SAN ELIZARIO, TEXAS - Living through a pandemic is nothing anyone could have prepared for or anticipated. Early in the pandemic, expectations and demands changed and educators in the San Elizario Independent School District (SEISD) had to quickly shift gears to meet the needs of students. Amongst the first set of educators, stepping up to the plate were special personnel. Federal and state guidelines did not lessen as a result of the pandemic, so special education personnel had to adjust quickly to meet the needs of students with disabilities.
As the pandemic began, Amanda Sanchez, Director of Special Education for the (SEISD) was selected to serve on the Texas Education Agency (TEA) Special Education Task Force. Sanchez, states “Participating on this task force was both an interesting and positive experience as we were trying to develop supports for special education programs across the state to ensure that students with special needs didn’t fall through the cracks during the pandemic. My participation also allowed me to have quicker access to information and participate in brainstorming sessions that helped me to provide more immediate responses and services to the San Elizario community. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of this committee.”
In March, virtual sessions began promptly to continue with intervention services. Virtual instruction for children with various disabilities such as Autism or Intellectual Disabilities is challenging, but our San Elizario teachers and parents made it work!
Now, schools in SEISD is in the next phase of instruction. Specialized units have been providing face to face instruction since the beginning of September by placing students in smaller groups to reduce the risk of exposure to both students and staff. Special education teachers continue to offer virtual services while simultaneously working face to face with those students whose parents have chosen for them to return to in-person instruction.
Borrego Special Education Teacher, Krystal Mijares, shared her COVID-19 instructional experiences by stating, “Students have been benefited from small group instruction allowing for increased student safety and by giving the teacher the ability to truly focus on each individual student.”
Nanette Raulston, a Special Education Teacher at Sambrano Elementary School also shared her COVID 19 teaching experience, “The biggest reward is creating important bonds with my students though it has been a challenge to find allowable activities with the social distancing requirements, but we are doing everything to keep our students safe.”
Special education continues to offer all services required in each student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). If you have questions about your child’s services, please reach out to the Special Education Department at (915) 872-3926.
Loya Primary Special Education Teacher, Irene Salom, sums it best by sharing that “The home school connection is stronger than it’s ever been. Meeting the needs of students isn’t possible right now with only 100% virtual or 100% face to face. We get the best of both worlds!”