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Around Our Town...Outstanding Educators

03/01/2005 - "We love what we do. In five years I see myself still sitting here," Kasey Muir relates.

BASS (Behavior and Social Skills) teaching team, Kasey Muir, Robin Lake and Brenda Flynn (affectionately called "the BASS chicks") of Bar Nunn School know that theirs is not just a job. "We mean more to these kids than we know. We love and accept them. It's more of an intimate relationship than in a larger class," Kasey says.

The BASS program is a structured classroom approach focusing on shaping behavior and teaching appropriate social skills. It consists of a series of consequences/rewards designed to encourage appropriate behavior. Every fifteen minutes throughout the day some kind of positive reward (from praise to a tangible treat) is given. Taken from the Crane Reynolds Model and modified to meet individual needs, the program has been highly successful with clearly observable results.

Goals include self-motivation to appropriate behaviors and mastering peer interactions. Getting along with others is a "constant biggie" because it is a life skill for which the need "never goes away."

"The kids always say, 'We are like family here.' They realize they're in a room with others who have similar struggles. We all support one another," Kasey says.

When asked about the greatest challenge involved in her job, Robin Lake replies, "Letting go after you have had them for three years."

"It's very easy to get attached emotionally," Kasey adds. She tells us the greatest rewards are celebrating as the children's behavior is shaped and seeing them successfully mainstreamed.

The rewards go both ways. Brenda Flynn feels she has learned things in the classroom that help her in raising her own children, such as, "respect works." Functioning as a "team" and supporting one another also gain positive results.

Kasey tells us successful techniques vary from student to student, and from minute to minute. "This isn't a job where you clock in and clock out. I take this home with me nightly – both in practical work and a lot of mental stress." It's all worth it. The commitment and love are clearly evident in the countenances of these three "Outstanding Educators." Our Town Casper thanks you, ladies.

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