Author Archives: Faye Montgomery

The Marie Backus McGaughey Award for Childhood

Thank you, Molly Lieberman and Loop It Up Savannah, for your service!

The Marie Backus McGaughey Award for Childhood philanthropy was established in 2015 to honor one of Savannah’s important benefactors. Marie McGaughey has quietly contributed to our city for decades, supporting important institutions that range from health care to houses of worship. In the early years of operation, Mrs. McGaughey helped keep the Matthew Reardon Center afloat when it looked like we might have to close our doors. She has remained a staunch supporter of our mission, and this award honors those who, like her, are generous beyond measure to childhood causes. Full disclosure: Mrs. McGaughey bears the distinct honor of being Matthew Reardon’s grandmother!

This 2018 recipient of the Marie Backus McGaughey Award for Childhood Philanthropy is Molly Lieberman. Molly is a household name to many a young Savannahian. A Massachusetts native, who like many, found her way to our town by way of SCAD, has been described as an innate nurturer. While still a student, Molly made her foray into the Savannah non-profit world as coordinator of a creative after school art program at the West Broad Street YMCA. Out of this experience, her independent organization Loop it up Savannah was born. Loop it Up Savannah brings art to young children, but it is so much more than that. Through Loop it Up, Molly has nurtured, fed, clothed, soothed, educated, and provided refuge countless children. She has become a godmother to many. For her love, dedication, and ceaseless joy to provide for Savannah’s young community, we honor Molly Lieberman with the 2018 Marie Backus McGaughey Award.

Special Education Teacher

Currently accepting resumes for:

Job Description – Special Education Teacher

Reports to: Advance Academy School Director
Main Function: Directly supervise and administer classroom instruction for each student assigned to his/her classroom in The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism’s Advance Academy.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Confers with parents, administrators, testing specialists, therapists, and others to develop IEPs for students.
  • Prepares lessons and other instructional materials according to the achievement levels of students and the goals established by the IEPs. Lessons may focus on academic, social, daily-living, and vocational skills, along with other skills as appropriate.
  • Instructs students in academic subjects, utilizing Applied Behavior Analysis techniques, including discrete-trial teaching, activity schedules, and reinforcement systems.
  • Directly supervises classroom instruction for each student and other staff as assigned.
  • Coordinates all material with teaching team members.
  • Communicates with Center leadership (as needed) regarding the progress of students and continued development of curriculum.
  • Maintains daily observation notes, program data, and graphs of learning progression.
  • Maintains daily written communication with parents and participates in quarterly parent/teacher conferences, as needed.
  • Observes, evaluates, and prepares reports on progress for IEPs of students.
  • Develops and maintains classroom
  • Any other duties as assigned.

Organizational/Departmental Requirements:

  • Exhibition of good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Contribution to a positive work climate and to the overall team effort of the organization.
  • Adherence to all organizational policies and procedures.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Ability to interpret guidelines and requirements
  • Ability to multitask and work within established deadlines
  • Punctuality and reliability

Experience, Education and Other Minimum Qualifications:

  • Master’s Degree in Education or Special Education, or a related field preferred.
  • Georgia Teaching Certification preferred. Compliance with MRCA accreditation and GSNS standards must be met. If certified in another state, steps should be taken to obtain certification in Georgia.
  • Experience/training in educating children with Autism and/or other developmental disabilities preferred.
  • Experience with Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) preferred

Please send resumes to Jack O’Connor, School Director, joconnor@matthewreardon.org

 

Autism Training with SCCPSS Police Officers

On Tuesday, July 11th, MRCA’s Jack O’Connor presented a 2 hour Autism and Crisis Management training with Savannah Chatham County Public Schools Police.

Topics included the basics of autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, understanding the sensory needs of individuals on the spectrum, communication and related behavior, body language, and crisis management.

We hope to collaborate with SCCPSS again in the future.

IEP meeting? STOP! Before you do anything else, do this:

For the price of 2x Lego Minecraft Cave sets; for the price of 1x Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare2; for the price of 1x Littlest Pet Shop Pet Jet; for the price of 2x bottles of
Nitty Gritty California Merlot;

FOR THE PRICE OF YOUR SANITY… ORDER THESE TWO BOOKS!

 

I don’t want to give away my strategy… as any competitive, ego-centric human I’d love to hold the power. So, before you continue reading just NittyGritty_025_WebPagepromise me you won’t tell any educators 😉 that you learned this secret from me.

One of the best compliments I received since working in advocacy was from a mother for whom I could not attend her child’s IEP. However, I prepared this mother ahead of time just as I do with all of my “IEP parents.” The day after the IEP meeting the mother called me and said “the teachers were crying happy tears because it was a relief for them to work with a parent who was well prepared, knowledgeable, and they were inspired by seeing me advocate for my son.”

You may be wondering, what is the secret? petshopListen, I understand how overwhelming the IEP process can be. We want the absolute best for our children and will stop at nothing to achieve that yet we get lost in administrative vernacular and IDEA law sound bites. In IEP meetings our emotions send us for an anxiety ridden roller coaster while teachers and school administrators sit opposite from us. To we parents the educators and administrators appear as a towering wall of all-knowing experts. Meanwhile, in a state of panic and fear of not knowing what the real options are for our children, we scramble to listen, grapple with acronyms, and second guess our instincts.

I am here to tell you it doesn’t have to be this way. When you enter the IEP process with

pvzknowledge of your parental rights, Knowledge of your child’s right to Free Appropriate Public Education, and compassion, great things can be accomplished and you lead all stakeholders into being contributing members of your child’s IEP team.

Stop what you are doing, and order these two books NOW. I mean it. NOW. When I started out along the IEP journey I was lost and confused. Then a friend recommended these two books which finally set me on the path toward true strategy and preparedness. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you obtain these two books and use them as your springboard.

So, What books are you referring to Faye?

 

  1. feta“From Emotions to Advocacy, second edition” by Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright (January 2006) is an easy quick read that sets the stage for understanding the basics of IDEA law, your organizational strategy, and long-term vision. $12.86 on Amazon.
  2. spedl“Special Education Law, second edition” by Peter W. D. Wright, ESQ. and Pamela Darr Wright, MA, MSW, includes text of key laws and regulations. It is critical that you purchase these two books together. Reading the text of IDEA law will give you leverage and courage to stand up for your child’s rights. $22.21 on Amazon.

 

We exhaust hundreds if not thousands of dollars on services and supports for our children burrito-3with disabilities. For the price of 3 Barbacoa burrito meals with chips salsa and drink at Chipotle, you can bring some peace, knowledge, and power back into your life. Oh yeah, and that mom I mentioned in paragraph 2? I gave her a copy of “From Emotions to Advocacy” (sorry! It was an extra I had lying around!)

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