header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather


 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
June 24
1980 - Saugus Train Station relocated to Hart Park, Newhall [story]
Saugus Train Station


| Wednesday, Jul 24, 2019
William S. Hart School District's new Director of Special Education Joanna White hopes to foster an inclusive environment in special education. | Photo:  Cory Rubin/The Signal. William S. Hart School District's new Director of Special Education Joanna White hopes to foster an inclusive environment in special education. | Photo: Cory Rubin/The Signal.

Joanna White, the new director of special education for the William S. Hart Union High School District, said Tuesday that while she was growing up, special needs students would typically stay home from school, separated from other students in general education.

Once new legislation began to pass as we moved closer to the 21st century, that culture of limiting children in need of special services to their homes began to fade away, she said.

“As the legislation led them into public school settings, it was never the intention for them to be housed or separated in those school settings,” said White. “I think the impetus for that comes from a good place, but it was never meant to separate students on public school sites.”

White hopes, during her tenure as the new director of special education, a position that oversees 3,200 students and 140 staff in programs throughout the district, she’ll be able to create more inclusive practices, with more students from both general and special education, befriending and learning alongside one another on campuses.

“A piece of it that we’ve really been looking at is our least-restrictive environment piece, and that we are attempting to incorporate more inclusive practices,” said White, “meaning that special education students will be given more opportunities to participate alongside general education peers.”

The idea to dissolve some of the division between special and general education, which White stated was going to be a large focus for her tenure in office, began to be implemented last year with her predecessor, Sharon Amrhein, with campuses offering more co-taught classes with special education kids taking general education classes.

“We have different populations who participate in different types of settings,” said White, adding that students, based on the level of services they require, can be introduced to different classrooms that allow them to learn at a rate that fits with their learning abilities.

“The rigor of the (general education) classroom is far greater … students are expected to keep up with that pace,” she said. “They learn that it’s not just the core curriculum piece that they’re learning, but the depth of knowledge is far greater in a general education classroom, typically.”

Joanna White said that both the special education and general education teachers will work together along with the other district staff working on special education curricula to provide students with the best possible outcome for their learning. She said this amount of staffing and effort going into special education in the Hart District is what makes it stand out as one of the best special education options in Southern California.

“A lot of the charter and private schools, it’s very difficult for them to secure the personnel and support service providers that (the Hart District) is able to provide,” said White. “We are very fortunate … that we’re able to enlist pretty much the best of the best coming out of our colleges who then end up working here.”

White added that another goal of hers will be to have the district keep up and continue to be proactive in their behavioral assessments for students who have not already received an individualized education program, or IEP, and ensuring communication with that student’s parents. One obstacle she’ll need to face, however, she said, is an ever-decreasing funding formula from the state.

“What ends up happening with a school district as large as ours is that given that the contribution the government gives to the school district, our expenses far exceed that amount,” said White. “So, the general fund helps with all of those expenses.”

Nonetheless, challenges aside, Joanna White said she got into this work because she loved the uniqueness and challenges of being a special education teacher, and looks forward to taking special education in the district further.

“Something about my natural attributes led me to working with that population,” she said. “I’m excited, and this is something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


