Personalized Learning Helps Students With Special Needs

Student tie-dying t-shirt
Shawnee Mission School District

As students walked in each day to attend Shawnee Mission’s Extended School Year, they were welcomed with greetings and smiles.

For one student, it was the time of day he practiced his long-term goal of responding to these kinds of greetings.

It took a few weeks, but finally one morning this summer he entered the room and without any hesitation, he enthusiastically said “hello.”  

“The smile on his face made that moment of student success even sweeter,” Cassie Seibold, special education teacher said.

About 100 Shawnee Mission School District students who met eligibility requirements participated in the Extended School year program to build toward moments like these. In this program, offered to qualifying students of all ages, Special Educators worked with students to help maintain skills and strengthen abilities to get ready for school in August.

Seibold and a large team of teachers and paras helped develop and implement the sessions. The sessions were comprised of a variety of hands-on, interactive activities to include all students and help them meet Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals.

The activities in individual classrooms varied.  However, all students had the opportunity to participate in a few extension activities including tie dyeing shirts and a cooking activity that required students to read a recipe, locate ingredients and utensils, and prepare a dessert that connected to a thematic summer unit. 

“Cassie and so many of our Special Education teachers always go above and beyond for her students, providing personalized learning and plenty of smiles,” Linda Phillips, coordinator for special education said.

Student and teachers tie-dying t-shirt