New program opens hearts and minds to students with special needs
Posted on 11/08/2018
Picture of small group of students with a teacher sitting in field bleachersOne student squad at Stonewall Jackson High School has ended its fall season, but its members did not spend time on the playing field. Members of the Squad, also known as #theSQUAD@SJ, participated on the sidelines or behind the scenes at field or indoor events, cheering on players, making new friends, and helping teachers. The Squad is an event-centered club for all students with special needs and has become a magnet for those who want to spend time in extracurricular activities.
Picture of group of 12 students on field bleachersThe brainchild of Special Education Teacher Aisha Skipper and Teacher Assistant Terese Stubbs, the Squad fosters a supportive and inclusive school culture and enables students with special needs to experience a full social life while in high school.

“Students who come to our events say they have a feeling of belonging and enjoy hanging out with friends and teachers outside of school,” said Stubbs. “Their parents have said they are excited for the program to continue and succeed.”

Assistant Principal William Turner, who supervises special education at Stonewall Jackson High School, says exposure to and interaction with students with special needs is beneficial in many ways.

Picture of male student and two female students sitting at table during high school prom at Stonewall Jackson High School“As students socialize together, many discover that those with special needs are not always that different; they see their trials and accomplishments, abilities rather than disabilities,” said Turner. “It’s like seeing life through a different lens.”

Supporting the academic, social, and emotional needs of all students is Positively PWCS!

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