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My name is Joann Carozza and I worked as a Pre-school Tutor in Danbury for 17 years, working with special needs children ages 3 to 5 years old. I truly cared for the well-being and development of the children. I love hearing about all the success stories of the children and the impact I’ve had on their lives. My work involved taking a lot of data on the kids, which consisted of Manding, is a functional unit of language consisting of prompting and reinforcements to get preferred items or activities, verbalization skills and daily trials. We also were responsible for potty training and changing diapers. We also assisted the teachers in completing their paperwork.
One of the tools we used heavily was the iPad. We used it for the trials, speech acquisition and activities. It involved an enormous amount of time to program the activities and input data, often after hours.
We were responsible for seeing that the kids were put on and taken off the bus and that they were properly buckled in their seats for safety.
We routinely had to take the kids to integration, which is another classroom that had typical and other special needs children. While in the other classroom I was responsible for helping them during integration and taking notes.
In the contract we have with the city, there is a clause that states that we’re entitled to a pension. It requires that we work a minimum of 30 hours per week and 183 days a year. We have held up our side of the contract and I think the bargaining table should hold up theirs. All of the other employees in the Danbury School System, the janitors, secretaries, cafeteria workers and teachers receive a pension and we feel we should not be excluded.
The Special Education Tutors provide an invaluable service in helping special needs children in succeed in school. We feel that we’re essential workers in the Danbury School System and should be treated just as fairly.