Focusing on academics in special education

Jul 3, 2015

The Buffalo Public School District works to make sure the needs of its special education students are met.  WBFO'S Eileen Buckley spoke with the Assistant Superintendent of Special Education to learn how the District is working to engage students in their academics.  

Inside a Buffalo Public school classroom.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

"We are really focusing on the academics, and that is our number one goal in special education --  is to increase the student performance in ELA and Math," said Dr. Mary Paul,  Assistant Superintendent.

Special Education students have a variety of physical or mental disabilities, as well as learning disabilities or behavioral issues. WBFO News asked who is a special education student? 

"Well they're just like all kids. There's a whole variety of different issues and behaviors and needs and we individualize.  One thing we talk about in special education is specially designed instruction, and that's our focus --  we want to make sure that kids are getting what they need. If there are accommodations to be made  -- we make sure the kids get the support they need," stated Paul.

Pauly tells WBFO News the district is well-staffed with special education teachers.

"We're working hard with them. We had a real increase in professional development this year and we had so many special education teachers sign up to come and learn about progress monitoring and specially designed instruction that we couldn't even accommodate all the teachers that signed up -- that we had to create more sessions. So we have teachers hungry to learn and I think teachers who want to meet the need of kids and we're looking forward to seeing student progress increase," said Pauly.

Along with the District's Special Education Department  -- there is also a Special Education Parent advisory Committee.  This committee is an advocate for those families who are dealing with students who have special needs and disabilities.

On August 11th that committee will host a family conference titled "Graduation begins with Kindergarten". 

Dr. Pauly noted that when children are "engaged in learning" they're less likely to get off-track.