09242017

A one-on-one team effort: Julie Ellison and Mindy Davis

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Julie Ellison (left) relies on technicians like Mindy Davis (right) to get the most out of her special education students at the Oakridge School.

Julie Ellison welcomes her students each morning as they get off the bus. At her side is Mindy Davis, a technician in Julie’s classroom full of special-needs students at the Oakridge School in Springville.

“We want the students to be as independent as possible, so we take our time in letting them get into the school, hang up their backpacks and get ready for the day,” Julie says. “Sometimes it goes quickly, some days it doesn’t.”

Oakridge is dedicated to special education and the staff includes three teachers, about 15 technicians and specialized staff members including speech pathologists, audiologists and a nurse. While all members of the team work to meet the individual needs of each student, the teacher/technician partnership is the one most evident day in and day out.

“We couldn’t make progress with our students without the help of technicians like Mindy,” Julie says.

Technicians allow students to have one-on-one attention in a classroom setting. Mindy specifically works with physical therapy goals, but understands and pitches in everywhere.

“You can tell when someone needs some extra help and you just step up,” Mindy says. “You don’t wait for them to ask.”

This teacher/technician partner gets the most out of each student — regardless of their challenges.

“We see these students as the individuals that they are,” Julie says. “They are smart and it’s rewarding for us to see the strides they make when they push themselves and work toward goals.”

This is one of 11 stories featured in the partnership section of Utah Valley Magazine. Read all the stories here.

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