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Crusade for Children money returns to county

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By Cindy DiFazio

Staff Writer/Photographer

Now that the money’s been raised and counted through the WHAS-11 Crusade for Children, organizations hoping to receive grants through the program must decide just what to put on their wish lists.

This year, area fire departments raised more than $75,000 for the charitable cause.

“The Crusade for Children wants to see tangible items,” Donald Aldridge, Superintendent of the Eminence Independent Schools, said. Petitioners must apply for the grants and then meet with crusade administrators who make the final determination.

For the 2007-08 school year, Henry County Public Schools received $20,385 from the WHAS Crusade for Children.

HCPS spent $4,000 on the Read 180 program designed by Scholastic. This comprehensive intervention course is aimed at students who read below the proficient level and begins with fourth-graders. It features an integrated approach to the problem, which, according to the Read 180 website, affects 67 percent of middle-school students. The program’s approach utilizes direct instruction, books and computer-assisted learning. According to Aldridge, the Read 180 program will be adopted system-wide.

Eminence Independent Schools received $30,945 in 2007 which was divided between the Read 180 program and other special needs’ items. Computers and software were purchased to complement the Read 180 program. Aldridge said the district will request funds to continue with and supplement the Read 180.

Henry County Public Schools received $16,385 to hire paraeducators. Paraeducators are teaching assistants who work with special needs students. The special needs programs in the Henry County Public Schools provide classes for children with autism, early childhood special needs, learning differences and those who are functionally mentally disabled.

Superintendent Tim Abrams reports that the school system will seek $68,000 for the 2008-09 school year.

A requested vocational education curriculum would provide training for teachers and assist students to discover how what they learn applies to careers. The curriculum will cost $19,000.

HCPS will request $26,000 to cover half the cost of a bus or van that will be equipped with a wheelchair lift.

They will ask the foundation for another $23,000 to continue to fund the paraeducators for special needs children.

“We are very appreciative of the firefighters and all those who help out with the WHAS Crusade for Children every year,” Abrams said.

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