Troy Historic Village (THV) partnered with Thomas Richards Charities on Sunday, May 18, 2014 to host Celebrate Michigan in the Village at the THV. This was a fun family afternoon that featured great food, beverages, games for the entire family, and live music. Troy Historic Village had crafts, “Selfie Zones” where visitors were able to take “Selfies” at designated fun zones in the Village, costumed interpreters in the buildings, and old time games on the green. Food and beverages were offered from Fieldstone Wineries, Foran’s Grand Trunk Pub, The Big Salad and Billy Sims Barbeque. The live music featured Tritone Paradox and Sweet Crystal performing with special guest Amy Susan Heard and Gail Engling. Admission was Free with all proceeds from the sale of food and beverages supporting THV and Thomas Richards Charities.
The event was a success with a huge turn out and a generous amount of proceeds raised; thank you to all those that supported THV. Thank you for helping us help them.
Thomas Richards Charity was in collaboration with Noodles & Co. in Troy off Rochester Road on October 21, 2013 for a fundraiser to support Lisa and her medical expenses and therapy from a terrible accident. 25% of all proceeds went directly to Lisa and her family. Please continue to read as Lisa’s story is shared.
Lisa Head is a wonderful teacher; she is a friend and colleague to many, and serves as an inspiration to anyone who has the honor of knowing her and of working with her. Lisa has been a teacher for the Avondale School District for seventeen years throughout which she has changed the lives of hundreds of children.
However, on June 15th, 2013…disaster struck. Lisa was involved in a bicycle accident and suffered serious injuries. Thanks to the help of an anonymous Good Samaritan, who happened to be passing by at that very moment, Lisa is alive today. Her family and friends will be forever grateful to this person.
Lisa’s journey over the past few months has not been an easy one. She was in a coma for three weeks and she continues to receive physical and occupational therapy as she recuperates. Through hard work and perseverance, Lisa has made progress and she is determined to return to work at Woodland as soon as she can. Her family has received an outpouring of love and community support throughout this ordeal and Lisa is grateful for the support that this fundraiser will provide as she continues on the road to recovery.
Post fundraiser, Lisa was soon able to return to teaching at Woodland and doing what she loves. The fundraiser at Noodles & Co. was a success and a lot of friends, family, and colleagues came to show their support of Lisa. The support was amazing, their was a line out the door and around the corner. The manager who made this an amazing experience and event Jeff Farley told us this was the biggest and most successful fundraiser they had ever held. The whole team at Noodles worked their butt’s off to get everyones food out on time.
A special thanks to go out to Kelly Coon Waters who made all this happen. Thank you to all those who continue to support Lisa; thank you for helping us help her.
The LAUSD is Violating Federal Law, by Lying About Its Actions, and Harming Disabled Students.
What Are Special Education Schools?
Special education schools are dedicated exclusively to serve a small percentage of disabled students who have highly intensive needs. These students have severe difficulties with learning, sensory inputs, orthopedic complications, medical needs, behavior issues, safety awareness and more. Special schools provide for their needs in a comprehensive, safe setting with trained staff. Children attend special schools because IEP teams, which consist of knowledgeable school staff and parents, have determined that the nature or severity of their disabilities does not allow them to be educated satisfactorily in regular schools. In a safe setting with dedicated trained staff, they thrive! They can learn what they need to learn! They can be cheerleaders, attend school proms and social events, be on sports teams, and participate in activities appropriate to their abilities, needs and interests.
Don’t Believe the LAUSD’s Lies!
LIE #1: LAUSD falsely claims it is not closing special education schools.
FACTS: In the past few years, LAUSD has closed four special education schools and converted four others to Career Training Centers. This represents a closure of half of the special schools.
Pacific Blvd. School was closed in 2005, immediately following the installation of an adapted playground for its orthopedically handicapped students.
Sellery and West Valley Schools for severely disabled students were closed in 2009.
Frances Blend School for blind students was removed in July 2013 from the LAUSD Guide to Schools and Offices, with no public hearing and no notification to parents, staff and community. Decisions were made in secret and still have not been made public.
Widney, Miller, Willenberg, and Perez Schools, formerly comprehensive special schools
serving severely disabled students through high school, have been converted to Career Training Centers for mildly disabled students ages 18-22, thus closing enrollment to middle school and senior high aged students with severe disabilities.
Banneker, McBride, Salvin, Lowman, Lull, Leichman, Lanterman, Lokrantz, and Marlton
Schools have all had their enrollments slashed by the LAUSD and critical resources removed. Lanterman, McBride and Lull have had whole classrooms moved to general education schools, often without parents knowledge. The LAUSD is aggressively working to close these schools.
