The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Welcome to Big Sandy: Jill Barta Connecting with Her Students


September 12, 2018

Every teacher has their challenges starting a new year, but Jill Barta isn't like most single grade teachers. She is our new K-12 Special Education Teacher and she has every grade with the students coming and going from her classroom.

Jill said, "I'm still learning everyone's name, still getting to know exactly what everyone needs are so I can meet their needs and making sure I am doing my job.

Once I get to know everyone's learning abilities, what they can do, what they can't do." That's when she will fell she's settled in.

Her students have a wide arrangement of learning needs including: short attention span, poor memory, difficulty following directions, inability to discriminate between/among letters, numerals, or sounds, poor reading and/or writing ability, eye-hand coordination problems; poorly coordinated, and difficulties with sequencing.

Her students may perform differently from day to day, responds inappropriately in many instances, distracted, restless, impulsive, says one thing, means another, doesn't adjust well to change, difficulty listening and remembering, difficulty sounding out words, reverses letters, places letters in incorrect sequence, difficulty understanding words or concepts, and/or delayed speech development; immature speech.

She knows that "you learn everything during the year. It takes a whole semester to get to know your kid. This is not something you can do, hang around for one year and then go somewhere else. You learn everything during the year. It takes a whole semester to just get to know your kids. I need to get the kids to trust me, to get them to respect me."

Working with children with learning disabilities requires a lot of knowledge, patience, and creativity. Her classroom isn't just one age group, or one group of kids with similar levels of abilities. She'll have to work with kids that are often disillusioned with school and learning or have some self-esteem issues.

Jill is well known for her basketball abilities after playing for the Gonzaga Bulldogs and once she feels comfortable as a teacher she'd love to help out with basketball. She said,

"If I was a regular teacher, I would love to coach basketball maybe down the road sometime but with my current case load." And she just shrugged. She doesn't believe she can't justify giving time to basketball when she still feels behind in her teaching responsibilities.

"I am super thankful to come back and teach in a community where I feel so comfortable and I like meeting new people. I am here to help."

Jill graduated from Gonzaga and is originally from Fairfield, but she grew up in Havre. Her mom taught school at Box Elder and her father taught school in Havre before they moved to Fairfield. She likes Montana "You get that home feeling". Recently when she moved to Havre she moved just one block from where she lived as a child. Where she runs now is exactly where she rode her bike when she was little.

Welcome Home.


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