The Lord has blessed Divine Savior Academy (DSA) since its opening almost 16 years ago. The school opened its doo, focusing on a small elementary program that put college planning in its sights from the get-go. This model would serve the church in outreach to the local community.
Sharing the gospel with the students and families of DSA coupled with “college prep” academics connected with the community and allowed DSA to grow from its initial 20 students to around 1000 today in preK-3 through 12th grade. As the student population grew, however, new challenges arose that the school recognized. This included the need for English as a Second Language (ESL) support as well as special education.
DSA has come to embrace a co-teaching model of instruction to meet the needs of most students requiring additional support. This model brings a second teacher into a classroom permanently to support those in need. The classroom teacher is responsible for the curriculum covered in class, while the co-teacher is responsible for accessibility. Within a typical classroom, each may take on changing roles as they plan for each daily lesson. Co-teachers support the entire class along with the teacher while ensuring the accessibility needs of students are being met.
In order to identify the students in need of this additional support, an RTI model is currently being implemented within the school. Through ongoing evaluation, student progress is being constantly monitored to allow DSA to provide support before a student begins to fail in any particular area. When a student continues to struggle after additional support has been provided, additional collaboration with the child and his or her family will take place to find the best way to provide accommodations moving forward.
DSA has hired two professional and experienced teachers in special education to help coordinate and provide services, such as creating educational support plans and interventions by pull-outs and push-ins to the students at DSA. They further have the support of three full-time staff members as well as a handful of classroom teachers to co-teach in various classes throughout the day to facilitate the program.
As with any new program, the co-teaching program is consistently being reviewed to make improvements as we seek to serve our students better. If you would like to learn more about what DSA is doing, please contact Marcella Corrales at Marcella.firstname.lastname@example.org.