The Greenfield Exempted Village School District administration has added another resource to not only benefit students, but staff, too.
It’s called the Greenfield District Autism Team, an effort that is part of a pilot program through the state that also includes three other school districts: Clinton-Massie, Georgetown and Adams County Ohio Valley.
The Greenfield School District is involved in the program so that administrators, teachers and staff are better able to address the unique needs of all students in the district, according to Heather Dratwa, special programs director for the district and leader of the autism team.
The team, as well as a support person in each building, will be able to provide guidance and resources to teachers when they have a student who may be experiencing challenges.
Through the support of Ohio Coalition of Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI), team members have participated in meetings at the Region 14-Hopewell Center in Hillsboro. The program, Dratwa said, has been led by the Hopewell Center’s Megan Trowbridge.
OCALI is an organization that works with national, state and local leaders to positively impact the families, educators, service providers and others who care for, support, educate, employ or work with individuals with disabilities. For more information about the organization, go to https://www.ocali.org.
Team members will be responsible for things like championing the philosophical belief that all students, no matter their challenges, are integral members of the district population and therefore planned for and supported accordingly, Dratwa said.
Additionally, goals for the team are assessing, surveying knowledge, and providing training, guidance and professional development to district and building personnel regarding autism and other low incidence disabilities including visual or hearing impairments, orthopedic impairments, or other health afflictions, and how best to support these students’ needs.
The program, Dratwa said, is something that will outlast the pilot phase, since the district has already determined to make the resource a permanent fixture in the years to come.
The team already has a representative from each building in the district, and in December a training session was held at the Greenfield campus to further deepen each team member’s understanding and education of sensory needs for all students.
“Our district is fortunate to have a team of individuals in place to support our staff members with ideas and resources that will benefit many students, including those diagnosed with autism,” superintendent Quincey Gray said.
For district information and updates, go to the district website at greenfield.k12.oh.us or go to the district’s Facebook page. The individual buildings also have Facebook pages. The district’s central office may be reached by calling 937-981-2152.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the Greenfield Exempted Village School District.