Teaching students with special needs during the coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 11:27 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 02:34:11-04

DELANO, Calif. — With more than 700,000 special education students in the state of California, the Delano Union School District is ensuring their special needs students don't fall behind even online.

"It's definitely been challenging for our students and our parents. It's really forced, all of us to really think outside the box and really try to reach students in a way that we didn't, I think we would ever have to," Jessica Villalobos, a moderate to severe special education teacher at Pioneer School in Delano said.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, students in the Delano Union School District were given either an iPad or a Chrome Book to complete their education at home.

"The lesson plan includes the curriculum that they're able to access to the iPad at home. And the curriculum covers everything from mathematics to English language arts, writing, reading, science"

Wendy Terrazas, the director of special education for the school district said it is important for all students to have equal access to technology.

"Special ed kids need to be educated just like every other student in the world," Terrazas said. "They have the same rights and responsibilities as a district to be able to make sure that these kids receive the adequate education that they need. I think it's really important that they be given this opportunity and that they have the same technology, the same instruction."

Villalobos is conducting weekly check-ins with her students and their parents. However, some of her past lessons learned at the Unique Blend Cafe, the student ran school cafe, are now making a difference with helping out their mom and dad at home.

"We've been really fortunate that those things that we worked on in the classroom, they're able to do at home. So even washing dishes, sorting clothes, helping their parents help make small snacks at the house," Villalobos said.