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 Katherine McNeil has rated the lesson plan Get to know me Aug 20, 2009

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Dr. Katherine McNeil
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East County Academy of Learning
Alpine, CA
Class Information:
Room Number: 1
Students per Class: 13
Class Description:
The East County Academy of Learning serves students in grades six through twelve who have difficulty learning in a general education school environment. The school is a regional program for the East County SELPA and part of the Lakeside Union School District. The academic program combines both standards-based instruction with specialized supplemental programs to accelerate the student's academic progress. I teach 4 periods of social science and 2 periods of Digital Media Design (DMD). The true innovation of the DMD program lies not within the subject matter itself, but with the fact that the students undergo a major transition in their behavioral habits as their desire to achieve excellence requires them to adopt new learning skills and behaviors previously unknown to them. Students are shown the digital projects from previous semesters. They immediately want to produce their own projects, but their inappropriate behaviors prevent them from doing so. However, the allure of the computers and the successful projects from previous semesters’ students becomes too much. Students may begin a project and make a sincere effort to work but their inappropriate behaviors rise to the surface. Addressing the behavioral issue and not the DMD issue now allows staff to teach behavior modifications, thus directly teaching academic and social skills needed to successfully complete the complex multi-step digital projects. This behavioral transition results in reduced absences, gains in reading and comprehension skills, ability to stay on task, all which will help them to pass the state high school exit examination, and acquire social skills needed to function as a successful member of society. Quantitativedata demonstrates • 56% of the students in DMD reduced their absences • 76% had an increase in their grade points
Special Education Teacher
I need help with items for my DMD class. With the exception of a printer, I have funded this program 100% for the past 5 years because there are no funds available through the school or the district. This past June was the first time students entered their projects in the San Diego County Fair and won numerous awards including a Best in Class. Currently, we have one digital camera for 13 students to share. This does not work when they all need it to get an assignment completed. I need a class set of digital cameras (12). They don't have to be expensive. I need a class set of SanDisk Cruzer 4 GB thumbdrives (12) so each student can have a device to share with a student from another period to save their work projects on. Currently, they have to share two and it is chaotic trying to get everyones' assignments up and running. I would love to have a studio backdrop for when we need to take portraits or individual student photos without any background. Currently, we use the gray wall outside the classroom.
My Philosophy:
I believe in each student who comes through my door despite the behaviors they bring with them. I will provide them structure, challenging curriculum at their cognitive level, motivation, tough love, all in a caring classroom. They will be treated with respect regardless of how they will treat me. They will learn by my example. They all learn I was one of them and I never had a teacher that believed in me. I want them to know that despite graduating with a 1.6 GPA, barely being able to write a paragraph, and having ADHD and severe learning disabilities, I overcame my disabilities, started college at 33 and worked my way through a BA, M.Ed., and Ph.D. I give them the skills and try to show them how they can achieve academic and behavioral excellence.
Personal Information:
About Me:
I am a mother and grandmother. I am a self-professed geek. I love Photoshop and working on a variety of digital media projects.
College and Degrees:
BA - University of Washington - US History M.Ed. University of Washington - Multicultural Education Ed.D Seattle University
Currently writing two books, designing a website, and involved in multiple Photoshop project design.
Favorite Books:
One Minute to Midnight
Favorite Quotes:
Being creative and innovative in special education is like a constant battle between purposeful determination and educational complacency because the needs of special education students will only be met through revolutionary leadership." 2009 Dr. Katherine Nell McNeil
Photoshop, scrapbooking, photography, research in the area of ADHD and learning disabilities
Employment History:
1999 - 2006 Kent School District, Kent, WA 2006 - now Lakeside Union School District, Lakeside, CA
Why Do I Teach?:
I teach because I believe I can make a difference in the lives of students other teachers want out of their classroom.
Percent of Students are:
     At-risk: 100 %
     Special Needs: 100 %
Percent of Students are:
     White/Caucasian : 72 %
     Hispanic: 7 %
     African American: 13 %
     Native American: 2 %
     Asian: 3 %
Free/Reduced Lunch Program Enrollment:: 30 %
ESL Enrollment:: 5 %
Average number of students in class:: 14 students
Number of students I teach:: 50 students