"It's all about the kids," says Bill Feaver, resource specialist and head baseball coach at Fowler High School, in Fowler, California. "It should always be about the kids."
During the 15 years he has taught special education, Feaver has taken a team approach. Working with students, parents, teachers, and administrators, he's built a successful program. "We work together for the benefit of our students."
Students with different educational needs file in and out of Feaver's classroom every day. His focus goes beyond the goals and standards laid out in 504s or IEPs. He's interested in the kids' wellbeing and success. Feaver stays engaged with students and parents when his kids move into mainstream classes. He advocates for students and talks with their new teachers to ease the transition. His classroom is a place to go when the world overwhelms a student, when she needs extra time on a test, or to work on missed homework assignments.
When Feaver found that his intervention kids struggled with their third-year science requirement, chemistry, he approached the administration with an idea. Fowler is in a rural farming community, and has an extensive agricultural science department and a Future Farmers of America program. Feaver replaced the chemistry requirement with the more hands-on ag-science class.
"By writing it into the student's IEP, we made the program accessible to them for credit toward graduation," he says. "It's another opportunity to get my kids involved in school activities and to be a part of something that's important to the community. It's also an opportunity to educate and expose them to career possibilities.
"Most of my students struggle with school," says Feaver. "I spend lots of time talking to them about trade school or college, and how they can set their own pace and schedule in high school to increase their chances of getting in and doing well." Feaver incorporates these plans and goals into each student's IEP/504.
"My end goal is to have each student succeed—in graduating from high school and in pursuing a career after school."