JA establishes Cannon, Perkins, Smith Endowment for teachers
The Junior Auxiliary of Brookhaven has unveiled its Cannon, Perkins, Smith Endowment Fund for Special Education Teachers.
Announced Tuesday night at the JA’s 60th anniversary celebration, the fund honors Junior Auxiliary Charter members Dott Cannon, Betty Ann Perkins and Miriam Smith.
At the podium at the Ole Towne Church Tuesday night, JA President Glenda Hux quoted Isaac Newton, saying, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on
the shoulders of giants.”
Brookhaven School Board member Erin Smith, also a past JA president and life member, was on hand Tuesday night to accept the presentation for the school district.
In an interview about the new endowment, Hux said she was inspired by the charter members and their chapter’s past commitment to special education.
Hux and other JAs said they have seen a need in Brookhaven School District for special education teachers trained especially to instruct autistic students.
“The newest studies place the incidence of autism as one in 68 children,” Hux said. “We realize what this means to our community and our local schools.
We must do something now.”
This endowment will offer five special education teachers in the Brookhaven School District the opportunity to attend a five-day course, Training and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped or “TEACCH,” at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill this summer.
TEACCH is a special education program developed by psychologist Eric Schopler and colleagues at the University of North Carolina in the early 1970s. TEACCH employs an approach called Structured Teaching, which emphasizes a highly structured and predictable classroom environment and the use of visual learning – a strength of many people with autism, Hux explained.
“It embraces a philosophy that people with autism have characteristics that are different,” Hux said, “but not necessarily inferior, to the rest of us.”
Hux said a special committee was formed to choose the school locations where the special training would be provided.
“Each teacher has been carefully chosen by a selection committee in order to affect the largest impact in our community,” she said.
The teachers will be notified this week of their selection and their names will be announced at their convocation ceremony.
The Junior Auxiliary of Brookhaven has supported special education efforts since its inception in 1954. However, Hux said this endowment fund is unprecedented for the chapter.
“We love doing hands-on service projects, and we’ll continue to do so, but the feeling is unanimous among our current membership,” Hux said, “training a teacher is such an appropriate way to impact as many children in our community as possible, through many generations.”