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Full Circle Moments: A Special Education Teaching Journey with Lori Pollett

Greetings, fellow education champions! Today, we embark on a journey close to my heart as we delve into an interview that holds deep personal significance for me, Barb Beck. Around 15 years ago, Lori Pollett, a luminary in my special education journey and an enduring source of inspiration, guided me through a transformative experience. In her role as my instructional coach, Lori opened the doors to a realm of best practices in special education, offering valuable insights that have resonated with me throughout my nearly 30-year career in the field. Now, in a poignant full-circle moment, I find myself not only contributing to but reaching toward new professional goals with The Functional Academics Program—the very program Lori introduced me to all those years ago. As a new content creator for the Program, I am deeply intrigued and engaged in the cutting-edge developments, particularly the innovative data collection systems and evolutions unfolding this year with SDES and The Functional Academics Program. Tune in to our interview with Lori as we delve into her perspectives on innovation in special education and explore the exciting developments on the horizon.

Lori Pollett: A Guiding Light in Special Education

Lori has been a beacon of inspiration for me throughout my career in special education. Her passion for the field, dedication to students, and commitment to excellence have left an indelible mark on my journey. About 15 years ago, she took the time to guide me through a transformative experience that laid the foundation for my understanding of best practices in the field.

A Transformative Visit: The Styer-Fitzgerald Program – Now, Functional Academics

During that pivotal time, Lori took me to a school in Seattle to witness best practices in action. The destination was the Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics. Little did I know that this visit would shape not only my career but also the trajectory of The Functional Academics Program itself. In that classroom, alongside Lori, was a paraeducator who is now the author of The Functional Academics Program. The seeds of innovation were planted, and the journey had just begun.

Evolution of a Special Education Program: The Full Circle Moment

Over the years, my own career has taken me to different corners of the special education landscape. However, the impact of that visit and the insights gained from Lori have remained constant. Fast forward to today, and it’s a full circle moment. I find myself in the position to interview Lori, gaining her invaluable perspective on innovation and excellence in special education. She continues to inspire my own personal goals.

From Classroom Teaching to Content Creator

As my journey in special education continued, I evolved into a content creator for The Functional Academics Program. The program that Lori introduced me to during that eye-opening visit has undergone many iterations and evolutions. Now, I have the privilege of contributing to its growth and development, creating content that reflects the best practices and innovations that have been at the core of Lori’s own experience and inspiration to always keep pressing forward and moving toward my own goals.

Innovation in Special Education: Lori’s Perspective

In our interview, Lori shares her thoughts on the evolution of special education, the role of technology, and the power of inclusive classroom communities. Her insights not only highlight the progress we’ve made but also underscore the continuous need for innovation and adaptation to meet the diverse needs of students with disabilities.

A Heartfelt Thank You to Lori Pollett

As we wrap up this reflective journey, I extend a heartfelt thank you to Lori Pollett. Her mentorship, guidance, and unwavering commitment to excellence have been instrumental in shaping my career and the work we do at SDES and The Functional Academics Program. This interview is not just a conversation; it’s a celebration of shared growth, learning, and the enduring impact of a mentor who believed in the potential of every student.

Join the Conversation:

We invite you to share your own inspirational story with us, just like we were able to with Lori Pollett. Whether you’re an educator, a student, or someone passionate about special education, there’s much to learn and celebrate. Let’s continue to innovate, inspire, and create inclusive environments that empower every student to thrive. We would love to hear from you if you are interested in becoming a part of the conversation by being a guest teacher or administrator on our podcast!

Be sure to check out the full episode and conversation with Lori Pollett (posting on Friday, January 12, 2024) on the FAST 15 podcast sponsored by SDES, the publisher of The Functional Academics Program. Be sure to subscribe to the Fast 15 on your podcast platform of choice in order to be notified when this interview goes live!

Warm regards,

Barb Beck 🌟
Creative Content Director, Specially Designed Education Services (SDES)

©2023 Specially Designed Education Services

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SDES has teamed up with Mundo Pato, Inc., our cloud publishing partner, to create a simple and affordable solution for special educators to use during this critical time.

The Virtual Teaching Materials are a separate supplemental purchase that will greatly enhance the Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics ​or can be used on its own.

Virtual Teaching Materials Pricing 1st year: $1000 non-recurring configuration fee plus 12 x monthly charge.

Per Month
Per Year*


































Monthly subscription charge is based on a minimum of 100 students ​and increases by $125 per group of 25 additional students.

Scheduling Tip

Find a student in your classroom who can read and understand your master schedule. Assign them a job in the morning to help set up individual student schedules. See the video of Megan setting up the schedule.
Play Video
Suzanne’s student Megan was her Teacher’s Assistant first period during her junior and senior year. One of her jobs, among other clerical tasks, was to set up individual student schedules. It saved Suzanne prep time in the morning and was a great vocational experience for Megan.

SDES has teamed up with Mundo Pato, Inc., our cloud publishing partner, to create the full Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics in the cloud. *The Styer-Fitzgerald Program in the Cloud Start-Up Fee: a $6000 non-recurring start-up fee will be added to the first year subscription only.

Cloud Pricing

Per Month
Per Year*
Monthly subscription charge is based on a minimum of 100 students ​and increases by $125 per group of 25 additional students.