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Special ed staff covering school psych posts

TLC coordinator explains new role

POSTED July 9, 2018 8:37 p.m.

Great Bend USD 428 has all of its teaching positions covered for the fall semester, Assistant Superintendent John Popp told the board of education on Monday.
“We have not filled every position,” Popp said. “But we have filled every position with a long-term substitute or a licensed teacher.”
More problematic are the three unfilled school psychiatrist position. Instead, the district hired Jason Duvall as an adaptive special education teacher for grades K-12. He will assist Kylee McDonald, who spoke to the board about her new role as the special education coordinator for Trauma Informed Services and Behavior Support. She also gave an update on the Therapeutic Learning Classroom (TLC) special education program.
“This (new role) is, in part, because we have a shortage of school psychologists,” McDonald said. “I will be doing it and still maintain a therapeutic classroom.”

A successful program
TLC started five and a half years ago after two years of research, McDonald said. There is a TLC classroom at Riley Elementary School and her classroom for secondary students, which is not housed in a regular school building.
“When you remove students from same-age peers it can be damaging,” she said, so it is a goal to return students to the schools whenever possible. One TLC student was able to return to Great Bend High School and graduate, she said.
In addition to learning reading and math, students in the TLC work on social skills and life skills — everything from learning to handle frustration to balancing a checkbook.
“We taught 192 social skills last year,” McDonald said. “We really focus on them and we continue to reinforce them throughout the year.”
McDonald said she talks to parents of TLC students every day. She has three support staff in her classroom and the TLC teacher at Riley has two.
Duvall and McDonald will help throughout the school district, not just with TLC students.
Using TLC methods, students are learning more, they are more engaged in school and there have been fewer emergency safety interventions (ESIs) such as the use of restraint or seclusion, or calls to law enforcement. She expects 15 students to be in TLCs this fall.

Meeting at a glance

Here’s a quick look at Monday’s Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education meeting:
• Officers were elected and the 2018 Board of Education was organized. Chris Umphres will continue to serve as board president.
• Kylee McDonald, Special Education Coordinator for Trauma Informed Services and Behavior Support, explained her new role to board members and provide an update of the TLC (Therapeutic Learning Classroom) special education program.
• The board approved revised policies following recommendations from the Kansas Association of School Boards.
• The administration received approval to release bid information for three new fleet vans. 
• Assistant Superintendent John Popp and Director of Federal Programs Trish Reiser reported on the 2018–2023 Professional Development Plan, which was approved. Popp also reported on the Professional Development Council, national conferences for professional development, summer professional development and the curriculum steering committee.
• Superintendent Khris Thexton’s report included project updates; summer meal program attendance for June, a Kansas school finance update, the back-to-school schedule and an update on the 2018-2019 budget.
• The board hired Jason Duvall to teach adaptive special education for grades K-12.


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