An Individualized Approach to Education in Mr. George’s Upper 1 Class
In the Upper School at ACCESS, high school-aged students enter a class at a variety of levels, remaining with the same teacher for four years or more. In order to be successful, the education team must create an individualized approach to each student. According to Upper School 1 teacher George Robertson, “The best analogy is that of a coach working with his or her athletes. The most successful coaches are able to assess their athletes ability level and help them progress to be the best they can. This includes using all the tools and resources that are available and removing as many obstacles that impede progress. At Access, those resources include the teacher, the TA’s, the therapists and the administration working together. Additionally, one of the most important resources are the students. Our kids have a high level of empathy and concern for each other and are incredible at helping their classmates in so many ways!”
George says this individualized instructional method and structure (therapy services provided on campus) ties directly into the ACCESS Mission statement: Expanding Individual Potential Through Innovative Instruction. The connection between action and mission create a culture and environment that produce positive outcomes for our students.
“I feel a tremendous personal responsibility for each student’s development and success. This means I must be attuned to a student’s disability, but still walk the fine line of pushing each student to reach his or her full potential while not destroying his or her confidence in the process,” declares Mr. George. “The challenge is intensified when success is judged not only in academic progress, but in emotional and physical development as well. When students have success, especially graduates who are excelling in college or are successful in the workplace and living independently, I am overjoyed and feel a strong sense of purpose for what I do!”
According to Mr. George, “Kids with special needs are no different than anyone else. They have hopes and dreams and want to do the things that everyone else does. However, they can become frustrated and discouraged because their disability can get in the way of doing those things,” he explains. “Therefore, a special needs teacher must remain positive and encouraging, realizing that their students have tremendous strength and resilience. They are able to achieve so much!”