Disability Awareness

Disability Awareness

The first two weeks of October are Disability History and Awareness Weeks!

Here are some facts:

One of every five Americans is a person with a disability.   A person may be born with a disability, may acquire a disability through an accident or illness, or may acquire a disability as part of growing older.  Although disability is a natural part of life, people with disabilities have not always had access to equal opportunities.  Not until 1975, with the passage of the Federal Education for All Handicapped Children Act (now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), did school-age children with disabilities have a right to a free appropriate public education.
Florida started its first special education class in 1926 in Jacksonville.  Since then, specially designed instruction and related services have expanded throughout Florida.  Now, more than 360,000 students identified as having a disability participate in Florida’s public education system.  In Florida, all students with disabilities pursue a standard high school diploma  and many of our students pursue post-secondary education and employment upon graduation.
We are proud of the work that continues in our district to provide valuable and meaningful educational opportunities as well as access for all children.  St. Lucie Public Schools has a current graduation rate for students with disabilities of 83.7% which is the third highest in the state.  Our post-school outcomes for students with disabilities continue to exceed the state average for students in higher education or for individuals who are competitively employed.
Disability Awareness Month

Disability Awareness Month

More pieces to the puzzle…
At Gaines Academy, Mr. Davino’s 8th grade AVID students work with Ms. Calandra’s and Ms. Madalena’s classes during Autism Awareness Month. What a wonderful experience for all!

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Disability Awareness Month – JTV Chats Topic

Disability Awareness Month – JTV Chats Topic

Students in Port St. Lucie High School’s TV Production program exercised their technical, creative, collaborative, and communication skills as they took full responsibility for the production of the high schools’ first in a series of informative segments known as “JTV Chats.”

The inaugural show was hosted by Sarah El Khoury, senior at PSLHS, and featured Mr. Bill Tomlinson, Executive Director of Student Services and Exceptional Student Education. Technical direction behind the scenes was attributed to Javid Khan and Tyrik Coleman, also seniors at PSLHS.

“Disability Employment Awareness Month” Proclamation

“Disability Employment Awareness Month” Proclamation

Students from Port St. Lucie High School and St. Lucie West Centennial High School were joined by their principals and District Student Services Personnel to read a resolution proclaiming the month of October as “Disability Employment Awareness Month” in St. Lucie County.   The proclamation was read at the October Board of County Commissioners Meeting.

Disability History and Awareness

Disability History and Awareness

The first two weeks of October are Disability History and Awareness Weeks! Section 1003.4205, Florida Statutes, entitled Disability History and Awareness Instruction, was signed into law in 2008. It designates the first two weeks of October as Disability History and Awareness Weeks and  promotes knowledge, understanding, and awareness of individuals with disabilities, disability history, and the disability rights movement.

 

Below is an adapted version of Disability Etiquette 101 from the University of Texas at Arlington Advisor Handbook      http://www.uta.edu/uac/uac/advisor-handbook/

