Tom DiLella, Certified Special Education Teacher

Why did you choose this specific field?

I was drawn to this field because I had a hard time understanding life and what was necessary to have success when I was young. When students struggle with their behavior or emotions, it is something I feel I can understand and relate to very closely. I believe that I can use my experience to shed light on what can be a very confusing, frustrating, and misunderstood path.

What's a day like for you at High Road?

I am a teacher for 10 special education students who have had difficulties with their emotions and behavior in the past. I do all of their content and academic instruction and lead their emotional and behavioral support in the classroom. I try to model the reasonable behavior and expectations that I expect them to learn and have. I try to show them the connection between accomplishment and fulfillment. I try to empower them to make good choices, to do what is right and not follow the path of least resistance.

What do you enjoy most about coming to school every day?

I enjoy every inch of progress the students make, in terms of their academics, emotional well-being, and behavior.

Can you give an example of a ‘Little Victory’ you’ve seen a student achieve at school?

I have a student who had become infamous for antagonizing the other students around him. Since joining my class in recent months this student has been building positive relationships with others with many observable positive interactions.

What’s something important that people should know about your school and what the staff does every day?

High Road Primary School of Hartford implements emotional and behavioral support strategies alongside academics. Students everywhere would benefit greatly if they had access to many of the emotional support services and instruction we offer. It is my hope that in the future, more students will have access to them.

Describe what’s special about the team at your school and their passion for their students?

What is special about the team is that the people who are here actually want to be here. Our staff cares deeply for the success of all children and works hard every day to make the lives of a very vulnerable population of children happier, better, and more successful.