Committed professionals working together have discovered that teamwork means quality in special education. This means that special education students receive a quality education because their teacher work together to ensure the best possible opportunities for them, according to Bonita Unified School District Superintendent Gary Rapkin and Carl Coles, the district’s senior director of special education.
Sensitivity and awareness are critical for assuring delivery of the quality services and educational programs that meet the special needs of children who face challenges with physical and developmental disabilities, as well as learning difficulties. So Ripkin and Coles add both qualities to the professional expectations for the teams of experts working in the special education program for students in San Dimas and La Verne public schools.
This year, the district took over special ed classes formerly operated by the Los Angeles County Office of Education, adding 100 new students from Covina, Glendora, West Covina, Bassett, Azusa, Walnut and Diamond Bar to the 1,000 already served by BUSD. The students attend class on the district’s elementary, middle and high school comprehensive campuses.
“In special education, we focus on the whole child, look for academic and non-academic benefits and provide a continuum of therapeutic support that focuses on all his or her needs,” Coles said.
That culture involves special education teachers, occupational and physical therapists, speech and language pathologists, mental health counselors, adaptive physical education teachers, instructional aides, program support specialists, special ed coordinators and parents. The culture also includes educational experts specializing in understanding how children learn and who can modify the curriculum and environment for optimal learning.
Each professional recognizes the fact that disabilities and learning challenges don’t exist only during the six hours of school, Coles and Rapkin said.