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.