GROVE CITY, Pa. (WKBN) – A Mercer County special education teacher was one of four local teachers to receive a $500 grant through the WKBN Caring for Community Creative Classroom contest.
There were approximately 50 applications received for this year’s contest, which is in its fourth year.
Sara Newton is a learning support and autistic support teacher for kindergarten and 1st grade at Highland Primary Center in Grove City. She plans to use her Creative Classroom grant to purchase items for the school’s sensory room for students with autism.
In her grant application, Newton said one in 50 children are now being diagnosed with autism.
“With the prevalence on the rise, it is so important for schools to have the right equipment to ensure the kids can reach their highest potential,” Newton wrote in her application.
She said Highland Primary Center had a room where autistic students could go when they are overstimulated or understimulated to get back on track and be able to join the class again. However, she said the room did not have a lot of equipment that met the needs of all the students since autistic support was new to the school building.
Newton said she and a parent began fundraising to purchase equipment for the sensory room and held several fundraisers since April, but they only raised enough to purchase some basic equipment.
She said she plans to use the grant to purchase dramatic play outfits to help students build language, play and social skills; a weighted vest to help calm the child; weighted blankets to improve body awareness and adaptive classroom seats to help the students with attention and focus.
Watch the attached video to see Newton’s reaction to winning.
The Creative Classroom program is made possible through the WKBN 27 Caring for Our Community campaign in partnership with Huntington Bank, Dunkin’ Donuts, Window World and Dallas W. Hartman Attorneys at Law.