Reports from Special Education Resource Grants
By Savannah Lira, Program Officer
The Special Education Resource Grants Program has brought numerous benefits to students and teachers alike. It has helped fund opportunities to develop self-help skills and maximize students’ ability to be independent, sensory tools that serve as a calming influence to get students ready to learn, and assessment tools so teachers can better understand a child’s issues and then formulate an education plan and improved teaching, among many others. Not only does this program provide teachers with resources to meet the needs of the children, but it also boosts morale, something much needed last year when traditional teaching has to be adjusted to meet the needs of remote learning.
Below are a few excerpts of the reports we received back from teachers who were awarded a special education resource grant last year:
“My students and their families are grateful for the generous donation that your organization shared with us. I [bought and created] individual supply box for each students to take home since it was distance learning last school year. Each students also received a set of books for them to have at home while we read them together on zoom. The students may not be able to be at school physically but we made sure that we were all having fun learning and at the same time building capacity among parents while they are helping and teaching their children at home. We are grateful, we are thankful and we are blessed because of people like you.” – Pia Dela Cruz, Special Education Preschool Teacher in Richmond
Your grant has allowed our students with severe disabilities to have access to tech based curriculum to practice life and vocational skills across different settings during the past COVID school year. All of my students have transition plans that require skill building in three different areas: Independent Living Skills, Vocational and Post Secondary Goals to prepare them for their adult life when they age out of the school district at age 22. Your grant allowed them opportunity to meet all areas of their transition goals with this amazing curriculum that is made specifically to meet the needs of our students who are severely impacted by their disabiltiies.
Often times, as a teacher of students with severe disabilities, it is very challenging to find curriculum at their levels. “Adulting Made Easy” from Teachers Pay Teachers is one of the few places to find curriculum that is engaging, evidence based and connected to state standards and made for amazing students like mine. Because this is a growing bundle, this curriculum is the gift that keeps on giving. As more curriculum is developed in the future and added to the bundle, purchasing this bundle means we get all the new curriculum for free. Thanks for supporting student with severe disabilities. Your funding has really made an impact on their lives.” -Leona Toves, High School-Young Adult Education Specialist in Alameda
“I would like to say thank you so much for the funds to purchase boom cards. Since we were on distance learning speech therapy was administered through zoom. Boom cards enabled my speech assistant and myself to continue therapy using interactive activities through the boomcards website. Now that we have in person instruction, speech therapy continues to require boom cards use, due to health and safety restrictions.” – Nicola Dalton, Speech and Language Pathologist in Oakley
“Last year we were able to support distance learning with the grants by helping us make “homework bins” for our students. Included were items that students were able to keep, such as whiteboards and markers, crayons, manipulatives, communication buttons, name tags, and even magnetic 10 frames. We were able to purchase books and additional items as well. Thank you so much for your consideration year after year!” – Jessica Sturholm, K-3rd grade Special Education Teacher in Hayward
“I am so incredibly grateful for your grant last year during Covid. I am an Adapted PE Teacher and was teaching students virtually at the time. I was able to send home to each of my special education student a bag that I called a “movement pack”. Inside this bag were all sorts of items that we used to help facilitate movement activities at home such as beanbags, rings, scarves, dice, chalk, balloons, etc. These items had a huge impact on lesson planning and instruction. I was able to be creative and guide students and parents through various exercise routines and fitness games at home. Because students had access to these materials all week, they were also able to practice on their own, which prepared them better for class. Thank you so much. I am very, very grateful.” -Allison Leshefsky, Adapted PE Teacher in Alameda