It seems that it's not just families like ours that are noticing how amazing Hansen Elementary School is. Just this winter, Hansen was honored as a Blue Ribbon School for academic excellence by the U.S. Department of Education. On top of that the Iowa Department of Education just did a story on Hansen Elementary and how they lead the state in education delivery for students on individualized education plans (IEP's). I can attest to the fact that the special education department is wonderful and does amazing things.
To further demonstrate their "thinking outside of the box" approach and focus on inclusion, I have to share what Beau's 3rd grade classroom refers to as "Beau Time". Because of Beau's intellectual disability he spends a majority of his day in his self contained special education room with Mrs. Reed. Beau attends all of the specials with his classmates in Mrs. Foss' 3rd grade classroom; music, art, PE, recess, etc. and also gets to share some time with his classmates first thing in the morning right before going to specials.
This is where once again, Hansen's team, including his wonderful 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Foss, stepped up and came up with an idea to make Beau's time in her room be more meaningful. As Mrs. Foss explained, this morning time was a work time for students, however she wanted it to mean something for Beau. Mrs. Foss met with Beau's speech pathologist to see how or what they could do to use Beau's peers to help him work on his communication goals. Because Beau is mostly non-verbal they wanted to find a way to use his Nova Chat 7 communication device to interact more with his peers.
The result of the meeting with Mrs. Foss and Beau's speech pathologist.....
Here is an excerpt from an email from Mrs. Foss: Beau Time is approximately a 15 minute block of time each morning where Beau and his para (Ms. Erin) work with a small group of kids in Beau's class to help Beau learn to use his communication device more independently as well as model some of the learning that Mrs. Reed is working on with Beau. The students are given a specific day (Monday - Friday) to work with Beau. They do not like when their day of the week is a day off school! Beau works on asking and answering questions, colors and numbers with his peers during this time. The students have been playing a few different games with Beau to help accomplish these goals. We also try to do a morning meeting game at least once a week where Beau needs to use his device to identify the number on the dice that he rolls. He has been sitting with his peers during this time and they are assisting him with his device rather than Ms. Erin.