Michele Slowik is the Assistant Director of and Behavior Analyst at the Nexus School, a private school in Montgomery County, PA for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Their approach applies B.F. Skinner’s research in Applied Behavior Analysis. As a small school, with only 19 students from ages 5-21, the Nexus School can offer highly individualized programming. It is dedicated to quality faculty training. Michele took the time to explain to us how the School is currently using ACCLAIM to offer pointed feedback and instruction to its teachers.
ACCLAIM: Tell us more about the curriculum at the Nexus School?
MS: We utilize highly structured programming and very sophisticated behavioral interventions. In order for our students to achieve their maximum potential in the most efficient ways, our teachers must learn to provide proactive measures for success, to react to students with perfect timing, and to appropriately respond to the unexpected.
“Seconds count in our response to the children and timing is everything.”
ACCLAIM: In the past, how have you provided teachers with guidance and mentorship?
MS: Prior to Acclaim, Nexus School teachers filmed themselves working with students during class time. Their individual supervisors would subsequently review videos, and write down their thoughts, noting the time stamps of moments in playback they were addressing. It was time consuming for teachers to fast forward to the places their supervisors had noted.
[PHOTO: Students at the Nexus School]
ACCLAIM: Can you describe how Acclaim has helped to improve this process?
MS: It’s a lot smoother. Acclaim allows for faster turn around since the videos are available to both teachers and supervisors. It lets teachers have a more active role in seeking guidance, since with the commenting feature, they may go through and mark where they had questions about their interactions with students. Furthermore, it enables teachers who work with the same students to collaborate, and to share their experiences and interventions with each other. This has made teacher training much easier and more interactive.
“Acclaim lets teachers have a more active role in seeking guidance.”
ACCLAIM: Most importantly, how does this benefit students?
MS: Seconds count in our response to the children and timing is everything. By giving teachers a greater sense of self-awareness, they in turn know how and when they can reinforce positive student behaviors as they teach. This amplifies our success with students with autism. Acclaim has been a very useful tool!