Tag Archives: The Caroline School

The Caroline School is More Than a Place

To be honest, it was a little heartbreaking for the entire Easter Seals Greater Houston staff when we realized that remainder of The Caroline School’s year was going to have to be completed at a distance. It is such a wonderful joy to see these kids when we are at work. Even though only a fraction of our staff are part of The Caroline School team, we all benefit from hearing them laughing and playing during recess. Throughout the school year we can see how their education and friendships are blooming. It’s a daily reminder of what our programs are accomplishing all over the greater Houston area.

Our School Director and Teachers work hard day in and day out to make sure that our students get an engaging and tailored education. It is impressive, but not surprising, that these incredible educators went into overdrive making sure that the remaining virtual school year was held to the same high standard. We are proud of our teaching team as well as the parents who became “quaranteachers” in this midst of this difficult time.

This year has taught us that The Caroline School is not just a place, it is a community deeply committed to giving each student the chance to thrive in both their education and relationships. We look forward to the day that our students are all in the same place, but know that in some ways we are always together. Let’s celebrate our beloved students who made the most of the virtual school year! Thank you to everyone who shared pictures so that we could all enjoy your amazing accomplishments!

Our teachers made individualized learning boxes for weekly drop-off and pick-up. These boxes included art, movement, music, CVI adapted visuals and books, early academic tasks, and literacy!

Our families and staff had video sessions with interactive documents and tele-teaching.

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There was a massive amount of mutual appreciation. Parents sent videos and messages to our staff and teachers made a “Quaranteacher Supply Mug” filled with coffee and chocolate for our parents.

We hosted virtual hangouts so that The Caroline School students and teachers could have extra time to laugh and reconnect.Virtual Hangout

And of course we celebrated graduation! Congratulations Liam, we will miss you dearly!Liam Graduation

Learn more about Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Caroline School

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An Update from our CEO

We are Here (Virtually) For You

Therapist and her baby with headphones on

Learning Tele-Health!

Easter Seals of Greater Houston is here for you during this difficult time and because you are among our most valuable supporters, we want to assure you that we are here to help. With the Coronavirus (CoVid19) situation changing every day, our concerns are amplified with fears of how our community will be impacted. In all of our decades of serving military families, people with disabilities and vulnerable members of our community-we have become experts in what it takes to beat the odds. Over a month ago, we began adapting our services to keep our staff and clients safe while continuing to provide as many services as possible through tele-health and virtual meet-ups. Click here to see how we continue to support our clients and their families. We have compiled as many resources as possible on Covid19 and are keeping it as up to date as possible. Use BridgingApps.org, our award winning tech technology program, for an amazing amount of on-line resources and ways to stay connected and follow them on Facebook to see new ideas, and resources daily.

Like all families, businesses and charities, Easter Seals Greater Houston has already been hit really hard by the pandemic, by the government mandated benefits and even with huge aid being put in place by Congress, our agency is not eligible for many of the government supports. We expect even more health and financial damage before this is over. With that said, we are steadfast in our commitment to our clients, who need us now more than ever and we are committed to doing whatever we can to protect our employees, serve our clients and come out of this stronger than ever.   Our mission statement is, “Help. Hope. Answers.” The amazing, incomparable and unconquerable Easter Seals family will fulfill that mission of providing help, hope and answers to some of our most vulnerable neighbors during this difficult time and we are grateful to you for standing by us so that we have the resources to serve them.

Speaking of virtually.. We have also moved our Walk With Me Houston event scheduled for April 25th to #WWMVirtually as well. Please consider supporting us through the event. It will be a great way for you, your family, friends, co-workers and other social groups to interact, support the community, “do good” – great home school lesson, stay active safely and more! Follow our Facebook page for our Walk With Me Virtual Sign Up Happy Hour. Last but not least, we so appreciate our current sponsors and their continued effort and support!

If you don’t have the time to commit to walking virtually (and believe me we all understand) then please consider making a gift today to support Easter Seals Greater Houston and our programs, services, clients and their families. We depend on your stewardship and support.

Be well,

Elise Hough, CEO, Easter Seals of Greater Houston

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School is in Session

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It’s been a great three weeks back in session at The Caroline School at Easter Seals for new and current students alike as well as teachers!

We have enjoyed getting back to our schedule and seeing old friends, like Mr. Bernie, the pet therapy dog, as well as meeting new friends and teachers. In Classroom One we welcomed Mrs. Tiana, Violet, and Paxton and in Classroom Two we added Clarke!