LOCAL SCHOOL LINKS
Related Content
LATEST SCHOOL NEWS
Friday, Jun 21, 2024
A special meeting of the William S. Hart Union High School District’s Governing Board will be held Wednesday, June 26, beginning at 8 a.m.
Friday, Jun 14, 2024
The Santa Clarita Valley School Food Services Agency has announced it is serving free meals to students under the Seamless Summer Option now through Aug. 2.
Friday, Jun 7, 2024
The Castaic Union School District Governing Board will hold its regular meeting Thursday, June 13, at 6 p.m. to consider school board business including approval of district contracts and retirement recognition for district employees.
Thursday, Jun 6, 2024
The William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board approved the appointment of Tara Brown as the new Assistant Superintendent of Student Services. Brown was selected to fill the opening created by the retirement of Assistant Superintendent Kathy Hunter.
Thursday, Jun 6, 2024
The William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board voted to appoint Mike Vierra, Ph.D, as the interim superintendent of the district.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1980 - Saugus Train Station relocated to Hart Park, Newhall [story]
Saugus Train Station
1946, 11:20pm: William S. Hart, 81, dies at L.A.'s California Lutheran Hospital, leaving his Newhall estate and his (now West) Hollywood home to the public [story]
Hart dies
1972 - Vasquez Rocks added to National Register of Historic Places [list]
Vasquez Rocks
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger and Board of Supervisors Chair Lindsey Horvath have sent an open letter to Governor Gavin Newsom urging him to continue funding the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations hand crews who currently help the Los Angeles County Fire Department tackle wildland fires.
Supes Urge Newsom Not to Cut L.A. County Inmate Firefighting Crews
Give the gift of life, an upcoming blood drive is scheduled for Friday, June 28, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., at The Centre, 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita, CA 91350. The blood drive will be held in Cedar Hall.
June 28: City Hosts Blood Drive at The Centre
The city of Santa Clarita invites local schools and nonprofits to submit a proposal outlining a project that can benefit from volunteer support as part of Make A Difference Day on Saturday, Oct. 26.
Santa Clarita Now Accepting Project Proposals for Make A Difference Day
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold a regular meeting on Tuesday, June 25 at 6 p.m. that includes a host of issues including assessments, taxes, fees and budgets in addition to continued hearings on the Town Center Specific Plan.
June 25: City Council Meets on Open Space, Budget, Town Center Specific Plan
Part of the Summer Theatre Festival by Santa Clarita Shakespeare, "An Evening of Absurdity" will run July 12-21 at the MAIN, 24266 Main Street., Newhall, CA 91321.
The MAIN Presents ‘An Evening of Absurdity’
The city of Santa Clarita has issued a traffic advisory for daytime lane closures at Copper Hill and Rio Norte Drive beginning Monday, June 24.
June 24: Traffic Advisory Lane Closures Copper Hill/Rio Norte Drive
Santa Clarita will celebrate this year's Fourth of July with the Santa Clarita Valley Rotary Club's pancake breakfast, Santa Clarita Valley Parade Committee's Fourth of July Parade and city of Santa Clarita fireworks show.
Fourth of July Events in Santa Clarita
The California Department of Public Health is warning consumers not to eat, sell or serve any flavor of Diamond Shruumz brand chocolate bars, cones and gummies, which contain a proprietary mushroom blend. These products, known as microdose products, have led to multiple illnesses and hospitalizations in 16 states, including at least one poisoning in California.
California Public Health Warns Consumers About Diamond Shruumz Products
The Cube – Ice and Entertainment Center, Powered by FivePoint Valencia, will hold the inaugural Girls and Women’s Three-on-Three Hockey Tournament on Saturday, June 22.
June 22: The Cube Hosts Inaugural Girls, Women’s Hockey Tourney
Join Santa Clarita's oldest and largest running event, the 40th annual Independence Day Classic, Thursday July 4, from 7 a.m.- 10 a.m. at Newhall Memorial Park, 24933 Newhall Ave., Newhall, CA 91321.
July 4: Independence Day Classic
A special meeting of the William S. Hart Union High School District’s Governing Board will be held Wednesday, June 26, beginning at 8 a.m.
June 26: Hart District Governing Board Special Meeting
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) reports that the fast moving Post Fire that broke out in Gorman on Saturday, June 15 around 1:47 p.m. has reached 15,690 acres and is now 61% contained. This latest CAL FIRE update was issued at 7:44 a.m. on Friday, June 21.
Post Fire 61 Percent Contained, Pyramid Lake Remains Closed
For die-hard "The Love Boat" fans, the ultimate cruise experience just dropped anchor. Princess Cruises, which is headquartered in Santa Clarita, has announced an exclusive VIP package for its Love Boat themed cruise Aug. 32-Sept. 7 that promises intimate, up-close interactions with the show's beloved characters: Doc, Gopher, Isaac and Vicki Stubing.
Princess Cruises Offers ‘The Love Boat’ Celebration Cruise
The Valley Industry Association will host VIA Cocktails & Conversation: An Evening with CA State Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo on Wednesday, July 10.
July 10: Cocktails & Conversation with Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo
1941 - Ernie Hickson buys out Trem Carr's interest in their Monogram movie ranch, renames it "Placeritos" (later called Melody) [story]
Ernie Hickson
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) reports that the fast moving Post Fire that broke out in Gorman on Saturday, June 15 around 1:47 p.m. has reached 15,690 acres and is now 24% contained. This latest CAL FIRE update was issued at 7 a.m. on Thursday.
Post Fire 47 Percent Contained, Reported 15,690 Acres
The Santa Clarita Arts Commission will hold a study session Thursday, June 27, at 6 p.m., in the Carl Boyer Room at City Hall.
June 27: Arts Commission Study Session
Katherine Dyer has signed her national letter of intent to continue her swimming career at The Master's University.
Katherine Dyer Commits to TMU Swim Program
Every summer, Santa Clarita’s very own Central Park, located at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road, transforms into a premiere venue for live musical performances where friends, families and neighbors come together to sing and dance the night away.
Jason Gibbs | Get Ready for Concerts in the Park Summer Soundtrack
California State University, Northridge's Trey Knight, Chase Mars and David Phillips, Jr. will compete at the 2024 United States Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. beginning June 27.
Several Matadors Qualify for 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials
SCVNews.com