NILES PROGRAM Teacher exercises good judgment
The superintendent called the teachera champion of the disabled.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
NILES -- Pupils with disabilities learn physical education individually and in classes with other pupils through the instruction of one teacher.
Marcy Mawby works with 27 pupils in six school buildings throughout the school district as the adaptive physical education teacher. The pupils' ages range from 6 to 16, and the disabilities range from severe, such as those with multiple afflictions, to mild.
Starting out: Mawby, a graduate of Niles McKinley High School and Youngstown State University, started her career in the district as a physical education teacher.
"I had worked at Fairhaven when I was in college for a couple of summers, and I thought, 'This must be my calling,'" Mawby said. "So when this position was posted five years ago, I applied."
Sometimes the pupils just need some extra attention in learning a skill, such as skipping, in the early grades. In those cases, Mawby works with the pupils until they master the skill.
"Take skipping: It's just one step and a hop," she said. "You just take it one step at a time, and each week you do it again."
Others work with Mawby from the time they're in elementary school through high school. She meets with some pupils individually, covering skills from weightlifting to bowling, softball and golf. With others she works with them during their regular gym classes, providing additional instruction.
Superintendent Patrick Guliano said most school districts rely on the Trumbull County Educational Service Center to provide physical education services to their pupils.
A forerunner: The superintendent said Niles is a forerunner among surrounding school districts in providing adaptive physical education in-house.
Guliano called Mawby "a true champion of the underdog and for the handicapped."
Mawby even donned a band uniform for the last football game in the fall, so that one pupil, Clinton Davies, who is blind, could perform on the field with the marching band when members formed "Niles" in script on the football field.
Districts across the state have included special-education pupils in the classes with other pupils for the past few years through inclusion.
At Niles, pupils with disabilities have been included in classes with other pupils for five years with a particular emphasis the past three years, Mawby said.
"No child goes unserved," Guliano said. "They're integrated into activities, and that's what education is all about."
Different paces: Mawby said working with some pupils is more challenging than others.
"For some kids it may take four years for them to learn one step," she said. "But when they get it, it's great to see. It's a slow process for some of them."