A grant will help a local school district create and sustain an equitable learning environment for students through universally designed access, engagement and participation.
Brownstown Central Community School Corp. is the recipient of an AEMing for Achievement PATINS Grant. PATINS stands for Promoting Achievement through Technology and Instruction for all Students.
The PATINS Project is a statewide technical assistance network that connects Indiana’s local education agencies to accessible educational materials, assistive technology, professional development and technical support through the Indiana Department of Education and Indiana Department of Administration.
Lindsey Goshorn was working in special education for Brownstown late last year when she was part of a team with corporation occupational therapist Michelle Rubin that applied for the grant. Goshorn is now the district’s special education director.
“It’s really for accessibility for all students,” she said. “My goal in that is to hopefully keep kids in the general education setting more because they are able to get some of those accommodations themselves instead of having to leave to get some of those.”
There were 30 grant applicants this year, but only six, including Brownstown, were chosen as first-year teams, and 12 were selected for the second or third year.
Each school corporation will have a PATINS team lead specialist who will guide them on their journey, which starts with team orientation day Aug. 18. Brownstown’s team lead specialist is Katie Taylor.
One thing Goshorn wants to do is add inclusion at Brownstown Central Middle School. Before this school year, her primary experience had been at Brownstown Elementary School.
“We have just had the opportunity to evaluate services and add additional services to better meet the needs of our students,” she said.
Brownstown’s board of school trustees also recently unanimously approved to add a day to the developmental preschool at the elementary.
Previously, kids spent two hours Monday through Thursday in class. Now, they are going two hours Monday through Friday.
Kids with special needs can start in the class at age 3, and teacher Anne Marie Martin works with them on fine motor skills and gross motor skills and helps them adjust to learning.
Principal Chrystal Street suggested the added day to give kids more time for interaction and instruction.
“Any time we can get them in school for socialization and those extra skills is awesome,” she said. “The socialization is huge for them.”
Goshorn said she is working on adding some programming for that class.
Angie Gwin was hired by the corporation as preschool coordinator to handle preschool evaluations and schedule conferences.