This story starts back in 2018, when Janelle and Adam Hickey moved to the Park Cities with their two kids. They immediately got involved in the community, with Adam serving as a volunteer on the Highland Park Education Foundation’s (HPEF) Finance Committee and eventually joining the HPEF Board of Directors for the 2020-2021 school year.
Having a child receiving services from Highland Park Independent School District’s Special Education Department, Janelle and Adam realized that the district was heavily relying on private support due to budget restraints. They wanted to do something to support the services that were helping “680 HPISD students with disabilities from birth (only hearing- and visually impaired students are served at birth) through age 22 (only students with transition needs are served past graduation)”.
Today it was announced that Janelle and Adam have provided $100,000 for the first endowed fund for HPISD’s Special Education Department, in order to “help meet the greatest unmet academic needs of students and teachers across all grade levels of Special Education, while always promoting inclusion and well-being of Special Education students.” The donation will be invested as part of HPEF’s Programmatic Funds within the foundation’s $35 million Tartan Endowment Fund.
As Janelle put it, “We feel passionate about ensuring the unmet academic needs of students, teachers and administrators in the Special Education Department in HPISD are satisfied for the long-term.”
Led by Dr. Laurie Gagne, the Special Education Department provides the District’s seven campuses with a variety services (Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Adapted Physical Education, Vision Services, Audiological Services, Transportation, Transition Planning, Counseling and Music Therapy) in addition to the following unique programs that enhance the quality of education and experiences of Park Cities families and students:
- SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Committee) is committed to working in partnership with parents, the schools, and the District, meeting monthly.
- 18+ Transition Scots Café/Scottie Treats is run by young adults in the program who are 18 to 22 years old and are learning to operate a business that promotes independence while having fun.
- Sparkling Scots, in alignment with the District’s Commitment to Inclusion, is a group of special-needs students who help bring school spirit to football games and other District events.
According to HPEF Director Lauren Holloway, “The Hickeys set a remarkable example of commitment and passion for supporting academic excellence in HPISD, honoring the inclusion of every student in HPISD. We are so grateful for this generous gift dedicated to special education.”
* Photo provided by Highland Park Education Foundation