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xMinds Logo - xMinds in teal and dark blue where the X looks like a person with an orange head; followed by the words Partnership for Extraordinary Minds

Improving K-12 education for students on the autism spectrum in Montgomery County, MD

Past Educator Grant Recipients


2021 Grant Recipients

At the start of the 2021-22 school year, xMinds launched its Cash for Classrooms campaign, awarding $10,000 to Montgomery County educators to purchase classroom supplies that help autistic students succeed in school. Over 90 educators received a grant — most around $100 — to stock their classrooms with materials geared toward autistic students. Many of these classroom materials were items that help autistic students process sensory input — like noise-cancelling headphones, weighted vests, and bouncy seats. Other materials purchased were designed to support executive-functioning skills, including daily planners, wall-mounted visual schedules, and organizational supports. Still other educators purchased items to help build students’ social skills and emotional awareness, selecting everything from books and games to puppets and social stories. After a year of virtual education, MoCo teachers were excited to get back in the classroom with these much-needed hands-on materials.


2020 Grant Recipients


In February 2020, xMinds awarded two MCPS educators grants to attend the NESTCON2020 conference in New York City. NestCon is a bi-annual conference to share lessons learned in the highly-successful New York City Public School system’s Autism inclusion program called “ASD Nest.” MCPS instructional specialist Dr. Susan Mason and MCPS special education teacher Claire Lanham joined xMinds Executive Director, Sue Keisler, and xMinds Advisory Board member, Monica Martinez, at the conference. We heard from educators, researchers, administrators, and autistic self-advocates who were involved with the Nest Program. We were also excited when we learned that New York University, who provides professional development and support to the Nest program, will launch a new program in September to support schools that want to start their own ASD Nest programs.



In October 2020, xMinds funded 11 para-educators and 1 occupational therapist to attend the 7th Annual Innovators in Education Conference, titled Emotions Count: From Research to Practice.  All the grant recipients support autistic students in MCPS, some in special education programs and some in general education. They heard speakers present on a range of important topics, such as the importance of friendships in learning, how to encourage internal motivation, how to support mental wellness with positive psychology and understanding anxiety.


2019 Grant Recipients


Sligo Creek Elementary School hired two new teachers for their Asperger Program for the 2019-2020 school year. Thanks to an xMinds Educator grant, Marguerite Fitch and Liana Rouse, were able to attend Unstuck and On Target training at the Ivymount School before the start of the school year. Unstuck and On Target is a foundational intervention for the MCPS Asperger program.


 


 In October 2019, xMinds partnered with the Center for Communication and Learning to fund MCPS educators to attend the 6th Annual Innovators in Education Conference. Thanks to xMinds, the staff of the Brook Grove Elementary School Learning Center were able to attend the conference as a team to learn cutting age strategies for their Learning Center teaching students.  

 

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