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School: Anderson Middle School

Area of Specialization:

County: Martin



Robert Griggs began his career as a Martin County educator of exceptional students in 2009 as a Paraprofessional while working towards a B.S. Degree in Exceptional Student Education (ESE) at Indian River State College (IRSC). This, Griggs's second career, came as a result of his experiences in the business world, where he found many adults unprepared for even the most basic mathematical and written tasks. Griggs decided to follow in the footsteps of much of his family and become an exceptional student educator.

While working as a Paraprofessional and earning his degree, Griggs wrote a summer camp curriculum for K-5 students with severe emotional and behavioral disorders based on Dr. Sara Salmon's PEACE4Kids & Families Curriculum. The camp was implemented in the summer of 2011 and, that same year, Griggs presented his camp curriculum at the International Symposium on Social Intelligence in Denver, Colorado. Griggs served as President and founding member of IRSC's Alpha Epsilon Rho Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society in Education. In 2011, IRSC sent Griggs, as its representative, to the Centennial Convocation of Kappa Delta Pi in Indianapolis, Indiana. Griggs received the Mary Brogan Scholarship for Paraprofessionals in 2011 from the Martin County Association of School Administrators and was again nominated in 2012.

Griggs earned his B.S. in ESE with High Honors in May 2012 after completing a three month internship with celebrated teacher of students with Autism, Henry Oset, at Dr. David L. Anderson Middle School (DLAMS) in Stuart. In the summer of 2012, Griggs was tasked with opening a second ASD-Intensive classroom at DLAMS, working alongside Oset, his mentor. Happy to take on this new venture, Griggs continued to learn new techniques and strived to become an expert in his new field. To that end, when Griggs learned of the PEPSA Partnership, he jumped at the opportunity and, together with Oset, applied and was accepted to the program based on their plan to combine their classes as one to better meet the needs of all students.

Unexpectedly, Oset passed away in November 2012. Fortunately, the forward-looking vision of Griggs and Oset was able to be continued with Oset's replacement, Ivy German. German and Griggs look forward to fully implementing the collaborative approach to teaching students on the Autism spectrum with the most intensive needs. They currently share eleven 6th-8th grade students, utilizing three interconnected classrooms and four Paraprofessionals. Also joining in the collaboration are two Speech-Language Pathologists, an Occupational Therapist, and the District's ASD Program Specialist.

Griggs looks forward to the future, specifically the potential for student benefit, inherent in a truly collaborative approach to education, and is currently evaluating his options for graduate education, likely beginning a program in the summer of 2013. Griggs is proud to represent his students, his school, and his CARD region as a 2012-2013 PEPSA Partner!

PEPSA Partner: Proposed Project (2012)

Project Description:

Paraprofessionals and other support staff play a vital role in fostering student success in the self-contained classroom for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is our hypothesis that specialized training for all support staff will undoubtedly increase student success, specifically in by decreasing occurrences of aggressive and/or noncompliant behaviors. Over the next several months, German and Griggs, with assistance from their CARD Partner, Linda Pierce, will identify and define specific undesired student behaviors and corresponding replacement behaviors, implement a number of evidence-based trainings with their staff, and record and analyze the impact of these interventions on student behavior. German and Griggs expect to see a marked decrease in undesired behaviors, as well as an increase in staff job satisfaction and group cohesiveness. Partnering with Ivy German

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This product was developed by the Partnership for Effective Programs for Students with ASD, a project funded by the State of Florida, Department of Education, K-12 Public Schools, Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services, through federal assistance under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part B.