"Create Culture of High Expectations for Students with Disabilities"
Sturgis is highlighted in recent Special Ed Connection.
James, Paul. “Create culture of high expectations for students with disabilities.” Special Ed Connection. LRP Publications, 29 November 2012.
Click here for a more detailed list of FAQ’s about Sturgis Special Education
- Is Sturgis required to follow the same special education laws and regulations that my son/daughter's sending school does?
- Yes, Sturgis has the same licensure requirements as other public schools.
- What kind of educational services are available at Sturgis?
- The services offered at Sturgis are similar to those offered by typical district public schools. They include but are not limited to: special education teachers and assistants; speech and language therapist; social skills instructor; reading teacher; college, academic, and personal counseling; and a full-time school nurse .
- What is the success rate of students who have disabilities?
- Virtually all students with disabilities graduate from Sturgis and then become quite successful at college or university due to the outstanding preparation that they received while at Sturgis.
- Does Sturgis have an active Parent Advisory Council (PAC) for parents of students with disabilities?
- Yes, Sturgis Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) meets on a quarterly basis and has a web page for SEPAC news and meeting information: SEPAC
Susan Lacombe Voigt, (fourth from right) Special Education Coordinator at Sturgis East, was one of six SPED inclusion specialists invited to meet in June at the International Baccalaureate (IB) headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands. The goal of the meeting was to develop Guidelines for Inclusive Education in IB World Schools. Like AP programs, the IB curriculum has traditionally been offered only to high achievers selected to participate. Sturgis is one of the first schools to introduce an inclusive "IB for All" philosophy that promotes the belief that students selected through a public lottery can succeed in a challenging curriculum regardless of past academic records or individual challenges. We are pleased to see IB schools beginning to reflect on inclusive education.
Special Education Staff:
(left to right) Richard Mathews, Mark Blake, Susan Lacombe Voigt,
(left to right) Nate Furey, Jessica Lynch, Antonio Hernandez
Quotes from Sturgis Special Education Community:
"By raising that bar, I think we see students with disabilities wanting to achieve and work harder. They no longer feel different; they're just alongside all the other kids. I think they probably for the first time in a very long time feel part of something and not individualized.”
Susan Lacombe Voigt, Special Needs Coordinator, Sturgis East
Susan Lacombe Voigt interviews Alex Dufault, class of 2012, about his experience at Sturgis.
"Best 4 years of my life! Thanks!" Message by Class of 2008 alumna on her donation to the 2013-14 Annual Appeal
“I graduated from an IB Diploma Programme where courses were open only to more obviously achieving and able students. After teaching at Sturgis, I believe that the ‘IB for All’ approach works and should be a model for other educational programs. Obviously, there are some special education accommodations that require individualized attention. But, for the most part, I find that the majority of common “special education accommodations” - like having a daily agenda written on the whiteboard, and chunking longer assignments into more manageable steps - are simply best practices in daily instruction. When these accommodations are integrated into the daily life of the classroom, ‘IB for All’ comes to mean ‘Support for All’ and everyone benefits.”
Morgan Derby, English, Sturgis East
“I believe that many people assume that SPED students are doomed to a lower form of education. Many people (even parents) think that these students are unable to achieve the same success that regular ed students are able to achieve. I have had parents ask me: Do you think my son/daughter will be able to attend college? Do you think they could get a scholarship? Our perception of what is possible, what knowledge is desirable, what colleges/universities desire seems to be limited by the success of regular ed students and past achievements. These students learn in a radically different way from their peers. It is our duty as educators to meet the challenges that they present with flexibility and creativity.”
Antonio Hernandez, Special Education, Sturgis West
“I wanted to write and compliment you on one small success out of the many you are already aware of. As you may know my son has Asperger's Syndrome. He is typically isolated and lives in his head much of the time. At previous schools, he has not felt that he fits in. There was a huge disconnect between him, his school and his classmates. In the past, school was drudgery that got in the way of his naturally inquisitive nature. This week at Sturgis he is completely engaged with Spirit week. I have never seen him so motivated to follow a school initiative. He loves and is proud of his school. As a parent, I am very thankful to have your school as an option for my child. Thank you.”
- Asperger's Association of New England Changing Perspectives — Changing Lives
- Find Services and Supports Under the Law
- Guidance for Special Education Parent Advisory Councils
- Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
- Parent Technical Assistance Center Network
- A Parent's Guide to Special Education
- Parents, Students and Schools as Partners: Rights and Responsibilities in Special Education
- Special Education Disability Definitions and Related Links