• spotlight

  • Photo Gallery: Sunrise Superhero 5K 2022!

    Posted by AIU on 5/16/2022 7:00:00 AM

    Photo Gallery: Sunrise Superhero 5K 2022!

    This weekend, the Sunrise community came together in a very special way for the Sunrise Superhero 5K! It was our first in-person 5K in two years and folks from across Allegheny County came to run in support of Sunrise School! Although rain was in the forecast, Sunday came and the clouds scattered and brought PERFECT conditions for our walkers and runners!

    Many students wore their best superhero costumes and many parents and community members wore snazzy commemorative t-shirts for this year's event. Thanks to everyone, including our generous sponsors, for participating and supporting Sunrise School! Take a look at all the fun in the corresponding photo gallery:

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  • Photo & Video Gallery: Day of Code 2022!

    Posted by AIU on 5/2/2022

    Photo & Video Gallery: Day of Code 2022!

    Students across our AIU-operated schools put their tech skills to the test last during Day of Code events last week! Students used iPads and other electronic devices to remote control and customize robots, vehicles and much more! Check out the gallery for all the fun as well as a video from action at Sunrise School!

     

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  • Photo Gallery: 2022 Mon Valley Basketball Invitational!

    Posted by AIU on 4/29/2022 11:20:00 AM

    Photo Gallery: 2022 Mon Valley Basketball Invitational!

    This year, students from all three AIU-operated special education schools (Mon Valley, Pathfinder and Sunrise schools) were thrilled to play each other after a 2-year hiatus for the Mon Valley Basketball Invitational! Along with our players on the court, each school brought its cheer team to raise school spirit! An award ceremony followed and smiles were everywhere! Their fellow students and teachers back at their schools were able to watch in-class via a livestream. Thanks to everyone for their great sportsmanship and energy! Check out the photo gallery to see all the fun!

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  • Above and Beyond: A story about teamwork leading to greater independence for a Pine-Richland Student

    Posted by AIU on 4/27/2022 10:00:00 AM

    Above and Beyond: A story about teamwork leading to greater independence for a Pine-Richland student

    Keury Da Mata, student at Pine-Richland Middle School

    Keury Da Mata had lots of new challenges as she went into 8th grade at Pine-Richland Middle School last August.

    She wasn’t just new to the district – she and her family had recently arrived in the area from Brazil. On top of all the cultural and language differences, Keury, who has cerebral palsy, needed the right tools to get around.

    Described as a hardworking, eager to learn and delightful young woman, Keury and her family came with hopes of a fair shot at success.

    Her sports wheelchair posed a safety risk for bus transport to school as well as making her way around campus. “It became very apparent from the first visit that Keury didn’t have proper machinery,” said Pine-Richland Middle School Assistant Principal Jacob Minsinger.

    Wanting to start off the new school year strong, Minsinger, Student Services and Special Education Director Noel Hustwit and Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) in-school physical therapist Judy Wagner took an all-hands-on-deck approach to get Keury what she needed to thrive.

    Among its many services, the AIU provides occupational and physical therapy supports to districts including Pine-Richland, with experienced professionals like Wagner working directly in its buildings.

    In a short period, Hustwit expedited additional services and training for paraprofessional staff to meet Keury’s needs, and sought assistance through Wagner for equipment from the AIU Special Education and Pupil Services division.

    Wagner quickly got in touch with Holly McElhinny, the AIU Director of Occupational and Physical Therapy Services, for help scouring the AIU’s vast network, including its equipment and resource library, to locate compatible wheelchairs.

    “I have very (much) more independence!”

    Keury Da Mata, a Pine-Richland student. She came to the district without the proper equipment to get around.

    Before long, McElhinny and Wagner were able to secure a manual wheelchair for Keury to safely and comfortably ride the school bus. The moment she first sat on the chair using its tilt-in-space feature, Keury exclaimed, “I'm in heaven!” The wheelchair was in pristine condition – only previously used for six months before being donated to the AIU-operated Sunrise School in Monroeville.

    Soon after, Wagner was tipped off by a neighboring Pine-Richland parent of a separate power wheelchair, enabling Keury to quickly get around from classroom to classroom with greater freedom.

    “I have very (much) more independence!” Keury said. She is now able to get many things on her own, including food, drink and personal belongings, as well as participate in sporting activities and games with her peers.

    “Every person…went above and beyond,” McElhinny said, noting the mutual sense of urgency between the district and the AIU for this unique circumstance. “It was such a pulling together of effort.”

    As for Keury, she’s learning how to better drive her power wheelchair more each day.

    “God wanted for me to stay in this wheelchair,” Keury said, “but I know He has a plan for my life because otherwise I wouldn't have survived to be an inspiration to other people on this earth. I love to be an inspiration to people because just as they can learn from me, I can learn from them too.” Keury adds she would like to walk one day.

    Keury’s keen on making new friends, and the power wheelchair acquired for her helps do just that. Wagner recently remarked on a recent physical education class she observed with Keury: “She was out on the basketball court with a different kind of ball to initiate an interaction with her peers shooting basketballs. It was a beautiful thing to watch.”

