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New Position for the 2020-2021 School Year Q&A

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new position

If you don’t follow me on social media you may be surprised to find out that I’ve changed things up for the 2020-2021 school year! That’s right, I left my brick and mortar public school position as an Autistic Support teacher (self contained) in a middle school for something more DIGITAL!

It was one of the toughest decisions I have ever made in my career because I loved working with the students (and thought I had my home) and that made me happy each day but, there were other factors that came into play that made me feel like I couldn’t give my best to my students and decided trying a new path was in order!

New Position, New Questions!

With my new position as a special educator at a public cyber charter school, so many people have had really important and interesting questions. That makes sense! I thought a round-up of the most frequently asked questions would be helpful. Here we go!

Q: Is your school always virtual, or just currently virtual due to COVID-19?
A: This is a virtual cyber school that is, and always has been, virtual and cyber! This model is not due to COVID-19. There are a few services delivered in person from specific service providers that were and are currently done only virtually for students due to the pandemic, but once things shake out, they will go back to regularly scheduled programming.

Q: Do you have an office, or do you work from home?
A: Under typical circumstances, I would work from an office and teach virtually there each day. Currently, the school has decided to have all staff working from home.

New Teaching Specifics!

Q: What platform will you use?
A: One of the cool things about my school is that we have our own LMS (Learning Management System). They have created it all from scratch! It’s got tons of great features for communicating with families and providing relevant content to the students. I will also be using Zoom when I live teach.

Q: Do you teach synchronously or asynchronously?
A: The big question of 2020! Technically, both! I will be doing both live teaching as well as creating pre-recorded or designed lessons that students will access asynchronously. Most of my day-to-day teaching will be live and that can be so tough! It’s been a learning curve for sure, but I’ve loved seeing the students attend classes!

New Position, New Students!

Q: Are your students from all over, or from your local area?
A: My students will come from anywhere in the state of PA. Since it’s a public charter school and all of it is virtual they can learn from anywhere in the state! It’s kind of cool knowing I’m helping students across the commonwealth! They will also receive in-home services, but they will not be provided by me.

Q: How many students are on your caseload?
A: As of right now, I have 13 students on my caseload. They are in grades 5 through 9 at the moment. As the popularity of cyber schools rises, I know that number will, too! In my previous district it was much lower, but the ability to reach more students has been super excited!

Q: What level are your students?
A: All students are assessed with the VB MAPP by a BCBA. They are typically on level within that program. With the findings, we create the students IEPs and learning plans. This BCBA will be a part of the students learning and overall progress throughout the year. They also receive services from SLPs, PTs, OTs, and all the others through mostly in-home services.

New Position, New Staff!

Q: Will you work with paraprofessionals?
A: Yes! At my school, we refer to them as instructional assistants. They actually visit students in-home for a number of hours depending on the student’s IEP. They will help prompt and assist with their learning as a para would in a traditional classroom during my live lessons, other sessions with the BCBA and with related services that they receive.

I hope this helps to clarify my new role. I know I will be learning so much in this position and I cannot wait to share it all with you.