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STAAR-Alt Helper
Work Smarter - Not Harder

About the STAAR-Alt Helper Family


Some Helpful Hints

Keep in Contact with Colleagues

Touch base with other Life Skills teachers in your district. They are the only real support you have. They know what your day is like. They know how hard your job is and just how frustrated you may be. They know your students and your parents. Meet with them regularly - maybe for dinner after work or a walk in the park.

Don't be Too Hard on Yourself

Whether you are a special education teacher, director, speech teacher or other support staff, you cannot do it all. Nobody can be everything to everybody. When you leave for the day - leave it all there. Believe me, it will all be there when you get back.

Keep up With Research

On your teacher certification, you can use hours of research when it is renewal time. So, when you are having a hard time or somebody uses a word or phrase that you do not understand, research it. Get a book at the library or maybe from your SpEd office. Keep track of the number of hours and the source. One thing that I appreciated was being able to state the reason that I was doing something in the classroom. Parents love that!

IEP= I Expect Progress


What Do We Believe?

We believe Life Skills teachers have the hardest job in any school district. At one time teaching students with low incidence disabilities was thought to be babysitting with some functional skills thrown in for good measure. Teaching simple academics was kind of a bonus if there was time and energy between dealing with behaviors. In 1998, when I started teaching Life Skills, I was told to keep them quiet so we didn't bother the regular education classes nearby.

I started off teaching academics and I saw my students gain a sense of accomplishment. When they learned something that was HARD, they became invigorated to learn more. Most had been in school 6-7 years by the 4th grade and they had been told what they could not do! They enjoyed learning what they could do.

I used research based learning methods and a lot of spit and vigor to show them that if the work seems hard then they are learning.


Over the years, some of my student have skipped resource class and gone straight to regular education classes. Why? Because they had learned how to learn and were motivated to learn. Some of my students went on to college or vocational schools. Success is learned and hard to teach but worth learning.


STAAR-Alt Helper is a Family Owned Business

My husband and I travel with our dog Ralfy to all the trainings and conferences. We make all the materials in our home office. We believe special education teachers need support and many don't get it. Even if you can't order, contact me and I will try to help you with whatever problem you have in your classroom.

  • Cindy Lovelace

    Here I am with my oldest granddaughter, Gloria. I am a grandmother with 10 grand children aged 5-29. Of course they are all brilliant.

    I started college at age 38 at Tarleton State and got my BS in Sociology and Psychology then an M.Ed. in Education.

    I worked with adults in group homes, supervised social workers at MHMR, and then I taught Life Skills for 17 years at Ennis ISD. Now, I am retired but still trying to make a difference.


  • Dave Lovelace

    Dave has been my husband since we were both seniors in high school. He started college at age 42 for a degree in Computer Networking and later began working at Ennis ISD.

    Dave retired and now works with the Lions Club. He also helps with whatever needs done at church.

    As my partner, he helps me run STAAR-Alt Helper. He makes all the materials, drives me everywhere and even does the bookkeeping.

    Dave is my one and all.

  • Ralfy Lovelace

    Ralfy is our 9 year old Sheltie and Dashund mix. We got him from a shelter when he was 3 weeks old. He is the best support anyone ever needed. Ralfy goes with us camping and everywhere else we go. He is the best dog ever.

    If you see Ralfy, don't look him in the eyes, because he will win your heart. Ralfy doesn't know a stranger and thinks everyone wants to pet him. Go ahead, do it: you know you want to.