Karie Spry is the recipient of the Inclusive Education Practices Award for the 2016-17 school year in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191. She is a speech therapist with the Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) program at Diamondhead Education Center, working with some of the youngest learners in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191.
The award was created by the District 191 Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) to recognize staff members who are fostering meaningful inclusion of students with disabilities in classrooms and extracurricular activities, according to Stephanie Corbey, the executive director of Individualized Student Services. SEAC (comprised of parents, community members, school staff and administrators) advises the special education department on policy and program planning.
Spry was nominated by a parent who wrote that Spry helped her child, who is delayed with speech, build friendships and feel accepted in his class. “She [Spry] shows leadership by helping classmates understand that my son belongs just as much as all the other students, and that he can be a good friend,” wrote the mother.
Spry delivers instruction at a totally individualized level for the child. “Karie has worked with his teachers so that my son is able to participate in every aspect of the general classroom,” wrote the mother
Spry also helped the child gain perseverance, and introduced him to software that can help him communicate his needs and wants when he is frustrated and can’t find the words to express what he’s feeling.
“I have seen my child with huge smiles when he is able to get me to understand what he tells me,” wrote the mother. “Karie has played a huge role in that.”
Spry said she’s always been interested in inclusion because all students benefit from it.
Corbey said that others nominated for the award this year were:
- Barbara Borer, principal of Rahn Elementary
- Keith French and Molly Holmes, band directors at Burnsville High School
- Randy Geditz, special education teacher at Metcalf Middle School,
- Jake Knox, special education teacher at Burnsville High School
- Sue Fechner and Julie Knudsen, teachers at Sky Oaks Elementary.
- Lori Henke, Joanna Jordan, Paula Leach, Susan Muelebroeck, Holly Peterson and Melissa Roeske, members of the Early Childhood Special Education team at ECSE,
- Bev Price, Burnsville Police school resource officer at Nicollet Middle School,
- Maria Ruhland, literacy interventionist at Sky Oaks Elementary, and
- Kerry Stone, special education teacher at Eagle Ridge Middle School.
This was the sixth year of the award. Previous recipients are Mark Riggs at Burnsville High School, Leanne Banks at Eagle Ridge Junior High, Barbara Gierada at William Byrne Elementary, and Lori Haggerty with Tiny Tots preschool at Rahn Elementary, and Toni Adedeji at Sioux Trail Elementary.