EXCEPTIONAL PARENT (EP) MAGAZINE HONORS SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS
“AN ABILITY TO CONNECT ”
EILEEN PAYRAUDEAU has been teaching at ECLC of NJ, Ho-Ho-Kus campus for six years. ECLC is a private, no n-profit special education school serving students ages 5-21 with severe learning and language disabilities including autism spectrum disorder, cognitive impairment, and medically fragile students. The school educates nearly 90 students from 11 counties in New Jersey.
What makes Eileen so special is her ability to connect with each and every one of her students. She is a vivacious teacher who is immensely creative, and she never sits still. Eileen’s class comprises students ages 8-12, with various developmental disabilities. She incorporates many imaginative and stimulating activities into her lessons. During the school-wide science fair, her students dressed as planets and rotated around the sun while dancing to a song about the solar system that Eileen had composed. On Valentine’s Day, her class performed a song about emotions and feelings to the tune of “BINGO” while they spelled out the word “HEART.”
She cares deeply about all of her students and is always raising the bar for them to achieve. She writes and directs classroom plays for her students, adapting all of the scenes to incorporate the non-verbal students by using various props and augmentative communication devices. For a health unit, she wrote a play about healthy eating, titled “Half Foods,” a bit of a parody of the food store chain “Whole Foods.” Students dressed as vegetables and delivered lines either verbally, with picture supports, or with an augmentative device.
Eileen continues to spearhead a partnership and cooperative learning program with a Ho-Ho-Kus elementary public school located less than a mile from ECLC. Activities have included a class-wide pen-pal program, pep rallies, “Jump Rope for Heart Health,” “Read Across America Day,” and several other activities with events being held at both schools. Eileen’s students have made many new friends at the Ho-Ho-Kus school that will last a lifetime.
While doing all of this Eileen is also able to maintain great classroom management and add a multi-sensory approach to her lessons such as visual supports, movement breaks, and many hands-on activities. She also participates in after-school activities such as bowling.
While not at ECLC, Eileen works with a local theater company called The Penguin Repertory Theater located in Stony Point, NY. Her various positions with this company have included acting, backstage, play-reading, and most recently as a member of the Board of Trustees. In her time there, she has been able to further hone her theatrical skills and creative ideas that she incorporates into her classroom lessons on a daily basis. She truly is a dynamic teacher who rocks the classroom every day. Eileen supports various ECLC fundraising events, such as the Walk-a-thon and annual Tricky Tray.
Along with all of her duties as a teacher Eileen is also the proud mother of four children. “Bravo” to Eileen for all of her accomplishments and “break a leg” in all future projects.
– Submitted by Assistant Principal Steve Collins, ECLC of New Jersey