IU13 Outlook June 2020
Student Showcase Provides Inspiration As Staff Adapt to COVID-19 Changes
– A message from Dr. Brian Barnhart, Executive Director
Since March, our worlds have changed dramatically. Suddenly, we were forced to work remotely and find new ways to deliver Service, Supports, and Solutions to our students, schools, and business partners. Since then, I’ve seen amazing innovation, resilience, and passion from staff; teams dedicated to finding ways to uphold our mission of serving students and continuing operations, while remaining safe.
Just a few nights before the statewide closure of school buildings, we hosted the Reinventing Learning Showcase, a bi-annual event showcasing the innovative programs happening in our local schools. Attendees spent the evening listening to students talk about their programs and schools, and seeing the excitement in their eyes. It was an evening full of passion and innovation. Little did we know it would be the final in-person event of the 2019-2020 school year. And, little did we know that we’d use the energy from that night to fuel our development of new programs to engage our students for the rest of our school year. If you weren’t able to join us for the Reinventing Learning Showcase, I invite you to watch this little video and experience the innovation.
And, I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage you to read the heartwarming story featuring our students from Andrea Fellows’ classroom at our Fairland School. These students presented at the Reinventing Learning Showcase, and also participated in the Governor’s STEM Competition this year with their Showerability Helper project. Not only did they do an amazing job, but they learned a lot through the process and warmed the hearts of many.
In this issue of our newsletter, you’ll see several stories about resilience, innovation, and perseverance as we helped our community finish out the school year.
And yet, there are so many more stories to share. Such as:
- Parent and Community Resource Portal – a webpage of resources to support families during this difficult time (Compiled by IU13 Social Workers)
- Supporting the Continuity of Education Plan – an overview of resources for special education, nonpublic schools, English Language Learners, teachers, and more
- A Graduation Video – honoring students graduating from one of our many special education classrooms
- Partnership Appreciation Video – honoring our 300+ business partners who help our students gain real-life work experience
- An Innovative Face Mask – designed by one of our own students to help individuals who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing or need to read lips
- And, please stay tuned for our upcoming “End-of-Year Celebrations” for special education. As we are finishing the school year, we are piecing together some very special tributes honoring the work of our teachers and staff, and celebrating the accomplishments of our students. We look forward to sharing this with you in the very near future.
While there is so much uncertainty in the world right now, remember the quote I shared earlier by Helen Keller. The work I’ve seen over the past few months by the IU13 staff, as well our fellow educators across Pennsylvania, is proof that we will persevere and, together, make things better!