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Oak Ridge Elementary School

Talking with Tigers: Diagnostician Appreciation Week

Marisa, tell us about your background.

After earning my bachelor's degree from West Texas A&M University, I spent eight years at Floydada ISD teaching kindergarten, pre-kindergarten, and special education. I continued my education at WTAMU and earned my master’s degree and became an Educational Diagnostician. I have been blessed to work with students in two school districts as a diagnostician for the past 10 years and have had the privilege of serving as Lead Diagnostician here at Frenship ISD for the past two years. 

How does a school diagnostician serve our Frenship students and families?

As a diagnostician, we play a vital role in the lives of our Frenship students and their families. As we identify students’ needs, we are working collaboratively with a team to provide instruction that will target their abilities so that they can achieve the maximum success possible. We strive to make certain that students reach their potential but also ensure that their families understand the implication of disabilities. This is a key factor in fostering positive outcomes as active participants during their time at Frenship as well as after. 

What is a typical day/week of an educational diagnostician?

A typical day in our lives as diagnosticians varies.  In a week, a diagnostician can expect to have multiple ARDs (meetings for students who receive special education services), collaborate with parents and teachers through email, phone calls, letters, or in person; collect, assess, analyze, interpret, and document findings within evaluation reports to determine the extent of students’ needs within special education services.  We are responsible for scheduling and meeting timelines for holding meetings, submitting evaluation reports, and creating individualized education plans for our students. Along with the multiple responsibilities that we encounter daily, we must also ensure that the implementation of these plans is done with fidelity. Like all educators, we know that each school day may end when the students go home, but our doors are always open for our parents/students and teachers.

How important is the role of a diagnostician to educating our students?

As a diagnostician, we primarily have a background in teaching. This allows us to understand what our students face every day in the classroom. We are passionate about making a difference in our students’ lives and are reminded of that daily. As a diagnostician, we are trained to assess and identify learning disabilities, create plans that target the students’ specific needs and utilize our findings to recommend strategies that will facilitate skill building and growth. Annually, we continue to collaborate with the students’ team, and ensure that they are making progress. We are instrumental in the lives of our students and their success stories.

What do you love most about your work as a diagnostician?

I love my students! My favorite part of being an educational diagnostician is having the opportunity to work with students. Often times, students feel defeated academically which then turns to other issues. I love being able to be part of their smile and reason that they feel they can be successful. 

This week is Diagnostician Appreciation Week. What would you like our Frenship community to know about the work you and our other diagnosticians do for Frenship?

This week is a great opportunity to thank our diagnosticians for all the hard work they do. To all our Frenship Diagnosticians, we may not say it every day, but we see you, love you, and appreciate you. You are the reason behind each special education success story at Frenship. I am so blessed to work with you all; Thank you for making the decision to SERVE alongside me.