Mrs. Hinman, 12:1:1 Program, Bring Diversity to Weedsport

Amber VanLuven, Staff Writer

In my opinion “teacher” is not a strong enough word to describe a child educator. Those who look at the children in their class as their own are special. Mrs. Hinman, who runs the 12:1:1 program at Weedsport, is one of those people and her job is greatly influential.

Mrs. Hinman is a Weedsport alumna, she graduated in 2002 and then began college at Cayuga Community College. From there she transferred to SUNY Geneseo. After a change in majors from Psychology to English Adolescent Education, she was able to graduate in the fall 2007 rather than 2006. She was able to accomplish receiving an English degree and certification in Adolescent Education within a year and a half, which in the time being made for a very jam-packed semester.

She began working shortly after college at West Genesee High School in a traditional classroom setting. The next stop in her teaching career was in Waterloo. It wasn’t until starting her teaching position at Waterloo, where she worked with students who had any form of learning disabilities. Her first experience was teaching 15:1 English, which is for students that specifically have trouble learning their ELA material, and then she also began teaching alongside of the social studies teacher as well, which she greatly enjoyed. However, when she saw the teaching position open up at Weedsport, it caught her interest being a Weedsport alumna, and now having children of her own, this way she could be closer to home. She didn’t have a ton of confidence applying because she had a lack of experience, but she did it any way.  She made it through both stages of the interview process to get the job, but still did not believe she would make the final cut until she was taken by surprise and offered the position.

Working in a special education classroom can be very difficult and is nowhere near similar to a teaching in a general education classroom. General education is being able to reach out to a whole group of students with the same information. Special education is all about the students as individuals. You have to focus on the need of each child and modify the curriculum to help them better understand. In her career overall up until this point, Mrs. Hinman transferred from general education to special ed. (15:1, students with less severe problems with learning), and to now conducting her own 12:1:1 classroom. Currently, rather than having her whole class break out their text books, she has to research and develop learning materials for each individual. The general courses that are mandatory to teach is Math, English, Social Studies, Social Skills and Hygiene, which is similar to health. This year Mr. Sgarlata and Mr. Mahar have gotten further involved with the P.E./Health aspect of things developing a mentoring program where the seniors come down and engage in an alternative form of gym class geared for the 12:1:1 student. This program benefits everyone who chooses to take part and serves as another form or interaction between the special and general ed. Students.

Starting her job the first year was extremely difficult. She needed to build the 12:1:1 program into the school district. She nor the school knew exactly how to approach it but she made it work and now another year into it, things are still running smoothly and improving every day.

Hard work is nowhere near a new concept to Mrs. Hinman, and that is exactly why she does her job here at Weedsport so well. You can find her and her awesome students down in the old distance learning room, now known as the 12:1:1 classroom.   A great deal of people outside of the classroom have a lack of knowledge about these classes that accommodate to students with learning disabilities. A 12:1:1 special class is a special education class that has a maximum of 12 students, with one certified special education teacher and at least one teaching assistant.  A student who requires a 12:1:1 class would need a more restrictive setting than a resource room student.  The student in need of a special class would need a small class structure and a consistent environment designed to meet their needs.  The special class teacher utilizes a the same curriculum as the general education staff however it is prioritized so teachers can focus on the most important information.

When asked their thoughts on inclusion with in the school, Kaitlyn Ryan and Justin Pike said they feel as though they do feel they are made a part of the school. However there is always ways to incorporate them even more into the schoolwide community. Below is a list pertaining to the individual student’s interest, this could help further the relationship between students inside and out of the 12:1:1 room.

Anthony: Enjoys Trains, Playing the Wii and on the IPad, going for walks and playing various games.

Cassie: Loves to talk, also enjoys playing the Wii, doing puzzles, telling jokes and drawing.

Wilford: Likes to read books and to play games.

Joey: His favorite pass time is listening to music and hanging out with friends.

Nathan: His favorite animal is wolves and he enjoys art.