    “So that’s what (the wheelchair) gives her.”

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  • Photo Gallery: Earth Day at Sunrise!

    Posted by AIU on 4/22/2022

    Photo Gallery: Earth Day at Sunrise!

    Students at Sunrise School in Monroeville marked Earth Day on Friday, April 22, by embracing nature on campus! Students and teachers planted an array of plants, including a tree, on school grounds, providing both a wonderful learning opportunity and a way to be responsible stewards of our planet! View the photo gallery below.

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  • A Spotlight on Mental Health Services: School Based Supports

    Posted by AIU on 4/20/2022

    A Spotlight on Mental Health Services: School Based Supports

    From the Allegheny Intermediate Unit Special Education and Pupil Services Division

    As students in our region are coming to the close of their second full school year disrupted by the COVID-19 Pandemic, regional education agencies, such as the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU-3), continue to urge families and educators to focus on the mental health of the students in their care. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that from 2016-2019, a reported 20 million U.S. children aged 3-17 were diagnosed with one or more of the four most common mental health disorders, which are identified as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Anxiety, Behavior Problems, and Depression.

    Even prior to the pandemic causing the need to close schools, the number of children diagnosed with mental health disorders in U.S. children was a growing concern with a 3% increase in the number of children diagnosed with Anxiety or Depression from 2003 to 2012.

    Although year-to-date data is not currently available from the CDC, experts know that transitions can be hard for children and families even during the best of times. These same transitions during a pandemic have led to increased levels of stress and anxiety in these same groups.  Regionally, school districts have almost all returned to regular in-person learning and are challenged with meeting the academic and social-emotional needs of their students.

    The Allegheny Intermediate Unit has supported several educational partners in the region with trainings related to identifying behavioral and mental health issues in students and supporting those needs. As part of these informational sessions, the AIU urges educators to support and accommodate the social-emotional needs of their students as they address the identified learning loss that occurred locally and across the nation. The importance of social-emotional learning as part of the education of children is a focus of the AIU and the Special Education and Pupil Services Division.

    Helping a student off school bus at Mon Valley School

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  • Pathfinder School Spring Flower Fundraiser is underway!

    Posted by AIU on 4/18/2022

    Pathfinder School Spring Flower Fundraiser is underway!

    Pathfinder Spring Flower Fundraiser - Ends May 15!

    Ring in the start of spring with some fresh flowers for your gardens while supporting our kids!

    Pathfinder's Spring Flower Bulbs Fundraiser runs through May 15 with all proceeds from the fundraiser benefiting the Pathfinder Student Activities Fund, which helps provide field trips, school dances and other extracurricular activities for our students.

    Please visit here to access Pathfinder's personalized fundraising site to order an array of flowers, including dahlias, lillies, perennials, seed mats and much more! Please make sure to order by May 15!

    Please share with family and friends as well - the more flowers are ordered, the more students at Pathfinder get opportunities every other child should have while in school!

    Thank you for your support!

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  • Photo Gallery: Pathfinder Celebrates Autism Awareness Month with Hands!

    Posted by AIU on 4/11/2022

    Photo Gallery: Pathfinder Celebrates Autism Awareness Month with Hands!

    Students and staff at Pathfinder School, one of three schools operated by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) celebrated Autism Awareness Month by showing off the diversity of their hands -- and testing their principal's memory! During a special assembly, students gathered in the Multi-Purpose Room to see Mr. Nick Fratto (everyone at school calls him Mr. Nick) try to correctly place their hand cutouts in the right classroom board. After help from some students, Mr. Fratto got them all right! A big celebration ensued in the MPR and a ball was tossed around to celebrate.

    Also, we can't NOT notice those snazzy Kindness shirts! Parents and staff ordered them just for this year's commemoration of Autism Awareness and the values held at Pathfinder: Inspire; Compassion; Thoughtfulness; and Respect!

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  • Photo Gallery: World Down Syndrome Day Celebrations!

    Posted by AIU on 3/21/2022

    Photo Gallery: World Down Syndrome Day Celebrations!

    Our students and staff at our AIU-operated special education schools commemorated World Down Syndrome Day in the most fun way they could think of — fun socks! Take a look at a few photos from Pathfinder and Sunrise School with students commemorating Down syndrome with colorful socks, a well-known tradition. Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement usually causing varying intellectual and physical disability and associated medical issues. Approximately 1 in 800 births are babies with Down syndrome.

    Thanks to our students, staff and administrators for participating and recognizing this important date.

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  • Photo Gallery: Therapy Dogs at Sunrise!

    Posted by AIU on 3/11/2022

    Photo Gallery: Therapy Dogs at Sunrise!

    Sunrise staff and students were overjoyed when therapy dogs visited the campus on Friday, March 11! The lovable canines visited each classroom and produced countless smiles over the morning. Some students wore canine clothing to mark the occasion. Take a look at a few photos from Friday's festivities! Thanks to Thera-paws and their four lovely dogs: Essie, Teddy, Percy and Bella!

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