Special Education Day: December 2, 2022
Thank you to all the fantastic Hempfield School District educators and staff who support our students with special needs!This day is observed to remember the progress that has been made in providing educational opportunities for all students, regardless of their abilities, and highlights the importance of accommodating children of all abilities in ways that allow them to grow & thrive.
Mrs. Wallace, current Learning Support Teacher at CMS (formerly at HHS), shares details about a program that she created that emulates what Special Education Day is all about:Through the Buddy Club, that I established and ran when I taught Life Skills at HHS, my Life Skills Support students socialized and made real friendships with regular-ed students by participating in monthly activities. This made a big difference in the school experiences of the Life Skills Support students, because they now had connections and friendships in the halls, in their elective classes, and in the lunchroom. They became more a part of the school community, and it was great to see them feel like they really belonged. Some of the alumni buddies are still friends as adults today!
In addition, many of my regular-ed buddies went to college to train for a career in a field related to working with people with disabilities. I am proud to have had an influence on the futures of these students, even though I didn't have them as students in my classes.
Last, news of the Buddy Club spread to other places... I was contacted by parents from other states, asking about how to start a Buddy Club in their schools. We even went international after HHS News did a story on the Buddy Club. It was later entered into a contest that earned them a trip to Russia, where they shared the story of the Buddy Club. In return, some of the Russian students came to visit us with hopes of starting a Buddy Club in their school!
The Buddy Club and our success stories really made me feel like I was making a difference in the lives of so many kids! The Buddy Club is still in operation today.