Ivan was a fourth grader with big brown eyes, a wide smile and a quiet demeanor who refused to enter my classroom. “Everyone thinks I’m stupid,” he’d say. I’ve changed his name to protect his privacy.
At the time, my school employed a pull-out model for students with disabilities, meaning they were removed from their assigned classrooms to receive specialized services and supports. This left Ivan feeling embarrassed, ostracized and resistant to putting forth academic effort.