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Bixby Schools Special Education

Striving for independence and success.



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Bixby mom Kelly Johnston laughs at this year’s first day of school snafu. She confesses she put her daughter Kara on the wrong school bus. 

“When she got on the bus, I noticed a different bus driver but thought maybe it was a new driver so I smiled and waved and off the bus went,” Johnston said.

Diagnosed with Down syndrome, Kara rides the special education bus to school.  “I accidently put her on the ‘typical’ kids’ bus,” explained Johnston, mother of three. Johnston refers to kids who are not in special education as “typical.” 

While most moms would anxiously get in the car and chase down the bus, Johnston calmly texted Kara’s teacher at Bixby North Intermediate and explained what had happened.

The teacher met Kara at the drop-off point for the bus and walked Kara to her classroom. “Kara did not think anything about being on another bus,” Johnston said. “She is friends with all the kids in her school. My daughter’s teachers go above and beyond.”

Kara started kindergarten at the age of 7 at Bixby North Elementary. From the age of 2 to 6, Kara attended The Little Light House, an early learning center in Tulsa for children with special needs.

Before beginning kindergarten at North Elementary, Kara was evaluated by a team of Bixby counselors and special education teachers to determine the best classroom environment for her.

Gigi Barnett, director of Special Education for Bixby Schools, says that it is important to find the best classroom fit for the child’s physical and intellectual needs. 

“Many children come to the district with orthopedic, visual or hearing impairments as well as multiple disabilities. Our special education counselors evaluate the child’s intellectual and physical abilities and meet with the child’s parents to determine the best type of classroom and length of day for the child,” Barnett said. “Some children attend school for half a day, while some maybe one to two hours a day.”

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