RESPONSIBILITIES: The classroom special education teacher is a member of a multidisciplinary team who provides direct service to participants with autism in a classroom setting. The class consists of up to ten (10) participants grouped by age and ability. The teacher works under the direct supervision of the principal and is assisted by one or more para-professionals and/or teacher aides based on the number of participants in the room. The teacher’s role is comprised of five (5) main areas of responsibility: direct service of participants with autism; classroom leadership and educational planning; training and supervision of classroom team members; consultation with parents, related service providers, teaching team members, district representatives, residential program teams, and others; and reporting and record-keeping.
Teach participants to develop and improve skills in basic academic areas – reading, writing/expression, math, science, and social studies – at the participants’ developmental level, and in accordance with IEP goals and objectives and Illinois State Learning Standards.
Teach participants to develop and improve skills in expressive and receptive language, in cooperation with the speech language therapist and assistive technology coordinator, through utilization of appropriate communication systems including: exploring and expanding verbal language, and use of photographs, picture communication symbols, assistive and augmentative communication (AAC) devices, and sign language.
Teach participants to develop and improve social interaction skills (waiting, turn-taking, sharing, etc.) through 1:1 and small-group interactions.
Teach participants to develop and improve social-emotional awareness, and increase appropriate behaviors, through modeling and reinforcement of appropriate behaviors, and structured fading/replacement of inappropriate, aggressive or self-injuring behaviors.
Teach participants to develop and improve self-help and independent living skills (grooming, toileting, eating, dressing, household chores, etc.).
Teach participants to develop and improve vocational and job-training skills, and participate in in-house and community-based vocational experiences, in coordination with the vocational director.
Teach participants to develop and improve skills and knowledge in other areas, including Personal Rights, Health and Wellness, Interpersonal Relationships, and Safety, as deemed appropriate by the teaching team, and at the participants’ developmental level.
Teach participants to develop and improve fine and gross motor skills, and sensory-regulation strategies, as deemed appropriate by the teaching team, and in cooperation with the occupational therapist.
Teach participants to develop and improve community awareness through frequent participation in community activities.
Classroom Leadership and Educational Planning
Plan therapeutic lessons and activities in accordance with participants’ individual IEP goals and objectives, Illinois State Learning Standards, and overall program goals.
Participate in development and implementation of Individualized Education Plans (IEP) for each student, and Transition Plans for each student 14 and older, using experience working with participants with disabilities, knowledge of child development and skill development, personal outcome measures, observations of individual participants’ abilities, and previous records.
Participate in development and implementation of Individualized Behavior Intervention Plans for participants, as appropriate, using experience working with participants with disabilities, knowledge of behavior support strategies, personal outcome measures, observations of participants’ needs and abilities, and previous records.
In preparation for an absence (scheduled or unscheduled), make certain that the classroom team and / or substitute staff members have adequate instructions and materials to carry out lessons and activities, to ensure continued learning opportunities for the participants.
Maintain a clean and orderly classroom in order to promote safety and prevent illness.
Training and Supervision
The classroom teacher is responsible for the hands-on training and mentoring of all classroom staff, interns and volunteers. This responsibility can be shared with lead paraprofessionals and other veteran staff members, under the supervision of the classroom teacher.
Model and teach daily behavior support strategies, antecedent planning, therapeutic interactions and crisis intervention techniques, as appropriate to the participants and program, to classroom paraprofessionals/teacher aides.
Model and teach communication strategies, and use of communication methods/devices unique to each individual student, to classroom paraprofessionals/teacher aides and interns.
Model and teach specific teaching methods (task analysis, discrete trial, TEACCH, etc.), as appropriate to the participants and program, to classroom paraprofessionals/teacher aides and interns.
Teach appropriate data collection and record-keeping strategies to classroom paraprofessionals / teacher aides, as appropriate to the student and program, and ensure completion of any delegated record-keeping responsibilities.
Consult with teaching team to discuss individual student progress, behavioral successes or challenges, classroom concerns or celebrations, etc., on a weekly basis.
Consult with related service providers and auxiliary staff (Occupational Therapist, Speech Pathologist, Assistive Technology Coordinator, etc.), as needed to discuss progress on IEP goals, student challenges, etc.
Speak with parents at least bi-monthly to discuss individual student progress or challenges, or parent concerns. Communicate more regularly with parents via student notebooks, phone calls or emails as appropriate.
Consult with residential program staff, as appropriate, regarding student progress, challenges, or concerns.
Consult with school district representatives, as appropriate, regarding student progress or challenges, in anticipation of triennial evaluations or in the event of special circumstances.
