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Working with special education students in your classroom is the norm; however, we can sometimes be overwhelmed with the challenges they may present. We realize that people are more alike than different and that including children with disabilities and special needs is beneficial to them as well as to the other children in your classroom. 

JPAS Domain IV Indicator 56 helps you maximize your understanding of individual learner differences and allows you to demonstrate a curriculum that meets the needs of varied students.

Here are three thoughtful articles that may help you make their lives and yours easier this year. You may feel an article is aimed at one specific age group, but all the suggestions listed in each article are excellent suggestions for all ages and classes.

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I am grateful for the hard work teachers do to provide wonderful learning experiences for students every day. I appreciate the kindness, generosity, and patience of teachers. They never give up; they are wiling to try new things; they do creative things to reach every student. Teachers do not stay on the sidelines; they are part of a team, making a thousand decisions a day for benefit of students.
--Dr. Anthony Godfrey

This is the value of the teacher, who looks at a face and says there's something behind that and I want to reach that person, I want to influence that person, I want to encourage that person, I want to enrich, I want to call out that person who is behind that face, behind that color, behind that language, behind that tradition, behind that culture. I believe you can do it. I know what was done for me.
—Maya Angelou

The power of an effective teacher is something almost all of us have experienced and understand on a personal level. If we were particularly fortunate, we had numerous exceptional teachers who made school an exciting and interesting place. Those teachers possessed a passion for the subjects that they taught and genuine care for the students with whom they worked. They inspired us to play with ideas, think deeply about the subject matter, take on more challenging work, and even pursue careers in a particular field of study. Some exceptional teachers achieve celebrity status, such as Jaime Escalante, the math teacher who inspired the
film Stand and Deliver, but thousands of unsung heroes go unrecognized in their remarkable work with students on a daily basis
-- Pamela D. Tucker and James H. Stronge

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You have been amazing during this very unusual teaching moment. Your websites, Canvas classes, blogs, Zoom meetings, parades, lawn posters, and all the incredible technology you have used to instruct and stay connected to your students has been a monumental effort. We applaud you for finishing strong and caring so much about student success. 

Have a safe, restful summer!

With Gratitude: your JSD Mentor Teacher Specialists

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“When you know yourself well--when you understand your emotions, social identities, core values, and personality--you gain clarity on your purpose in life and in work. Being anchored in purpose makes you able to deal with setbacks and challenges.”

-Elena Aguilar, Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators

As we finish the school year and move into summer, take time to ground yourself in who you are--your values, your purpose in teaching. Try some of these reflective activities:

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by Joshua Block

“Teaching would not be possible without time devoted to reflection and rejuvenation. In the same way that crops need to be rotated so that soil can be replenished, teachers need time away from the classroom to rediscover different parts of their identities and return to classrooms and students with renewed joy, creative ideas, and reaffirmed visions of themselves as educators.  Summer is a time for reflection, scholarship, and a chance to give myself a break from the daily cycle of planning and feedback that make the school year such a whirlwind.”

What are your plans for rejuvenation this summer?

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"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."
~Albert Einstein

Remote teaching has been a new learning curve for all of us! Students and teachers have gained helpful, new knowledge from their perseverance in these interesting times.

Visit the link below for more ideas on fostering perseverance.

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from Elena Aguilar

“The summer is the perfect time to plan. Even three days of work can yield months of results. Once you start, you'll get into it, and you'll thank yourself next year.”  

This article gives ideas on how to plan, when to plan, and what to plan so your time is fun and productive and invigorating.  We need to keep in mind preparing for digital or classroom experiences.

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Many of you have been collaborating with grade or team members. It has strengthened your ability to teach on-line and you have shared lesson responsibilities to lighten the load.

Instructional coach and TechEd editor Lauren Davis says, “The beauty of collaboration is not only the ability to tap into various perspectives and ideas, but also to share responsibility for our students’ learning. The more people invested in a student’s education, the better the chance that student has to be successful.”

During this interesting teaching moment in history, continue to reach out to your colleagues, support each other and keep up your excellent effort.

If you would like to read more about the positive effects of teacher collaboration on students success read:

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