April was Autism Awareness Month and on April 5th, 2022, the Office of Special Education launched its 4th Annual Autism Awareness and Acceptance Kick-Off: Building Acceptance and Awareness Through Activities and Education, with a virtual performance and an artwork presentation. This annual district event was created to promote Autism awareness, inclusion and self-determination for all students, and to ensure that each student with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is provided the opportunity to receive high quality education and achieve the highest possible quality of life. Superintendent León started the kick-off with his welcome message to all of our families, schools, administrators and their wonderful staff and students. We also had a great keynote address from Kim Rivers, from SPAN Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN). Mrs. Rivers is also the parent of a child with Autism. She shared her challenges and successes raising a child on the spectrum with all of us. In honor of Autism Awareness this year, the Newark Board of Education went beyond simply promoting Autism awareness, to encouraging the community, educators, families, students and friends to build acceptance through inclusive activities education, and a month filled with Autism Awareness parent training activities. The kick-off event was a celebration of the gifts and talents our students on the spectrum possess. We had amazing performances and also beautiful artwork as part of our celebration.
A special thank you to the following schools that participated: Fourteenth Avenue, First Avenue, South Street, Camden Street, Louise A. Spencer, Central, McKinley, Ivy Hill, American History, Salomé Ureña, New Jersey Regional Day, John F. Kennedy, Quitman, and Thirteenth Avenue. Please click this link to view the submission of students’ artwork and performances from our schools across the district.