Our teachers were excited to use the new OATECA assessment and curriculum thanks to Anthony and Elizabeth DeLuca. This new curriculum measures goals and objectives that are created from the curriculum to foster each student’s learning experience.  tcs6

What better way to get to know each other than to ask questions and share experiences? Classroom Two did this by creating a collective Summer Adventures book. Students used communication devices, voices, and assistive technology to share pictures, text, and even color preferences.

All students at The Caroline School have access to utilize high tech assistive technology devices such as iPads and Apple TV’s to low tech devices like the Big Mac through Easter Seals BridgingApps, award winning smart technology lab and program. Teachers and staff implement assistive technology for communication, academic goals, and if necessary as a positive reinforcement on a daily basis and as appropriate for each child.

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We would love to add new friends to our book! To learn more visit CarolineSchool.org

Tabitha Hernandez, Caroline School Director, Easter Seals Greater Houston

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Samantha’s Communication Device gets an Update!

Last Spring, Sam transitioned from using a limited auditory scanning device to a device with unlimited app-based software using auditory scanning to communicate!samantha 1

Many of the parents who have come to Easter Seals Greater Houstons’  The Caroline School have done so out of a desire to find a more individualized education for their child – a school that would focus on the whole child, their physical, social, and cognitive development.

That’s exactly what Samantha’s family found. Sam began at The Caroline School a year ago and since has embarked on many educational changes. She worked on her physical skills by using her stander in the classroom and engaging in yoga stretches with support. She focused on her social skills by using both non-verbal gestures (smiles and singing), as well as her new communication device to share love and joy with her friends and teachers. Working on the physical and social aspects of learning, perfectly positioned Sam to grow her cognitive skill set as well! She used her new communication device to engage in lessons and home-to-school connection questions and activities. For example, she completed an “All About Me” project to share with the class.

Sam’s collective team of teachers, parents, ESGH therapists and nurses are so proud of her hard work! We can’t wait to begin her Senior year here at The Caroline School! It will surely be the best year yet.samantha 2

Tabitha Hernandez, Easter Seals Greater Houston, The Caroline School Director

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The Caroline School is looking for a Teacher!

If 2013-pj-dayyou are seeking a job that gives you the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children and their families and be an important part of a team of caring professionals, look no further than The Caroline School! Join Easter Seals Greater Houston in our mission to provide services that meet the physical, cognitive and social needs of children with development delays and their families.

We would love to work with someone who is:

  • Experienced in the field (preferably of Education, however other fields will be considered based on particular involvement with children/students)
  • Certified to teach (SpEd specialization recommended, but not required)
  • Passionate about their work
  • Able to be part of a team
  • A creative and flexible thinker regarding educational approaches
  • Available as soon as possible

We are an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission company and offer:image5

  • A super supportive team and working environment
  • On-going training
  • Benefits
  • Optional full or partial Summers
  • An HISD calendar year
  • 5 days of additional Paid days off

If you have the qualities listed above, please send your resume and quick blurb about yourself to the Educational Director of The Caroline School, Tabitha Hernandez, at THernandez@eastersealshouston.org

Tabitha Hernandez, The Caroline School, Easter Seals Greater Houston

 

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The Legacy of The Caroline School

People with charisma often go into politics, the clergy or they run successful companies. They attract admirers and influence those around them. Caroline DeLuca was a child with charisma. While she did not speak with her voice, her charisma, smile and irrepressible charm spoke to people’s hearts-she attracted hundreds of admirers and influenced everyone around her.

heather jo and carolinePowerful people change the world. Caroline was, while living in a young but uncooperative body, a very powerful person. On a personal level, she changed the lives of everyone who knew her. On a community level, she inspired those around her to make the world better for children with disabilities. Her amazing parents, Anthony and Elizabeth, have worked and fought and given so much to ensure that children like Caroline and their families thrive and have the help they need to face the obstacles and prejudices that arise from disability. Her sisters, Allison, Virginia Claire and Lauren-who have very different personalities from each other-each share the common traits of grace, open hearts and strength. I know that along with the example of their parents, Caroline had a lot to do with why they are such extraordinary young women.598926_576373052382236_473731378_n

When they were unable to find a school that provided what Caroline needed, the DeLuca’s founded the Caroline School. Elizabeth said that the school is the place where children, no matter what their disability or medical condition, need and deserve a school where the curriculum is adjusted to their capabilities, where the teachers and aides care deeply about the children, where children feel safe and loved. The school at Easter Seals Greater Houston that Caroline inspired is just that place. Like most 18 year olds, Caroline loved music, swimming, fashion and friends. Unlike most 18 year olds, she had to fight really hard to be here with us-sharing her smile, her strong fighting spirit and her joy. While her physical presence is gone, her spirit lives on in the memories of her friends and family and in The Caroline School and Easter Seals Greater Houston, which will continue to provide a joyful and caring place for children with special health care needs.

