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Tag Archive | "Sarah Classen"

CTA Campaigns to stomp out the R-word 


Second grade students rocking their socks on World Down Syndrome Awareness Day.

Second grade students rocking their socks on World Down Syndrome Awareness Day.

Creative Technologies Academy, a K-12 Charter School in Cedar Springs, takes pride in character education in their 300 students, which is why they saw the great importance of promoting the Spread The Word To End The Word (STW) Campaign.

The STW campaign is a youth-driven campaign that was founded in 2009. It was created to build awareness for society to stop and think about its use of the R-word. Use of that R-word—retard or retarded—can be hurtful and painful, and whether intended or not, is a form of bullying. The STW campaign is an ongoing effort to inspire respect and acceptance through raising the consciousness of society about the R-word and how hurtful words and disrespect can be toward people with intellectual disabilities.

Special Education Administrator Lori Dulak made a to CTA Middle School and High School Students on March 20. Dulak believes, “Language affects attitudes and attitudes affect actions.” She shared two brief videos about the wide spread effect of the R-word and invited students to sign to take the pledge to not use the word—but only when they were ready to make that commitment. The poster was put up in the high school building and many students have signed. The campaign had such a profound impact on students that the National Honor Society at CTA is planning on expanding the school-wide campaign and will be planning additional activities throughout the remainder of the school year.

The Kindness Hearts are displayed in the elementary building as a visual reminder to use kind words.

The Kindness Hearts are displayed in the elementary building as a visual reminder to use kind words.

Similarly, Sarah Classen, Elementary Special Education Teacher, presented to Kindergarten through 5th grade students. She kept the 4th and 5th grade students a bit longer to have a more candid conversation with them. At the end of the presentation, the elementary students received a large heart, to which they were either to write kind words on them or sign their name pledging to use kind words – regardless of differences. They also received smaller hearts so they could write a kind word about a classmate and share it with them to wear for the day.

“I enjoyed hearing students around the school and in the hallways complimenting and encouraging one another throughout the week,” shared Classen.

STW events typically take place on March 1, but CTA took the opportunity to promote World Down Syndrome Awareness Day  on 3/21 (for three copies of the 21st chromosome) in conjunction with the Spread the Word to End the Word, as CTA has two elementary students with Down syndrome. World Down Syndrome Awareness Day uses a “Rock Your Socks” theme as an opportunity for conversation starters throughout the day about the abilities of those with Down syndrome. Many students and staff participated by rocking bright, mismatched, knee-high or other fun socks.

“Respectful and inclusive language is essential to the movement for the dignity and humanity of people with intellectual disabilities,” it said in a press release from CTA. “However, much of society does not recognize the hurtful, dehumanizing and exclusive effects of the R-word. The STW campaign is intended to engage schools, organizations and communities to rally and pledge their support at www.r-word.org and to promote the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

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CTA 5th Grader Wins National Award


 

CTA-Calvin-Caulkins-National-Award-WinnerThe Read Naturally program, a research based literacy development program selects one student in the nation each month as its Star of the Month. The Read Naturally Star of the Month program is designed to celebrate students who work hard to improve their reading skills. Each month, they select one student to feature in their newsletter. The selected student wins a $20 Barnes & Noble gift card, and the school or teacher who nominated the student will receive a $200 gift certificate for Read Naturally materials.

Read Naturally released this statement recently:

“Congratulations to Star Student Calvin Caulkins from Cedar Springs, MI! Calvin is a fifth-grade student at Creative Technologies Academy. Calvin’s teacher, Sarah Classen, had this to say about him:

Calvin came to me at the beginning of last school year. Calvin has a hearing impairment that was undetected until 3rd grade. Due to this, he missed much of his reading phonics instruction.

When he first started working with me, Calvin was not able to read. He wanted to be able to show me that he could do these things, but he truly did not know how to do them.

Calvin has been nothing short of a hard worker for me from day one. He comes into the Reading Lab every day and gets right to work on his stories. Since last year he moved up from one and a half levels! He always has a positive attitude and even though some sounds are hard for him to hear, he strives extra hard to make those sounds in all the words he is now reading. He no longer struggles with writing and reading like he did before. He sounds unfamiliar words out and smiles a lot more these days! His confidence has grown a great deal and he has even taken on a Kindergarten reading buddy, once a fear of his, this past month. He is a bright spot in my day and I am super impressed at all the progress he is making!”

 

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