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Getting Involved

Dancing the Night Away: Corner Canyon’s Prom For Students With Special Needs

A community effort turned a recent regular Friday night into an unforgettable enchanted evening for several dozen Canyons District special education students. 

Corner Canyon High on Friday, April 25, 2014 hosted a prom for the students in the Extended Core Units at Corner Canyon, Alta and Jordan high schools and Draper Park Middle. 

Clad in sparkly dresses and slacks and ties, the students whirled and twirled on the makeshift dance floor in the cafeteria, gave bashful looks to their dance partners, enjoyed snacks of soda, chips, cookies and chicken nuggets, and chatted with peer tutors who came to the event to support their special-education classmates.

“It’s really important to us to give our students a regular, high school experience,” says teacher Felicia Ellis.  She helped plan and execute the event with the CCHS Special Education Team made up of Lisa Young, Amanda Uptain and Assistant Principal Brian McGill. 

“Some schools will have their (special education) kids go to the regular prom,” said Corner Canyon High Principal Mary Bailey. “Although it’s nice, it’s not something geared toward them. This dance was developed especially for them.” 

For the young ladies, however, the highlight of the evening was the chance to get a free makeover, courtesy of cosmetology students at the Canyons Technical Education Center.

Parents and teachers noted how kind and patient the CTEC students were with the students. The aspiring stylists spent more than an hour curling hair, applying eye shadow and painting the nails of excited and bright-eyed gals who so clearly believed they were princesses preparing for a ball. 

The event also served as a kickoff to Corner Canyon’s “Charger Champs,” an organized effort at making education even more inclusive for students in Extended Core Units. Ellis says the Charger Champs club will provide students with disabilities “a chance to have the full high school experience of going to games, dances, and other extracurricular activities with their non-disabled peers.”

See KUTV’s touching story on Corner Canyon High’s special needs prom.

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Lucie Chamberlain

Alta View Elementary

If a movie about super teachers were ever made, Lucie Chamberlain would be a prime candidate for a leading role. Fortunately for her kindergarten students at Alta View Elementary, she already thrives in a supporting role for them. Parents thank her for being a “super teacher.” She is also described as an “amazing colleague.” Whether students need help in the classroom or from home while sick, Lucie goes above and beyond to help them learn, overcome fears, and feel important and cared for. Lucie is the reason a number of kids went from hating school to loving it, according to parents. The way she exudes patience, sweetness, positive energy, and love for her students with special needs melts is appreciated and admired. One parent noted: “Both my kids wish she could be their teacher forever.” Another added:  “She treats every student like their learning and their feelings are her priority.” Super teacher, indeed!

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