Wednesday, May 30, 2018

District Staff Receive SNAColade Awards

SNAColades 2017/18

Note from SNAC: The Special Needs Advisory Council (SNAC) created SNAColades to honor Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools' teachers, staff and administrators who, through their hard work and creativity, make our children's school experience more meaningful.  The following have been selected for this recognition based on the testimonials of the Exceptional Children community.  Below each name is a quote from an appreciative parent or CHCCS administrator.

Estes Hills Elementary School

  • Ryan Grimm - Mr. Grimm has great insight into his students' needs and motivations.  He challenges them to reach their potential while recognizing the supports needed to get them to that point.  He is also a diligent communicator with parents and responsive to their concerns.

Frank Porter Graham Elementary 

  • Emily Bivens - Although a Principal’s job entails a range of tasks, Dr. Bivens has gone above and beyond by supporting my daughter and our family through a rough transition into Kindergarten.  She’s met with her regularly to work on developing better friendships and social skills.  She’s given us a glimmer of hope for the future grades.
  • June Pacheco - Ms. Pacheco recently relocated to CHCCS, and hit the ground running. She brought decades of experience to the EC department at FPG, and the results I've seen in my child are stunning. And I don't just mean grades or test scores.  Ms. Pacheco handles the children in the EC department with respect and holds them accountable for their actions by rewarding them with accolades.  The children are learning to deal with their emotions better through a recently adopted second-step program and Ms. Pacheco is implementing this program in the EC department.  The children have fewer outbursts and emotional meltdowns as a result.  It's a pleasure to have Ms. Pacheco at FPG, and I highly recommend her for a SNAColade. 

Northside Elementary

  • Mary Naylor - Mary has been involved with my son since second grade, either as his EC teacher directly or facilitating with another EC teacher.  My son is now in 5th grade.  I can not say enough good things about her dedication and hard work.  She has gone above and beyond in so many ways and made a such a positive difference in our lives.  A huge thank you from our whole family.

Northside Pre-K

  • Sarah Michels - Sarah has been working with my son for three years and the language that he has acquired over this time has been extraordinary.  He went in not speaking but only having about 15 words total and now he is one of the most talkative kids in the class.  Her hard work with him has really made a huge difference and I thank her for that.
  • Ronetta Walker - She is amazingly patient.  She pushes my child to his fullest potential so that he can succeed.  She is in constant communication with me and lets me know if something is going on, if something needs to be changed.  She has been a lifesaver and making sure that he is fully ready for kindergarten this upcoming year.
  • Pre-K Intervention Team - Thankful for this entire team.  They have helped me and explained everything in detail if needed.  Thanks to Ms. Wilson, Ms. Moore, and all others that have played a part in my son's educational experience.  He had made so much growth in being in the Pre-K class.  Thank you all.

Scroggs Elementary

  • Crystal Epps - Ms. Epps is a world- class principal who strives to include children and families with special needs.  She listens to families, students and teachers and helps to resolve problems in a warm, logical and timely manner.  It is critical for students with special needs to have such a professional and caring leader.  She is intelligent, warm, empathetic, fun, and we are grateful each and every day that our children and others with special needs benefit from her leadership.  She listens and problem-solves and educates herself on matters big and small.  With regard to the special needs population, I've seen her attend SNAC meetings after-hours (non-mandatory and clearly indicative of her commitment).  I see her call the names of our children and others with special needs,  on a daily basis.  She greets them with warmth as they enter the building.  She knows them well and supports the teachers when they face challenges.  We are inspired by Ms. Epps and would like her to receive the recognition she deserves.  Lastly,  and importantly Ms. Epps doesn't shy away from difficult moments.  We as parents of SN children will sometimes be anxious or "freak out" about particular situations.  Ms. Epps picks up the phone and calls and reassures us in such situations and we are forever grateful for this.  Thank you Ms. Epps!!!
  • Gina Pellegrini - I am giving Gina a SNAColade for her time, patience and understanding she has given my child this year.  His continued growth throughout this grade level wouldn't be possible without Ms. Pellegrini's guidance.  Thank YOU!
  • Dottie Small - Ms. Small has been exemplary in the practice of inclusion, when it comes to teaching our son (who has autism) in a mainstream classroom.  She sees his progress and praises him for social improvements, which may go unrecognized by others.  We are deeply grateful for her structured teaching approach and importantly warmth and acceptance of our son.  Our son's fifth grade year has been wonderful both academically as well as socially and we believe Ms. Small plays a major role.  Ms. Small helps him to engage with his peers and to provide him positive reinforcement needed for improvement.  She recognizes his abilities and judges his success based on where he started (not where others are currently at!).  She additionally helps other children to understand our son and to provide him with needed social support.  In this age group,  it is important to also help a special needs child when they struggle with classmates or challenging peer situations.  Ms. Small has demonstrated a clear ability to go above and beyond to support such children.  We feel very lucky to have you as a teacher and appreciate all of the hard work. 

