By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Cherokee Central Schools Special Services team has been awarded the 2018 McLean-Yoder Award for Excellence (MYAPE). “The MYAPE is awarded annually to a team serving students with severe disabilities by the National Joint Committee (NJC) for the Communication Needs of People with Severe Disabilities,” Bill Ogletree, National Joint Committee representative, stated as he read a letter from Amy Goldman, NJC MYAPE award selection chair, to Cherokee Special Services staff at the school on the morning of Friday, Sept. 28.
Cherokee’s program was chosen from 10 finalists and will be recognized at the National Conference of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Boston later this year according to Goldman. Her letter stated that Cherokee was chosen “due to its embodiment of inclusive principles, its significant commitment to collaborative practices, and its focus upon innovative and practice services”.
Julie Ogletree, Cherokee Central Schools speech language pathologist, said, “We had to evaluate ourselves on many different parameters from how we worked as a team to how we worked with the teachers in the classrooms, if we used augmentative devices, there was a long list of areas. It was a nice process because we could really see the things that we were doing well, but we could also see some things that we needed to improve upon.”
She added, “This year, we have made a more concerted effort to go into more mainstream classrooms with the students and that has been a real plus.”
Julie Ogletree said they received the award due to collaboration with other professionals. “Since we have a physical therapist, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, we do co-treatment and we look at the children in a very holistic way and not just looking at their writing or just looking at their speech. When we work together, we’re working on all of those things…we can really treat the children and give them the best service when we work together.”
She went on to say, “The reason we can provide these services in Cherokee is because we have full-time therapists here and we meet together. We’re not in our cars running around to a bunch of different schools. We have the time, and we have the commitment from the school to give us the time to be a team.”
According to information from the NJC, “The MYAPE was named after Drs. James McLean and David Yoder, preeminent research scientists in the area of communication and intellectual impairment.”