SELPA CAC Honors Two For Outstanding Support To Local Students

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selpa cac awards
(L-R) Lauren Hutchinson, Julie Reeves, Joanie Moore, Kurt Leptich, Ted Ceasar, Bryan Thomason, Michael Castillo.

IMPERIAL COUNTY – Imperial County School District Superintendents have honored 1 group and two individuals for outstanding support to local students with a disability. The eighth annual SELPA Community Advisory Committee (CAC) awards were presented to the Brawley Cattle Call Rodeo Committee; Ted Ceasar of Imperial Valley College and Michael Castillo, Principal of Kennedy Middle School.  The presentation of awards took place during the regular meeting of the SELPA Executive Board on June 15, 2016.

The annual awards are given by the SELPA Community Advisory Committee (CAC) to increase awareness about the three fundamental concepts of Special Education which are Community Partnership, Inclusion into regular education and Transition into post school education and programs.

Recognition for inclusion of Special Education students into the general education classroom was given to Michael Castillo Principal of Kennedy Middle School.  At the year-end meeting of the SELPA Executive Board, the county Superintendents heard about Mr. Castillo’s active participation in the Circle of Friends program.  The Circle of Friends is an inclusion program designed at Santa Monica High School and has been active at Kennedy Middle School for two years.  The Circle of Friends programs helps disabled and nondisabled students establish personal relationships that lead to lasting friendships and a decrease of bullying.

The transition award was presented to Ted Ceasar, Dean of Counseling at Imperial Valley College.    Mr. Ceasar was honored for his work to create the Imperial County Transition Fair that helps young adult students with a disability to connect with opportunities of adult life.    The Transition Fair event that Mr. Ceasar was instrumental in developing a decade ago has since become the keystone event for disabled students as they look towards the future.  The Imperial County Transition Fair is currently a one day event on the campus of IVC that is attended by over 350 students with a disability.

For “Community Partnership” the Superintendents recognized the Brawley Cattle Call Rodeo Committee for the Special Rodeo event that is held annually in November.    Each year as part of the annual Cattle event in Brawley, the committee arranges a rodeo designed to entertain students with a disability from all over the Imperial County.  In the past decades this morning long event has become a much anticipated event for special education students and families.  The Brawley Cattle Call Committee was represented by Lauren Hutchinson, Joanie Moore and Julie Reeves.

The awards are a project of the SELPA Community Advisory Committee (CAC).  The CAC is a support group of parents and community members that meet to discuss educational needs of disabled students in Imperial County.

In Imperial County there are approximately 3,800 students with a disability within the 17 school districts in the region.  The percentage of special education students in Imperial County is consistent with the state and federal averages.