Seawell Elementary
  • Julie Halpert - Ms. Halpert has several Twice Exceptional children in her classroom, and she teaches, supports, and encourages them with incredible skill, kindness, and patience.  She seems to care deeply for each individual child, and she ensures that they are thriving!
McDougle Middle School
  • Kate Major - As a TA In the AC classroom Ms. Major stepped up to provide leadership and stability while the teacher is away on maternity leave.  She has worked hard to keep up communication with us and continued to provide continuity in our daughter's experience at school.  Losing a teacher is a stressful event for a special needs student, but Ms. Major has gone over and above to keep things as stable as possible.
Phillips Middle School 
  • Danielle Riley - Ms. Riley is the "kid whisperer."  She has a magical touch with children in crisis, which stems from her great empathy and patience.  She is entirely non-judgemental with students and puts them at ease, which allows her to get to heart of an issue and start working on solutions.  I am forever grateful to her for the times she has helped my son work through a difficult time.  Yay, Ms. Riley!
  • Sydney Ryals - Ms. Ryals is steadfast in her kindness and patience and is the rock that my son has relied upon all year.  In IEP meetings, she looks at challenges from a variety of perspectives and is a creative problem-solver.  Many of her ideas on how to help my son cope and engage have been helpful this year, and we are tremendously grateful to her for being so dedicated to his success.  Yay, Ms. Ryals!
  • Kaleigh Vogan - Moving from elementary school to middle school is a big transition for any child, but can be even more difficult for a child with special needs.  From the moment Ms. Vogan reached out to us last summer for a school tour, I had a good feeling about 6th grade.  Having Ms. Vogan as part of my son’s team  has made such a positive impact.  When he needs her, she is there for him.  For our son, knowing that he has her support has been a huge comfort for him and for us.  Thank you. 