LIE #2: The Districtfalsely claims it is transferring students out of special schools to comply witha federal law to educate disabled students with non-disabled students.
FACTS: Federal law requires special schools for students who need them. All school districts are required to maintain a Continuum of Alternative Placements for disabled students. This includes special schools.
Federal law requires disabled students to be educated with non-disabled students to the
maximum extent appropriate.What is “appropriate” must be determined individually through
assessment and by an IEP Team(Individualized Education Planning Team) consisting of parents, teachers and other relevant specialists as equal participants.
Federal law provides for special classes as well as special schools if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in the regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. Only 2.6% of students with disabilities currently attend special schools.
The State of California has132 public special schools. Only those in the LAUSD are closing.
LIE #3: The District also claims it is doing this to comply with a court order called the
Modified Consent Decree.
FACTS: The Modified Consent Decree states “The parties agree that special education centers are part of the continuum of program options for a full continuum of special education and related services in the least restrictive environment.”
LIE #4: The District is falsely attributing the closure of some schools to “low enrollment.”
FACTS: Low enrollment has been artificially created by the District. The LAUSD:
‣ No longer allows pre-school classes in special schools.
‣ Refuses to inform parents of the option of special schools.
‣ Refuses to allow any new students to enroll at special schools.
‣ Is arbitrarily removing targeted groups of students, such as pre-schoolers, elementary or
middle school students.
‣ Has closed all classes of non-disabled students who previously attended special schools for
LIE #5: The District falsely claims these placement decisions are being made by IEP Teams, in accordance with federal law.
FACTS: The LAUSD is violating parents’ rights by making arbitrary placement decisions:
‣ Parents are not being included in these decisions.
‣ Placement decisions are being made by the Division of Special Education prior to IEP
meetings, an unlawful practice.
‣ IEP amendments to change placement have been held by telephone with parents not
understanding their rights.
‣ To achieve this massive transfer of students, IEP amendments are being rushed through
with parents not being allowed to disagree. This runs completely contrary to federal laws
relative to the IEP process.
LIE #6: The District falsely claims that special schools are “segregated.”
FACTS: Specialization for a beneficial purpose is not segregation.
Parents choose to have their children in special schools. There are many kinds of special schools in LAUSD,each of which represents a choice for students who may need these schools.
LAUSD operates seven types of options schools, each serving a different type of student. These are campuses with low student/teacher ratios offering instruction to students who are deemed at risk of not completing their education.
Included are continuation schools, schools for pregnant minors, opportunity schools, alternative schools and community day schools. In addition there are magnet schools for gifted students, skill centers, and a variety of other schools which represent options for students and their parents.
ONLY SPECIAL SCHOOLS FOR SEVERELY DISABLED STUDENTS ARE BEING
LABELED “SEGREGATED” AND ARE BEING CLOSED UNDER THE GUISE OF
Lie #7: LAUSD claims it is “integrating” special education students.
FACTS: The opposite is true. These students are becoming much more isolated. The four schools that have been converted to Career Training Centers for mildly disabled students (ages 18-22) have no interaction with the non-disabled students.
While closing special schools, the LAUSD has dramatically increased the percentage of special needs students in non-public schools. These are privately owned schools, funded by taxpayers. Students are sent there when the district does not have an appropriate placement. Non public schools have no interaction with non-disabled students.
Non public school placement(at taxpayer expense) has increased by 50% in the past few years while public special school placement has been reduced to less than half.
Classes of students who have been moved from special schools to general education sites are totally isolated with little or no interaction with non-disabled students and are unable to participate in academic, elective or extra-curricular activities.
LIE #8: LAUSD falsely states that “Research supports that both individuals with disabilities and their non-disabled peers achieve improved outcomes when they are educated together.”
FACTS: LAUSD has failed to provide any such research.
“Educational benefit”has been ruled to be a necessity by the courts.
Innumerable studies have shown a lack of improvement of educational outcomes when severely disabled students are educated with non-disabled students. Improvement has been shown in the area of acceptance but not educational outcomes..
Blind and deaf students are very successful in general education classes after they acquire specialized and access skills. These skills have been carefully taught in a comprehensive setting such as Frances Blend School for the Blind and Marlton School for the Deaf.
Severely handicapped students, when in a “fully included” classroom, do not receive instruction at their level or to meet their assessed needs.
LIE #9: LAUSD falsely claims that all services provided in a special school will be
provided on a general education campus.
FACTS: This is impossible from both a safety and educational viewpoint.
Providing a 1:1 aide who does not know braille for a blind student is vastly inferior to a
classroom with a teacher skilled in braille and in techniques to teach the blind.
