(SOUTHERN COLORADO) — National Special Education Day is Friday, Dec. 2 and Southern Colorado schools had plenty to say in honor of their special educators, special education programs, and special education students.

Pueblo School District 60

District 60 Director of Communications, Dalton Sprouse said, “Through the dedicated and compassionate team effort of our SPED Department, we provide students with a disability a free and appropriate public education designed to meet the unique needs of each. By providing access to the general curriculum, students with an IEP can meet the same educational standards as their non-disabled peers, ensuring progress toward meeting IEP goals and objectives and preparing them for the future.”

Woodland Park School District Re-2

Woodland Park School District Re-2 (WPSD2) said that it would be creating a social media post for the district’s pages to acknowledge “the day’s meaning and why we celebrate this day” according to Lindsey Prahl, Communications and Marketing Director for WPSD2. “In addition, our schools plan to mention National Special Education Day during announcements.”

Lewis-Palmer School District 38

Rick Frampton, Executive Director of Student Services, Lewis-Palmer School District 38 (LPSD38) said, “Lewis-Palmer School District 38 is proud to offer a wide range of services to students with a variety of needs. We consistently celebrate our special education programs, but especially on National Special Education Day, we want to thank the dedicated staff members who tirelessly work to ensure the needs of all students are met, and all students who walk through the doors of D38 receive an education that meets their individualized needs.”

Frampton said that staff throughout the district are highly qualified and employ research-based practices to “ensure that all students are honored and uplifted” regardless of where they are challenged in their education, from LPSD38’s transition program for 18 to 21-year-old students to each school.

Harrison School District 2

Amy Lloyd, Director of Special Education with Harrison School District 2 (HSD2) said that Wildflower Elementary School is, “home to a special education program for students with social-emotional disabilities.” Lloyd highlighted John Kostelecky, a special education teacher at the school who has created a program that helps students succeed in and out of school.

“Mr. K’s level system highly incentivizes students to do their best while giving them the opportunity to have success even on days when there are setbacks. The program is structured in such a way that each student is supported in a positive and nurturing manner,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd also gave special recognition to Brandon Branch as a “rock-solid team member in the program for many years” who has built trusting relationships with students and cares about them overcoming obstacles in their learning.

“Mr. Rand Lohse and Mr. Damien Favela are new to the classroom this year and have jumped in and done a wonderful job with supporting the students in gaining the skills they need to participate successfully in their general education classroom with their peers,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd spoke about Chris Harnish, the school’s social worker, and how he helps students learn the coping skills needed to “stay emotionally regulated in difficult situations.”

Lloyd said, “The academic and behavioral growth of the students in the classroom has been incredible thanks to the hard work of Mr. Kostelecky and his team.”

She also talked about how Sand Creek International School “provides excellent special education services through a collaborative continuum of programming.” Lloyd praised the efforts and work of Principal Ami Nunn in her leadership.

Giving special recognition to numerous teachers and staff, Brittney Bryant, Nick Parnell, Julianna Schwindt, and Sarah Rafalski who provide intentionally differentiated and cotaught moderate needs instruction, Barb Beck and Sydney Frazier who facilitate an inclusive autism support programming model through the Communication and Social Development program, Lloyd made sure to shine a light on the work these individuals are putting in with special needs students.

“The Autism Program classrooms taught by Danielle Summerall and Jennifer Wright provide communication, social, and behavioral supports in a small group setting. Mrs. Summerall seamlessly modifies high-quality curriculum to promote growth in this program,” Lloyd said.

Many more educators and professionals who work with the school’s special education programs were recognized as integral to supporting students and making their educational experience a quality one.

FOX21 would like to send a special thanks to all of Southern Colorado’s special educators and support team members on this National Special Education Day.

FOX21 News reached out to other Southern Colorado school districts for comment, however, we ware still awaiting their replies.