July 13, 2024

16th Annual EPLAC Awards Program

Beth Studley – Recipient of Carla Midgely Award

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The East Providence Local Advisory Committee for Special Education (EPLAC) held its 16th Annual Special Awards Program with a reception in May at East Providence High School.  EPLAC is a committee comprised of parents of children with disabilities along with administrators, teachers and others with a concern for our children. The group meets throughout the school year to share information and concerns of educational issues.  EPLAC lists goals as:

  • To enable parents of special education children to be effective in their advocacy efforts.
  • To jointly advocate for all children with special needs.
  • To aid the East Providence School Department in its efforts to provide quality education for all students.
  • To provide each other with a strong network of support.  

The annual recognition night thanks educators, support staff, paraprofessionals, therapists, students, parents and others who have provided unselfish support to students with special needs.  There are many awards from a list of nominations submitted by various individuals or groups:

Carla Midgely Award:
Carla Midgely was a K-2 special education teacher at Hennessey Elementary and in a lot of instances she was a child’s first experience with school.  “She did her best to make sure that experience was an enjoyable one.  She was always looking for ways to engage her students and help them feel safe and comfortable in her class.  From alternative seating choices to providing a child his own copy of a book she was reading, just so he could follow along, she was a master at identifying a child’s unique needs and providing appropriate accommodations to help them be independent and successful in her room.  She would also check in with her students on vacations and during the summer to help them prepare for the transition back to school and once her students moved out of her class, she would pop in to their new room to make sure they didn’t forget her,” said an event organizer Tori Jessop-Crowley. Midgely was described as a mentor and an advocate for her students, making sure their needs were met.  She was a champion of inclusion, ensuring her kids got every opportunity available and as the Hennessey PTA President, she created inclusive events so all students and families could participate.  When they were building the new playground she advocated for special equipment and a buddy bench to make sure all kids would have access and opportunity to play.  As an EPLAC liaison, she educated families of their rights and shared resources to help navigate the sometimes-rough waters of IEPs, 504s and support services.

The Carla Midgley Hero Award:
Beth Studley, a para-professional and coach at East Providence High School is the 2024 recipient.  This award was established in 2021 in honor of Mrs. Midgley who passed in 2020.  Studley was recognized for her long standing support of Special Needs students throughout East Providence.

2024 Wall of Fame inductees:

  • Carl Sweeney Hope & Faith Drive - Community Resource
  •  Beth Studley Paraprofessional - EP High School
  • Lacy Odinsson Educator - Oldham Pre-Kindergarten Program
  • Patricia Garganta Educator - Marin Middle School
  • Susan Rodriguez Special Education Dept. Coordinator Martin Middle School Kristin Branco Speech Language Pathologist
  • Myron Francis Elementary Dana Brodin Occupational Therapist - EP High School

2024 Program Recipients and who they were nominated by:

  • Megan Black, Educator, MJ Francis:  by Kelsey Marin, Parent
  • Chris Kennedy, Educator, Martin MS: by Leslie Andrade, Aunt of Student
  • Jessie Ziobrowski, Para Pro Silver Spring: by Abigail Jaffa, Educator, Silver Spring
  • Judith “Judy” Antonio, Out-of-District Coordinator:  by Debbie Davey, Parent
  • Special Services Award - Out of District:  Jill Podolski,                                                          By Debbie Davey, Parent
  • Physical Education Educator - Groden Center Providence, Inclusion Program Award, Connection Program Team: By Kaie Grifka, RMS Social Worker
  •  Riverside Middle School, Community Resource Award Sergeant Jay Rogers and K9 Marty, EP Community Policing Unit: y Abigail Jaffa, Educator Silver Spring

Student Recipients   and who they were nominated by:

  • Rylynn Moniz, Waddington: Paula Dionisopoulos, Waddington Educator
  • Mason DeMelo, Waddington:  Paula Dionisopoulos, Educator, Waddington
  • Olivia Horta, Waddington: Jasim Cardoza & Kassidy Gustafon, Educators Waddington
  • Audrey Flamand, Waddington: Thomas Boucher, Educator, Waddington
  • Damien Dellefave, Waddington: Lindsay Ferris & Taylor Batty, Eduvators, Waddington
  • Jason Russo, EP High School: Abigail Arruda
  • Jason Russo, EP High School:  Kelly Wright, Parent
  • Alaina Placido, Kent Heights Elementary:  Lauren Gilbert, Educator, Kent Heights

Participants and guests were greeted by the EPLAC 2023-24 Leadership Team, Logan Moniz and Tori Jessop-Crowley.  Superintendent Of Schools Dr. Sandra Forand gave a message of welcome as did Leslie Anderson, Pupil Personnel Director.  Assisting with the awards ceremony was School Committee member Jessica Beauchaine.  Also in attendance was Mayor Bob DaSilva, School Committee members Ryan Queenan, Max Brandle and City Council President Bob Rodericks.

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