The Broward County Public School District in South Florida serves more than 260,000 students in 310 schools and learning institutions. Like educational institutions across the world, schools in Broward County strive to implement new technologies and learning methods that will prepare children for a bright and productive future.
Fox Trail Elementary is one such school. Fox Trail is located in Davie, Florida and has 1st to 5th grade students. As part of the school’s mission to walk “On the Trail to Success,” they have implemented programs that serve special needs groups that require different teaching methods in order to be successful. More specifically, they participate in the Autism Cluster Program where students on the autism spectrum are organized into small groups for more focused, hands-on learning.
Cluster Classrooms are used for special education of those that need more focused help in a specific area. This could include those with psychosocial trauma, behavioral disorders, autism spectrum disorders, or physical limitations. Autism cluster classes are self-contained classrooms for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. By breaking up these groups into “clusters” teachers can focus on different techniques and devices that students are more likely to respond to.
In the 2013/14 school year, the Agrawal Family Foundation endeavored to support the mission of Fox Trail Elementary and its Autism Cluster Program by partnering to find ways to increase engagement in the classroom and create new learning opportunities. This led to the Foundation donating approximately $10,000 that was used to purchase new iPads and personal computers for use in Cluster Classrooms. The donation helped teachers and students work together to improve reading, math and typing skills.
By revamping the classroom technology in Autism Cluster Classrooms, special education students receive teaching in critical areas.