School Spotlight: Northern Elementary

By Laura Ferguson, M.Ed., BCBA


Northern Elementary EBP2During the 2008-2009 school year, the training site project began in Jefferson County Schools under the guidance and partnership with the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum.  The following year the KATC began to expand the project into other areas of the state.  This year the KATC began working in three special education cooperative regions; this includes the Southeast/South central Educational Cooperative (SE/SC). Our work in the classroom involves monthly visits to support the local educational team in planning, implementing, and evaluating instruction. We work with the school team to select objectives and instructional plans for specified students as well as classrooms. Through the project our goal is to increase the school’s capacity for serving children with autism spectrum disorders by supporting their implementation of research-based strategies.


Northern Elementary EBP2This year I have had the privilege of working in Northern Elementary in Somerset. The classroom teacher is Elizabeth Wolsey and her paraprofessional is Heather Wells. From the beginning of the year it has been a great opportunity to work with both professionals in the room. The classroom environment displayed the use of evidence- based practices. The classroom implemented the use of visual supports, which included individual schedules for each student, reinforcement and communication systems. The staffs eagerness to work with the project and target specified tasks for each student, was evident from day one of the project. Both individual students and overall classroom goals, because of the enthusiasm of both Elizabeth and Heather, have been achieved.


 Northern ElementaryThe teacher Elizabeth Wolsey is involved in many programs to increase her knowledge base in the area of autism and instruction. One of the programs she is involved in is SPLASH. SPLASH is part of an overall Low Incidence Initiative that focuses on supporting new teachers of students with moderate to severe disabilities.  The mission of SPLASH is to provide professional development that promotes high quality instruction and supports for students with moderate and severe cognitive disabilities.  SPLASH supports building the capacity of Kentucky’s teachers to increase academic achievement for students with low incidence disabilities and to increase and retain the number of special education teachers with MSD certification across the Commonwealth. She also attends the autism cadre in Pulaski County. The autism cadre was developed to increase teacher knowledge of evidence- based practices for individuals with autism.


I look forward to working with both Elizabeth and Heather and their wonderful students for the remainder of the school year. I am sure with their knowledge and drive their students will reach many accomplishments.


Laura Ferguson is a certified behavior analyst and a Field Training Coordinator for the KY Autism Training Center. She provides direct training and technical assistance to education staff, social and community personnel, counselors, job coaches and families.

KY Autism Training Center Winter 2013 Newsletter February 2013