By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education will implement more co-teaching and blending classroom learning it its classroom for the upcoming school year.
During its April 11 meeting, the board discussed growing the mix of special education and general education in a single classroom. The blended classroom model started in 2010 at all three levels, elementary, middle and high schools.
“We have a plan moving forward,” Supt. Glenn Maleyko said. “We’ve been working on it, but next year we’re looking to ratchet it up and really enhance it moving forward.”
DPS Director of Special Education Michael Shelton said high school students on the path to graduation already are included in the model.
“A general ed and a special ed teacher sharing the instructional responsibilities for a single group of students,” he explained. “A shared presence in the classroom as well as a shared responsibility for planning, presenting, problem solving and processing to determine the best ways to reach students.”
He also said more support will be given to the elementary level and administrators working with those teachers.
“The general ed teacher is the content expert and the special education teacher is the strategy expert, and they bring their skills together and enhance learning,” Shelton said.
One of the main steps to spread the co-teaching model will be the placement and spreading of children, and scheduling planning time for both teachers so they have time to collaborate.
“We are ahead of a lot of districts as far as our structure, meaning that some districts don’t have their scheduled structure or staffing to do co-teaching,” Maleyko said. “We really want to make sure that we are then going into the class and implementing the effective research based strategies that help students.”
During the meeting, the board approved the hiring of Anne Beninghof as the co-teaching expert who will consult and provide the training and needed development for the teachers.
She will be hired for 10 days with a pay of $35,000 for her services.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)