First Hope Rachel Schrimsherrlschrimsher@knights.ucf.edu April 27, 2011 EEX2010
• First Hope school provides a unique Christian education to individuals with disabilities.• The school has a 1:2 ratio of support, with a max class size of 10• Placement is in regular education classrooms supported by inclusion aides two times weekly• The vision of the school is to create an enviorment of learning and development for special needs children in a Christ-centered program.• The school is finishing their second year of being open• Designed for students from K-12 who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, PDD, Aspergers, Down Syndrome, Language delays, Fragile-X Syndrome, SPD, Developmental delays, severe learning disability and other developmental disabilities.
Engagement Activities• The community lacks programs with Christian values for students with disabilities. The public school forum does not allow for Religious teaching and is the only current option for special needs programs, until the beginning of this school.• I spent my time at First Hope working exclusively with the middle/high school students. I was in attendance the week of April 18th while the full time teacher was on vacation. I worked one on one with each student on completing their assignments.
Here are some of the wonderful students I had the privilege of working with: This is Matthew. He is an incredible artist! He loves to draw comics complete with conversation. He is in middle school and is currently working on improving his reading skills.This is Emmelee, she is a ninth grade student. She reads on grade level however has math skills on a 3rd grade level.
Perceptions of Differences• So, I went into this experience very excited to work with the age of students I had decided I want to work with once I graduate. After the first day I had a change of heart. After several days, I have decided that it is not for me. I loved working with the students but do not see myself in that situation on a daily basis with that age group. I have decided to change my focus from secondary ESE to elementary ESE. I gained so much insight into the real world classroom by this experience and do not view it as a negative experience at all.
Connections to Your Course• The course I was assigned this project is EEX2010• What three course topics do you better understand now? • Essential communication between teacher and parents Each day the teacher records personal notes regarding the students work as well as their behavior. The parents are also able to respond accordingly also in the same notebook. • Emotional components of Autistic Spectrum Disorder students On course powerpoint regarding ASD’s the needs of these students were put into bulleted points. I was able to witness the importance of routine, talk a lot, formal speaking for their ages, avoid eye contact among other characteristics. • Behavior Management of ASD Students In my time in the classroom I watched the use and subsequent impact of Positive Behavior supports. The students were encouraged to make good choices and praised on a consistant basis. By using this method the students were left feeling encouraged and learning valued lessons by having the opportunity to make choices.
Civic Engagement• What is your perspective on civic engagement and/or volunteerism now? I enjoy working in the community on these types of assignments for a variety of reasons. The most important for me is to gain experience that I can later apply in my classroom.• What purposes do you think it serves in society and for all citizens, including those with disabilities? I believe this shows individuals with disabilites that they are cared for by more than their family and friends. It is also important for these individuals to see the impact they also have on the students life and career.• What thoughts do you have about service-learning as a method of learning? I have a differing opinion on service learning, I am an adult student with three children in school full time. I have enjoued some of my service learning assignemtns and have felt that some of them are pointless. This partivular assignment was• Did this experience motivate you to be more engaged in the future? This experience did not motivate me one way or the other.• Would you encourage teachers and students to embrace service-learning in the future? Why/why not? I would encourage students and teachers to have a positive attitude in regards to service learning nmo matter what. Anything I do, whether or not I like it, I ty to maintain a positive attiditude about the experience and look for the silver lining.
Final Thoughts• Future steps? After completion of this service learning expereince, I have decided to focus my attention away from middle school ESE students. I did not feel comfortable in the classroom and do not think it is where I am supposed to be.
First Hope A program at The Classical School of The First Academy “A Christian alternative to special needs education”F irst Hope, a program for special needs children is a unique approach to teach children with disabilities about Jesus and givethem a 1:2 ratio of support to achieve all they were meant to achieve.Our vision is to create an environment of learning and developmentfor special needs children in a Christ-centered program. The program is structured around both Applied Behavior Analysis(ABA) goals and educational inclusion opportunities. With a 1:2teacher to student ratio, the objective is to fully integrate each studentinto regular classes as each child is uniquely able. This program is available to children grades K-12 who arediagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, PDD, Asperger’sSyndrome, Down Syndrome, Language Delays, Fragile-X Syndrome,Sensory Processing Disorder, Developmental Delay, Severe LearningDisability and other developmental disabilities.OUR UNIQUE PROGRAM INCLUDES:• We address behavioral, social, motor deﬁcits, sensory needs and educational goals uniquely created for each individual child.• Small classrooms with a maximum of 10 students in the First Hope class rooms, inclusion classrooms average 12 students.• Children in regular education classrooms will be supported by an inclusion aide from the First Hope classroom.• Classes for First Hope are Monday to Friday with early release on Wednesdays.• Specially adapted Bible Curriculum is used weekly and teaches basic Biblical concepts taught for special needs children.• Parent/Teacher conferences held each quarter. “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and Visit our website: www.theﬁrstacademy.org not for harm, to give you a For more information about this program regarding donations future with hope.” or teaching positions contact Patty Myers, Program Director at - Jeremiah 29:11 (NRSV) ﬁrsthope@theﬁrstacademy.org or (407)-206-8801.