In the last several years, the type of students served in special education classrooms has shifted from students simply needing academic remediation to a larger population of students with emotional disturbances, significant difficulties with executive functioning and regulation, intellectual disabilities, and medical needs. The need for trauma-informed teaching and modification of curriculum is increasing.  With Special School District employees spread out all over St. Louis County the opportunities to connect with colleagues are few and far between.  The job of a special education service provider presents many unique challenges that make professional collaboration imperative to not only student success but also to staff growth and well-being.

On Saturday, September 8th, Connected Learning, and Jennifer Ferguson hosted the first SPEDcampSTL at Long Elementary from 8:30-12:00.  Eighty educators from across St. Louis County, some from Jefferson County, and as far south as Cape Girardeau gathered together to discuss topics such as racial bias and equity in special education, the impact giftedness has on emotional regulation, behavior intervention and modification, parent involvement, language therapy data collection ideas and strategies, music therapy, and staff well-being.  Participants connected not only during the three breakout sessions but also virtually through Flipgrid videos in which they reflected on what they hoped to gain from the morning.  The event concluded with giveaways from Adam Welcome and Kids Deserve It, Burgess Publishing Company, Boardmaker, and Flipgrid. SPEDcampSTL was a testament to the growing need for professional collaboration in the special education community.

- Jenifer Ferguson

Check out the session board and collaborative notes: http://www.bit.ly/SPEDCamp18

Enjoy some of the media from the day's learning here: