HISD’s Gregg Elementary is having great success placing children with special needs into the general student population and is getting national recognition for those strides. Susan Pansmith, senior manager for the district’s Elementary Special Education Services, presented the HISD video, which details Gregg’s advances, to 300 participants at a conference in Chicago on “Success at an Early Age: Improving Outcomes for Young Children With Disabilities.”
Pansmith’s co-presenter at the conference, which was sponsored by the Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative (USELC), was Sonja Hollan, early childhood education specialist for Region IV.
Research has proven that placing students with disabilities in the general education setting minimizes learning gaps between them and the general student population.
“If we place them with kids who have the same disabilities, we are not helping them – we are building handicaps,” said Gregg ES special education teacher Allison Wood. “Integrating them into the general population is crucial to everybody’s success, especially the kids coming in at age 3.”
“My role is to help facilitate that process,” said Gregg Principal David Jackson. “It begins with thorough professional development training. Then we partner special ed teachers with regular education teachers so that they are both familiar with the curriculum and each student’s strengths and weaknesses.”
HISD is hosting the USELC conference in fall 2014.