Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Technology Spotlight - Janice Rice-Kafafy, Ridge View High School

Technology has always had a special place in Ridge View High Teacher of the Year, Janice Rice-Kafafy’s heart. That love grew two years ago when her then boyfriend now husband proposed to her via a surprise Skype call (from Egypt) during class one day.

Today, she makes technology an integral part of her self-contained special education classroom. Mrs. Rice-Kafafy was frustrated by the fact that her students Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings often consisted of parents and teachers discussing a student’s needs while the student sat mute and unable to express concerns. Last March, when she received a class set of Chromebooks she decided to use these new tools to help improve the IEP process. Now students use computer time each week to plan their own IEPs. Mrs. Rice-Kafafy believes that students must have the ability to advocate for themselves. The technology available at Ridge View High School allows the students to communicate, research future careers, create presentations about themselves, and learn about their strengths. Mrs. Rice-Kafafy hopes that by next year students will be able to lead their own IEP conference, and therefore, become a more active participant in their education. “I have seen the students. . . flourish; not only verbally, but in the knowledge of what their disability is and how they can advocate for themselves and how they can use technology to advocate for themselves.”