Beyond The Bell: The Need For Special Needs Teachers In OKC - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

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Beyond The Bell: The Need For Special Needs Teachers In OKC

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Danyelle Amerson bounces from student to student during chemistry class at Jefferson Middle School. Danyelle Amerson bounces from student to student during chemistry class at Jefferson Middle School.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Staying focused in the classroom isn't as easy as it sounds, especially for a growing number of children in Oklahoma City who have mild to moderate learning disabilities. These students can fall through the cracks but with a little extra attention they achieve major success.

Danyelle Amerson bounces from student to student during chemistry class at Jefferson Middle School. In the eyes of these students she's keeping them on point, paying attention, learning the material.

"That ah-ha moment when he actually gets it or when he has more questions. The fact that they want to be here, knowing that they want to be here in school, is like that moment because if they want to be here, I want to be here even more," Amerson said.

Amerson changed careers this year, making the move from PE to Special Needs, specializing in Science and mild to moderate disabilities. It was a choice to make an impact.

"I would have wished there was two teachers in the room to keep me focused on what I was supposed to be doing," Amerson said.

As the Oklahoma City Public School system continues to grow, there's been a push to hire more classroom help, especially teachers and aids specializing in learning disabilities. Back in the classroom, Amerson looks around the classroom, focusing on each individual, trying to figure out a way to maximize their success.

"I like to think of it as that they just learn differently. But at the same time, everybody learns differently," said Amerson.

At the start of this school year, there were about 30 open positions for Special Ed teacher's aides. Since holding a certification boot camp, they're down to five open positions, but the goal is to have an even bigger pool of candidates to choose from.

They are holding another free boot camp that should start in January. Teacher's aides in the district who have gotten certified in special education areas have on average seen their salary triple. 

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