$1,000 Grant Awarded To Pekin Special Ed. Teacher

By Ashley McNamee

September 29, 2010 Updated Oct 6, 2010 at 8:18 AM CDT

Miss. Stacy Schlappi says she has to get creative to teach her 13 special needs students everyday because they come from three different grade levels.

"A lot of websites make things that are age appropriate but also apply at different grade levels so we can meet the needs of all the students in the class," she said.

She says teaching with pictures helps the students make connections, but hands-on activities like field trips are the most effective.

"We talk about apples and that sort of thing, but when we actually go to an apple orchard they can pick apples and see all the different situations," said Miss. Schlappi. "Of course all of that costs money."

"Budgets are tight everywhere you know," said Wilson Intermediate Principal Matt Green. "$1,000, that's like striking gold."

That's where we stepped in to help. HOI 19 News and CEFCU selected Miss. Schlappi as the recipient of a $1,000 One Class At A Time Grant. We surprised her during class.

"Oh my gosh, that's great," she said. "I had no idea."

While quite surprised Miss. Schlappi says she is excited to use the money on more field trips and maybe even some physical education equipment to build confidence in the students.

"Show them that they can do some of those things and fit right in and feel good about themselves," she said.

Students like 10-year-old Nick Walker were pretty excited about the idea of taking more field trips. So is Miss Schlappi.

"I'm blown away, I am going to have a smile for the rest of the year," she said.