Substitute Teachers

( xylophone music playing ) Teacher: Good job! ( clapping ) At Blossomland, we help students discover their potential. Teacher: At Blossomland, we help students become independent. Teacher: At Blossomland, we help our students achieve their educational goals. Teacher: At Blossomland Learning Center we help children shine. ( uplifting music swells ) ( music fades ) Tina: Welcome to Blossomland Learning Center. You are about to become part of a very
special family. ( uplifting music playing ) As a member of our team, you will have an
opportunity to impact the lives of our students. This is a gift – not everyone has a chance
to shape someone’s future. As the principal of Blossomland Learning Center, it’s important that I share with you how
truly unique your experience with us will be, and also share with you the challenges you may face during your day. Remember when you’re here at BLC, you’re part of a larger network of caring professionals who are all here to
support you. Again, welcome to Blossomland! We know you’ll do great things while you’re here with us. Voiceover: Blossomland Learning Center is a center-based program operated by Berrien Regional Education Service Agency. Located in Berrien Springs, Michigan, the Center provides comprehensive programs and therapeutic services for students with moderate to severe cognitive impairments, ages 3 to 26. Through a functional curriculum that emphasizes skills, competencies, and orientations that are required for living in a supervised setting. Blossomland Learning Center operates as a separate special education program. This program serves those students who, as determined by their individualized education plans, require placement in a facility outside of the traditional school setting. Students are referred to our program by
their local school district. Once here, students have access to physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, medical services receive support in regard to behavioral
issues, as well as a full curriculum. Students are taught by highly qualified
educators who receive regular training on best practices and the latest
educational trends. Blossomland Learning Center provides transportation to and from students’ homes. Some students also have the opportunity
to travel to various businesses and agencies to participate in community-based instruction. Dan: Students are very excited to start the day. You can see when they come off the bus that they are ready to come in, see their friends, see the challenges that they’re going to be presented with, and ready to learn. ( music swells ) We try to provide avenues for them to be able to access their environment. So we set up a variety of different things, like single switches or specialty switches so that they can turn things on and turn things off. ( music pauses, then begins again ) And when I see those “aha!” moments which they’re able to do something and overcome a physical disability or
express themselves using a talker, you know, it just wants to make me cry, but it also wants to make me go ahead and keep doing those things so that they become better at being able to express themselves and control their environment. ( music swells ) The whole idea is to is to help our students
become more independent so that they can be independent at home, not just at school. It makes it a lot more personal and
interactive for the parents, and they begin to say “Gee, I never thought my child would speak, or make some sort of request, and now I don’t have to guess!” They’re actually able to do that, they’re actually able to hear it. There’s no better feeling than to watch a kid be able to do something they haven’t been able to do before. ( music fades ) Voiceover: It is important to understand that Blossomland Learning Center is not a babysitting service. BLC is a fully operational school where
staff works to: build and develop academic skills, teach functional skills designed to help students become as independent as possible, instruct students based on a curriculum
that has been aligned to the Michigan Department of Education’s curriculum. Students also participate in state assessments to determine the progress
towards the curriculum goals, offer prevocational and vocational training. In fact, Blossomland Learning Center is very similar to other schools, in that: students have weekly class schedules that include math, language arts, science, health, social studies, home economics, daily living skills and physical education. Teachers work with students to help them achieve goals that are described student’s individual education program. Students turn in assignments, are assessed on their skills, and of course, study. Berrien RESA’s Blossomland Learning Center, in addition to curriculum and therapy services, works with students to demonstrate their positive behaviors. Blossomland Learning Center has a school improvement team that has implemented an effective
behavior management and motivational practice that supports all students, called the S.T.A.R.S. program. S.T.A.R.S. stands for safety, teamwork, attitude, respect, success. The S.T.A.R.S. model has become BLC’s
guidelines for success, and is based on the following key points: All students must be treated with dignity Students should be taught the skills and
behaviors necessary for success. Motivation and responsibility should be encouraged through positive interactions and building relationships with students. Student misbehavior represents a teaching opportunity. The positive behavior support system at
Blossomland is awesome. It’s a common language for every teacher
every staff to use, and the kids know it, so it really, really is effective for students of this population that need to all be on the same page. The S.T.A.R.S. student program helps every
child have the “I can do it” attitude. Once the students learn the S.T.A.R.S.
