Derik Reed

Welcome to Capital High School!

I am a certified biology teacher and special educator, and have been at Capital as a Special Education Teacher since 2005. I am one of the case managers and special education teachers for students with mild to severe learning issues at Capital High School, managing Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) for these students, and providing support that allows those students to share the academic environment with non-disabled peers.  I serve students in co-taught classes, in our core curricular lab, and also teach a course in Applied Biology for selected students.

I came to teaching either by accident or divine guidance (I guess it is up to you to decide who to blame).  I grew up in northwest Arkansas, lived on my own for a year in eastern Idaho, and then returned to Arkansas to finish a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry.  I continued at Clemson University, earning a Master of Science degree in Forestry/Wildlife Management.  Returning to Arkansas, I worked as a Research Specialist in wildlife studies for nearly 5 years.  I moved to Montana in 1992, expecting to work in natural resource management, but almost immediately began working with children with emotional and behavioral disorders.  I have worked in a number of treatment centers, group homes, and mental health agencies.  In 2000, I returned to school to become certified to teach.  I gained certification in Biology for Secondary Education, and also in Special Education.  I feel fortunate to have been hired in the Helena School District in the first year that I was available after student teaching.  I expect to serve students for a long time in Helena.

I believe that all students are unique, and deserve an opportunity to learn in an environment that allows them to demonstrate that uniqueness.  I believe that the key to guiding learning is in the development of a mutual relationship that promotes respect, trust, individual dignity, and personal value.  I believe my strength as a teacher is in the development of that relationship.

I can be reached via email, at, or you may call my direct line at 406-324-2521.

Applied Biology-per. 5

This is a class designed to accommodate for students with specific limitations, who are selected by staff and/or the students’ IEP team, to provide an opportunity for students to gain required biology credit in order to graduate. We use the Foundations edition of the adopted Biology text, and I maintain a classroom set in my room.  No book is checked out to students. We also do quite a bit of hands-on, field-based experiences using the nearby Fairgrounds Pond and other nearby wetlands easily accessible during our class time.  You can expect that students will not be assigned homework, and opportunities are provided for all work to be completed in class.  Thus, it is very important that your student is present. When students miss beyond 11 days, or students choose not to complete work during class, work missed may be completed as homework or during CC lab or study hall time.

We will cover topics including basic science methodology and terminology, ecology, nomenclature, the cell, genetics, and an overview of living organisms.  We will make at least two collections; one will be a plant collection at the start of the year, and the other is a “virtual” collection of vertebrate animals observed at the fairgrounds in the spring.  The Virtual Collection will serve as the final exam grade, and will be presented as a PowerPoint presentation by each student during the semester test time in June.  Students will be expected to use technology to create and share the PowerPoint and other written assignments throughout the year.  Again, students will be provided with ample opportunity and instruction to complete all of this work during scheduled class time. Exams are generally open notes, though some memorization of facts is essential to benefit from the exposure I provide, and some quizzes may require students to work from memory. All accommodations listed in a student’s IEP/504 plan are followed for this course.

It is my expectation that every student who attends class regularly, uses class time effectively, and does what is asked of them will earn at least a B, probably an A.  However, students have an opportunity to make choices that will not move them forward in their academic pursuits, including in this class.  You can expect that if I am seeing issues, I will be in contact with you.  You may also contact me at any point.  I look forward to working with you and your student this year.