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Susan Samsel is honored with the distinction of Teacher of Excellence for Union County Public Schools

Susan Samsel receiving her Teacher of Excellence for Union County Public Schools at the Exceptional Children’s Division-61st Conference in Greensboro on Oct. 31, 2011.

Susan Samsel was recently honored with the distinction of Teacher of Excellence for Union County Public Schools at the Exceptional Children’s Division-61st Conference in Greensboro on Oct. 31, 2011. Susan is currently the itinerant teacher of the Home/Hospital-Medically Fragile, serving students with significant global delays in all areas and medical needs or conditions which hinder their participation in the typical public school setting.

As a devoted teacher and respected colleague, Susan Samsel has spent her career working with children with significant needs, aged preschool to adult, beginning 18 years ago in New Jersey, New York and Florida. This has been primarily in separate setting classrooms for students with intellectual and multiple disabilities in both the public and private sector. She says of her current teaching assignment, “It really is like having a one room schoolhouse with many different students of all ages and abilities except my classroom is their home.”

As stated, Susan Samsel has taken on the daunting task of coordinating the Home/Hospital-Medically Fragile for UCPS and has immersed herself in working with her colleagues including related service providers, the teacher of the Visually Impaired, and the teachers of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing. This is done in a collaborative manner where all work and learn together to meet the students’ individual needs. Susan acknowledges the need to improve strategies for instruction through the Extended Content Standards at all grade levels and adapts materials and current curriculum to meet the educational needs of her students. By researching available community resources for adapting materials through internet sites and publications, she increased her abilities to better serve her students who are significantly deficient in all global areas (cognitive, adaptive skills, communication and motor skills). She has reached out to borrow devices from the Assistive Technology Center in Charlotte to enhance the learning process for these special students, important during these tough economic times, and shares resource and site information with the parents of the students she serves.

Ms. Samsel has sought to improve data collection methods and record keeping to consistently monitor student progress in consultation with IEP team members. Being the thorough teacher she is, she compiles data notebooks for each student to address his/her IEP progress. Within the data notebooks, documentation of each session and comments on hospitalizations, absences, and cancellations are noted. Keeping definitive documentation is of the utmost importance in education presently. To keep communication lines open with IEP team members and better serve students collaboratively, Susan schedules monthly meetings with providers to discuss student concerns/progress/possible return to school. She uses various means of communication to coordinate integrated therapy with the educational sessions when appropriate.

Susan Samsel is a phenomenal teacher of students with significant cognitive disabilities who are medically fragile. She has an innate ability to get the most out of these challenged students and win the support of the parents and those she works with to provide their education. Being a team player, she works collaboratively with related service personnel, parents, and home nursing staff to continue the education and learning progress for these students. When tapping into her talents, UCPS tapped the right person to fill the position of Home/Hospital teacher of the medically fragile in Susan Samsel. Because of those talents Union County Public Schools considers Susan Samsel a “Teacher of Excellence” and is honored to have her recognized as such at the 61st Conference on Exceptional Children.

Written by: Janie Webb, Assistant Director of Exceptional Children
Posted: Nov 02, 2011 by CoRetta Limous

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