's a new concept for us," Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Frank Pickus told the board Tuesday night.
Approval of the two behavior specialists follows a special-education study made public during the school board's Feb. 13 meeting. One out of five students in the school district are classified as special needs students. The study to determine how best to help students remain in the classroom was funded by a $14,000 federal grant.
The recommendations of that report will be implemented this school year. The study noted not all students in the district classified as special needs students fell into that group. Rather, some students needed emotional support or services not offered in the regular or general education curriculum. Ultimately, this can affect the district's high school graduation rate if students who can complete the curriculum instead drop out.
Viewed as consultants, the two specialists will report to the school board twice over the coming school year about the teachers' progress working with students with behavior problems. The students will remain in the school district.
The specialists' focus will be on students currently in the school district. Students with out-of-classroom placements for special or behavioral needs may be able to return to the classroom pending the teachers' training. That would not happen for at least a year, Interim Superintendent Clifford Moses explained.
Funding for the positions is in the budget.
Additionally, the board approved a new reading coach position. This year, the reading specialist will set the foundation for the sixth grade reading program. It will be the 2013-14 school year, however, that the new program's features will be practiced in the classroom.
School board member Jean LaPorta asked why the new program could not begin in this year's sixth-grade classrooms.
"That's going to take a whole year?" she questioned.
"We're trying to do this in steps," answered Pickus.