Thank you Caroline, for the gifts you gave us all. We will miss you…I will miss you, but I am grateful for having known you and for the hearts you opened, the work you inspired, the joy you shared for the brief time you were here. I will work to do my small part in carrying on your powerful legacy.2013 Caroline and Jonathan

I hope you were as lucky as I am – to have known her, loved her and been inspired by her.   I have struggled for the past few days to write this – I just can not do Caroline justice.   So I will repeat her sister Lauren’s words, “Let Caroline’s courageous spirit inspire you in your daily life. Take the things that she taught all of us and carry them with you: Be the person who takes an extra minute to understand …someone. Treat people with patience and compassion. Ask questions. Never underestimate yourself or anyone else. Stay positive.”

Elise Hough, CEO, Easter Seals Greater Houston

If you would like to contribute in memory of Caroline DeLuca to help us fulfill her legacy –The Caroline School Operating Endowment Campaign

 

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Celebrating Milestones with the Caroline School at Easter Seals

students 1The Caroline School is in its fourth year at Easter Seals Greater Houston!  We are continuing to grow and expand our thank youprograms and opportunities for our students to show how fabulous they are!  This coming May, The Caroline School students will perform their first ever music and dance recital.  Thanks to the generous time and dedication from Sarah of Shine Dance and Kalenn of Rhythm of Life Music Therapy our students will be moving and shaking showing off their amazing abilities through dance and music therapy.  I am so proud of all the students!  They have practiced and worked hard to meet the fine motor, gross motor and attention to task challenge set before them.

As the school year is coming to an end I would like to thank all The Caroline School staff for their hard work and students 4dedication to the students this school year.  We are able to provide a quality education in a loving and safe environment and build our students up to meet the expectations set academically.  I could not do this alone and I am blessed and thankful for each of our teachers!

students 2The mother of one of our students, a young boy who went from verbal to a non-verbal state in public schools wrote this after five months at the Caroline School, “I wanted to send all of you a note to thank you for everything you have done for Michael this past year.  Today he had his appointment at the Meyer Center with his developmental pediatrician and for the first time in the seven years I have taken him, Michael progressed a full developmental year within a chronological year in all areas (expressive and receptive language, gross motor, visual perception etc). Mark and I are so proud of him and so grateful for everything you are doing each day to make this possible.”

Melissa Hueske (Larson), The Caroline School, Easter Seals Greater Houston

students 5Want to support the school and scholarships for children with disabilities who would not be able to access services without your support? Check out our upcoming Coach Gene Stallings event benefiting the Operating Endowment Campaign!

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Caregivers AKA…the Best Advocates

Hi, this is my son Joshua. Joshua entered into the public school system at the age of four. He was in a regular pre-2014 Caroline L Thomsonkindergarten classroom. At the age of five he was diagnosed with Autism. Joshua was placed in the special education program known as PPCD. The following year because of his age, he was introduced to the program known as Life Skills. During his time in the public school system we have experienced so much pain, heartache, stress, and worry concerning our child. In spite of my advocacy, nothing changed.  I was at the end of my rope by his 5th grade school year. I made a promise to myself that if things didn’t get better his last year in elementary school that I had to find a private school for him. So much happened with my son in his 2011-2012 school years, that I had to pull him out before the year ended.

I began searching for a school that would meet my son’s learning and safety needs. I wanted him around caring teachers and staff. Yes, my son was turned away from a number of private schools, because of his lack of verbal communication. Most of the schools never got a chance to even meet my son or evaluate him before turning him away. Then we found Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Caroline School.  I’m so grateful for The Caroline School. Once I turned in the paperwork, a half day of school was set up right away. The teachers and staff were able to work with him and get a chance to see the needs and skills he already had and what he needed help with. If it wasn’t for the acceptance of The Caroline School I had no other options, but to home school my child. I couldn’t take anymore heartache and disappointment with the system. I know my child had taken all he could take also. I could see how it affected him, so I had to do all in my power to better this school situation. Thank you God for answering my prayers. Since my son has been a part of The Caroline School our whole life have changed. My son and I can trust the teachers and the staff. He is surrounded by loving, caring teachers and students. I know longer have to worry about the safety or well-being of my child. The teachers communicate with me what is being taught and give me helpful suggestions on things I work with him on at home. My son is very happy here at The Caroline School. Even though he can’t communicate his happiness with words, I can see it in him. His demeanor is very calm. I am very happy and pleased to know that he can go to school and actually like being there.  All of the fears, worries, and the “what ifs” are no longer part of my life. I can breathe. No more tears. It comforts me as a parent with a special needs child. I can’t express how pleased I am with the teachers, assistants, and staff. Thank you for all you do, Thompson

