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Posts Tagged "Intervention Specialists"

Mod Squad: Intervention Specialists Inspire Patriot Learners to Overcome Learning Challenges

April 01, 2024
By Archbishop Carroll High School

After four years of rigorous academic work, an Archbishop Carroll High School Diploma represents mastery at the end of a student’s high school career. For some students, earning that diploma comes with additional challenges beyond the coursework itself. This is where the intervention specialists assist students with diverse learning needs to make walking across the stage at graduation an achievable goal.

The four intervention specialists, lovingly referred to as the “MOD Squad” for the group’s location in a modular building, each handle a caseload of 12-16 students who need assistance in various ways. Each of these students has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), which is a legal document that affords students the opportunity to receive specially designed instruction. This is developed through collaboration with the students’ parents/guardians, classroom teachers, related services, and the home school district. This document ensures the students receive the academic, emotional, and/or behavioral support they need to succeed.

With the help of scholarships such as the Jon Peterson Scholarship, intervention specialist Stephanie (Pugar) Sagasser ‘08 has seen programming and funding greatly increase in the private school system and at Carroll. “I grew up in Catholic schools, and intervention programs have grown so much since that time,” she said. “It’s great to see students who learn differently have an opportunity to have their needs met within a Catholic school setting.”

Sagasser knew she always wanted to be a teacher, but it wasn’t until her first placement as a University of Dayton student teacher that she realized that working with students with special needs was where she was called to serve. “I fell in love with it,” she recalled. Since that first placement, she has had an opportunity to work with students of varying ability in K-12 classroom settings. From students who need full individualized instruction to those who have met their goals and need minimal support, Sagasser has worked with a wide variety of students, each with different, individual needs. Along with Ben Swick, Allison Ford, and Emily Fogus, Carroll’s other intervention specialists, Sagasser tackles busy days filled with different challenges and circumstances.

Intervention Specialist Stephanie (Pugar) Sagasser '08

They work with small groups of students in the modular unit that provides a safe space to care for students and further assist them with their studies. The team not only checks in with students on their caseload, but they collaborate with the general education teachers in the building and work with them in many different ways. The IEP and 504 paperwork is created, reviewed, and documented by the four intervention specialists. Some students are in a general education classroom that is co-taught by a general education teacher and an intervention specialist in order to provide daily assistance in a mainstream classroom. Days are so busy that lunchtime is often used for department check-ins and teacher collaboration.

Like general education teachers, the intervention specialists prepare their students for life after high school. The intervention team works not only to reinforce the students’ curriculum and classroom lessons, but they also teach the students to advocate for themselves.

“When students leave high school, they need to be able to advocate for what they need since an IEP does not follow them after they graduate,” explains Sagasser. In addition to self advocacy, the intervention specialists focus on teaching their students independent living skills including organization, time management, and personal finance, just to name a few. While some students will remain on an IEP for their entire high school career, many no longer need specially designed instruction before graduation, moments that the MOD Squad celebrates with the student and the team. At that final meeting, the student and team look back on the progress from the student’s academic career and celebrate how far that student has come to get to this point. Sagasser shared how “intensely gratifying” that meeting is for all involved.  “To be able to sit in a meeting and only focus on the positive is refreshing and rewarding.”

The biggest reward for Sagasser has been to watch those students she has worked with for their entire high school career shake hands with Principal Matt Sableski ‘91 at graduation and receive their Archbishop Carroll High School diploma.

“Some students have had a challenging road,” she recalls, “It’s academically difficult, and they made it.”

Now, with a Carroll diploma in hand, students who once had to overcome various challenges are now making a difference and finding success. Sagasser keeps in touch with former students who fill her in on all of their achievements as adults in the career world, and that is a motivation for Sagasser and the MOD Squad. “(They’re) out in the world doing so well, and it’s so good to see that.”

