Laurie Maggard, PCSD Behavior Specialist, and Mary Kay Becker, Special Education teacher at Treasure Mountain Junior High, are retiring after many years of dedication and service to our department and students.
For 30+ years in the district, Mary Kay has shown us what it means to teach from the heart. She is the epitome of a Special Education teacher. When you walk into Mary Kay’s classroom, she is always surrounded by students. Mary Kay really listens and for teenagers, this is such a gift. The Special Education department is losing a one of a kind teacher that can never be replaced, but we know she will continue encouraging and mentoring her former students.
Over the past three years, Laurie has been our leader and mentor in all things tier 2 behavior. Laurie has mentored students, families, and teachers on best practices for students to find behavioral and social/emotional success in the general education classroom. Laurie comes to this practice from a personal passion for recognizing and celebrating the potential of students with disabilities. We will miss her positive support and fun-loving spirit.
Paislee Schreiter, Post-High Transition Teacher, leaves us to pursue new career endeavors. Paislee has developed a thriving community-based program for our 18-22-year-old population. Every day they are out and about in our community, at work, engaged in independent living skill instruction, and recreational opportunities. We will miss Paislee’s creative programming and fun-loving presence.
We wish all three teachers the best in their new adventures!
Dr. Jaimee Kidder saw an opportunity in the COVID-19 crisis. Dr. Kidder put together a plan to capitalize on a crisis by putting together an intensive behavior training course that was run live during the school dismissal. Park City School District staff, including all special education paraprofessionals, and all after-school personnel participated in a comprehensive, 40-hour formal course covering all of the material to certify Registered Behavior Technicians.
During the six weeks of class, over 120 participants learned a wide variety of skills and concepts, such as how to provide effective reinforcement, how to select and teach replacement behaviors, and how to collect data to monitor progress and make better decisions. Participants expressed that the class was enjoyable and highly relevant to their needs, and that they were thankful to have the opportunity for extensive training and practice in behavioral strategies. Once school resumes, additional coaching and mentoring will be provided to Park City School District participants who support students with challenging behavior to help them apply what they’ve learned in a hands-on context.
Critical components included the principles, interventions, and problem-solving strategies to address the needs of students with challenging behaviors. Dr. Kidder generously opened up the course to Tooele, Salt Lake, Canyons, and Provo school districts’ special education departments and another 30 participants were able to join at no cost.
Lexy Levy, a junior at Park City High who is active in our Transition Program, has landed her first job at the Park City School District Child Care Center.
The Transition Program, under the leadership of instructor Holly Huggins, provides a comprehensive program that assists students with special needs to transition into the workplace. The Transition curriculum is focused on job readiness, independent living skills, and functional academic high school classes.
The program is possible in part through a career and college readiness grant from the Park City Education Foundation.
This year, the Special Education Department has expanded its investment in inclusion for all students by creating a Tier 3 behavior team. Team members include our BCBA, SPED inclusion specialist, and four behavior technicians. Behavior techs are specialized ESPs who receive intensive training and supervision in behavior analysis. For our students with behavior intervention plans (BIPs) and the most significant behavior concerns, behavior techs work alongside the rest of the team, first to intervene directly with the student and help get the BIP up and running, and then to coach team members in how to implement the plan with fidelity.
Once the school-based team is comfortable running the BIP, and the student has started to show progress, the behavior tech will be faded out to go to another school and support another student with behavior needs.
Needless to say, our behavior techs have a unique role to play across our district in serving all PCSD students with significant behavior concerns. We believe this model has the best chance of both supporting this part of our student population & in building capacity across the district so that schools are increasingly able to include these students in a meaningful and sustainable way.
Park City School District is student-centered with a focus and emphasis on the whole child. Park City’s mission is to have all of our students are be safe, supported, engaged, challenged, and healthy. In an effort to support that district mission, the Special Education Department has adopted a research based social/emotional curriculum to support our students with disabilities who face challenges that are beyond those that a neurotypical peer may face.
TOOLBOX™ is a Kindergarten through 6th-grade program (being used in PreK-8) that supports children in understanding and managing their own emotional, social, and academic success. The foundation of TOOLBOX is 12 human capacities that reside within all of us.
Through its simple and profound metaphor of Tools, TOOLBOX brings forward a set of skills and practices that help students access their own inner resilience at any time, in any context. This year our elementary students will learn how to use their “toolbox” to navigate their social world and manage difficult emotions that they encounter. Ask your student what tools they used today.