Courtney Bergeson does not have a classroom, but she is very much involved in the education of students in the Redwood Area School District. Bergeson, a speech/language pathologist, is working to help students improve their communication and social skills.
Originally from Granite Falls and a graduate of Yellow Medicine East High School, Bergeson continued her education at the Mankato campus of Minnesota State University where she earned a degree in communication disorders.
“I always wanted to work with kids,” said Bergeson.
In her role, she is able to celebrate even the smallest of improvements with students who are working with her to address everything from articulation to helping them learn to better interact with their peers.
Bergeson, who said her mom is also a teacher, admitted being a speech/language pathologist was not her plan when she went to college. Yet, as she started taking classes she determined that was going to be her niche.
After graduation, Bergeson did not immediately begin working in education, as she spent two years working at a hospital in Marshall in the area of pediatrics. Yes, said Bergson, the ultimate goal has always been to work with kids in an education setting, but she wanted to give the medical side of what she does a try first.
This is Bergeson’s first year working in a school. She currently is working with about 60 students, and those students primarily come to her twice a week to work on their communication skills and social development for about 20 minutes per session.
Bergeson said she came to the Redwood Area School District, as her husband, Brett, has already been an educator in the local school for a couple of years.
“This gives us both the chance to live and work in the same community,” said Bergeson, who agreed that has been nice.
While Bergeson does travel from site to site in the local school district, most of the work she does is at Reede Gray Elementary School, which is also where she has an office.
The students Bergeson works with are referred to her, which can be done by a physician, a teacher or even a parent, and when a student has been referred they are assessed to determine where they are at and what measures and efforts can be implemented to help him or her improve those needed skills. Bergeson is also involved with preschool screening where some of the issues can also be identified.
Every student has their own individualized plan that outlines the goals to accomplish and what will be utilized to achieve those goals. Most of the time students will work with Bergeson throughout an entire school year.
To ensure progress is being made outside of the times when Bergeson works with a student, she will also interact with teachers to ensure those techniques being worked on during their sessions are being used consistently. She will also spend time sitting in the classroom observing how they communicate and interact with others.
She will also communicate with families to ensure what is being learned is also practiced at home.
Bergeson said things have been going very well for her in the local school district, adding she has enjoyed the people she has met.
“Everyone is so helpful,” she said.
In addition to working with students in the role of a speech/language pathologist, Bergeson is also serving as a B-Squad volleyball coach. In that role, Bergeson said she has the opportunity to not only teach athletes the fundamentals of the sport but also the skills they will need for the rest of their lives.
Being a coach has also been a lot of fun, Bergeson said.
When she is not in school or on the court sidelines, Bergeson said she enjoys spending time at the lake and reading.