Posted in Voices of Learning
1 comment

Patching Some Tires and Paving the Way in Special Education: Meet Marina Sorrell '17

May 19, 2021
By Carroll High School
Carroll High School alumnus Marina Sorrell graduated from the University Dayton as a licensed intervention specialist

On May 9, Marina Sorrell ‘17 received her diploma from the School of Education and Health Sciences at the University of Dayton, where she majored in Intervention Specialty, or the education of neurodiverse students. Leading up to this significant moment, she has had many opportunities to both reflect upon her time as a student at Carroll and to plan on how she will utilize the tools her teachers gave her to now teach in her own classroom as a licensed Pre-K through 12th grade Intervention Specialist. 

Marina graduated Cum Laude, and The UD Department of Education and the Dean’s office selected her as the recipient of the Raymond and Beulah Horn Award of Excellence out of all the Intervention Specialists in her cohort for excellence in her subject area. In addition to this highly prestigious award, she also received other awards in excellence in Intervention Specialty from the university.

Marina has had many influential experiences leading up to her choice to become an Intervention Specialist; however, growing up as a sibling of a neurodiverse learner could be considered one of the most significant experiences that has prepared Marina for her future career. Her younger brother, Woody, was diagnosed with Autism when he was two years old. Marina, who was seven at the time, had not heard of the term, let alone had any idea what that meant for Woody and his future learning experiences. However, she remembers when his diagnosis finally made sense to her. In a conversation with her parents, a very young Marina compared Woody’s brain to a popped bicycle tire. “It’s not like the bike doesn’t work,” Marina said, “but it’s harder to pedal, so we have to help him inflate his tire. That’s the analogy I always think of (now) when I’m teaching.”

Marina Sorrell '17 after graduating from the University of Dayton, with her brother Woody and father Chris '83.

Marina grew up watching Woody’s team of family, therapists, adults, and educators work together to fill his tires, and she was by his side to celebrate the tiny yet monumental breakthroughs he achieved on his journey to success. Watching her brother's progress and development made a significant impact on Marina, and it inspired her desire to help children on similar learning paths. 

From early on in her life, Sorrell knew that she wanted to go into the education field in some way as well. Even her 4th and 5th grade teachers at Mother Brunner School would discuss it with Marina’s parents and encourage that path for their daughter. “Every grade level I got to, I thought, ‘I could teach this grade! This would be fun!’” recalled Sorrell. It would take many years later, upon a hike with her mother, where she would realize that Intervention Specialty could be a good fit for her. An Intervention Specialist’s license would allow her to work with students pedaling their bicycles in ways similar to Woody. An additional endorsement would also allow Marina the freedom and flexibility to work with a diverse group of students in all grade levels and various subjects.

“Carroll is more than just this school on Linden Avenue. The Carroll support got me through college and got me there.”

-Marina Sorrell '17

Marina credits Carroll as being the place where she solidified her desire to become a teacher during the most formative years of her life. “I owe a lot to Carroll. I liked the subjects I was in, and I liked how my teachers went about teaching,” said Marina, “They were really great models for what it’s really like to enjoy your teaching job.” She remembers her English teachers in particular having so much fun, and those memories inspired her to make learning fun for her future students.

Carroll Social Studies Mr. Chris Sorrell ‘83, Marina’s father, mentioned to her that when she took Mrs. Jill Kilby’s AP Psychology class, it was the first time that he saw his daughter becoming a student- one who wanted to dive deeper into the material, even beyond what was being covered in class. Marina credits Mrs. Kilby, as well as her teachers at Carroll, for igniting that desire to be a lifelong learner and to become a teacher herself.  “All of the teachers at Carroll are great examples of great teachers.” Marina learned from teachers, like Mrs. Marcy (Hemmert) Hughes ‘83 and Mrs. Mary Ollier, who showed Marina what it means to teach the whole student rather than just presenting the classroom content.

When it came time to apply for college, the application process for Marina looked like it does for most high school seniors, daunting. Thankfully, Marina felt comfortable being vulnerable and reaching out to her beloved teachers for help when the time came to apply. They came to her aid, reading over application essays and helping her prepare materials for submission. During the application process, her teachers at Carroll linked Sorrell to professors at the University of Dayton who are connected to the Carroll family in various ways that could help her discern both her major and her overall decision to attend the University of Dayton. “(Carroll is) more than just this school on Linden Avenue. The Carroll support got me through college and got me there,” Marina recalled.

