Salute to ambassadors kicks off IRSD’s Special Education Week

GEORGETOWN – Indian River School District’s Special Education Week celebration featured a kickoff Feb. 26 with a public salute to individuals who tremendously impact students.

Nineteen ambassadors, including the entire cafeteria crew from the Howard T. Ennis School, took the stage to be honored and recognized during Monday night’s IRSD’s board of education meeting.

Special Education Ambassadors were honored at the Indian River School District’s Feb. 26 board of education meeting. Flanking the honorees are, at left, Dr. Jay Owens, IRSD’s Director of Student Services, and IRSD Superintendent Mark Steele. Behind Mr. Steele is Dr. Heather Statler.

“We are extremely proud of our 2018 IRSD Special Education Ambassadors,” Dr. Jay Owens, IRSD’s Director of Student Services. “It is not often that we are able to publicly acknowledge the dedication of these inspirational individuals. This year in addition to teachers, paraprofessionals, a counselor and a nurse, we were also able to recognize a community member. These individuals have a tremendous positive impact on students every day.”

“Honoring our 2018 Special Education Ambassadors is the kick off to IRSD Special Education Week. This week is an opportunity for our district to promote and celebrate special education services, special education programs, community members and special education teachers and staff who make it possible for students with disabilities to reach their full potential,” said Dr. Owens.

During Special Education Week, each of the district’s will holding special activities or working on special education initiatives.

This effort is driven by the Special Education Task Force, headed by board of education member Dr. Heather Statler.

“The task force is a group that celebrates success of the special education department and also helps to find ways to strengthen services for our students, families and communities,” said Dr. Owens.

Special Education Week, which runs Feb. 26 through March 2, will feature “Spread the Word to End the Word” programs, informational displays in each building during parent conference nights. There will be daily bulletins and announcements about the accomplishments of well-known individuals with disabilities.

This banner features names of Lord Baltimore Elementary School students who took the pledge “To Show Respect To Everyone” during the 2017 Special Education Week celebration.

“Spread the Word to End the Word” is a national campaign that asks participants to pledge to stop saying the R-word as a starting point toward creating more accepting attitudes and communities for all people.

Throughout Special Education Week, parents will be provided information about formulating Individualized Education Programs for their children. Presentations highlighting the IEP screening, evaluation, formulation and review process will be available at every school.

The presentation will stress the importance of parental participation in the IEP process.

“Special Education Week is an all-inclusive endeavor involving parents, the community, students and staff members,” Dr. Statler said. “Support is crucial in the realm of child special education services. Every student with a disability needs the support of parents, teachers and family members if he or she is to be successful. We hope to foster and strengthen this support network through our Special Education Week activities. We encourage all parents to participate.”

2018 Special Education Ambassadors:

Audra Mitchell, East Millsboro Elementary School

Sarah Johnston, Georgetown Elementary School

Melissa McNamara, Georgetown Kindergarten Center

Stacey Pavlik, Georgetown Middle School

Margot Newbold, G.W. Carver Academy

Wanda Burke, Howard T. Ennis School

Howard T. Ennis School cafeteria workers

Stacey Holladay, Indian River High School

Allison Bennett, John M. Clayton Elementary School

Lauren Kirk, Long Neck Elementary School

Jennah Truitt, Lord Baltimore Elementary School

Zach Murphy, Millsboro Middle School

Britney Lloyd, North Georgetown Elementary School

Melissa Grunewald, Phillip C. Showell Elementary School

Alyssa Mahon, Selbyville Middle School

Frank Shockley, Southern Delaware School of the Arts

Derrick Layfield, Sussex Central High School

Ann Marie Dalton, Community Member (Ocean View Police Department)

Megan Easter, Honorary Ambassador

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