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As we enter our 100th year of leading special education, the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is recognizing exceptional educators from around the world who have shown a passion, dedication, and commitment to making a difference in the lives of the students who they teach. Hear from teachers about their personal experiences working in the field, and get inspired to make your own impact this year.

Felicia Lopez

Felicia is a K -4 special education teacher entering her third year in the Metro Nashville public schools system in Nashville, Tennessee, working with students with Mild-moderate disabilities such as ADHD and dyslexia. As a collaborative teacher for major and at-risk students who cannot walk, feed or go to the bathroom by themselves, Felicia has supported youth with disabilities in New York, Nashville, and Rhode Island. She is a figure skating instructor and is a wicked math intervention teacher. Felicia’s is licensed in Rhode Island as an Elementary Special Education & General Education teacher grades 1-6 teacher AND  an (Interventionist K-8 & General Elementary Education licensed for grades K-5 in TN ).  Felicia is literally twice gifted in licenses. 

Eligibility for all is either a medical doctor and/or the school psychologist, depending on the disability. I Work with the PT, OT, and Speech teachers in the classroom. Having centers tailored to their needs and making sure they are working on their goals. I push into a gifted class to assist one of my students with behavior needs. I work in a small group with him and other students, so it isn't me hovering (4th grade) SEL depends on the student. One student has a signal when they need a break; others haven’t gotten to that self-regulation yet. The services have to fit the needs of the specific child. I mostly do inclusion & only have 2 resource groups. My 1st grade group is lively, so after we complete one part, I have to reward them with stickers if they are doing well. Creating and conducting an assessment looks different based on the students' IEP goals and their disability. If they have a word per minute goal, reading comprehension goal, math facts goal, I use FastBridge as a progress monitoring tool. If I have a student with behavior needs, I tend to collect data on a data collection sheet (tied to their IEP goal) of how much time I observed, what occurred, what the behavior was, and if it showed up. I take the goals from the IEP and make a data sheet based on their goal. This data collection helps with their progress reports and to see if they are on track to meeting their goal or if we have to have an addendum meeting to tweak the goal.

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Posted:  4 October, 2021

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