*During this season of thanks and during National Caregivers month, ESGH staff are particularly proud and honored to work with the most amazing parents and caregivers! Thank YOU for doing all YOU do!

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The Gift of Our Staff

Amazingly enough …or not because we love Easter Seals Greater Houston! …our average staff tenure is more than five years! With the exception of one senior staff member (and she’s close!), all greta pictureof our program directors have been here 11+ years, most over 18! That speaks volumes for our mission, staff, families, and clients.  Here are some thoughts by our two most tenured staff. Our Office/IT Manager and a dearly loved Physical Therapist.

We-heart-ESGHMy name is Greta Cherry and I am a Physical Therapist here at Easter Seals. I have been an employee for 42 happy and rewarding years. I started working here two weeks after graduation from the UTMB School of Physical Therapy. From the very first day when I was greeted by the receptionist Betty Hester with a beautiful smile up until now under the leadership of Elise Hough and Dena Day, I can truthfully  say I would not change any of my many experiences. I really love my job, having had the opportunities to grow and learn working with hundreds of children, families and professionals. What an awesome ride it has been for me. Because of the enthusiasm, support and love I have received over the years, it has been a wonderful place for me to work. I thought about retiring for several years, I even tried retirement for about one month, but really missed the people I work with and the interaction with children and families, so with the blessing of my bosses I came back to Easter Seals.IMG_2132

My name is Donald and in February 2015 I will be celebrating 40 years of employment with Easter Seals.  As I sit here contemplating  the many years, I cannot tell you what a wonderful journey it has been,  When I first  started with the then Cerebral Palsy Treatment Center, I cut the grass and was an aid in the Therapeutic Recreational Department.  Within six months I was the only employee in the Recreational program – what a learning experience!  The next thing I know I was trained to administer hearing tests on clients, as we had our own audiometer booth   Then I moved from there to office worker, HR Assistant Director, Adult Program Director and now Office and IT Manager. What an amazing life I have had over my 40 years, the fellow employees I have had the honor to call my friends, and all the wonderful clients I have worked with.  Easter Seals is a wonderful gift in my life.

Did you know that we were originally  founded in Houston in 1947 as a part of HISD – the school for children with cerebral palsy, before the laws were changed for public schools?  The original offices were where the new Legacy Community Healthcare building stands in Montrose.  Once the laws were changed the agency evolved into a therapeutic treatment center, has grown yearly and the last 10 years, by more than 10% each year.  Easter Seals Greater Houston now serves individuals with ALL types of disabilities, as well as their families. Through a staff of over 120+ professionals, we serve more than 8,000 families annually through direct services in Houston and surrounding counties and reach over 23,000 monthly through our program websites.

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Teacher’s Perspective

2014 verizon at adults groupThe Easter Seals Greater Houston Adult Services Program is a great way for the special needs adult to challenge themselves with lots of unique and different cristen march betsy_frankactivities. There is always a new activity going on- including yoga therapy, cooking classes, iPad classes, and even a ventriloquist show! By not only having a place for community and friendship, the adult program is a place they can really learn their own abilities with each activity offered.

caroline 7“Getting to spend time with the adults was such a joy for me because they each have such beautifully different personalities, each their own sense of humor and languages of love. It was so special to get to know each and every one of them this past summer when I was given the opportunity to spend time with twice a week.” One of my favorite memories with the adults was going to see Big the musical at Miller Outdoor Theater. Not only did I get to enjoy an awesome show with the adults and see their faces light up, but I got to watch and experience each and every one of their personalities when we sat down to eat lunch afterwards. They all are so full of life and laughter that it makes it contagious to be around! They are such a wonderful bunch of people who I couldn’t have been more thankful to have worked with this past summer.

– Katie App, teacher at the Caroline School, Easter Seals Greater Houston

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