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Kolb Elementary School in the Spotlight at DUSD Board of Trustees Meeting

February 4, 2014

Kolb Elementary SchoolOne of the positive and ongoing traditions continued at last week’s Dublin Unified School District (DUSD) Board of Trustees meeting. Generally, the second bi-monthly meeting devotes an early agenda item to spotlight one of the ten school sites in the district. On Tuesday, the slot was devoted to Kolb Elementary School. Kolb is the newest school site in Dublin and serves just over 1,000 Kindergarten through fifth grade students. The school opened in the fall of 2012 and is led by Principal Ms. Nicole Williams Browning. The site is located on a large parcel adjacent to Fallon Road and right next to the Fallon Sports Park.

At the Trustee meeting, there were presentations to students in the category of Integrity in Action. Additionally, the Kindergarten teaching team was commended for their work in fostering a Professional Learning Community (PLC). Finally, as with each spotlight, a Certificated and Classified employee is recognized. recently had the opportunity to sit down with the Kolb Certificated designee, Trisha Hahn. Ms. Hahn is a Resource Teacher and Intervention Specialist.

Trisha attained a B.A. in Liberal Studies with an option in Special Education from California State University, Hayward (now East Bay). She also received a Multiple Subject Credential in Mild/Moderate Special Education. Ms. Hahn was also an athlete as she played for the Women’s basketball team. She has been employed by DUSD for ten years now and had worked primary at Dougherty Elementary School. However, she also managed to split some of her work days between Murray & Green Elementary and Fallon while it functioned as a K-8th Grade school. When Kolb opened in 2012, she made the fully dedicated move to this site. As a Resource and Intervention Specialist, have you experienced any significant differences in your daily role vs. when you first began with the district? Please explain.

Kolb Elementary School Teacher Trisha HahnTrisha Hahn: “Yes, when I first began teaching in Dublin, it was much smaller. It has grown quickly in the past few years. In my first few years of teaching I just served special education students who were identified as a student with a disability. When the new elementary schools opened up, Fallon K-8 and then Green Elementary the number of special education students were low and that was the reason I was split between elementary schools. I would begin my morning at one site and at lunch time drive to the other elementary school and serve those students. It was difficult, but well worth it because these students needed to be taught daily. When the special education laws began to change for IDEA the research showed that early intervention was most effective, I was thrilled when I began to serve any student at risk and be at one school site. Now I see many students, students who are new to our district, students who are struggling a bit to learn and students who are in special education.” Kolb Elementary is a comparatively large elementary site. Help us to understand your in-class and also your supervisory responsibilities.

Hahn: “I have three instructional aides that either work with students in small groups or one on one. I am responsible for their schedules, not only being sure they understand their purpose with working with the students and what to teach them, but I am sure they receive their breaks and make their schedule. I have the pleasure of working with a special-education team, a speech and language therapist Angela Sharp who I have been working with since Dougherty Elementary, she is just wonderful and professional. I also work with Gary Yabrove, school psychologist for at least the last 6 years, he is also amazing. So, I schedule IEP meetings, talk with parents, collaborate with many general education teachers, attend their grade level meetings, and also make my own schedule for serving at least 36 students right now. I work closely with the general education teachers to pre-teach or practice the same curriculum and concepts they are working on in class. My greatest joy is teaching students how to read and celebrating their success and progress. I also progress monitor students progress in the regular education classroom. I also attend SST meeting, Student Study Team meetings with the principal, parent, general education teacher and other team members.” Please explain your reaction to being named as a site recognition recipient. And, what did it mean to have many of your colleagues present?

Hahn: “I was beyond honored. I was actually a part of the leadership meeting when my colleagues chose me. I was just honored, speechless. I truly love my job so be to honored for something I love to do was the cherry on top. Kolb has hardworking, dedicated to student learning teachers. They work so well together, collaborate on every subject and it makes my job easier to support students, when a group of five or seven general education teachers are working on the same concept at the same time, it is easier for me to successfully support students. It is not easy for those general education teachers to commit to the time it takes to be on the same page and work together like that, I am so thankful to work at an elementary school that has one goal in mind, student learning. At the board meeting, when I saw many of my colleagues cheering for me, it made my heart smile. I appreciated their support.” Please describe the profile of the student that you routinely encounter. Make a distinction between English Language Learners, Developmentally Disabled or Behavior-centric.

Hahn: “Most of the students I work with are students who are below grade level in either language arts or in math. Many of the students I work with are often new to our school, therefore not Dublin students since Kindergarten and they sometimes come in below grade level. Some of these students are English Language Learners who are still struggling to learn the academic language and others are identified as having a learning disability. Most of the students do have strong parent support at home, which makes a great difference in their progress in the classroom. I get to work with a variety of student profiles, some do have behavioral concerns. Others just need a little extra teaching, time or support to learn the concept.” While this is a great honor, is there anything else that you would like to add?

Hahn: “I am a mother of three children. It is not easy to be a working mom of three, but with the amazing support of my husband we are able to do it. I say all of that because I feel blessed to come to a place of work that I deeply love. I enjoy teaching, providing support to students who are struggling, meeting with parents, and general education teachers who have a lot on their plates as educators. So, I am thankful I get to do something that I love.”

Kolb Elementary School Food Services Sherri OrnelasIn the Classified category, Ms. Sherri Ornelas was honored. Ms. Ornelas has served as a Food Service Worker in the district for many years and at several sites, including Frederiksen Elementary School. When the opportunity arose to initiate meal operations at a brand new school, she seemed to be the perfect fit. Thanks to Sherri and her colleagues, hundreds of Kolb students are nourished every day. would like to commend both Trisha and Sherri on their respective recognitions. They are making a positive difference at Kolb Elementary.

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