Mary Kornbluth starts work at 7:30 every morning, but her day is a little different from the average elementary-school teacher.
Instead of staying with a single class all day, she divides her time between five or six groups of three to 10 students. The kids, of varying grade levels, come to her to learn reading, math or writing skills.
The common denominator: Each child has special needs, and Kornbluth tailors her work for each individual.
''I have been here 19 years and I wouldn't do anything else,'' said Kornbluth, a special education teacher at Broward Estates Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale. ``I see growth and I see my students progressing. I see them coming in, some of them, not being able to read, and then they pick up that skill and it is very rewarding.''
And her skills are in demand.
In Florida, the need for special education teachers is growing -- particularly in the lower grades -- at a 3.6 percent annual rate, according to the state Agency for Workforce Innovation. The agency projects 365 annual new job openings.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools estimates it will hire 80 exceptional student education teachers for the next school year, spokesman John Schuster said. Broward County Public Schools does not yet have projections for the 2009-10 school year. Read the complete story at miamiherald.com