Hampton City Schools – HCS Connects – April 25, 2019

(upbeat music) – Hello, and welcome to HCS Connects. I’m Kellie Goral with
Hampton City Schools. Today we have a special guest with us, our Director of Special
Education, Miss Kimberly Judge. So welcome to HCS Connects. – Thank you, good morning. – [Kellie] Good morning, and
also thank you for being here, your very first time on HCS Connects as you’re coming up on
a one-year anniversary with the school division, correct? – Almost, July, yes. – So, tell us a little
bit about Miss Judge. Where, who, what’s a little
bit about your background and so forth. – So, just briefly, I’m
originally from Houston, Texas. And I’ve been an educator for 27 years. Most of those years, with
the exception of four have been in special education, so from teacher, from an
instructional assistant to teacher to an instructional supervisor. And then I transitioned to a principalship at an elementary school
in another division. And now I’m excited to be back in the role of the Special Education Director. – Well, and we’ve heard some
great things that are going on. So tell us really what is the Department
of Special Education? What’s the function of that
for the school division? – Well, it’s a very global function. Of course we have our teachers and our instructional assistants who are on the front line every day working to educate our
students in our schools here in Hampton City. And we also have, I have
a team of coordinators and specialists from behavior specialists to transition specialists to assistive technology specialists and a team of administrative professionals who really work behind the scenes to ensure that everything
is flowing for us. And then I have coordinators,
the instructional coordinators that support and are
assigned to various schools and support the schools and
the programs in the schools as far as students with disabilities go. – So when you talk about
supporting the students within our schools, like,
what type of support? How does that work? – So there’s instructional support, so helping to engage and empower teachers and to build capacity with
regard to their skillset as they work with the students every day. So there’s a lot of professional
development opportunities. Additionally, with special education there’s a huge compliance
piece because, of course, we’re governed by federal
and state regulations with regard to educating our
students with disabilities. So they work really on that
from that compliance perspective to ensure that schools are in compliance with the educational
services that are provided to our students with disabilities. Along with supporting
the instructional piece, which is huge because we
want to build capacity and help to maximize our students’ learning
opportunities every day. – Well now, I really want to
kind of talk a little bit deeper about the instructional piece. Because I know within
Hampton City Schools, as far as division, they’ve
rewritten about 183 curricula, you know, there’s a huge push
as far as the instruction. But there’s been a lot of collaboration that’s gone on between special education and our instructional
supervisors and leaders. So tell us a little bit about that. – Absolutely. So a few years ago, prior
to me coming on board, we started redeveloping
with the literacy team the literacy program. And so there is a tier two literacy model for students that are identified to have some reading deficits but are not identified as
a student with disability. And so we saw the need for that with our students with disabilities. So we’ve developed a program
at the elementary level and just recently expanded it this year to the secondary level, so middle school, with regard to decoding and comprehension for our students with disabilities. So we’ve worked with curricula writing and worked with our CIA team with regard to planning
professional development, having professional
development opportunities, and our communities of
learning with general education and special education teachers to help them understand
the explicit instruction that has to take place. So our teams meet collaboratively, so we meet, the special
education coordinators, I have a team of coordinators
that work directly with the literacy team of
individuals at the division level as well as a team that
works with the math team. And so we’ve done professional
development opportunities at the secondary level
for math instruction, and what good sound
instruction needs to look like, sound like, and feel like as
well as with the literacy team. And we also have worked collaboratively, I have a team of individuals to include my transition specialists that helps and has been working
on the curricula writing and gone through the curricula writing PD. – Well, and that’s really important. Because you have your general
ed teachers that, well, you know, they’ve got that background and those endorsements. But then you’ve got your
special education teachers or that support, and you know, they have different types of things that they go to school for to
be able to support students. So to really be able to
have that collaboration and work hand-in-hand to assist, you know, all of our learners. I mean, that’s just a beautiful thing. – It is, it’s very powerful. And it’s powerful for all of our students here in Hampton City Schools because good solid instruction
is good solid instruction. – It is. – And high-yield strategies are just that. And so they work for all kids because kids come to us with
varying learning styles. And so that collaboration piece and the inclusive practice that we are, have embarked on and are
working to meet the needs of kids with, based on, has been critical. – Well, and again, you
know, like you just said, all different learning styles, but it’s not just the learning styles of our students with special needs, it’s the learning styles
of all of our students. So that really does just
make instruction stronger for all students in Hampton City Schools. – [Kim] Absolutely. – Now our parents, I know that there’s a lot
of good resources out there for our parents as well. So tell us, I think we have
a Parent Resource Center and different things that are going on. – So we’re actually reinventing or repurposing our Parent Resource Center. We have the resources
accessible to parents and it’s currently at Hampton High School. Right now we’re working to make sure that we have things that
are up and current today for individuals. And we’re looking to find
someone that can be housed there to help support parents so they can help them
navigate through the resources and understand what those resources are. But we do also work very
collaboratively with our SEAC which is our Special
Education Advisory Council. And that is a group of
parents and grandparents and guardians of individuals