Reporting and Record-Keeping
The classroom teacher is responsible for all data collection, record keeping, and report writing necessary to document progress toward IEP goals and objectives, behavior data, personal outcome measures, and program-wide goals.
The classroom teacher is responsible at least annually for all data collection, record keeping and report writing necessary to document annual progress on student IEP goals and individual behavior plans, as well as all necessary information to complete participants’ individualized education plans and transition plans, individual behavior plans, narrative progress toward personal outcome measures, and program-wide goals.
The classroom teacher is responsible at least bi-annually to complete written reports of student progress toward IEP goals and benchmark updates.
The classroom teacher is responsible monthly to complete written updates of student progress toward IEP goals and objectives, compile behavioral data for each student, and complete staff intensity summaries.
The classroom teacher is responsible at least bi-weekly to complete documentation of direct (phone or face-to-face) parent communication, or attempts thereto.
The classroom teacher is responsible weekly to prepare lesson plans and activities in accordance with participants IEP goals and objectives and program-wide goals, and to review goal data collection to ensure accurate and thorough reporting.
The classroom teacher is responsible daily to complete anecdotal logs, attendance, staff intensity data, behavioral data (as appropriate), incident/injury reports (as appropriate), and group home reports (as appropriate).
The classroom teacher is responsible for updating and maintaining individual student classroom files, in accordance with ISBE regulations. These files should include – but are not limited to – student emergency information, parent/guardian contact information, pertinent medical information, current IEP and triennial evaluations, classroom schedule, and related service schedule.
The classroom teacher is responsible to complete any additional documentation requested by school leadership in accordance with federal law, ISBE or local school district requirements, or program- and agency-specific goals.
Nonessential Job Functions
Is governed by PACTT policy and procedures
Maintains an environment of dignity and respect for all participants, families, and staff, at all times.
Attends all appropriate staff meetings.
Attends and successfully completes ongoing staff training, including agency-wide in-services, First Aid/CPR, CPI, and program-specific trainings, as scheduled.
Undertakes continuing professional study (agency in-services and outside conferences).
Must be dressed and groomed appropriately at all times.
Ability to twist, turn, bend, stand, climb stairs and lift as required to perform the duties associated with this job.
Ability to lift 25 lbs. independently repetitively.
Must be appropriately certified for the position according to Illinois State Board of Education mandates, which require one of the following:
A valid ISBE Special Education Teaching Certificate (LBS-1); or
A valid ISBE Elementary (Type 03) or High School (Type 09) Certificate with an LBS-1 endorsement for the assigned age group.
Must have at least 3 years experience in direct service of participants with special needs
Must consent to and pass required background checks
Must pass pre-employment physical and drug-screen
Must provide necessary information and documentation as required for agency personnel file.
Must successfully complete initial agency training sessions
Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills
Activities are governed by professionalism and confidentiality; through knowledge of participants development, learning theories and human behavior
Skill in dealing with individuals with emotional and behavior challenges
Physical and emotional capability to implement emergency crisis procedures, and ensure participants, staff and community members’ safety through implementation of designed interventions.
Ability to communicate effectively and develop cooperative relationships with families, co-workers, and others; and to professionally articulate knowledge and skills related to the job.
Professionalism in dealing with participants, families, staff, and public.
Ability to learn client communication systems.
Ability to prepare accurate, complete records
Ability to plan ahead and to cope with flexible and variant environment.
About PACTT Learning Center
Parents Allied with Children and Teachers for Tomorrow (PACTT) opened in 1993 as a school in Rogers Park. The founders began with a small group of students and staff, and a big goal – to create an autism-specific educational program that would help each student realize his or her potential as a participating member of a family and a community. With a combination of specialized teaching strategies and approaches geared to meet each student’s unique challenges, the program drew attention from other families and school districts. At that time, services for students with autism were limited, and PACTT was proving itself ready to meet the needs of this growing population of students.
Today, PACTT educational, residential, and vocational programs support children and adults with autism in becoming engaged members of their families and communities. PACTT Rogers Park programs now include school, transition and adult vocational services, as well as an adult residential home. In the Oak Park area, PACTT programs now include three residential homes – two for children and one for adults – and a growing adult vocational program.
PACTT’s founding vision continues to frame its future plans.... Expanded vocational and school services provide ongoing opportunities for people with autism to learn the skills needed to be more independent in their daily lives. Together with families and communities, PACTT aims to create a world where our participants are respected for the value they add to the lives of those with whom they work and live.
PACTT is accredited by the Council on Quality and Leadership.