By Delaney Sanders, Baylor PR Senior
On October 24th, Midway Independent School District’s Special Education Department hosted the very first booster club meeting in our district’s history. Around 35 parents and staff members were in attendance, starting what promises to be a productive group designed enhance the education of special education students.
Sharon Blanchard, the director of this department, explained the intention behind this group as a three-fold effort to aid both students and parents.
“Many times the special education students are left out of fundraising opportunities,” Blanchard explained. “Let’s say a big carnival is planned. For some of these students, that environment is too overwhelming, which is why we want to plan our own events.”
“Secondly,” Blanchard continues, “is a focus on real fundraising efforts to help our Special Olympics and related programs.” The special education students compete in various Special Olympics sporting events almost year-round, including bowling, golf and basketball. The department is currently in the process of obtaining letterman jackets for those who’ve competed in these sporting events, as well as planning an end of the year banquet to recognize Midway educators.
“The third fold is giving parents somewhere to network,” said Blanchard, “because it can be a really scary journey for them. This will allow them to share resources, struggles and anything else.”
At the October meeting, Blanchard and other educators gave parents a brief summary of the restructuring of the special education department that occurred this summer. Then, a survey was given to parents to establish a cohesive plan for the future of this group. Parents expressed a strong desire for advocacy on each individual campus, and agreed to meet roughly three times a semester to best achieve this goal.
The next meeting will be held on December 5th, where the objective is to continue discussing goals for the upcoming year and finalize the structure for the booster club.
“Our goal is for us to partner with the parents,” ended Blanchard. And with this as the center of their mission, Blanchard believes “this really will be a formative year for this department.”