Since school year 2008-2009, The Arc of Greater Plymouth in partnership with The United Way of Greater Plymouth has awarded six Inspired Teacher grants of $500.00 to teachers who promote inclusion in their classrooms in creative ways. The enthusiastic response and depth of creativity of the projects proposed in previous years, has empowered our agency to continue this program, especially in the present difficult economic climate. Both regular and special education teachers, K-12 and High School Special Education Transitional/Life skills Post Graduate Programs, who have shown excellence in Inclusive Education, may apply. Grants may be used for professional development to improve inclusive education practices,classroom supplies, and classroom programs which promote inclusion- in school or the local community.
The awards represent many things for our agency. It is primarily a way to honor and support our commitment to Inclusive Education and Post Graduate Life Skills Education. Equally important, is the recognition of how inclusive classroom education enhances the mission of our agency to change attitudes, build partnerships that increase the social value of individuals with and without intellectual challenges, and allow them to realize their goals of where and how to learn, live, work and play.
We began the program in the Plymouth Public Schools and have extended the program each year to additional school systems. We would like to include the Duxbury and Hanover Public Schools in our 2013-2014 Grant Program.
Some examples of previous grant awards include; tuition for Professional Development courses in teaching students in the Autism Spectrum and Inclusion Strategies and Techniques for Differentiating Instruction; Elmo and Ipevo document cameras with software apps to allow interactive writing; community travel for a Middle School Special Education Class, iPad and Ipod purchase to promote social communication/language skills; supplies for a summer Autism Program at the elementary level, and supplies for a story writing/sharing program for students in regular and special education classes to tell their stories about learning and living with a developmental/intellectual or physical disability.
Finally, this Grant Program represents an opportunity for The Arc of Greater Plymouth to give back to the Greater Plymouth Community, recognizing the essential role community plays in the lives of the individuals we serve and our success as a support agency.