Over the last three years, IDEA’s Special Education population has grown by approximately 65 percent. This rapid expansion has created wonderful opportunities to grow our Team & Family by hiring more licensed and certified Special Education teachers and leaders (Speech Language Pathologists, Licensed Specialists in School Psychology, Special Education Managers, and Course Leaders) in every region.
Just two years ago, Carmen Rincon joined the Special Education team serving five campuses as their Speech Language Pathologist (SLP). Her role was to plan and deliver therapy for our scholars and assess for the presence of communication disorders and track student progress towards goals.
Now as the Lead SLP in San Antonio, she manages and supports a team of eight Licensed Speech Language Pathologists, including one SLP assistant and an intern.
Carmen has a passion for what she does every day. Here are some highlights of her life journey and career at IDEA.
What roles in education did you have before joining IDEA?
During my undergraduate and graduate years, I taught Anatomy and Physiology Laboratories at the University of Texas Pan American—now known as UTRGV. I also mentored, tutored, and served as a college advisor to incoming college freshman to ensure that they completed their first year in college.
I was also a Lead member of the Gear Up program for middle school students during the summers. Gear Up is a discretionary grant program designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in education.
My current role combines all my passions: helping others, medicine, and education.
What are the various roles that you support at IDEA and why are each of those roles impactful?
I currently manage a caseload of 60 students, and I supervise their Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) This includes supervision of their therapy, progress monitoring, conducting evaluations and re-evaluations, preparing IEPs, and collaborating with teachers to ensure scholars have the appropriate support and access to the general education curriculum.
What are some common misconceptions that you’ve heard about IDEA’s Special Education program?
A misconception about IDEA is that we do not offer Special Education services. IDEA does offer Special Education Services and Related Services (e.g., Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy). IDEA also offers campuses that include a Life Skills known as RISE classrooms.
Another misconception is about the training and support of our special education staff. I love that IDEA offers extensive Special Education support to our Special Education teachers and staff. We have Course Collaborations trainings for Special Education teachers and co-teachers, which offers various professional development courses. It is a great opportunity for us to regularly come together and collaborate.
What impact do you want to make at IDEA and why is it important to you?
At the heart of my career is student success. I joined IDEA because the core values truly align with my own.
In my two years with IDEA, I have been blessed to work collaboratively with the Special Education team who truly embodies and exemplifies each day that we as a Team & Family do whatever it takes for all scholars.