Monday, April 20, 2015

Happy Spring! Big Announcements! :)

Hello and Happy Spring, R.E.A.C.H.ers!
It has been very hectic at Daretown campus. Our trip to Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge had to be postponed due to weather. Hopefully our rain date scheduled for next week will be much more cooperative. With that being said, look forward to hearing a recap about our experiences at the sanctuary.

Our work on the Project R.E.A.C.H. Charity Cookbook is coming along smoothly, but of course, we would still LOVE to have you share a recipe. If you are interested in participating, all you have to do is message us your recipe, its name, and how you would like your name presented in the cookbook. It’s really that simple. We will take care of the rest. We are hoping for a May launch, so get those recipes in soon! J Thanks to everyone who has already contributed. If you’d like to share some more, please feel free.

I also wanted to share two pieces of very happy news. First of all, I have, as of March 28, 2015, received my Certified Humane Education Specialist credential from The Humane Society of the United States. My name is now a part of the Humane Society Academy’s registry, and I am able to work in many different capacities to promote humane education outside of my classroom. I would highly encourage anyone interested in expanding their horizons, who loves animals and people and the world around them, to take a look at what this awesome program has to offer. You will meet many fabulous educators, all of whom are making a great difference in the lives of the youth and animals in their community. As a teacher, I am of the belief that it is important to be a lifelong learner, and it is always essential to grow as a person to be better than before.

Additionally, at the prompting of my school’s principal, in early April, I applied to the New Jersey School Boards Association and the Associationof Schools and Agencies for the Handicapped’s Innovations in Special Education Award for Project R.E.A.C.H. This prestigious awards program “recognizes exemplary programs for special education students.” It was with great happiness that I received an envelope in my school mailbox today (we had an in-service last Friday). I was pretty nervous to open it up, because I wasn’t sure what the letter might say. I am elated to report that my application for Project R.E.A.C.H. was one of the ten applications out of 51 total applications that has been selected for recognition at an awards ceremony during the Special Education Week of 2015. At this ceremony, I will be able to display materials and information about our initiative to share with the other honored programs. Among the invited guests are the Governor, NJ state legislators, the Commissioner of Education, and other state officials.

I can’t even begin to express how humbled and proud I am that my students’ work in our community is being recognized by these fabulous organizations. It just goes to show you that if you start small, and think BIG, you will R.E.A.C.H.  It brings tears to my eyes to know that others see the good my students are doing and I’m kind of bummed out because I really want all of my kids to be able to be there to experience it because this award is, I feel, an important testament to their efforts! 

Unfortunately, because the ceremony is taking place in Princeton, which is pretty far away from our campus, I won’t be able to take any students due to bussing. However, I’m definitely going to find some way to make sure that they feel like they are there. We’ll see what we can come up with when we put our heads together. :)

I do want to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for supporting my students and myself. Your love, kind words, and support mean so much. Also, I would like to stress that if you believe in something, you should push for it whole-heartedly, because every good change that has come in this world came from people just like my students, just like you, and just like me. All it takes is one voice to start a discussion, one discussion to open a dialogue, and open dialogue to move people to action—and all of our actions combined can make a difference in our lives, in the lives of others, in the lives of our fellow nonhuman beings, in our environment, and in the world at large. It is easy to stand by and say things are someone else’s problems, and to complain about things, instead of searching for a solution. I want my students, and YOU, to feel empowered, and to know that we all can make a difference. Please, show the world how you share your heart!!<3

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for continuing on this journey with us as we try to make our little corner of the world a more humane place for us all to live.


Mrs. Sears

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