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EDUCATIONSUPPORTPROFESSIONALSMeetingtheNeedsoftheWholeStudent23www.nea.orgespProflesinENGAGEDEachstudentisactivelyengagedinlearningandisconnectedtotheschoolandbroadercommunity.NancyBurkeInstructionalParaeducatorHaverhillHighSchoolHaverhillMassachusettsWhenNancyrstaskedpermissiontouseavacantinteriorcourtyardofherhighschoolshecouldneverhaveimaginedwhatwouldbetheretoday.ThisfallshehadaSalsaGardenwithavarietyofpepperstomatoesandcilantroandaStewGardenfullofcarrotsonionsandmanydierenttypesofpotatoes.Thesegardenshaveexcitedandengagedthe24specialneedsstudentsthatsheteacheseveryday.Butthegardenisaboutmorethanjustgrowinghealthyfoods.ItservesasalearninglabatherapeuticgardenandasafeandrelaxingspacewhereNancyandherstudentscangetfreshairandconnectwithnature.Nancywantedtogetherstudentsoutoftheclassroommore.Thiswasnoteasysincemanyofherstudentswerewheelchair-boundorhadotherphysicallimitations.LuckilywiththeassistanceofstudentsfromthegeneraleducationclassesandsomeEagleScoutsshewasabletogetraisedbedgardensbenchesandarampforwheelchairaccessibilitybuiltforherstudents.Theraisedbedswerecriticalbecauseherstudentsinwheelchairswouldnothavebeenabletofullyparticipatewithin-groundgardens.Nowallofherstudentscouldgettheirhandsdirtyandappreciateeverythingthegardenshadtooer.Thegardensbenetednotonlythespecialneedsstudentsinherclassesbutalsotheentireschool.TheHouseConstructionClassatHaverhillHighSchoolisnowbuildingashedtostoregardenequip-mentandthestudentcouncilrakedcleanedandthenplantedtulipanddaodilbulbsforthespring.Thebenetsofschoolgardensarenumerous.NowNancycanoerherstudentshands-onexperientiallearningopportunitiesinnaturalandsocialscienceaswellasnutrition.Shecanteachaboutwaterandenergycyclespollinationandthereasonswhyweallneedtocareaboutthenaturalenvironment.Oncerestrictedtotheindoorsherstudentsnowhaveopportunitiesthatonlytheoutdoorscanpro-vide.ThereisalsomuchevidencethatactivelearninginlessstructuredparticipatoryspacesisbestandthatstudentsarealsomorelikelytotryeatingvegetablestheygrowthemselvesNancysaysThestudentsandalthegardensareafocusofschoolpride.Theyencouragestudentstoidentifywithandbeproudoftheirschool.Thegardenkeepsgrowingandnowitisinuseallyearround.TheschoolrecentlyplantedtwoevergreentreeswhichtheynamedHopeandPeace.ThingshavegonewellNancysays.Thestudentsandallthestalovegoingoutthere.Ourfutureplansaretoputinapumpkinpatchandplantsmallsugarpumpkinsandavarietyofsquash.Wevehadonestudentsayhewouldnevereatsquashsowegureifheplantstheminthespringperhapshemightjusteattheminthefall.Nancyandherstudentsarewaitinganxiouslyforthegrowingseason.TheyhavebigplansthisyearincludingsubmittingtheirproducetotheTopseldFairtheoldestagriculturalfairinNewEngland.AdditionalResourcesMassachusettsFarmtoSchoolProjectandMTAFundsConnectESPstoLocalFarms.NormanE.CosgroveAmericanSignLanguageCommunicationAideFortGreelySchoolDeltaJunctionAlaskaIfstudentsatFortGreelyMiddleSchoolwanttojointheDelta-GreelyRadioControlledRCFliersClubtheyneedtohaveatleasta3.0GPAcannothaveanydisciplinaryreportsatschoolandmustdemonstrateacommitmenttoimprovingthecommunity.NormanCosgrovesuperviseswhatisarguablythemostpopularclubattheschool.Twenty-twostudentsarecurrentlymembersbuttheRCFliersClubhasawaitinglistof60Beforeclubmemberscanstartyingtheradio-controlledxed-wingandgyrocopteraircraftstheymusttrainonaightsimulatorwiththesameremotecontrolsthatareusedfortheaircraftuntiltheycanmakethreeconsecutivetake-osandlandingswithoutcrashing.OnceastudentsuccessfullyqualiestoytheyareawardedaDelta-GreelyRCFliersClubpilotslicenseandmetallicwingsdonatedbyAlaskaAirlinesataschoolassembly.TheDelta-GreelyRCFliersClubhasocersandby-lawsandisevenamemberoftheAmateurModelersofAeronautics.Studentrepresentativeshavemadepresenta-tionstotheDelta-GreelySchoolBoardandtheMooseLodge.Theclubcanevenleadtocareeroptionsforsomestudentssuchasworkingintheaviationindustry.Weneedtoengagestudentsoneverylevel.Ithinktherearemorethanafewkidsinmyschoolwhoareexcitedtocometoschooljustbecauseofthisclub.ItmakesmeproudofmyschoolandmykidssaysCosgrove.partofaschoolbus.Alongwithanumberofotherdriverswhoworesimilarcostumestheyformedthewholebusforalocalhungerwalkwheretheycollectedseveralhundredpoundsoffoodforlocalfamilies.AlhasevenbeentheocialcookiemanashetookontheresponsibilityofdeliveringGirlScoutcookiestothegirlswhodidnthaveawaytogettothedistributionsite.Howeverwhatheismostproudofishowhetransportshishandicappedpre-schoolstudentstoandfromschool.DependingonthedayIcanbeasingerasongwriterorabestpaltomystudentsAlsays.Hediscoveredthatsingingwasthebestwaytoengagehisstudentswhileonthebus.Hisparentshaveevencommentedthattheirchildrencomehomehappysingingandlookingforwardtothenextdaywhentheycangetbackonhisbus.GeorgeAlWoodSchoolBusDriverMorrisSchoolDistrictMorristownNewJerseyAlhashadtowearmanyhatsinhisjobasaschoolbusdriverfortheMorrisSchoolDistrict.FormanyyearshewastheocialSantaClausfortheschoolsfundraisercalledAnEveningwithSanta.Thisal-lowedtheschooltoraisesorely-need-edfundsandallowedAltodosomethingextraspecialforhiskids.FortunatelynoneofmystudentshavecaughtontothefactthatImtheSanta.AlhasalsowornaboxdecoratedtobeaAnnBenninghoffDutchCreekElementarySchoolLittletonColorado