Friday, October 16, 2015

A Day of Fun for MISD Students with Special Needs

A student getting support as he prepares for the 100m dash.
Several weeks of planning and several hours of coordinating logistics among every campus at Mansfield ISD was all worth it when staff and volunteers saw one simple gesture—the smile of a child.

MISD’s 11th annual Special Education Field Day was held on October 14 and 15 at the track behind Brooks Wester Middle School. It was a chance for all students in the district’s Fundamental Academic Living Skills (FALS) classes to kick back and enjoy a half-day of games, sporting events, and dancing. More than 200 students attended the field days. Intermediate-level students attended on the first day followed by elementary students the next day.

The Special Education Field Day was created by the Adaptive Physical Education Department, made up of David Jimenez, Rudy Dominguez, Dana Beal, and Becky Poggensee. The group said the event started as a Special Olympics tryout event, but later expanded to provide recreational opportunities to all MISD students with special needs.

“It’s just a great opportunity to see the children be successful,” said Poggensee. “They get to be the kids that they are without worries, and the parents love to see their children having fun too.”

Jeremy Green with his son Ashton after Field Day ended.
Jeremy Green, parent of a fourth grader with Pitt-Hopkins Syndrome, said he remembers back when he was in school and not every child was given the fair chance to participate in field day events.

“They didn’t have days like this when I was in school, so I love that Mansfield ISD does this,” said Green. “My favorite part is seeing the kids run against each other and the excitement on their faces when they finish the race.”

Although field day is a day of fun, there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. Transportation ensures every student leaves and returns safely, and dozens of staff take the necessary precautions to keep every child safe at the event.

“It’s overwhelming to me to see what our teachers do every day to make sure these children are taken care of,” said Carmelynn Bragiel, director of special education. “I call them the unsung heroes.”

With the help of those teachers and staff, along with student and parent volunteers, cheerful grins were seen all around; and that’s what keeps the Adaptive Physical Education Department motivated to keep getting better each year.

 View a full photo gallery of the two-day field day event here.