GOAL Digital Academy Makes Advances in Special Education – crawfordcountynow.com | Team Cansler

Through Nov 16, 2022 10:54 am

MANSFIELD—Digital Academy accepts students with a variety of learning styles, including those in special education. The Special Education department has grown to a total of 16 staff over the past year who serve students. Students enrolled in the Special Education Department make up 27% of the total GOAL student population. With this growth, GOAL has implemented several procedures and routines to improve intervention services.

Nan Stanish, Director of Special Education at GOAL Digital Academy, has been in education for 33 years. She said students have increased their participation in intervention services with the addition of Academic Assist Classes developed by GOAL Intervention Specialist Hope Losh. “This class is assigned to each student who has an IEP and helps meet their specific goals,” explained Losh. “We require students to meet with us weekly, which gives us more personal time with them and strengthens our relationships with our students. When I started at GOAL 5 years ago I saw and interacted with maybe 25% of my case count. Now 90% of my cases meet with me every week. I think the students are feeling more supported and have heard from both students and parents that they enjoy our weekly meetings because they don’t feel like they received that support in their previous schools.”

The Multi-Level Support System (MTSS) process has improved over the last year. Through this process, students gained additional support including tutoring, organization and coping skills. GOAL students who receive the support have seen positive results. The number of students coming to the learning lab for support has increased, and this allows students to form meaningful relationships with their intervention specialists while working in the lab. Stanish said, “The data shows that students who come into the lab do better academically.” The GOAL team working through this process is diverse, which gives many staff outside of the special education department an opportunity to engage with the MTSS familiarize the process.

The intervention team, consisting of sixteen employees, covers many tasks. For example, Losh, creator of the Academic Assist Class, teaches English to grades 9-12 and also Comprehensive English 1, 2, 3 and 4 and Comprehensive Financial Literacy in Delaware. Steph Bowers, an intervention specialist at Marion, teaches math to 4th through 8th graders. Chelsea Lee, the transition coordinator, was recently added to the intervention team that helps students plan for the future after high school. Another addition, Joe Sumner, is offering tutoring support after the learning labs close. The remaining team members are providing interventions and related services across the district at their respective lab locations and online via Zoom. The GOAL Digital Academy Special Education Team consists of: Nan Stanish, Hope Losh, Stephanie Bowers, Joe Sumner, Chelsea Lee, Nicholas Levine, Carla Pashelich, Cindy Cunningham, Nancy Hale, Benjamin Schaad, Wes Stauffer, Patrick Wood, Lisa Kraemer, Meredith Snow, Kristina Magoon and Kynna Byrne (Student Intern).

With the increase in students coming into the labs, all intervention specialists and associated service providers have been busier than ever. “This is where GOAL’s blended education model shines,” said Stanish. “Our intervention specialists, behavioral therapists, speech, physical and occupational therapists offer services online. Having these options means students can be met where they are with a schedule that is convenient for them.” The intervention team documents the time spent working with individual students through the software application air table

Even with busy schedules, intervention team training and professional development continues. Many intervention specialists are either currently taking college courses or have taken college courses in the past year. State Support Team 7 provides comprehensive training in IEP writing, as well as training in reading and math, specially designed instruction and transitional development. Stanish said all of this has increased the team’s knowledge. “Working together and continuing our professional development has opened the door to new ideas and creativity in our learning environment. The support we have received has helped improve our knowledge of our online platform and how we can better serve our students.”

Serving 12 counties in Central Ohio with its 7 Learning Labs, GOAL Digital Academy recognizes students’ diverse learning styles, interests and talents by going beyond academics and providing students with ample opportunities to meet new people and pursue their passions . GOAL provides regular educational and networking opportunities for families and continually works to remove family or community barriers that impact student success.

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