Spotlight Teacher of the Month: Mark Thomas
School District: San Francisco Unified School District
Classroom: Moderate/Severe Special Day Class, Autism Focus
Position: Grades 3-5 Special Education Teacher Using Rethink since April 2014
With the help of his staff of four paraprofessionals, Mark has designed his classroom environment to ensure each of their 10 students get three one-to-one work sessions per day utilizing the Rethink program. Mark has set up individual work stations in quiet corners of his classroom to facilitate a calm and predictable learning environment. While he engages the students in group activities, his paraprofessionals pull individual students to work one-to-one on specific Rethink lessons that align with their IEP goals. Since this reformatting of his classroom after adopting Rethink back in April, Mark and his staff have seen significant growth in student learning as well as a decrease of problem behaviors specific students were demonstrating. One thing Mark and his staff love about Rethink are the video tutorials demonstrating how to teach specific lessons. Not only are they helpful to Mark, but his paraprofessionals feel confident and empowered to pick up a new lesson, watch the tutorial and jump into working on that lesson with a student. They often go back and re-watch a tutorial if the teaching session is not going the way they planned.
“Since I have been using the Rethink program, I am confident that my students are learning and growing socially, emotionally and academically each and every day.”
Mark was thrilled by the progress of one student who often showed extreme behavior during work times. Since Mark started using Rethink in his classroom, the student has become excited about his progress and is flying through his lessons. Not only does this student find comfort in the direct and predictable teaching style of the Rethink lessons, but Mark and the student’s mother have decided to create simple visual data charts with the student so he can watch his own growth. The visual charts have motivated and engaged the student to the extent that he now looks forward to his work sessions with Mark and his staff.
Great work Mark!