Special Ed Expert Moves from District to Camelot
Camelot of Escambia County has a new Director of Education, one who is already very familiar with the school in Pensacola, Florida. That’s because Leslie Travis until this year had been the school district’s special education liaison to schools including Camelot. Now she has made the move from district headquarters to the Camelot campus.
Travis, who has a master’s degree in Education from the University of West Florida, was with the district for 15 years, most of that time in Title 1 schools – schools that serve children from mainly low-income families. She has met many of the middle school special ed students at Camelot in her work with the district.
“She has worked for years with underprivileged children,” says Camelot Executive Director Andrew Maxwell. “Aside from her passion for these kids, she brings a whole other level of expertise to the legalities and requirements of special ed. That’s how she started working with our team. She will be a tremendous asset for our kids”
“I had always been in a school working with kids and then I came out of the school and started working at the district level and I missed the daily interaction with students,” Travis says. “I just really connect with the kids and I have a special place in my heart for them and want to see them be successful. The more I came onto the Camelot campus and was able to witness what they were doing with the kids the more comfortable I became and just felt like this was a natural move.”
Travis’ new job is to monitor middle and high school students’ credits and grades, work with teachers who need support in the classroom and offer strategies for effective ways to teach.
“One of the biggest things I want to do is make sure the teachers understand students with IEPs (Individualized Education Program) and what their accommodations are and find ways that we can help those students be successful as well because our population of kids with IEPs is so high.”
Camelot has operated middle and high school programs in Escambia County since the 2010-11 school year, serving students who have run into behavioral issues in their regular schools. The partnership has been so productive that the district added a Camelot program to the campus for K-5 students in 2017.
“Camelot’s staff has a willingness to go out of their way to welcome district staff to this campus,” Travis says. “It’s pretty much an open door. If you want to come to Camelot, come to see what we’re doing or call us about a student who transitioned back we will go out of our way to do whatever is needed to have that great relationship with the district.”
Camelot of Escambia has a number of middle school students who are in a credit deficit. They may be missing a class from 6th grade, maybe missing two from 7th grade. Travis says it is very important to help those students catch up to grade level.
“We have some students who are 15 in seventh grade and that’s a deterrent to them wanting to stay in school with the younger kids,” Travis says. “So a personal goal of mine is to monitor those kids and help with credit recovery and making sure that they appreciate when they complete something how important that is and that they’ve taken another step to better themselves with their education.”