Itinerant specialist teachers,who travel from school to school, have an average caseload of over 20 students.They cannot possibly provide enough time to meet IEP goals and assessed needs.As itinerant teachers have retired, their positions have not been filled.
Severely handicapped students are not allowed to “shine” or be celebrated on general education campuses,the way they are at the special schools, where they can participate in intramural sports, perform at school assemblies designed for their needs and interests, or participate in a host of other school activities tailored for their needs. In a special school, classrooms have kitchen areas and adjoining bathrooms for students who need to learn health and personal care skills.
Safety for medically fragile students and students with limited safety awareness is a very serious issue for students on a general education campus.
For disabled students who can thrive and be successful in a traditional school setting, a general education campus is appropriate and desirable. For students with intensive needs that a regular campus cannot meet, our dedicated special schools are best, and should be celebrated as a beneficial option.
For all those who contacted us or attended meetings to help save Special Education Schools and improve all special education in Los Angeles. All our hard work and dedication paid off; as of today, Los Angeles Unified School District still stands to serve disabled children and helps them thrive as individuals. LAUSD is still working on making changes to better the education of special education children, but they are continuing to serve the community. Thank you for helping us help the greater good, and all the deserving kids who are grateful for receiving a proper education and support.
The 2013 Matt Moscato Golf Charity Golf & Fundraiser was on July 26 at Sylvan Glenn Golf Course in Troy, MI. The 2013’s recipient was the Levi family. Dan, Mellissa, Taylor and Madison.
Dan’s doctors found a spinal cord bleed originating in his neck and continuing to his mid back. The pressure the clot was applying to his spinal cord has left him paralyzed from his chest down.
So on January 9th, 2013 the family was at home having the kids get ready for bed. It was about 9:15pm and Dan was sitting on the edge of our bed playing the latest Hitman game that just came out. He turned off the system because he was having a pain in his right flank (the area just under and behind the armpit). He said “ I must have pulled a muscle or something, can you rub it out for a minute”? Of course Melissa did but as she was it moved to his back. She did not feel very good about it moving so she said “we need to take you to ER”. He still did not think it was serious. Within 7 minutes his right arm started to go numb. She then said “we are going now, get in the car!” He was in so much pain on the way there Melissa must have ran every red light.
They pulled up to ER and he could not move his feet or legs. The security guard had to help him get out of the car. They were waiting to check him in and he was wailing. They took him right away. Seven hours later they took him into emergency surgery. They found a bleed in his spinal cord. The bleed or blood clot was the length of his neck to the middle of his back. The doctors said from C2 to T7. The pressure this clot was applying to his spinal cord has left him paralyzed from his chest down. They never expected anything like this to happen. None of the doctors can understand how this happened because there was no trauma. No car accident, no slip & fall, nothing.
Some of the blessings that have come out of this is a stronger faith, God can do all things, a complete healing isn’t to hard for Him. Also, their priorities have changed a little, family is more important than work, video games, etc.
He was at the hospital for an extended period of time, where they taught him how to live in a wheelchair. He was told he will never walk again. They have two daughters, Taylor age 12 and Madison age 9. They had no idea what the hospital bills are going to total with Dan in the hospital for 8 weeks. They then had on going in-home care with nurses and physical therapy. They had to reconstruct our home to make it accessible for him in a wheelchair. They could not apply for Social Security Disability for at least a year, and this injury has left him unable to work.
The golf outing was a huge success with tons of supporters and participants. All proceeds went to Dan and his family to help cover hospital bills, therapy expenses, and fund their home re-model for wheelchair accessibility. Thank you for all those who can to show their love and support for the Levi family.
Thomas Richards Charity hosted a wine tasting and art display event at Fieldstone Winery in Rochester Hills on May 9, 2013 in order to support funding for art supplies for Stoney Creek High School. The event consisted of wine tasting the variety of wines of Fieldstone with voting on the top two wines that Thomas Richards Charity would pick Fieldstone to bottle. The event also consisted of an amazing art displays from local and well known artists.
Artists that were on display included:
Deborah Argyropoulos, Kristen Scott, Kyla Ford, Nicole Bishopp and Sheila Tinnion.
All proceeds from wine tasting went to Stoney Creek. Our winning label for the bottle that Fieldstone Winery now has available for purchase is pictured below; 15% of all sales went to our charity.
The label was designed by Deborah Argyropoulos “Whispers of you”
The event was a success with amazing art, amazing wine, and incredible support. Thank you to all those who came out to support the cause for art supplies at Stoney Creek; also thank you to all those who purchased Deborah’s labeled bottle to support Thomas Richards Charity. We couldn’t do what we do without the love and support we continuously receive.