Speak about a person with a disability by first referring to the person and then to
the disability. Refer to “people who are blind” rather than to “blind people.”
When talking with a person with a disability, speak directly to that person rather
than to a companion or sign language interpreter who may be present.
When introduced to a person with a disability, it is appropriate to offer to shake
hands. People with limited hand use or who wear an artificial limb can usually
shake hands. Shaking hands with the left hand is an acceptable greeting.
When meeting a person with a visual impairment, always identify yourself and
others who may be with you. When conversing in a group, remember to identify
the person to whom you are speaking.
If you offer assistance, wait until the offer is accepted. Then listen to or ask for
instructions.
Treat adults as adults. Address people who have disabilities by their first names
only when extending that same familiarity to all others present. Never patronize
people who use wheelchairs by patting them on the head or shoulder.
Leaning or hanging on a person’s wheelchair is similar to leaning or hanging on
a person and is generally considered annoying. The chair is part of the personal
body space of the person who uses it.
Listen attentively when you’re talking with a person who has difficulty speaking.
Be patient and wait for the person to finish, rather than correcting or speaking for
that person. If necessary, ask short questions that require short answers, a nod,
or a shake of the head. Never pretend to understand if you are having difficulty
doing so. Instead, repeat what you have understood and allow the person to
respond. The response will clue you in and guide your understanding.
When speaking with a person in a wheelchair or a person who uses crutches,
place yourself at eye level in front of the person to facilitate the conversation.
To get the attention of a person who is deaf or hard-of-hearing, tap the person on
the shoulder or wave your hand. Look directly at the person and speak clearly.
Not all people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can “read lips.” For those who do
“read lips,” be sensitive to their needs by placing yourself facing the light source
and keeping hands, cigarettes, and food away from your mouth when speaking.
Relax. It’s okay if you happen to use accepted, common expressions, such as
“See you later” or “Did you hear about this,” that seem to relate to the person’s
disability.
Sensitivity to blindness and visual impairments
The following points of etiquette are helpful to keep in mind when interacting with a
person who is blind or visually impaired.
Introduce yourself to people who are blind or visually impaired using your name
and/or position, especially if you are wearing a name badge containing this
information.
Speak directly to people who are blind or visually impaired, not through a
companion, guide, or other individual.
Speak to people who are blind or visually impaired using a natural conversational
tone and speed.
Address people who are totally blind or severely visually impaired by name when
possible. This is especially important in crowded areas.
Immediately greet people who are blind or visually impaired when they enter a
room or a service area. This allows you to let them know you are present and
ready to assist. It also eliminates uncomfortable silences.
Indicate the end of a conversation with a person who is totally blind or severely
visually impaired to avoid the embarrassment of having them continue speaking
when no one is actually there.
Feel free to use words that refer to vision during the course of conversations with
people who are blind or visually impaired. Vision-oriented words, such as
look see, and watching TV are a part of everyday verbal communication. The words
blind and visually impaired are also acceptable in conversation.
Be precise and thorough when you describe individuals, places, or things to
people who are totally blind. Don’t leave things out or change a description
because you think it is unimportant or unpleasant. It is also important to refer
to specific people or items by name or title instead of general terms like you, or
they, or this.
Feel free to use visually descriptive language. Making reference to colors,
patterns, designs, and shapes is perfectly acceptable.
Offer to guide people who are blind or visually impaired by asking if they would
like assistance. Offer them your arm. It is not always necessary to provide guided
assistance; in some instances it can be disorienting and disruptive. Respect the
desires of the person you are with.
Guide people who request assistance by allowing them to take your arm just
above the elbow when your arm is bent. Walk ahead of the person you are
guiding. Never grab a person who is blind or visually impaired by the arm and
push him/her forward.
Guide dogs are working mobility tools. Do not pet them, feed them, or distract
them while they are working.
Do not leave a person who is blind or visually impaired standing in “free space”
when you serve as a guide. Always be sure that the person you guide has a
firm grasp on your arm, or is leaning against a chair or a wall if you have to be
separated momentarily.
Be calm and clear about what to do if you see a person who is blind or visually
impaired about to encounter a dangerous situation. For example, if a person who
is blind is about to bump into a stand in a hotel lobby, calmly and firmly call out,
“Wait there for a moment; there is a pole in front of you.”
Interacting with people who have speech disabilities
There are a variety of disabilities, such as stroke, cerebral palsy, and deafness, that
may involve speech impairments. People with speech disabilities communicate in many
different ways.
People who have speech disabilities may use a variety of ways to communicate.
The individual may choose to use American Sign Language, write, speak, use a
communication device, or use a combination of methods. Find out the person’s
preferred method and use it.
Be appropriate when speaking with a person with a speech disability. Never
assume that the person has a cognitive disability just because he or she has
difficulty speaking.
Move away from a noisy source and try to find a quiet environment for
communicating with the person.
If the person with a speech disability has a companion or attendant, talk directly
to the person. Do not ask the companion about the person.
Listen attentively when you are talking with a person who has difficulty speaking.
Be patient and wait for the person to finish, rather than correcting or speaking for
the person. If necessary, ask short questions that require short answers, a nod,
or shake of the head.
If you do not understand what the person has said, do not pretend that you did.
Ask the person to repeat it. Smiling and nodding when you have no idea what
the person said is embarrassing to both parties. Instead, repeat what you have
understood and allow the person to respond.
When you have difficulty conversing on the telephone with the person, suggest
the use of a speech-to-speech relay service so that a trained professional can
help you communicate with the person. Either you or the person can initiate the
call free of charge via the relay service.
If the person uses a communication device, make sure it is within his or her
reach. If there are instructions visible for communicating with the person, take a
moment to read them.
Do not make assumptions about what a person can or cannot do based on his
disability. All people with disabilities are different and have a wide variety of skills
and personalities.
District Gathering

