There are four special programs at Thomas J Rusk Middle School. These programs are Inclusion, Functional Living Skills (FLS), Speech, and Dyslexia. All of these programs provide our students with an opportunity to function in the least restrictive environment which means that they are integrated in the general education classes at a rate determined by the Admission Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee. All special education students are expected to participate in school functions which include but not limited to PTA presentations, field trips, and other extra-curriculum activities.
Each special education child is provided a case manager who will monitor the implementation of the IEPs and BIPs. All teachers including our specials teachers are required to have a copy of the plans and to follow the modifications and accommodations for these students.
An accommodation may require special education students to function at the same grade level as their peers, however they may require teachers to read the math problems or allow students to utilize highlighters in the classroom. A modification may require special educations to work on student expectations that are at a different grade level than their peers.
All special education documents are kept in a secure location. Only “need to know” staff are allowed to view these records. Non-District personnel are not allowed access to our special education students during the instructional day. This includes outside personnel from youth-serving agencies, hospitals, and behavioral health centers who seek to provide occupational therapy; counseling; speech, social, physical, and/or mental health services.
Inclusion – Our inclusion model at Thomas J. Rusk allows students to spend their day in the general education classroom with the assistance of a special education teacher in the classroom. We have four inclusion teachers who work with small groups in the general education classroom that may include non special education students.
Functional Living Skills– The Functional Life Skills program is a cross-categorical, 6th - 8th self-contained program designed for students who function significantly (moderate to profound range) below their peers in intellectual ability and adaptive behaviors. The purpose of the program is to provide appropriate support to enable the students to function as independently as possible throughout their school years and transition to adult life. Ms. Martin and Mr. Flores work very closely with the students to ensure they work to meet their IEP goals and collaborate with the teachers across grade level to provide inclusion opportunities as much as possible when the students are able to do so.
Speech – Our speech classes provide students with assistance in areas such as articulation. We do not have a full time speech teacher on our campus which means that the teachers make sure students receive these services during the days designated by the speech therapist. Furthermore, it is crucial for parents to make sure students are present at the school in order for the students to receive those services that will provide additional tools for him or her to be successful. Our speech therapist will collaborate with the teachers to provide suggested activities to follow in the general education classroom.
Dyslexia – Students meeting the requirements for this service receive 83 minutes of reading instruction every other day by the dyslexia provider. Students receive instruction by Ms. Diana McGee.