of students with disabilities here in Hampton City Schools. And so they work with us
and we do parent trainings and offer topics that, topics
of interest for parents. And it’s based on a
survey that was completed at the end of last school year. – And SEAC is very strong
within Hampton City Schools. A lot of support there. And I believe you all
just had a resource fair that you all partnered up together. So tell us about the resource fair. – So it was the joint, second
Joint Annual Resource Fair with the SEAC, so the Special
Education Advisory Council and our Special Education
Department collaboratively. And what we did was our
SEAC worked to identify and invite our business partners out. So from Community Services
Board to VersAbility to the Virgina Department of Education, so transitional services, Parks and Recreation, summer camps, and some other agencies just
that are really critical, Community Knights. Agencies that are really critical to getting the word out there about what supports and services are there for our students with disabilities while they are still school-age, and for many parents
now as they transition from school-age to adulthood. So what is accessible
for our students with, well that present with some disabilities. Additionally I sit on
the Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities
here in Hampton City Schools and so that partnership has been critical. And so they’ll also be a vendor, or they were also a vendor
at the Annual Resource Fair. – So obviously, this
is just like you said, the second annual fair. Once a year I’m suspecting. – [Kim] Yes. – But there are opportunities for parents to learn about resources at any time. During the school year, during
the summer, and so forth. Where would they go to
find out any information that they’re looking for? – So the quickest recommendation is because they have that
partnership with their schools is to first contact the schools and the school special education teachers and the leads that support those schools. And they also have coordinators that are assigned to every school. So between the schools
and the coordinators there are opportunities for
them to get any of the resources that they get information
about the resources. As they transition into secondary, so middle and high school we do have a dedicated
transition specialist who works and participates in meetings, and she also does parent
trainings once a quarter. And we really, we’ve gotten the word out and we’ve done phone blasts on those. And so next year we’re looking
to enhance the participation and make sure that parents
know about it well in advance and then can put a save the date out there because it’s really valuable information and it’s time well spent for
them to get the information because we’re a public school agency, so we’re here to serve the students. But once they transition out parents have to really be on the forefront and the go-getters. So we want to make sure
that we empower them to know what next steps need
to be for their students. – What if I’m not a current
Hampton City Schools student or parent, but I’m looking for information about the school division and I’ve got a child with special needs? What would you recommend at that point to find some information? It’d be easiest to go on the website and to look at the website, and my contact information is there as well as my department’s. Once they call I’m a very hands-on person and I’m very transparent, so I want to make sure
that parents are informed. So I get the information,
appropriate information from those parents. We do get those calls very regularly, or emails from overseas and
from other states especially because we have a huge
military installation and we service those parents and we are a critical needs area, so understanding that parents do call. So we are also connected
with Langley and Fort Eustis with the Exceptional Families Program. And so when they call, then
we make sure we provide them with the information and
try to make that transition as seamless as possible. – Excellent. So is there anything else that you think that we haven’t hit on as
far as what would be helpful for our parents and our students and the world of special education? – I just, I thank everyone
for the inclusive practice and I thank everyone for the collaboration because it’s really
been nice coming onboard and seeing all of the opportunities for not just our students
with disabilities, but just like our mission says, academic excellence for
every student, every day, whatever it takes. And so that partnership is critical and presuming positive intent in all the work that
we’re doing every day. So I thank my teachers. I thank the administrators
that support them. And I just look forward
to getting the job done. – Well, and even though
that’s a fantastic close, I’m not going to let you go
just yet because I did think, one thing popped in my
head as you said that. You know, even as you’ve
come on, our bus drivers. – [Kim] Absolutely. – We have even had training
for our bus drivers who is the first face that our
students see in the morning and the last face that
they see in the afternoon, as far as some training and so forth with special education to assist. – Absolutely, so in the
summer we did a huge training with transportation, so we collaborate even with
the transportation team, because, as you said, they
are the faces that they see. So it sets the tone for all
students that get on our buses. But it sets the tone for students that may have some special
needs and may need to know that don’t say anything, don’t
say good morning, just wave, because that person may not be open to you speaking right now. Or just knowing the students and establishing that relationship and ensuring that they
have a safe transition from home to school and
that they feel comfortable and then that they’re
received well at school. – And I wanted to bring that
up before we did close out because it is about
every child, every day, whatever it takes. But it’s all of us here at
Hampton City Schools taking on, you know, that mission to make sure. And it’s just even no different with our special needs students, or from our bus drivers
to different staff members within the building as far as that support so we can all be supportive of our kiddos. – Absolutely, it’s every stakeholder, every child, every day. – Yeah, well, thank you
so much for being here. – Thank you for having me. – And we look forward to
many more successful things coming out of the Department
of Special Education as we work to support our kids. – [Kim] As do I, thank you so much. – And thank you all for
joining us on HCS Connects. In the mean time, stay connected with us. Follow us on Facebook,
Twitter, and Instagram. Jump over to our webpage or
even our YouTube channel. Thanks, and have a great day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *