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Field Observation Reflection Paper

Tiffany Dukes
Fong ES home of Fong Elementary is a Title 1 School that is situated in central Las

Vegas. This school, according to the district's website, has a total of 868 enrolled students. Out

of those enrolled students that attend, hundred percent are on the free breakfast and lunch plan.

Since Fong is a Title 1 school they are also fully funded through the Federal Government, which

means there is no funds coming from each individual family. Additionally this portion of the

district is predominantly Hispanic and African-American descent. Because Las Vegas has such a

diverse range of employment and in this area more than half of the families are on

unemployment and are struggling just to make it day by day.

These Children come to school with far more baggage, less sleep and hungry bellies,

some of them have not seen their parents all week and the majority of them are either living with

family members or are in foster care, according to Ms. Cizmas who has been working in the

district for more than 14 years and as Assistant Principal at Fong for two of those years. She has

noted an increasing problem in single-parent families since she began teaching as well as an

increase in poverty. In my sit-down interview with Mrs. Cizmas offered this example:

Several weeks back, I got a new student they came from another District who was

living with his mom younger sister and an older brother. The older brother who is in first

grade loves to set things on fire. Since the mom would leave lighters lying around, he has

no problem finding things to ignite. He has even caught their house on fire.

Unfortunately, the mother was rarely around and the young boy who was in kindergarten

was struggling just to keep up. He has since been placed in foster care and is waiting for a

forever home.

It is so unfortunate the result of this is that the students lack concentration, focus and a

strong home environment, all of which can help students succeed in school, according to Mrs
Cizmas. This has also made it very difficult because the parental involvement is usually very

low, especially in attendance at any of the meetings to determine a student's individualized

education program or the necessary steps for a child to move forward.

According to Mrs. Cizmas the special education department at Fong Elementary has also

increased in size over the past several years, because this school has over a hundred students that

are homeless, many of them are bussed from other districts to this school. However the school

structures Special Education classroom environment which includes inclusion classrooms pushin

teaching and pull out classes.

Mr. Lange is the special education teacher for grades kindergarten through second. He

has been teaching Elementary special education in the district for over six years. His class ranges

from 8:1:1, covering General subject areas such as math, reading, and writing. It is very evident

after observing this class that by demanding respect of the students and similar a treating them

with respect it is possible to foster such a positive environment such as Mr. Lange has. He

exhibited such determination and a love for his job along with exhibiting a tremendous amount

of structured learning environment for his students.

Student Profile

B is a student with OHI, High Spectrum autism and ADHD, in the second grade. He is

very sociable; despite having trouble paying attention and social interactions, he's very

enthusiastic. During normal instruction with a small group of other students, B would continue to

burp out loud, had a hard time concentrating on his own work, and and even cheated during a

letter exercise. On observation day I witnessed student B during assessment a simple letter

recognition and numbers unable to identify both. During his assessment of addition, student

found it hard to comprehend adding numbers and then taking them away. However upon Mr.
Lange questioning B on how his current situation in his inclusion classroom was going. B

explained that he is still on his own Island away from general population students and that his

teacher and himself are trying to figure out the perfect spot for him, eventually bringing him

back into the group. Student B did not seem to be bothered by this at all, but was very eager to

learn when engaged by the SPED teacher. He also had no issues when redirected by Mr. Lange

to finish classwork.

SPED classroom

The physical appearance of this classroom, even though shared with another SPED

teacher is organized and arranged for a small group of students. The deaths are in a row facing

the front of the classroom where instruction is given. The walls are also aligned with simple and

typical educational posters such as the writing process classroom rules and the alphabet. There

are several shelves with educational games, books, and learning material along with a computer

that is used by students for an educational application of Starfall.

Mr. Lange has incorporated positive reinforcement for students who can follow

classroom rules which include: keep hands and feet to yourself, one person speaks, Be kink, Be

polite, follow directions and always do your best. At the end of each instructional period,

students are asked if they feel the followed all of the rules and if so they are rewarded with a

check mark. At the end of the week, usually on Friday, the check marks are tallied up and for a

full week of marks the student may choose from the treasure box. This is a great example of

positive feedback for students for a job well done.

Looking back at the experience I had in observing I still have the determination to inspire

others through a career in special education. I am so glad that I chose Fong for my observation

experience in SPED. It is difficult to sum up all of the conclusions I have drawn from a
observation, however two of the most important ones are first if you want to be a successful sped

teacher you must have dedication to the students and the job. Secondly, ensuring you foster a

very positive atmosphere with patience and a variety of teaching directions is absolutely

necessary. Mr. Lange has become more than just a teacher of these students, he is their voice and

an advocate when their parents are absent.