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Opinion & Essays - Feb, 1998 Issue


I am very thankful for the resources and networking opportunities your newsletter provides. 

Currently I am working in a Public School District advocating for Native American Students. My education background is in EBD/LD Special Ed., however I was so frustrated with the program classes outdated modes or unrealistic applications that I quit for one year, and took the Student Advocate job. During my year working in the school I became even more increasingly upset with the District’s Special Ed. Program. The middle school EBD/LD students experienced at least 5 different teachers in one school year. Children left IEP mtgs in tears. There was no “individualized” part or taking the students’ needs or interests into consideration. Basically, I witnessed these students being “set up” for failure and drop out. Fortunately, things are looking more upbeat. There are now 2 teachers (LD & ED) working together. I am hopeful they will be able to better advocate for and instruct these students. Perhaps another problem source is that many of the regular education staff do not have any training or understanding of students with “disabilities.” These 2 new teachers have their work cut out for them. 

I am becoming more and more convinced that the “traditional” education system can not seem to meet EBD students needs. 

I hope the alternative programs your newsletter highlights will lead the much needed school reform/revolution. I truly believe in the power of combining Experiential Education and Applied Ecopsychology for all students, especially those with the EBD label. 

-Heidi, Wisconsin 
(Heidi: Thanks for your letter along with the Report on Project Nature connect. You stated your frustrations and hopes with education well. Hang in there and do the best you can. Part of your frustration is just the reality of life, part is our continuing to follow forms of “mass education” developed a century ago, and part can be corrected by people like you who know better. -Lon) 

To the interested! 
I am currently on leave from my position at UNH working and enjoying the eastern part of Australia. In my professional interactions here, a colleague asked me if I was aware of any private schools that utilize adventure programming as a means to assist students (in this case, boys) who have experienced a disciplinary action and are on "contract" with the school (meaning that they are on a sort of probation where if they don't change their behavior they run the risk of being expelled from the school). In this case, the school is interested in seeing if they could create a program that would help the boys change behavior and be successfully re-integrated back into the "normal" school population (a large majority of it being young men who are boarders at the school) Respond to: Michael Gass, Ph.D., mgass@christa.unh.edu OR: Lon Woodbury, lon@woodbury.com

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