Cardinal S.T.A.R.S. Inclusion Classes Considered “Model Classrooms”

Mrs. D Class_1

A video crew from the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) out of Columbus, Ohio, visited the Cardinal Local School District on Tuesday, February 10, to film students and teachers in the Specialized Teaching for students with Autism and Resource Support (S.T.A.R.S.) inclusion classrooms for an online training video.

S.T.A.R.S. is a program offered through the Geauga County Educational Service Center, housed in the Cardinal School District. Cardinal classrooms host S.T.A.R.S. students in their regular class instruction. Students in Mrs. Gail Duchscherer’s 4th grade Math class at Cardinal Intermediate School and students in Mrs. Stephanie Boles’ 6th grade Science class at Cardinal Middle School are to be featured in the video.

Mrs. Boles says, “Since we don’t know what students with special needs are capable of, we need to expose them to as much as possible, as often as possible, in authentic settings. Inclusion classrooms allow students, both special-ed and regular-ed, to observe and practice appropriate behavior and adapt and manage changes that occur. Being in the regular classroom allows students to be exposed to grade-level vocabulary and content they can work on with their peers which, in turn, builds confidence and responsibility.”

Mrs. Duchscherer shares similar thoughts saying, “As a teacher, bringing the S.T.A.R.S. students into my classroom is a win-win situation. My classroom students model good classroom behaviors, while the S.T.A.R.S. students are able to try good behaviors in a safe environment.  The best part is when we all celebrate successes together!”

The two classrooms are what OCALI representatives call “model classrooms.” Carly McVey, the Program Director for the Autism Certification Center at OCALI says, “We travelled the state observing and interviewing educators on their instruction practices to find the classes that best demonstrated the correct age-appropriate, evidence-based practices in action. In addition, we also needed classrooms that demonstrated good instruction, teaching that works both for students on the spectrum and those who are not. Cardinal classrooms demonstrate these traits extremely well, and we’re excited to have the chance to share their practices so other professionals across the country can learn from them.”

Cardinal is just one of 12 schools in Ohio to be selected for the online training videos. OCALI says the videos are targeting direct service providers who work with individuals on the spectrum to provide professional development on evidence-based practices to teachers, intervention specialists, para-educators and other professionals providing classroom assistance to those on the spectrum.

S.T.A.R.S. Program Director Dana Eggers states, “For our educators, students and school district to be recognized in this manner, as a model classroom, is truly amazing. This is a true testament to the work being done every single day in the classroom to help all students achieve academically. Being a county program, it is exciting to be able to highlight the amazing collaboration between the staff and students of the Geauga ESC, S.T.A.R.S. Program and the Cardinal classrooms. By combining our resources, all students benefit.”

OCALI expects to launch the online training videos in October via the Autism Certification Center’s website: Professionals completing 10 of the 30 training modules will receive a certificate for professional development. Funding for the training modules is provided through a grant from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities and the Ohio Department of Education.

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Geauga News
Author: Geauga News