Thomas Jefferson

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Just Provides Warm and Fuzzy Spartan-Up!

Posted 02/15/2009 by Vince Crespin

Sandra Just donates toys to Special Education department.

toyssmallOn her first day back second semester, TJ Principal Sandra Just was still in the holiday spirit as she had her Expedition “sleigh” full of presents for students in the Multi-Intensive Education Program (MIEP).

With the number of  students in the MIEP, it is necessary for the students to share resources between themselves, which can cause difficulties. Principal Just, whose son Aaron Just  is also a special needs student, had plenty of useful toys and games that would be helpful for the kids at TJ.

Molly Pitrone, a third year teacher in the special education department was grateful for the donations.  “It goes to show that we’re not unseen within the school, which feels good. It also gives the other teachers and me an idea of how kids with special needs are taught using different tools,” said Pitrone.

The MIEP works with their students in many areas of daily life.  The students are taught basic skills, such as addition and subtraction, along with other tools that will help them be successful in society when they leave TJ. The MIEP students arrive at the school when they are 15 years old and can stay until they are 21 years of age. Many graduates of the program have gone on to work at places such as movie theaters, restaurants and other jobs that require a daily routine, so that the students can get used to it. Since the department has limited resources, they sponsor and run many of their own fundraisers, such as the spirit tassels that were sold the week of homecoming. However, Pitrone says their resources are still limited. “We can always use more toys or games for the kids to help them with their development. We also always need more help from the general student population; student assists are always helpful in the building of our students’ social development, as well,” she said.

While the majority of Just’s donation have already been delivered, much more is still to come.

“My son, as he has gotten older, has outgrown many of the games and other things we bought him, so the logical thing to do was give them to someone who needs them. As this was my Spartan-Up! idea, it made me happy I could be helpful to the kids and the school at the same time. It’s nice to give things to a group that is grateful for whatever they can get,” said Just.