A special ed class set up in regards to COVID-19 safety regulations. Photo courtesy of Fountain Valley High School special education teacher Angela Ferguson McConnell.
Fountain Valley High School

Special education program prepares to transition to in-person instruction

Special ed classes will face some changes regarding their curriculum as the Huntington Beach Union High School District returns to in-person instruction.

On April 21, it was announced that for the 2021-2022 school year, the HBUHSD will return to a schedule where students attend on-campus classes five full days a week. As for students who are interested in remaining completely online, they must enroll at HBUHSD’s College Prep Alternative School of Choice at Coast High School.

Students that are part of the special education program have returned to in-person instruction since April 23.

So what does that mean for students that are part of the program?

COVID-19 has posed big challenges for teachers all around the world, but especially for teachers part of the special education program as they aim to provide their students with the extra attention and specialized curriculum they need.

“Unfortunately, the requirement to stay six feet apart causes great difficulty in working with the student. Not being able to work closely with a student can cause frustration because each student needs a unique teaching experience,” Fountain Valley High School special education teacher Angela Ferguson McConnell said. “One size does not fit all in the small group classroom.”

With the administration of COVID-19 vaccines, the special education program has devised new ways for their students to transition into in-person instruction as they have now implemented more opportunities for students to access the extra help they need.

“The biggest change to my small group classes will be the addition of more technology in the classroom. Scheduling [one on one] meetings will be easier now that we are familiar with the virtual classroom,” Ferguson said.

With the addition of technology such as computers, scheduling meetings and setting aside time for one on one meetings with each of the students will have become easier.

“We have already begun the process of transition. Most of our students are back to in-person learning. Over the summer, our students participate in Extended School Year, which will be held in person,” Ocean View High School special education teacher Christopher Young said.

As HBUHSD now prepares for next year’s transition to in-person instruction, special education teachers are also focusing on making the transition easier for their students.

“I plan to be very flexible at the beginning of the year to help the transition for my students, especially my incoming [tenth] graders,” Ferguson said. “They have yet to experience a normal school day at FVHS. A focus on time management and planning/prioritizing will be embedded into my lessons to help students get back in the swing of completing work in the classroom and on time.”

With the 2020-2021 school year coming to an end, Young says he is “[g]lad we are turning the corner with our fight against COVID-19.”