Flexible Seating for Collaborative Library Projects-Columbia, Maryland

The CACEASF donated to a wonderful project at Phelps Luck Elementary School located in Columbia, Maryland to support an innovative project started by a very special school Librarian! The project provides comfortable seating for students in their media center while reading and doing collaborative learning projects.  “Mrs. G’s” vision to create a comfortable space that is mobile replaces the typical old wooden chairs that are commonly used in school library settings with stools that are portable for students and staff to move around the library. She says, “this mobility will enhance our ability to engage in meaningful discussions and group projects easily. In our small library classroom space, the stools will provide more space for students to walk around because they have a smaller footprint.”

Like Mrs. ‘G’, our mother was lovingly called Mrs. ‘C’ by many of her students throughout the years. She was a Reading Specialist and dedicated her life’s work to helping children learn to read and write. She often commented after retirement that she would love to work in a library or even become a Librarian. What a wonderful profession and perhaps one that is overlooked today, as modern librarians play many roles in a school setting. They provide access to technology, participate in research, support teachers and staff with resources and information, are masters at creating displays to draw in students imagination, and they often use their expertise and/or background in other subject areas to reach their students. Most importantly, librarians still continue to insight children’s passion for reading and learning through all their creative work and projects.

 

CACEASF supports SMS students with Cerebral Palsy, Shawnee, Oklahoma

This year, the CACEASF again supported Shawnee Middle School sixth grade special education students in Shawnee, Oklahoma with the purchase of computers. These computers will specifically support children living with conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, who have limited muscle control, causing them difficulty when using, gripping, and manipulating pencils.  This technology will improve their ability to express themselves and help them to gain an essential life skill for success in the workforce. 

According to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation, “Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in childhood and is an umbrella term that refers to a group of disorders affecting a person’s ability to move. While the cause is unknown, 1 in 323 babies is diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy in the United States. Cerebral palsy damages the developing brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth. A person’s body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance can be affected; while visual, learning, hearing, speech, epilepsy, and intellectual impairments may also occur.”  https://cparf.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2018/07/WCPD_16_WhatisCP_Infographic_WORLD.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

Carroll Kids Connect Dyslexia Summer Reading Program

The Celia Ann Card Educational Assistance Scholarship Fund, Inc. (CACEASF) is seeking students with reading and writing disabilities and/or reading below grade level to participate in its FREE Carroll Kids Connect Dyslexia Summer Reading Program. During the Summer of 2019, students will use the OgStar Reading Complete Software learning application for 5 days a week for one hour daily. “OgStar Reading™ provides students in grades pre-K through 8 with an enjoyable and comprehensive 106-lesson literacy game, based on the well-respected Orton-Gillingham approach.” www.ogstarreading.comThe goal of the CACEASF program is for each student to maintain or improve their reading level over the summer. If interested, please contact the CACEASF Board President, Amanda Knott, at aknott@caceasf.org to find out if your student is eligible to participate. Funding for this program was made possible through a generous Dollar General Literacy Foundation grant. Funding is limited so those that contact the CACEASF first will be served. Click the following link to download enrollment forms Carroll Kids Connect Dyslexia Summer Reading Program.

Carroll County Early Childhood Literacy Project

The CACEASF donated funding to Human Services Programs of Carroll County, Inc’s Family Support Center and Family Shelter Programs, located in Westminster, Maryland. Funding was used to purchase costumes for children with financial need and for staff to help bring reading alive during Family Support Center program activities. Costumes are used by staff in the center program to make reading experiences exciting for young learners. Teachers use costumes, voices, and expression while reading aloud to little ones, which helps to spark their imagination and teach different elements of a story. Children also learn from their teacher how to reenact a story through dramatic play.  This creative approach to teaching literacy skills helps fill the gap for students that may have attention or reading differences, making it easier for them to stay engaged and love reading in spite of their challenges.

Our mom would have loved this project, as every child deserves to dress up; and she loved the theater, which was definitely a creative outlet for her as an individual, mentor, and teacher! The project provided the financial means for these students to have not just a costume and fun like their peers, but an opportunity to use their imagination during critical years in their development.

 

 

Assistive Technology for Shawnee Middle School Students

In September 2018, the CACEASF donated $500 in funding to Shawnee Middle School to purchase two Chromebooks that will supply students with special needs the assistive technology they need in order to complete written assignments. Many students with fine motor skill challenges and Dysgraphia, a specific learning disability that causes trouble with written expression, find the writing process much harder and slower. Children with Dysgraphia experience difficulty in six areas:  visual-spatial, fine motor, language processing, spelling/handwriting, grammar, and organization of language. Writing requires not only a complex set of fine motor skills, but also language processing skills, similar to those needed for learning to read. Without early intervention, school accommodations, structured teaching, and assistive technology solutions, a child with dysgraphia becomes increasingly at risk academically and emotionally. Children with writing disabilities may fall behind one or many grade levels  in school and ultimately spiral deeper each year into an abys of frustration, sadness, and isolation. This is unnecessary as structured teaching approaches can be made available to teach children with writing disabilities as well as assistive technology tools and software to mitigate, and even provide a solution to address these challenges and emotional distress. Unfortunately, many children are not identified with these challenges in our public school systems and early interventions not provided until it is too late, or ever unless the child has been provided an Individualized Education Plan or IEP. Assistive technology is a proven intervention shown to improve academic and social outcomes for children with writing disabilities and the CACEASF is grateful for the courage and leadership that Shawnee Middle School demonstrates in providing assistive technology services for its students.

These interventions are critical in closing the reading gap in America and Celia or Mrs. “C” would be extremely happy that her hometown middle school proactively seeks solutions to help students in need. The CACEASF tracks public school system data in Oklahoma and Maryland related to the achievement of children with disabilities on standardized assessments. The achievement gap for children with disabilities is clearly significant and even more so for minorities and children from low income households. Racial and economic disparities are notable as compared to all children, as well as those with disabilities. The CACEASF is also fully aware that illiteracy among the prison population is overwhelming. Therefore, again, early intervention is not only critical to individual student success, but also to that of a community, where individual educational achievement is the single most important factor affecting economic and societal outcomes.