Sarah Wales was born and raised and is still living in Temecula. But she is now Idyllwild School’s new Resource Specialist. With an undergraduate degree in sociology from the University of California, San Diego, and teaching certification from Cal State University San Bernardino, Wales has always taught within the Hemet Unified School District system.
She comes to Idyllwild from Acacia Middle School in Hemet where she has taught for the last four years. She previously taught at McSweeny and Jacob Wiens Elementary Schools in Hemet.
As resource specialist for grades Kindergarten through 5, she instructs students with mild to moderate disabilities and conducts general interventions for the wider school population. Those interventions include instruction in reading programs, such as “Read Naturally” (www.readnaturally.com).
This program employs teacher modeling where a good reader models correct reading for the student, who reads along while listening to a fluent reader. Repeated reading helps strengthen understanding. The student practices reading of a story until students can read at a predetermined goal rate.
Progress monitoring is another method. This is where daily monitoring of student performance creates attention and feedback to improve achievement. Students graph their own progress, such as words read correctly, with teacher assistance.
Wales also provides any special help that students may require for other educational issues.
Having taught middle school at Acacia, Wales said she is happy to be back teaching younger children. “I like it with the younger children,” she said.
Echoing other of teachers new to Idyllwild this year, Wales said she is amazed at the school’s culture. “Here there is such an amazing PTA,” she said. “You can see how it benefits the kids. And the smARTS program — even if the money isn’t there [to provide arts education] the community provides it.”
Wales said smaller classes at IS allow her to have more one on one contact with the students. “I’m already very happy here,” she said.