Winners of Certificate of Merit for Excellence in Special Education

Certificate of Merit for Excellence in Special Education Recipients

The NASET Certificate of Merit for Excellence in Special Education is an award given annually to schools that NASET members believe have exhibited excellence in the education of exceptional students.
The NASET Certificate of Merit for Excellence in Special Education is bestowed upon schools that have shown great dedication and commitment to the education of children with special needs. 

This year’s winners and a description of their commitment to the field of special education can be seen below:

School: Hillcrest Elementary School 
Downers Grove, IL
Nominated by: Meghan O'Connor

“The Developmental Learning Program is housed at Hillcrest. Several years ago, when the program needed to be moved to a different building, our principal fought for the program be housed at this school. He has continually shared his contagious welcoming attitude toward these wonderful children.  The teachers of our school also have their own amazing positive attitudes towards integration and inclusion.  They have made tremendous efforts to help create a school environment of more than just tolerance for our children with special needs; they have radiated acceptance through the building, affecting other teachers, the students, and their families.  The teachers at Hillcrest lead by example, and as a result, the students of our school demonstrate accepting and nurturing behavior that emulates the type of character toward which we all strive.  Hillcrest is a very special place.  The professionals here have certainly made a difference in the worlds of children and families living with special needs.”

School: Challenge Early Intervention Center 
Brooklyn,  NY
Nominated by: Ben Wolfson

“The Challenge Early Intervention Center has teachers who really care about the progress of each child and a staff of teachers in training who love their work. The therapy is intensive and children make real, data driven progress based on the methods of Applied Behavior Analysis. The program includes an in-home aspect. There is a social work department that makes sure the child gets all the services he legally is entitled to. Many mothers have said that they wish they're children could stay after 3 years of age. I believe that this center, called Challenge Early Intervention Center in Brooklyn, NY is the best America has to offer.”

School: Central Baldwin Middle School
Robertsdale, AL
Nominated by: Sandra Fretwell

“Central Baldwin Middle School is superior in it's support of Special Education Programs. Our students are included within the entire school, even our most profound students in wheel chairs are included within the regular education population.  Our students are treated with respect and dignity. The Special Education Teachers are some of the best within the state of Alabama.”

School: Fernan Elementary School
Coeur d'Alene, ID
Nominated by: Susie Brott

“Fernan is home to the district developmental preschool program, resource and an elementary life skills program.  I feel that Fernan has done a wonderful job with accepting and including children with exceptional needs. On a daily basis Fernan continues to show great dedication and commitment to the education of all children with special needs. All of the students in my Life Skills class participate with their age mates in the general education setting. While my students  may not be able to complete the tasks asked of their gen. ed. age mates, they are encouraged by friends and teachers to do their best with each assignment.  General education teachers consistently set  examples for their students, both in the classroom and out on the playground, that fosters respect of children with exceptional needs. Our Principal, Lana Hamilton and the office staff, Debbie and Dana, provide an inviting atmosphere to parents and students. This is truly a wonderful environment for all children!”

School: Belle Chasse Academy
Belle Chasse, LA
Nominated by: Dionne Nichols

“I am nominating my extraordinary school for excellence in Special Education due its outstanding commitment and dedication to the students, parents, and teachers. Belle Chasse Academy is the first military-based charter school in Louisiana. We serve military dependent children in grades (K-8). Our school is committed to helping these students adapt to change and to foster them in an environment that is conducive for learning. Our Special Education Department has grown  yet, our teachers are as passionate as ever about making sure our students receive a world-class education with a challenging core curriculum.  We provide acknowledgement of the unique needs of the military child, assist with the reduction of service-connected disruption and stress, and actively engage our parents in supporting their child's academic learning. Belle Chasse Academy deserves the recognition because of its commitment to the individual student with his/her particular interests, needs, abilities, and family background.”

School: Braintree College
Braintree, Essex
Great Briton
Nominated by: Robert White

“I would like to nominate Braintree College for it's contribution to the delivery and development of Special Educational provisions for Secondary Students.  Braintree College has developed a multi-agency agenda providing for behaviourally challenged youth who have been excluded or marginalized from their home school.  This programme provides educational strategies which focus on the strengths of the student and encourages the development of life long learning through alternative portfolio structured Individual Education Plans.  The programme is for students between 14 - 16 years old who have been removed from the Secondary School because of chronic Anti-Social behaviour.  The approach utilizes dynamic activity/adventure based counselling to develop self-esteem and confidence followed on by Vocational programming embedded with literacy and numeracy to meet academic milestones.

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