Local Members of the Month
Life Skills Program Para-educators at Forest Park Middle School
Sarah Tomaino, Felix Lopez, Heather Guynup-Aponte, Sandy Butler, Cody McCarthy and Donna LaPierre
Para-educators in the Springfield Public Schools work in many different special education programs. Life Skills is a program where the classroom environment is outside of the general education setting, supporting students with specialized learning needs. These students require a highly modified curriculum, smaller class size, and a lower student/teacher ratio. Para-educators work alongside Licensed Educators in these classrooms to ensure that their students achieve success.
"I can’t tell you how happy I am that our paraprofessionals are getting the recognition they most definitely deserve. Each of the paraprofessional’s in the Life Skills programs goes beyond what is required. They never hesitate to advocate for our students and to do what is best for their social, emotional, and educational needs. Their work is outstanding!!!" writes Gerald Saunders, Co-Principal, Forest Park Middle School
"I am fortunate enough to work with Mrs. Tomaino and Mr. Lopez in my Life Skills classroom at Forest Park Middle School. They are both so competent, hard-working and professional, that they could be teachers themselves. They are both very patient, respectful, caring and well-liked by all the students. Also, they assist me by providing 1:1 instruction when needed and supporting students with their behavioral management skills. Lastly, they make learning fun for all the students and make coming to work fun for me as well!" writes Susan Burke.
Lisa Csekovsky states," I am a teacher in Life Skills at Forest Park and just wanted to send a little shout out about two of the paras I work with.I currently work with Mrs. Aponte in the classroom and she is a pleasure to work with. She is always willing to help and puts in the extra effort with the students. She is professional with the students and staff but still maintains an enjoyable learning environment for all. Most importantly, she cares about the kids! I work with Mrs. Butler (formally Harnum) in the life skills program. The students really take a liking to her as she makes good connections with them. She is also willing to help out in any way that she can which is always appreciated! All the paraprofessionals in the life skills program at Forest Park are wonderful and we all make a great team!"
Andrew Soucie adds, "I would like to voice my appreciation for the paraprofessionals working in the Life Skills program at our school. We are very fortunate to have such dedicated paras working with some of the most challenging students. Our paras show tremendous patience, resolve and perseverance while providing the necessary services to enable each child to reach their full potential. I specifically want to thank Mrs. La Pierre for going above and beyond each and every day with our class. She comes to school every day providing the necessary I.E.P. services to all students. Our students know that they are genuinely loved and respected as people! She communicates well with our students, parents and staff who work with our kids. Her dedication, direction and dependability allow for a classroom environment where the students care for one another like a family! Thank you, Mrs. LaPierre, for all that you do for all of us here! We are able to work hard at learning as well as playing and having tons of fun along the way. Thanks for helping with curriculum and portfolios! Thanks for bringing in snacks and supplies when needed! Most of all thank you for always having my back! I appreciate everything you do for us!"
"Thanks for recognizing our amazing paras!!! I am blessed, as are our students, to have such a hardworking, dedicated, and engaging teacher with me this year. Cody McCarthy goes above and beyond; has been a major asset for our students; mentor, assistant, as well as an advocate. Our students continue to grow socially as a community because of his talents." states Mary Ann Yacovone.
Congratulations Sarah, Felix, Heather, Sandy, Cody and Donna and Thank You for Making A Difference.