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Maya Angelou Academy Special Education Teacher

The Organization

Since it began operating in 1997, the See Forever Foundation's mission has been to create learning communities in lower income urban areas where all students, particularly those who have not succeeded in traditional schools, can succeed academically and socially. The Foundation operates the Maya Angelou Public Charter Schools in DC, as well as the Maya Angelou Academy at New Beginnings’ secure facility for committed youth in Laurel, MD. Our students develop the academic, social, and employment skills they need to build rewarding lives and promote positive change.

 

The Academy

We assumed operation of the Maya Angelou Academy (formerly the Oak Hill Academy) during the summer of 2007.  Nearly all of the students are years behind grade level academically, many have special needs, and most have experienced significant trauma at some point in their lives.  Our mission at the Academy is to provide a safe, nurturing and mutually respectful environment that motivates and prepares each student to fulfill his academic or career potential.  With the support of a wide circle of caring adults, students will develop the skills they need to make sound decisions and lead rewarding lives.

If you are interested in learning more about See Forever, please visit our website at www.seeforever.org.

The Touchstone

At the Maya Angelou Schools, the key to our success is rooted in building trusting, respectful and nurturing relationships with each other.  We strive to create safe spaces for all to be able to reach their limitless potential.  We are at our best when we work together to ensure the unique needs of our community are met.  We empower each other to grow successfully so we can see forever!  This is how we live the Maya Way, even when no one is watching.

Position Description

The Special Education program at Maya Angelou Academy (MAA) is designed to ensure that all students with special learning or emotional needs receive the level and kinds of support that will enable them to succeed, in the most inclusive and non-stigmatizing a manner possible. We have small teacher-student ratios, allowing for individualized attention, and special needs students are fully included in the classrooms. Other elements of our program include:

  • a rapid and appropriate initial assessment
  • aggressive efforts to get IEPs and other records from each student’s previous school
  •  involvement of parents and all stakeholders in IEP meetings
  • a school-wide commitment to individualized education for all students, so that students with IEPs do not feel stigmatized
  • a collaborative approach among teachers, counselors, DYRS staff, after-school staff, and tutoring coordinators to meet students’ needs
  • a focus on literacy, with literacy coaches, literacy blocks, and intensive supplemental instruction
  • frequent celebrations of student success, both large and small

Responsibilities

The Special Education teachers will be part of our Special Education team at the Maya Angelou Academy. The general functions of the Special Education teachers will be to support in content area courses and intensified reading development and math development courses to special needs students as well as the entire student body, provide content area teachers with guidance regarding appropriate accommodations, and, when appropriate, teach in some self-contained settings. Additionally, Special Education teachers at MAA will carry a caseload of no more than 10 students with IEPs. Special Education teachers will manage, update, and maintain IEPs and coordinate all IEP meetings with the scholar’s IEP team and the SPED Coordinator.

All teachers will be expected to support the school-wide goals of emphasizing literacy, helping students develop their critical thinking abilities, driving all students toward mastery and understanding, and helping students find their strengths and talents and use them to address weaknesses and overcome fears.

Specific responsibilities will include, but not be limited to:

  • Working collaboratively with our general education teachers to implement IEP accommodations; modifying instructional lessons to meet a wide range of learning needs
  • Working with students in a resource/ pull-out model to provide individualized instructional support
  • Collaborating with other school leaders to facilitate professional develop training in special education for staff members
  • Working closely with parents, school professionals, and outside service providers where necessary
  • Supporting general education teachers in content area classes (not responsible for curriculum development, but support and special education alignment)
  • Managing a caseload of no more than 10 students with an IEP (organizing all meetings, collecting data, uploading information into data systems, and maintaining and updating IEPs as needed)
  • Serving as the central point of contact for the parent, student, and staff for instructionally-based issues such as:
    • monitoring the student’s progress, attendance, and other factors affecting the student’s academic success throughout the year
    • contacting parents and teachers to share information/progress reports
    • coordinating/collaborating with classroom teachers, counselors, and specialists regarding the student’s accommodations, program modifications, instructional supports, etc.
    • responding to parent concerns and questions regarding the implementation of the student’s IEP and instructional program
    • serving as an advocate and mentor for the student
  • Attending SPED Team meetings and Instructional Team meetings
  • Reporting information to the SPED Coordinator to ensure compliance
  • Creating a classroom and school environment that features a rich diversity of resources, engages student interest, promotes student leadership and stimulates student learning
  • Having thoughtful approaches to teaching concepts and sparking student interest while also imparting essential factual knowledge
  • Managing administrative assignments effectively and with a high level of professionalism and integrity
  • Modeling and contributing to a school culture of hope and high expectations for achievement.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in special education or subject field
  • Must have or be eligible for certification by DCPS in the appropriate content area
  • Experience working with incarcerated or at-risk youth
  • Familiarity with research-based instructional strategies
  • An unyielding belief that with the appropriate supports, coupled with high expectations, all students can significantly improve their academic skills, and can develop pro-social and culturally normative behaviors that will enable them to succeed at school and beyond
  • Firm belief that all students have strengths and talents and that a good teacher helps students find these and use them to address weaknesses or overcome fears

Core Beliefs and Desired Characteristics

Candidates should possess an unyielding belief that with the appropriate supports, coupled with high expectations, all students can significantly improve their academic skills, and can develop pro-social and culturally normative behaviors that will enable them to succeed at school and beyond. Candidates should also believe that all students have strengths and talents and that good teachers help students find them and use them to address weaknesses or overcome fears. In addition, candidates should exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Honesty & Integrity: Does not cut corners ethically. Earns trust and maintains confidence. Does what is right, not just what is politically expedient. Speaks plainly and truthfully. 
  • Analytical skills: able to structure and process qualitative or quantitative data and draw insightful conclusions from it; exhibits a probing mind and achieves penetrating insights 
  • Persistence: Demonstrates tenacity and willingness to go the distance to get something done.
  • Strategic thinking/visioning: Able to see and communicate the big picture in an inspiring way; determines opportunities and threats through comprehensive analysis of current and future trends
  • Flexibility/adaptability: Adjusts quickly to changing priorities and conditions; copes effectively with complexity and change
  • Enthusiasm: Exhibits passion and excitement over work. Has can do attitude.

Salary and Benefits

Our salaries are comparable to those of other schools in the District of Columbia area. In addition, See Forever offers a robust benefits plan, including health care coverage, a 401k retirement savings plan, and the opportunity to positively impact students with a broad range of experiences and backgrounds.

See Forever is an equal opportunity employer. We believe a diverse staff is a better, more effective staff. 

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