Teaching at IDEA Public Schools
Sarah Biniasz is a 6th grade Life Skills Teacher at IDEA Bluff Springs College Preparatory. She began her career at IDEA Public Schools as a 6th grade Humanities teacher and later led the special education department at IDEA Mission College Prep in the Rio Grande Valley. After teaching at IDEA Mission for three years, Sarah was compelled by the opportunity to help support the vision and direction of special education at Austin’s newest IDEA campus and joined the founding instructional team at IDEA Bluff Springs College Prep this school year.
As the IDEA Bluff Springs College Prep Life Skills teacher, Sarah works with the school’s highest-need students by providing them with tailored academic instruction and behavior interventions that target students’ individual goals and puts them on a path of expanded post-secondary opportunities.
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“The ‘College for All’ vision is still an expectation for Life Skills students, and that is something that I truly believe in,” said Sarah. “We have post-secondary goals in mind for all of our students, and we monitor their progress closely.” Sarah knows her students are powerful and have limitless potential. Her belief in ALL students aligns with IDEA’s vision, which continues to fuel her work and passion for her students and their families every day.
Sarah believes that the support and resources she has access to at IDEA Bluff Springs have been instrumental in meeting ambitious goals with all of her students.
“There is always someone who is willing to model for me and give me feedback,” she said. “The IDEA team is always providing feedback and always pushes me beyond my comfort zone.”
“I also really like that IDEA has implemented the Attainment Curriculum, a very hands-on curriculum that provides students access to the same content through different channels – visually, orally, and electronically,” said Sarah.
With the Attainment Curriculum, Sarah leverages a highly-structured and comprehensive curriculum that enables students to work toward independence by learning functional life and academic skills.
In addition to the Attainment Curriculum, Sarah ensures that all of her students are meeting their reading goals by using her classroom computers to engage with the Edmark Reading Program. This program uses a carefully sequenced, highly repetitive word recognition method combined with errorless learning that allow students to master their tailored goals. It allows her students to succeed doing independent work because it caters to their needs. When students see the letters, they are able to repeat the words, and the program assesses them. Sarah is able to progress monitor her students using the data she obtains from the Edmark Reading Program to prioritize objectives and skills with her class.
Enduring Student Impact and Success
As a teacher, Sarah is able to see examples of her transformative work through her students every day. Her former students are a testament of her enduring impact. She recently received the news that two of her former students, who graduated last year, are now working in the Helping Hands Program, helping to ensure that other students have access to the same opportunities they did. This example speaks to Sarah’s clear vision to provide all of her students with a quality education and unlock their potential to be agents of change in their community.