Partnering for Excellence in Education

by   |   Thu, Jun 23rd, 2016

Partnering for Excellence in Education

Summertime always brings me back to my childhood. I can still remember the excitement as the school-year drew to a close with three months of summer fun to look forward to. A time to replace homework with sleepovers and school assemblies with trips to the mountains. Despite the excitement for summer; however, I always found myself looking forward to the start of the school year come early-August. Towards the end of the summer, I would begin to miss my friends and anxiously mull over the various possibilities of whose class I would wind up in. This excitement I felt each year to go back to school, I believe, speaks to the important role that schools play in our young lives in terms of both academic and social development.

At TuscBDD, we also recognize the importance of school as both a place of learning and socialization. I am happy to announce that the Board took action at the May meeting to allocate funding to support local school districts in this county as part of the Inclusive Education Initiative of Tuscarawas County. Staff from TuscBDD have partnered with staff from local school districts and the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board (ADAMHS) to develop this initiative which allows for funding and staff to be re-deployed from TuscBDD to help support students with developmental disabilities regardless of where they attend school. We are thrilled about this collaboration. This type of partnership embodies how County Boards are evolving across the state as part of the current redesign of this system. The services and supports provided by County Boards are so much broader than just what takes place inside the four walls of our school, workshop or administration building.

As we embark on this new initiative, it is important to also note that students will still be able to receive services and supports at the Starlight School. We are blessed to have an excellent and innovative team of staff at the Starlight School who provide educational instruction to children in our preschool and school-age programs. I often hear from community members regarding the benefits of these programs. For instance, I've heard from families about the importance of the inclusive preschool program at the Starlight School where eight typically-developing children are educated alongside eight children with IEPs. Years later we hear from parents and students who express how witnessing inclusion from a young age helped them to better function in a diverse adult world. At a recent family gathering, my own niece, who recently graduated from an integrated preschool program in a neighboring county, raved about how much she enjoyed the integrated preschool setting. She went so far to say that when she finished Kindergarten that she would like to return to her preschool program to help her former teachers!

Thanks for reading and I hope that you are enjoying the summer weather!


Thu, Jun 23rd, 2016