Smith Middle School 
  • Gina Chapman - Ms. Chapman started at Smith in Jan 2018.  She is very patient, caring and kind to all the students and staff in the AC classroom.  She communicates well with parents and makes herself accessible.
  • Danka Kulikowski - Thank you Ms. Kulikowski for encouraging our granddaughter this year. She has blossomed under your direction.  She can be shy, but to see her on stage with a speaking part, brought such joy to my heart.  Thank you!
  • Chris Glasco - Mr. Glasco joined the Smith EC team in Sept 2017.  He cares deeply about the students' well being and participation in the classroom, as well as in their specials outside of the AC classroom.  His youthful demeanor and winning smile are a hit as he navigates the hallways and cafeteria with our students.
  • Fred Feely - We don’t know what we would have done without your daily support of Violet.  You helped to keep her and us on track.  You are a dedicated professional! Thank you.
  • Margaret Maternowski - Ms. Maternowski, we appreciate your understanding and flexibility in designing a program for our granddaughter.  We couldn’t have done it without your support!  Thank you.
  • Irene Slydel - Thank you for all your help with our granddaughter this year.  It has been a stressful year, and your assistance really helped.
Carrboro High School
  • Brittany Deeds - We are thankful for Ms. Deeds for providing us with the opportunity to complete real, valuable work within our school.  We are grateful that she relinquished control of the school supply closet to our students so they can gain skills with reading, counting and vocational work endurance while filling teacher supply orders.  Ms. Deeds is flexible, cheerful and gives us opportunities to be valued members of the community.
  • Kelly Furr - We are grateful that Ms. Furr joined the CHS team!  She volunteered as a chaperone on multiple occasions to make our Community Based Instructional opportunities possible.  We are thankful for her positivity and interest in our activities.
  • Lorrie Marro
    • Ms. Marro, the transition facilitator at CHS, made a point to connect with my son from the beginning of his freshman year as an OCS student at Carrboro High.  She spent time getting to know him, beyond the assessments and evaluations. Ms. Marro identified him as a good candidate for Appalachian State University's Scholars with Diverse Abilities Program (SDAP).  By his junior year Ms. Marro had made sure we (his parents) understood the requirements of the application process, and the goals he needed to meet in order to be a competitive candidate.  She, along with the whole EC department, helped him work on self-advocacy, self-management, independence, and a raft of academic goals.  During this, his senior year, Ms. Marro worked closely with him and us to get all the pieces in place for his application to SDAP - many, many documents, assessments, evaluations, interviews, work samples, transcripts... We all were glad to have that submitted in November!  By January we knew that he was on the short list. And in late March we learned that he had gotten a spot in the program--one of five students to be accepted, as we understand it.  He is the first CHS student to achieve place in the SDAP. He and we are thrilled!  He has worked very hard - and of all his excellent school support, it is the support of Lorrie Marro that made the biggest difference.  Our son has attended CHCCS schools from K-12 grade.  We are happy that he is ready to move on - and we are profoundly grateful to Ms. Marro, and to the dozens of other teachers and staff that have been part of his education!
    • Ms. Marro is a phenomenal Transition Facilitator and going above and beyond for every student regardless of what type of transition needs they have.  Ms. Marro is incredibly creative has unbelievable energy and does not stop until she thinks the student is on the right path for a successful exit from high school.  Thanks, Ms. Marro!
  • Donna McMillan - Ms. McMillan has a never ending supply of patience for our students.  She extends herself after school and on weekends to support our students' interests and activities.  Her warm smile, gentle style, and attentiveness help our students express their interests and increase their confidence with interactions.
  • Katie Moorehead - Ms. Moorehead goes above and beyond to make sure that our students are embraced by their community.  She volunteers her time, makes materials for us, supports us in activities and continually brightens our day!
  • Brett Stegall - Ms. Stegall creates an inclusive class environment and structures activities and lessons so students of all abilities experience success.  Because of her structures and positive attitude, students are comfortable to try new things and find true friendships in our school.
  • Quianna Phillips - We appreciate Ms. Phillips for her energy, enthusiasm and support of our skills and interests.  We are thankful that Ms. Phillips volunteered her time to serve as a chaperone this year to make our Community Based Instructional opportunities possible.
  • Martha Phipps - Ms. Phipps serves as our CHS bookkeeper and is one of the ultimate "Yes, and..." supporters of our students.  Always behind the scenes, Ms. Phipps helps manage funds from our grants, orders supplies, and makes it possible for magic to happen in the classroom.
  • April Ross - Ms. Ross serves as the Athletic Director at Carrboro HS.  She is unwavering in her support of our students and their rights to be on the fields, courts, track and true members of our teams. 
Chapel Hill High School
  • Kate Kennedy - I am so thankful that the school has supported the role of a twice exceptional expert, and I couldn't think of anyone better for the position than Kate Kennedy.  She is fantastic at bringing the perspective of both giftedness and disabilities to the table, and she has provided much guidance for our son over the years.
  • Ryan McGraw - Mr. McGraw has gone out of his way to help guide our son in choosing appropriate courses each year taking his disabilities into consideration.  He truly goes above and beyond.  Thank you!
  • Su Wanamaker - For persevering with coordinating the TRAC, PATHSS and PATHSS Bridge program.  We are looking forward to her leadership next year and hope that she will stick with it!