District Gathering

District Gathering – fun for all!

Members of the St. Lucie Public Schools District Office Staff who are serving at various temporary satellite offices throughout the District since the hurricane flooded the Orange Blossom Business Center had the opportunity to convene at Allapattah Flats for a recent meeting.  Here, information about SLPS’s academic progress and facility updates was shared, a light luncheon was enjoyed, and a challenge to build a district office from sparse materials set the room abuzz with laughter.

District Honored With Presentation

District Honored With Presentation

President of the Classified Teachers Association/Classified Unit (CTA/CU) Retirees Chapter Ms. Barbara Kaste presented a plaque to the Board Members and Superintendent E. Wayne Gent to express appreciation for the support that has been given to the Chapter, to New Teacher Orientation, and to the New Teacher Supply Depot.

Barb Kastee Presentation to Mr. Gent B 9-13-16

 

District Office Employees Donate School Supplies for Students

District Office Employees Donate School Supplies for Students

Employees at the School Board Office brought in bags and boxes of school supplies to be given to United Way of St. Lucie. United Way has filled backpacks full of school supplies for our students who are eligible for free lunch. They have reached their goal of helping at least 4,500 children in all of the St. Lucie County schools. Thank you for your generosity in providing so many children with tools for success at the beginning of this school year. Pictured are, Dr. Mark Rendell, Kerry Padrick, Peg Warnke, Dr. Kevin Perry, Dr. Kathy McGInn and Genelle Yost.

District Office Groundbreaking

District Office Groundbreaking

Trees are cleared, earth is leveled, and a footprint of the new St. Lucie Public Schools District Office is taking shape.

Amid the progress, District Office staff and Economic Development Council representatives participated in an official groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, September 25, 2018. Economic Development Council President Pete Tesch and Superintendent E. Wayne Gent spoke about the District’s progress and innovation just before they were joined by School Board Members who picked up shovels and donned construction hats for the official groundbreaking ceremony.

 

 

 

 

 

 

District summer programs enrich, educate, enlighten

District summer programs enrich, educate, enlighten

The school district’s 21st Century Learning Centers summer programs just completed last week and served over 200 children in a wide variety of activities to enrich, educate and enlighten. Four sites hosted the programs, including C. A. Moore and Weatherbee elementary schools, Garden City Early Learning Academy, and Sam Gaines K-8 School. Activities ranged from a wildlife hospital presentation, swimming and basketball camps, Girl Scouts’ leadership and positive character empowerment, and a community gardening project where children not only learned how to grow vegetables, but utilized literacy and math skills in the process. Hands-on science activities involved project in robotics and solar powered ovens. Children also presented a musical tribute to the classic play “Annie,” and a recorder recital to close out the program. The 21st Century Learning Centers program is a federally funded program guided by Michael McCarthy and Fred Woltjen.

District web site honored for transparency

District web site honored for transparency

Superintendent Michael Lannon recognized the work of Instructional Technology and Communications departments in earning a Sunny Award, a national distinction for government agencies who strive to provide easy access and transparency of information through their web sites for stakeholders. This is the second year in a row St. Lucie Schools has earned the distinction, one of only 13 school districts in the state so recognized. Pictured, from left, are Directof of Communications Janice Karst, School Board Chairman Carol Hilson, Superintendent Michael Lannon and Assistant Superintendent for IT Terence O’Leary. Not present but included in the honor is district webmaster Samantha Davis.

