LEWISBURG — Preble County Educational Service Center (ESC) will be moving its MD Elementary Classroom to Tri-County North next school year.
According to ESC Assistant Superintendent Shawn Hoff, an MD Classroom is a classroom designed for students with multiple disabilities. It is a consortium classroom where they service students from all five Preble County School Districts. Currently, it is located at the ESC Alternative School, but Hoff hopes moving it to one of the districts will benefit the students involved by being surrounded by “typically developing peers.”
“They can see behavior modeled, they can see hallway behavior modeled, they have the interaction with typical children – this is a great opportunity for us to get it back in a general education setting,” he said.
There is a High School MD Classroom currently located at Tri-County North, so the partnership was a natural one.
“[The high school class] has worked very well, but we only have one classroom. This gives us an opportunity as an ESC to provide another classroom, in which the two teachers can collaborate, lesson plan together, [and] plan activities together. Tri-County North [also] does an excellent job including our staff and students in everything that they do. They become a part of the Tri-County North culture,” he said.
Tri-County North William Derringer added, “We have the one unit and we thought it would be great to have the teachers collaborate and the kids go out and eat their lunch in the cafeteria with the other kids. They’re not always with the other kids, but a lot of time they’re in the gymnasium and the [other] classrooms. It has worked out very well, so when Mr. Hoff said they needed a place to house it, [I knew] we had an open classroom.”
Hoff added, there is an added benefit for Tri-County North students who now have the opportunity to learn disability awareness and understand individuals with disabilities more.
“It gives them the opportunity to see things from a difference lens and assist where they see fit or where they like,” Hoff said.
Students will report to Tri-County North for the MD Elementary Classroom effective 2020-2021 school year. The students will be bused on the same bus utilized for the High School MD Classroom, which is fully equipped for all needs.
“There is no change other than where the classroom is located,” Hoff said. “In working with our parents, over the course of the years, this is a great opportunity for our students to be around those typically developing peers in a general school environment, where they have exposure to a wider variety of activities, staff, and just the school environment in general. It will be a much better opportunity for them.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH