Spring, Klein ISDs provide virtual services, additional support to students receiving special education

Margaret Sherwood, Spring ISD's executive director of special education, said communication between families, teachers and other staff during at-home learning is critical to support students and families receiving special education services. (Courtesy Pexels)
Margaret Sherwood, Spring ISD's executive director of special education, said communication between families, teachers and other staff during at-home learning is critical to support students and families receiving special education services. (Courtesy Pexels)

Margaret Sherwood, Spring ISD's executive director of special education, said communication between families, teachers and other staff during at-home learning is critical to support students and families receiving special education services. (Courtesy Pexels)

With schools across the state closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year, Spring and Klein ISDs are taking extra steps to provide essential services and support to students receiving specialized education as at-home learning becomes the new norm.

With 10% of Spring ISD’s student population eligible for special education services, Executive Director of Special Education Margaret Sherwood said communication between families, teachers and other staff during at-home learning is critical to avoid overwhelming families and ensure students’ essential needs are met. Sherwood said her department is working to provide project-based learning modules for teachers to implement virtually or through printed lesson packets, which began April 13.


We're trying to make sure that we're giving our parents the best information we have and as many resources as possible so that if they need something more than the school can give, ... we've pointed them in the right direction to get those needs met,” Sherwood said.

According to Sherwood, the district is now taking steps to incorporate additional service providers outside of the district who may have normally supported students prior to school closures.

“If my student received speech therapy and occupational therapy, we want [teachers] to reach out to those service providers to sort of sketch out the essential things that the student needs,” she said. “And then, as a team, [they will] contact the parent to get the parents input into remote learning either by Chromebook or through a paper packet.”



At Klein ISD, Executive Director of Special Programs Kirsten Allman said in addition to weekly lessons for students available through KISD’s at-home learning website, the special programs department has also developed its own online resource site with information and webinars to support students and families receiving specialized services at this time. The website also offers a feature that allows users to submit questions about at-home learning and receive responses within 24 hours.

“Within lessons there are embedded supports to include accommodations and resource links needed for students who receive special education services,” Allman said in an email. “Each special education teacher has been asked to set up a system of communication that works best for their student’s family to monitor student progress and offer assistance as needed.”

According to Allman, other services such as counseling or occupational and speech therapy can be provided to students through teletherapy or via virtual meetings with the district’s campus special education support staff.

Despite additional resources and communication, Sherwood said learning from home in the current environment has raised challenges for some SISD families. In some cases, Sherwood said parents working as essential employees might have limited availability to facilitate at-home learning.

“Spring being where Spring is, we have an awful lot of health care providers and the families of health care providers in our district,” Sherwood said. “A lot of times, we're reaching out to grandma or the older sibling to help implement the materials, but so far, those that we can reach have been pretty enthusiastic and delighted to have the support.”

Similarly, Allman said KISD teachers are taking extra care to schedule virtual meetings with students and their families to address questions and provide communicative support.

“Teachers are maintaining communication through virtual classroom lessons, emails and phone calls,” she said. “Teachers have established virtual conference times so parents or students can reach out to ask for assistance or clarification regarding assignments.”

According to Sherwood, the novel coronavirus pandemic differs from past crisis situations such as Hurricane Harvey, when schools closed for a little over a week in 2017. Instead, Sherwood said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is likely to have deeper, more long-term effects on students that the district will have to support over time.

“We're going to have a lot more kiddos who are dealing with death in their family and a lot of our kids that are in a very extended period of absence from their routine, their normal way of life; lots of parents out of work, that's a different kind of trauma,” Sherwood said. “So I think that creativity and sensitivity that the district has demonstrated in the past, we're going to have to come up with that.”

By


MOST RECENT

More than 150,000 vaccines have been administered in the Spring and Klein areas. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Spring, Klein vaccine rollout: 2 ZIP codes have vaccinated 50% of their population

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, 159,066 doses have been administered, and 57,456 residents have been fully vaccinated.

"Breaking Strongholds" is a faith-based, eight-episode series that explores topics such as suicide and depression. (Courtesy Terry Weaver)
Series shot in Montgomery County aiming for Hulu, Netflix deal and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

The Spring ISD board of trustees will consider extending the 2021-22 school year calendar and school day for six select campuses, at its April 13 regular board meeting. (Screenshot via Zoom)
Spring ISD to consider extending 2021-22 instructional calendar, school day for select campuses at April 13 board meeting

Affected campuses include Clark Primary, Clark Intermediate, Bammel Elementary, Bammel Middle, Eickenroht Elementary and Major Elementary schools.

Active COVID-19 cases continue to level out in Spring and Klein ISDs. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Spring, Klein ISDs continue to see steady COVID-19 cases

Both districts have seen a relatively steady plateau effect since returning from spring break.

The temporary waiver covering initial vehicle registration, vehicle registration renewal, vehicle titling, renewal of permanent disabled parking placards and 30-day temporary permits will end April 14. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)
DMV officials say no grace period following waiver of car title, registration; new housing set for Magnolia, Cypress

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Houston area.

While there are not many Spring- and Klein-area races in the upcoming May 1 election, there are a few local utility districts that will have items on the ballot for voters to consider. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Spring-Klein-area park bonds, municipal utility district directors on May 1 ballot

While there are not many Spring- and Klein-area races in the upcoming May 1 election, there are a few local utility districts that will have items on the ballot for voters to consider.

Construction is underway on the office condo project. (Rendering courtesy Read King Commercial Real Estate)
Office condo project coming soon to Vintage Marketplace

The new offices are within walking distance of restaurants such as Ambriza Social Mexican Kitchen and Bellagreen.

From left: Klein ISD Superintendent Jenny McGown and Tomball ISD Superintendent Martha Salazar-Zamora gave presentations and answered several questions at a North Houston Association breakfast on April 8. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Klein, Tomball ISD superintendents talk work programs, goals for 2021

The superintendents of Klein and Tomball ISDs met to discuss work programs, COVID-19 adaptations and hopes for the 2021 legislative session at an April 8 North Houston Association event.

The store is known for its color-coordinated in-store setup of clothes, shoes, jewelry and other accessories. (Courtesy Charming Charlie)
Charming Charlie returns to Houston with new Willowbrook Mall storefront

The store is known for its color-coordinated in-store setup of clothes, shoes, jewelry and other accessories.

The dental practice is lead by Dr. Kranh Tran and offers a variety of services ranging from teeth cleanings and whitening to dental emergencies, Invisalign and extractions. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Smilecrafters Dental relocates from Champion Forest Drive to Louetta Road in Spring

The dental practice is lead by Dr. Kranh Tran and offers a variety of services ranging from teeth cleanings and whitening to dental emergencies, Invisalign and extractions.

After serving up chicken in College Station for nearly three decades, Layne’s Chicken Fingers is opening its first location in the Houston area in Katy. (Courtesy Layne's Chicken Fingers)
Layne's Chicken Fingers coming to Katy; Gyro King opens in Sugar Land and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.