April is Autism Awareness Month. Alison Brennan and the staff at P255q @ PS128 are conducting outreach to the General Education students that we share our school building with. Alison presented a brief introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders, as well as a review of the supports we as a school use with our students. At this point, the 6th, 7th & 8th grade students were encouraged to ask any questions they may have about individuals on the Autism Spectrum, as well as share their own experiences. The resulting conversations were interesting, emotional, at times funny, and above all, enlightening. One student said that she did not want to leave to go back to class! The results were also quite astounding, as some of the General Education students immediately went out of their way to help out some of our students! This is what Autism Awareness – and Acceptance is all about!
Purple Day is an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide. On March 26th annually, people in countries around the world are invited to wear purple and host events in support of epilepsy awareness. Last year, people in dozens of countries on all continents including Antarctica participated in Purple Day! For more information, visit http://www.purpleday.org
On Purple Day, we took the opportunity to discuss Epilepsy, how it impacts our students, and the proper response when an individual has a seizure.
P255q @ PS/IS 128 students had a fun-filled Superbowl Party on Friday, February 1st. First, our students participated in a football themed obstacle course in the gym. Then they moved to the ADL room where they made sliders and were given football tattoos (temporary, of course)! After that, the students made football field brownies, complete with pretzel goal posts! It was a fun day for the kids and adults of P255!
On Tuesday, November 6, paraprofessional staff from each site gathered at PS 154 for a half-day of training. The day began with a Back to Basics PowerPoint by Coach Vernice Borleo and 397 Coordinator Katie McLaughlin. Speech Teachers, Occupational Therapists, and Physical Therapists from each site created presentations to refresh the staff on best practices from their respective disciplines as well. Throughout the AM sessions, the paraprofessionals were engaged, entertained, and rewarded for their participation!
On Thursday we said good bye to the summer at 128! We had a surprise visit from our newly retired principal, Richard Marowitz and his grandson. We celebrated with outdoor water activities which were set up by our Speech Department. The students enjoyed the sprinkler, water balloons and were able to squirt water on both friends and staff!
Our OT’s and PT’s created a science exploration room where the students made worms in dirt cups, used a flashlight to explore the stars and used fine motor skills to pick up fish and put them in the boat. We were also lucky enough to have two APE teachers that were able to set up activity stations in the gym for our students.
Our students enjoyed pizza and the Speech Department created an ice cream sundae cart which traveled to each classroom at the end of the day. It was a great way to end a wonderful summer session.
P255 @ 128 now has a new coordinator and she certainly is fitting in like she has always been here at this unit. Meghan Kozak has been spicing up things here at 128. She has put the “fun” in fundraising by having biweekly raffles that give our staff the chance to win gift cards. Everyone is more than excited to win a gift card to Target or Starbucks. It also gives us something to look forward to and helps us raise money for our students.
Meghan has also broke barriers here by helping open up the conversation with our general education school. She has met with 8th graders and spread some awareness to them about our population. So now when our students see each other, they give one another an appropriate greeting. In the past our students were less accepted by the general education population. It’s so wonderful to see our students being social and saying hello to students in the hallway. The school is now preparing to have a social skills group, where the eighth graders will come and buddy up with some of our students. This is a wonderful opportunity for both our students and the eighth graders. Not only is this program giving our stedents the opportunity for more socialization, it also gives the general education students more knowledge of our population. It’s a win win!!
We are loving our new coordinator and are looking forward to what will come next.