In the spring semester of 2009 at Moravian College, to achieve 40 hours of early field experience as part of my post-baccalaureate program, I observed Ms. Jolene Vitalos’ sixth-grade class at Regional Academic Standards Academy, 815 Pennsylvania Ave., Bethlehem, PA 18018.
RASA, as it was known, had been designed originally to assist fifth-grade students who were having academic problems from the district’s 16 schools, but had later been expanded to include fourth- and sixth-graders and had approximately 115 students in attendance. Many of these students were from lower socioeconomic levels or were students with disabilities and couldn’t be adequately educated in their original schools. RASA’s purpose was to get them ready for the sixth-grade PSSA’s, at which time they would be re-immersed into their original schools.
It was quite an experience for me to work with students who needed even more attention than most students did, and instilled a desire within me to work with students with disabilities someday. To my chagrin, thanks to budget problems in Bethlehem, RASA was closed in the summer of 2009, but I treasure the experience and what I learned.
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