Kate accepted the National Association of Social Workers Volusia/Flagler Public Citizen of the Year Award last night at LPGA! This award is based on her dedication to education in Volusia County since she started working in the public school system in 1984, and more recently with the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at the University of Central Florida. Kate’s excellent record of service reflects her professionalism and dedication. Last night she spoke on courage, as “Acts with Courage” is one criterion for the award. In Kate’s research into the word, she found that the root of courage is the Latin cor, for heart. She also found that courage is defined as mental or moral strength to venture; persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. This was the topic of her acceptance speech; she spoke of those individuals she has known who display courage. At the top of her list is individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Kate has a deep respect, understanding of, and heart for, people with ASD. Cumiskey Education Group is our attempt to fill the gaps for educators, parents, and especially students in the Volusia County area. Kate has an extensive network of professional contacts throughout the nation and is interested in helping local educators access needed resources without a lengthy, time-consuming, politically-weighted process. Our services are based on your needs and your ideas. From experience, Kate knows that you are the professionals. Let’s fill gaps in public education together. When teachers have what they need, students win. This leap into educational consulting is a little scary, but the conference of this award helps us to keep the faith in our chosen path to support education from a new vantage. I am so proud of Kate!
One of the gaps we see, as parents and educators, which CEG hopes to help fill, is underserved educators. That’s right, we want to help meet the needs of educators who serve students. There are wonderful teachers in Volusia County Schools; we would like to be one of the reasons they choose to stay here rather than leaving for outlying counties where teacher pay, for example, might be better.
The following services will be offered free, even after June 10th, for public school teachers:
Autism Spectrum Disorder Hotline
Have questions about ASD you are having trouble getting answers to? Would talking to a person on the Autism Spectrum help? Six days a week, 8am to 8pm, someone with an ASD diagnosis will be available to you. These calls are limited to half an hour at a time, due to others’ needs. But, the services below may elaborate on and help resolve your issues.
While CEG has lots of professional and personal experience with ASD, as anyone who has it or has loved or worked with those on the Spectrum knows, nobody has all of the answers! That’s because, when you’ve met one person on the Spectrum, you’ve met one person on the Spectrum. Each student is unique, and ASD makes them more so. But, it is also due to the fact that, clinically and professionally, the learning curve in the world of ASD is steep. New information, some good, some not so, comes almost daily. CEG will be happy to do specific research for you, so that you can spend your valuable contract time on other professional needs, and send you what we find. Free of charge, no obligations. You take the information we send to you and do with it as you wish; if we don’t find what you need, send us back to the table. We love research at CEG!
Donated Classroom Materials
Let CEG have your wishlist of items for your classroom. We will keep them confidential (from EVERYBODY) then we will work to find those items for you from local, national, and international businesses and have them donated to us. When we have your items, we will let you know. Our hope is not only to assist you in using more of your professional time with the materials you need readily available, but to reduce the impact of those sad-but-necessary items at local stores at the end of summer–the classroom supply list. These can be stressful on our needier families who may not be able to send their children to school with the classroom supplies.
At our office, there will be an Educators’ Free Store based on the model of the Free Store at Jacob Cumiskey’s college, Warren Wilson. Those who have items they wish to donate, both teachers and community members, can bring them to us and if they don’t fill a need on a particular teacher’s or administrator’s wish list, they’ll go on the shelf. When you have the time you can come by to pick through and take what you need. We do encourage educators to use their contracted time for this activity, since it relates to the classroom. Appropriately, of course: with supervisor permission during planning, lunch, or on duty days, and with appropriate sign-in and sign-out. CEG supports professionals. By the definition of professional, donating your time and money undermines the profession. Working to the Contract is not an idea which should be limited to stressful times of contract negotiations (nor should it be headlined in the local paper as “Teachers cut hours”); all teachers should be paid for their work time.
~~~~~While many who are seasoned or new educators would find it hard to, imagine a world where you could get all your work done at work! Then, the world might start to view teachers for what they actually are: dedicated, consummate professionals who get paid for their work time. All of it.~~~~~
For this reason, the Free Store will only be open to teachers during the contract day.
Blog & Weekly Chat
Educator sharing forum. Have an idea you want to share? We all know teachers LOVE learning and LOVE teaching. If you have an idea you’d like to share with others, you can put it on our educators’ blog, bring it up in the weekly educators-only chat, or give it to us with or without your name and contact information to share with those in the network we are building who’ve asked for help in specific areas.
Professional Development Seminars
During the school year, free professional development seminars will be offered throughout the county for teachers. These will be led by professionals in the areas you request and see a need for. Let us know your wish list of training; we’ll bring these to you, videotape the trainings, and make them available to educators free of charge. At CEG, we believe the perspective that only certain individuals hold the “keys to the kingdom” when it comes to knowledge is harmful and hinders the educational path of students. Vetted, seasoned professionals will lead these seminars. Be aware that once they are recorded and up on our website they will be public domain; they can be accessed by anyone on the planet with internet access. This caveat will be in the contract of the presenters we hire: once it is out there, it is out there. If you wish to earn CEUs for these presentations it will be up to you to follow the usual path with the District for requesting that. If you need help identifying the steps on that path, come to the seminar–that topic will be covered in housekeeping at the beginning of each session. Hand-in-hand with this, part of our research perspective will be to bring other excellent seminars to our website for you to access remotely, from various institutions and professionals around the globe.
Please stay tuned and in contact, we welcome your questions and ideas!
Mikel J. Cumiskey, Sr.