District’s STEM Sunshine State Scholar Announced

District’s STEM Sunshine State Scholar Announced

This year’s District nominee for STEM Sunshine State Scholar is Bailey Magers from Treasure Coast High School.

Bailey, along with his parents and a teacher, who has served as a significant influence to him, will travel to Orlando May 19 – 20, 2016, for an extraordinary two-day program.  In addition to bringing together the scholars to be honored, the foundation invites representatives from Florida’s colleges and universities to meet with the students and discuss career and post-secondary opportunities available to them in Florida.

Pictured are Principal Susan Seal, Theresa Magers, Bailey Magers, Superintendent E. Wayne Gent, and Guidance Director Diane White

Diversity in Music, Unity in Song

Diversity in Music, Unity in Song

“Diversity in Music, Unity in Song” is the theme for this year’s St. Lucie County All County Elementary Chorus.  Tune in to the School Report segment below to enjoy the music and the message from our children.

 

DMMS Honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. With Week of Kindness

DMMS Honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. With Week of Kindness

Dan McCarty Middle School participated in the MLK “Week of Kindness” Celebration. Bus drivers were welcomed with bottled water and snacks, parents received cookies as they picked up their students, and the staff was served lunch from Jimmy Johns. Guest Speakers Sandy Mack and Sophia Witherspoon gave inspiring messages to our 8th grade students. Students from Mrs. Mitchner’s ELA class also read original poems and essays on the theme “Renewing a Spirit of Empowerment, Engagement and Nonviolence.”

 

 

DMMS Speakers Bureau

DMMS Speakers Bureau

The Speakers Bureau Special Guest at Dan McCarty Middle School was Joseph Dillard, a consultant, author, and motivational speaker. Mr. Dillard shared in depth his testimony, and a story of triumph, persistence, tenacity, and willingness. Questions he would ask himself when he was younger included: “How can I survive in a world that’s so cold and lonely?” and “Why me?”

He told the students that, “Life will be tough, challenging, and difficult. But there’s HOPE! Without an education, life becomes complicated; it’s up to you to ask questions. Your current circumstances do not define your accomplishments or ability to succeed.”

He also shared a quote by Muhammad Ali. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” Mr. Dillard emphasized to students the need to understand that true success comes from within, and he also stressed that the choices students make will determine their success in life. Mr. Dillard posed a question to the students, “What are you doing to raise the bar?” You must be willing to fail at something, until you get it right, and he pointed out to the students throughout his presentation “I CAN, I WILL, I MUST!”

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DMMS Speakers Bureau: Dr. Donna Mills and Mr. Lafayette Ashley

DMMS Speakers Bureau: Dr. Donna Mills and Mr. Lafayette Ashley

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The Speakers Bureau Special Guests at Dan McCarty Middle School were Dr. Donna Mills, school board member of St. Lucie Public Schools, and Mr. Lafayette Ashley, recent FPC graduate and student at Indian River State College.  Dr. Mills shared in depth her life story. She emphasized to students the need to understand that true success comes from within and also stressed that the choices students make will determine their success in life, and she pointed out to students throughout her presentation, “No matter the situation, you can always make it out of your circumstances, knowledge will take you far, YOU CAN DO IT!”

Mr. Ashley inspired the students by sharing some of his personal challenges and expressed to the them that if you want something bad enough, you will work hard to get it. Mr. Ashley also shared some spoken words with the students.

DMMS Students Visit Fort Pierce City Hall

DMMS Students Visit Fort Pierce City Hall

Mayor Hudson Presents Dan McCarty Middle School with Treasure Coast Regional League of Cities Civics Grant.

Seventh grade Civics students from Dan McCarty Middle School (DMMS) visited Fort Pierce City Hall on Wednesday, May 18, to learn more about municipal government. Mayor Linda Hudson presented the school with a grant of $500.00 from the Treasure Coast Regional League of Cities (TCRLC).

DMMS at FP City Hall 05-18-16 (2)DMMS at FP City Hall Mimms, Hudson, Nixon