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December 9, 2009 > Day of the Special Educator

Day of the Special Educator

By Miriam G. Mazliach
Photos By Miriam G. Mazliach

"It's really a treat and very, very nice to be recognized and appreciated," says Lisa Hillman, Special Education pre-school teacher at Glankler School.

In Fremont, December 3 was proclaimed 'Day of the Special Educator,' by the Fremont Unified School District. But unlike other districts, Fremont was one of the few that celebrated their special educators with an equally special event. Held at Brookvale Elementary School, the teachers were feted with speeches, flowers, video presentations, raffle prizes, a delicious buffet and even a cake for dessert.

Various Fremont School Board Members and Staff, including Superintendent Milt Werner, Ivy Wu, Steve Betando, and Parvin Ahmadi showed their support of the special educators by presenting them with flower bouquets.

School Board member, Ivy Wu, added her thoughts on the event. "I think this is a recognition that's long overdue. I previously worked as an Executive Director for a special needs organization. The special educators are really doing the work we don't see. They really understand the needs of the kids and have to be encouraged for all that they are doing to help."

Not too long ago, students with special needs were denied access to education. That all changed when Public Law 94-142, known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) took effect in 1975. This law required that all children, in states receiving federal funds, receive fair, free and appropriate education.

"Taking a few minutes each year to have someone say, that we know you make a difference in the lives of our students with special needs is important. Not only does it strengthen morale, it reaffirms that the board supports what we do," says Joni Clark, Resource Specialist at Grimmer Elementary and President-Elect of CARS+, Organization of Special Educators.

In addition to the Fremont School Board's resolution, an ARC bill authored by Assemblymembers AlbertoTorrico and Joan Buchanan, to recognize the special educators, was held up by a special session this month. Hopefully, it will be heard again in January. In the interim, Governor Schwarzenegger sent a letter recognizing "Day of the Special Educator" which was read aloud to the teachers assembled.

Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, Parvin Ahmadi, addressed the educators and spoke from the heart. "It takes a very special person to recognize the potential of each student, no matter the special circumstances they have. You do such a great job differentiating the instruction with lots of love and direction. We are very pleased and proud of you."

The event was cosponsored by F.U.S.D. Special Services, Fremont PTA, FUDTA, and CARS+.

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