Job Title: Special Education Director
Type of Company: I work for an elementary school district in southeastern Massachusetts.
Education: BA, Elementary Education and Math/Psychology, Simmons College (Boston, MA) M.Ed., Counseling, University of Hartford
Previous Experience: I started out as a guidance counselor and elementary school teacher.
Job Tasks: My job entails supervising and organizing the special education department at an elementary school, which is made up of therapists and special education teachers. I am responsible for making sure the educational plans are being followed and that students are getting the appropriate support that they need to be successful. I am also responsible for finding other placement options if students need more support than is available in a public school. This might involve going to observe private placements, including special needs schools, and determining the best placement for student.
In addition, I am responsible for entering pre-school and kindergarten students. They each have to be screened to determine if there are ways that they will need support upon entering the public schools. I spend much of the day in coordinating services of students by talking to their parents, their regular education classroom teachers, and their special education teachers. Sometimes I do observations as well. I am responsible for making sure that every student's educational plan is up-to-date and has been reviewed in a timely manner. This means that I have a list and check to make sure that each plan is reviewed in the month that it is due and that parents are invited to participate in the yearly team meeting.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The nice part about the job is that every day is different with different challenges! It is rewarding to see students learn and grow with accommodations specially designed for them. The worst part is dealing with parent who are very demanding; and there is also a lot of paperwork that has to be filed.
Job Tips: The best advice is to be organized! Always give people time before responding, and tell them you'll get back to them instead of giving an incomplete answer.
Additional Thoughts: The most important qualities are to be patient and pleasant. Try to understand where the family is coming from and how you would want to be treated if the student you're dealing with were your child.
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