TEMPLE, Texas — Temple Independent School District’s Jefferson Elementary School will provide a one-of-a-kind learning experience for students with Autism thanks to a grant from the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Facilities that are expected to serve nearly 120 students.
"It took a team of us to write for this grant to be able to get down what we are looking for and what we needed," says Mara Duarte, Special Education Teacher.
A group of administrators and staff joined together to search for ways to fund innovative programs for students with Autism. Not sure whether they will be successful or not.
"We were not even sure we were going to get it," says Special Education Teacher, Mary Beth Gaspard.
But with persistence, the elementary school was awarded a two-year grant worth over $422,500 that will allow Jefferson to create a state-of-the-art sensory motor lab and redesign a classroom into a simulated home environment to teach daily living skills.
"They will be doing laundry and folding clothes making beds. All those skills that you do at home, which builds their skills to become functioning adults," says Principal Pamela Demny.
Temple ISD will also partner with Baylor University to provide parents with the resources and education they need to help their children at home. So they too can become a part of the Temple community and live independent lives at.
Principal Demny adds "the parent is the first teacher of any child, so it is important that we have them [parents] and that we are working with them.
Jefferson Elementary is currently in the process of finishing its classrooms. The facilities are predicted to finish in February 2023.