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Special Education Classroom Added for Middle School Students
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Due to the school districts’ need for another special education classroom for middle school students, a 12:1:4 (12 students, 1 teacher, 4 aides) classroom has been added at the Oliver Winch Middle School in South Glens Falls.
With 14 years of teaching experience, Melissa Hughes has been hired to be the teacher. She began her career in early childhood after earning a bachelor’s from St. Rose in childhood education 1-6. After working with special needs students, she decided to move in the direction of special education and earned a master’s in special education from St. Rose. She was also a teaching assistant with Capital Region BOCES in a similar classroom to the BOCES Educating Children with Autism and Related Disabilities (BEARS) program.
Currently there are six students from various school districts in her classroom with the possibility of another one joining soon. Mrs. Hughes said of the new classroom, “It’s been going wonderfully. It’s a nice group of kids. I’ve worked in quite a few schools and this is one of the best. They are very accommodating.”
As for the program, “Mrs. Hughes explained, “We work to have students interact with the community in a socially appropriate way, help them to reach their academic goals and strive to have them feel good about themselves. It’s a multi-disabled classroom with one student in a wheelchair and autistic students from the BEARS program. They are all on grade level and they are very visual, so we use lots of visual aids. We work on their social skills with a lot of community-based activities. We take daily walks around the school and we’ve got a few field trips planned. We’re going to McDonalds and to pick apples at McWhorter’s Apple Orchard.”