Special Education


What is Affective Needs (AN)?

Affective Needs classrooms are self-contained classrooms for students with emotional disabilities that provide a strong emphasis on affective education, academics, and social skills programming. Emphasis is on replacing inappropriate behaviors with more socially acceptable ones. They offer a highly structured environment with individualized behavior management strategies and plans exist within these center classrooms.

What is Mild Moderate (MM)?

The Mild Moderate program serves children who have been identified as having mild to moderate special education needs.

Affective Needs Team

Affective Needs Teacher, Jocelyn Klein
Jocelyn_Klein@dpsk12.org

Information to come.

Affective Needs Paraprofessional, Sara Westbrook
Sara_Westbrook@dpsk12.org

Information to come.

 

Peter Ventresca, Affective Needs Paraprofessional
Peter_Ventresca@dpsk12.org

 

 

 

What year did you begin teaching?

  • 2006 – 2007 In School Suspension Teacher, North End Middle School, Waterbury, CT
  • 2008 – 2009 K-12 Substitute Teacher, Region 14 School District, Woodbury, CT
  • 2009 – 2013 Video Production Enrichment Teacher, Youth Development Program / Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles, CA
  • 2013 – 2016 Instructional Assistant / 1-1 Aide for student with Cerebral Palsy, Norrback Elementary / Forrest Grove Middle School / North High School, Worcester, MA
  • 2016 – Present Affective Needs Paraprofessional, University Park Elementary School, Denver, CO

Where did you go to college?
2004 B.F.A. in Film Drama, College of Visual & Performing Arts / Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

What is your favorite thing about University Park Elementary?
The positive energy that is in the building which stems from the collaboration between faculty, staff and parent involvement.

If a school day suddenly got canceled, how would you spend the day?
I would spend the day with my girlfriend driving through the mountains taking photographs of the breathtaking scenery!

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Cooking and eating food is one of my favorite things to do so this is a very difficult question. My answer would be penne pasta with homemade “gravy” (tomato sauce), spicy Italian sausage, meatballs and garlic bread.

If you were not an educator, what do you think your job would be?
Camera Operator at Coors Field for all Rockies home games!

What is something your students might be surprised to know about you?
I sell my photography work on ETSY (www.etsy.com/shop/ventrescaphotos).

What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
An episode of Seinfeld where George Costanza pretended to be a marine biologist.

Mild Moderate Team

Mild Moderate Teacher, Katie Hendershot
Kathryn_Hendershot@dpsk12.org

What year did you begin teaching?
2009 at Thomas Elementary in Flagstaff, Arizona. I started in DPS in 2010

Where did you go to college?
Northern Arizona University (Go Lumberjacks!)

What is your favorite thing about University Park Elementary?
The students! They come every day eager to learn and I cherish every moment I get to spend with them. Being a Special Education teacher I love watching all of the students’ grow over several years.

If a school day suddenly got canceled, how would you spend the day?
If it is in the winter you would probably find me up at Winter Park snowboarding ( I loooove snow days ). If it is in the spring time you would find me outside taking my daughter, Blake, for a walk with our dogs (Mac, Boston Terrier & Kobe, Chocolate Lab).

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
This is very embarrassing, but it would be mac & cheese. I love it! I can never get enough.

If you were not an educator, what do you think your job would be?
I’ve always thought a job in sports would be fun. I am a very competitive person whether it is in a professional setting or playing a game with family friends. In addition I have seen firsthand how fun a job in sports can be. My husband works for the Colorado Rapids and my father is the Athletic Director at UCSD and previously worked for USA Volleyball.

What is something your students might be surprised to know about you?
I think they would be surprised that I once taught students in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. I lived on a military base for a year and taught 1st-3rd graders.

What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
My daughter Blake, she just started to squeal when she gets excited (she is 5 months old). It is so cute and fun to watch her find her voice!

 

Sam BryneMild Moderate Teacher, Samantha Byrne: Learn more about Samantha Byrne.
Samantha_Byrne@dpsk12.org

What year did you begin teaching?
 1995

Where did you go to college?
I have my B.A (Hons) from London University, Post Graduate Certificate of Education from Oxford University and my M.Ed from University of Phoenix

What is your favorite thing about University Park Elementary?
The wonderful warm, friendly feeling you get the minute you walk through the door. I can’t wait to get to know the staff and students.

If a school day suddenly got canceled, how would you spend the day?
With my two children and my Labradoodle.

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Watermelon – so fresh and delicious (chocolate would have to come a close second!)

If you were not an educator, what do you think your job would be?
Probably nursing. I did join nursing school, but dropped out at the last minute. Definitely a job helping others.

What is something your students might be surprised to know about you?
I taught Ballet, Tap and Jazz dance for many many years!

What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
My crazy Labradoodle “Indy”.  My daughter Emily and I decided to groom him ourselves – not the best idea 🙂

UPark_Elementary10004Mild Moderate Paraprofessional, John Neuhalfen
John_Neuhalfen@dpsk12.org

Where did you go to college?
University of Denver.

What is your favorite thing about University Park Elementary?
Parent involvement and support.

If a school day suddenly got canceled, how would you spend the day?
Hanging out watching movies with my kids.

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Sushi.

If you weren’t a Kindergarten Paraprofessional, what do you think your job would be?
Stock broker.

Mild Moderate Paraprofessional, Radha Snyder
Radha_Snyder@dpsk12.org

What year did you begin teaching?
I began working at University Park Elementary in 2016.

Where did you go to college?
I have a Bachelor’s degree from Biola University in Los Angeles and a Master’s degree from Dallas Seminary.

What is your favorite thing about University Park Elementary?
My favorite thing about UPark is the dedication the teachers and staff have to their students.

If a school day suddenly got canceled, how would you spend the day?
If school was canceled I would spend the day hiking with my two children and my husband.

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
If I had to eat one food for the rest of my life it would be pasta.

If you were not an educator, what do you think your job would be?
My background is in counseling, so if I was not working as a para I would love to work in foster-care/adoption.

What is something your students might be surprised to know about you?
My students would be surprised to find out that I can be pretty grumpy sometimes.

What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
The last thing that made me laugh out loud was my 6 year-old’s Father’s Day card.