Special Education Coordinator, Ms. Stephanie Faith, Ensures Students Have the Support Needed

Posted by PA Distance Learning on 5/10/21 8:08 AM

Ms. FaithMs. Stephanie Faith, joined the ranks at PA Distance during the 2020-2021 school year as the Special Education Coordinator. Although she is new to the cyber education world, she is not new to the education world having held several positions as a special education and regular education teacher, assistant principal, principal, school psychologist and special education coordinator. 

“I grew up with education,” she said. “My mom is a lifelong English teacher. It’s something I always thought about doing and really focused on education when I got to college.”

Ms. Faith attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio for her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and later attended Duquesne University, in Pittsburgh, PA, for her School Psychology degree. After her first teaching experience, she knew that she wanted to pursue a career in education, specifically in school psychology and special education, after witnessing some of her students' continued struggles with learning needs, ADHD, and emotional difficulties.

She started out as a K-12 special education substitute teacher and regular education 1st-grade long-term substitute teacher, and then later became a school psychologist when she returned to school to get the necessary degree. 

“Because I have both of those backgrounds it gives me a better understanding of students and what they need,” she explained. “After focusing on special education, I wanted to make sure all of my students receive the right opportunities and not seen as different but seen as a child with a unique set of skills.  Then we work as a team to provide an individual pathway and different opportunities to succeed.”

“Too many people think of it as a ‘category’ or a ‘place’,” she added.” I want to be an advocate to put students first to make sure they are celebrated for who they are and successful in whatever path they choose.” 

PA Distance provides a variety of K-12 Special Education services, including academic support, behavioral support, speech and language services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, social work, counseling, and psychological evaluations. Having worked in a variety of settings and types of schools, she believes that her background is helpful at PA Distance. She attends all of the IEP (Individualized Education Program) meetings, conducts teacher observations through resource room and classroom lessons, attends team meetings, grows parent engagement, and supports all teachers and staff members.

“This is my first experience with a cyber education setting and it has been amazing,” she said. “It’s a new challenge for me but I think the training I received when I first started is the reason I’m doing so well. They really prepared me for what I needed to know.”

“Our department has grown significantly in the past year,” she noted. “It was awesome to be able to grow the program.  Our team collaborates and works so hard to ensure the best for all of their students!”

“I love it here,” she added. “We have students from all over the state like athletes or kids that help run their family farm. This type of education gives them that opportunity to do both,” she explained. “I don't have children of my own but I feel as though these are my children.”

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