Upon entering UD her freshman year, Marina felt more than prepared for the rigorous coursework that comes at the university level. Having taken scholarship courses during her time at Carroll, including College Credit Plus coursework as an upperclassman, Sorrell not only had experience in college-level demands, but she also had acquired college credits prior to her arrival on UD’s campus. One of the more challenging courses for freshman education majors, Physics, ended up being less of an obstacle than expected, as she had taken two years worth of physics at Carroll. Marina even ended up being the go-to classmate on her residence hall floor to proofread papers for the UD course, as Marina knew the formatting so well from her Carroll days. After taking the course at UD, Marina returned to Carroll, sought out Physics teacher, Mrs. Laurie Fuhr, and told her that she would not have passed without her. 

At the University of Dayton, Marina did more than simply pass her coursework. She earned one of the top scores among her classmates on her edTPA, a performance-based Ohio licensure test. The university has also frequently asked her to speak to incoming and current undergraduate students who are entering the education field about her experiences in the School of Education.

Now, Marina is ready to help other neurodiverse students inflate their own bicycle tires and find success on their own learning journeys. She is currently applying for teaching positions in the greater Dayton and Cincinnati areas, and she is so excited to be in a classroom of her own. “I can’t wait to meet my future students, and I can’t wait to learn about them and grow with them,” she gushed, “I don’t know where I’ll be teaching, but I’m so excited to be there, wherever it is.” 

Posted in Familiar Voices
1 comment

Meet the Intervention Specialists

September 24, 2019
By Carroll Intervention Specialists

Welcome to the Intervention Department!  Here is a brief introduction to ourselves and what kind of services we proudly offer students at Carroll High School.

Allison Cleaver recently moved back to the Dayton area to be closer to her family, after teaching in Cincinnati for 3 years. She is currently the freshmen class moderator and a proud member of the Trinity House. She continues to be proud of her students every day and is grateful to be a part of the Carroll community

Ben Swick is in his second year teaching at Carroll. He’s a recent grad of the University of Dayton and an assistant coach for the women’s soccer program here at Carroll. His favorite part about working in the mod is the air conditioning. His second favorite part is working with students who have such a diverse range of needs. 

Stephanie (Pugar) Sagasser '08 is in her first year coming back home to Carroll after working as an Intervention Specialist at Bishop Leibold School for 7 years. Her favorite part about working as an intervention specialist at Carroll is getting to know her amazingly talented students and celebrating their daily successes.

Elizabeth (Liz) Terry is in her 14th year at Carroll. She is a proud member of Mercy House, the Youth in Government club advisor, and certified in Social Studies.  Liz is also a Resident Educator, helping to train new teachers. She loves to see the “lightbulb” come on, especially for those sometimes referred to as “underdogs.”

The intervention team’s overall mission is to provide all students with varying strengths and abilities the opportunity to thrive and reach their fullest potential as a member of the Carroll community. 

What exactly does an Intervention Specialist do?

We get asked this a lot, and are always happy to explain and answer any questions!  In short, we work together as an intervention team to meet the diverse needs of students with special educational needs. This includes planning, designing, and implementing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) that are tailored toward creating goals that incorporate each student’s unique strengths, challenges, interests, and needs in order to help them achieve his or her greatest potential. 

Why choose Carroll for a student with special needs?

Over the years, Carroll’s Intervention Department has expanded and grown, constantly seeking ways to better support our students in all aspects of their lives. We work tirelessly to provide support for our students, including individualized, small group instruction in specific subjects, support and modeling in how to prepare for tests and assessments, and co-teaching in all four core subject areas. Our end goal is to provide the student with the tools needed to graduate and successfully attend college or the training of their choice. Additionally, Carroll High School is a Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship provider, which allows for students with special needs to receive scholarship funds for their education and specially designed instruction and related services.

Posted in Voices of Learning

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