From the CEO
Increasingly I have been in meetings where each person, in addition to the routine introduction of name and organization, provides a description of themselves. At first, these felt new and uncomfortable to me, so, in my usual fashion, I used humor to offset my unease. Eyes rolled when I introduced myself as “young to middle-aged” or perhaps “appearing much younger than my chronological age.” However, I am getting used to this as I understand its importance.
We don’t know the level of sight of others on our zoom calls or those in a room. One principle of Universal Design is to anticipate inclusion for people of all abilities. If we all can briefly make that description, then those who are blind or have low vision do not have to either ask for greater detail or, worse, go without the benefit of “knowing” the same as those who can see.
Today, I might introduce myself as “Patti Hays, CEO of AWS Foundation. My pronouns are she and her. I am a white woman sitting at a desk wearing a blue sweater and print blouse. I have short brown curly hair and dark circles under my eyes. “(OK, I still use humor sometimes)
Support our Teachers
by: Joni Schmalzried
I spent 20+ years in public education, 10+ years in higher education teaching the new generation of educators, and 8+ years training teachers across Indiana. As we start another new school year, 2 ½ years after pandemic conditions began, here are a few things I firmly believe:
- Education is one of the most noble professions.
- Educators are willing to not only teach, but console, encourage, re-teach, and meet the academic, social and behavioral needs that greet them at the door.
- Teachers work countless hours preparing, teaching, assessing, and communicating; it is an exhausting job year-round.
- Teachers are underpaid and undervalued.
Educators are human; we make mistakes, break down, pick ourselves up, and keep going. Be forgiving of the minor things.
- Almost every school I know is starting understaffed this year, yet most teachers have returned to their posts to take on that challenge.
There are currently more than 2,300 open teaching positions in Indiana for the 2022-23 school year, with a significant number of those being in areas of special education. Though there are many things we cannot impact for educators, together with our community partners, AWS Foundation has created three scholarship opportunities to support the field of special education.
Our scholarship opportunity managed by the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne is for up to $2,500 per year for any Special Educator seeking additional licensing. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. To learn more on how to apply, go to the Community Foundation website or call 260-426-4083.
Questa Education Foundation manages this fully forgivable loan program aimed at students pursuing their first licensure, certification, or degree in Special Education. Applicants are eligible to receive up to $5,000 per year. To learn more, go to the Questa Foundation website.
Another partnership with Questa, this program offers fully forgivable loans for students pursuing a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology. Applicants are eligible to receive up to $10,000 per year. To learn more, go to the Questa Foundation website.
Gilmore Grant is Now Open
If you missed last issue, you may be wondering about the name of our newsletter. Patti gave a history of the name and its meaning for our organization. You can read all about it here.
Have you seen our new website?
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