program and they learn how to use it on their own, they then in turn become the role models and teach it to the rest of the class. ( music swells ) It really holds up the bar a little higher for them, something to reach to in every classroom. ( music playing ) Voiceover: As a substitute teacher, paraprofessional, a co-op, or a volunteer, you may be wondering what your role will be at BLC. Your primary function is to provide assistance to the students in their daily activities. However you may be also asked to complete a variety of tasks aimed at helping BLC in general. Typically, daily activities can include:
taking students to various parts of the building, helping students eat, toileting and changing clothes, assisting a student with an assignment
or project in both individual and group settings supervising students during outdoor play,
helping to grade papers, copying documents assisting in classroom setup and cleanup, as well as retrieving supplies. When you arrive, please check in at the office. there you will receive your instructions for the day. You will also receive a brief orientation relative to the specific needs of the students whom you will be working with. Staff will show you where your classroom is located and provide you with a brief tour of the school, so that you are able to help students navigate the building. Upon arrival to the classroom, you will
receive a copy of the daily schedule, and be introduced to lead classroom staff
that will answer any questions that you may have. The students’ schedule includes therapies and activities designed to help them achieve the goals listed in
their individual education program. At the end of each day, some of the regular classroom teachers will record the students achievements in a log book. Only the regular classroom teacher is
permitted to record progress in these log books. In addition, BLC staff will demonstrate
how to use classroom call buttons, explain what to do if there’s a fire or tornado and show you where the nurse’s station is located. Only school nursing staff members are permitted to dispense medications. You will not be asked to give a student
medication or participate in medical procedures. Some students at BLC are medically
fragile and are very susceptible to germs. You are encouraged to practice good handwashing techniques frequently throughout your day. BLC staff will show you where plastic gloves can be found. If you are responsible for assisting a student with changing clothes or toileting, you are required to wear gloves. Staff should also wear gloves when:
handling food, washing classroom materials, such as
tables chairs or toys, anytime you come in contact with bodily fluids, if a child is not feeling well. Once you are comfortable with your responsibilities, it is time to unload the school buses. You will be directed to the location of a particular bus, so that you can escort specific students to their classes. Please greet students as they arrive. Help them off the school bus and direct them into the building. For those students who have a severe impairment, you may need to push their wheelchair into the building. On colder days, it will be your responsibility to help with jackets, hats, and mittens. At the end of the school day, you will
also need to escort students to their bus. Some students will need assistance when eating. Depending on the students abilities, you
may need to help a student grasp a spoon, or you may need to use the hand-over-hand method to help students get their utensil to their mouths. One of the many services students receive during their day at school is therapy. You may be responsible for escorting a
student to their therapy session. You may need to hold their hand in the hallway or push their wheelchair. You may be asked to provide limited
assistance when transferring students. Be sure to lock wheelchairs. Students
should be secured at all times. Be sure to buckle all harnesses and secure chest plates. When communicating with students, it is
important to treat them with respect. Be encouraging in your tone and supportive
with your language. Get down to their level. If they are in a wheelchair, it is appropriate to sit next to them. Some students rely and switches or special voice boxes to help them communicate. Some students use a series of cards to help them share their needs. Please encourage students to express
their desires using their assisted tools. By understanding their needs, you will be
able to better perform your job. When working at Blossomland Learning Center, you will be exposed to multiple working environments. You may be outdoors monitoring gym or recess activities. You may be assisting in the pool. You may
be helping students learn laundry skills or planting flowers around the building. It is suggested that you dress casually, yet modest. Also, please do not wear high heeled shoes.
Shoes should be closed toed and comfortable. Be mindful that dangling jewelry can be
grabbed or pulled by students. Each student at Blossomland Learning Center is unique. They have different levels of ability,
different likes and dislikes, different attitudes, different coping skills and different personalities. All staff members are taught to treat
each student as an individual with respect and dignity. Your most important job while at BLC is being a role model. It is important that you demonstrate the
behaviors included in the S.T.A.R.S. program. It is also important to realize that
every student is looking up to you and following your lead. Do not jeopardize what they are learning
by being a poor example. Being a part of the BLC family is a magnificent opportunity. You have the chance to encourage and support a child’s development. Welcome to BLC. Our students are looking forward to meeting and learning from you. ( background music fades ) ( silence )

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