Tag Archives: autism awareness

Autism Awareness Month Highlighted At Washington Elementary

George Washington Elementary School highlights autism awareness throughout the month of April with special events and in-class activities. On March 30, the Burbank Unified School District Board of Education passed a resolution recognizing April as Autism Awareness Month.

Washington Elementary has a specialized program called Language Enriched Autism Program (LEAP) serving students in grades TK through five. Chandra Collins, Katie Brown and Debbie Gal are the teachers of the special day classes.

“In order to help raise awareness and understanding among all students, we celebrate Autism Awareness Month school-wide,” explained Collins. “April second is World Autism Awareness Day.”

Riley Collins, Jizel Galstian, Daniel Kesian, Sergio Salinas, Kiris Dawkins-Holt, Chandra Collins. (Photo Courtesy Edith Chavez)

On April 3, the nearest school day to April 2, students, teachers and staff at Washington were encouraged to wear blue, the color of Autism Awareness, in support. The school held activities to further awareness and engagement.

Each student was given a paper puzzle piece and encouraged to decorate it blue or with a picture or a message representing friendship, understanding and compassion, said Collins.

(Photo Courtesy Chandra Collins)

For the month of April, Washington Elementary hallways are decorated with all of the student-created puzzle piece artwork. A poster contest was also held.

School-wide, teachers show educational videos to their students with the goal of helping typical students gain understanding of their fellow students with autism.

Riley Collins and Hailey Collins with their friend Kevin Georgelos, Jr. (Photo Courtesy Edith Chavez)

The LEAP program teachers also take photos and make videos showing how the general education students can be helpful and play with students with autism.

“The students are encouraged to ask questions about autism throughout the month and the entire school year,” added Collins.

“We feel that by being given information, our entire school community will learn to be more empathetic and can teach their own families and friends about autism.”

The school community recently celebrated second grade student Michael Levonyan’s Best In Show award at the 2017 Burbank Youth Art Expo. Levonyan’s artwork was created while he participated in a mainstreamed art class during Washington’s annual Art Day.

On April 14, award-winning children’s band Rhythm Child returns to Washington Elementary with an interactive concert, highlighting diversity and acceptance, for the entire school. The concert is supported by the Washington Elementary PTA.

Washington Elementary Student Art Wins Best In Show

George Washington Elementary School is celebrating the achievement of second-grader Michael Levonyan, who took home the Best In Show trophy for his artwork at the 2017 Burbank Youth Art Expo on Friday, April 7.

Organized by the Burbank Park and Recreation Department, the annual Youth Art Expo attracted more than 1200 submissions this year from Burbank students in grades TK through 12. Grades 6-12 were recognized on April 6 and grades TK-5 were celebrated April 7 in ceremonies at Olive Park Recreation Center.

George Washington Elementary School second-grader Michael Levonyan with his artwork inspired by “The Scream.” (Photo Courtesy George Washington Elementary School.)

“The very exciting part… is that Michael Levonyan from our LEAP – Language Enrichment Autism Program- in Ms. Gal’s special day class, won!” exclaimed Washington Principal Brandi Young.

Levonyan’s mother and father, classroom teacher Debbie Gal, Principal Young and general education teacher Barbara Kim who taught him the art lesson at school attended the awards ceremony in support.

“We are very proud and excited as we mainstream for art, music, P.E., and academic areas, when it’s appropriate for the students,” commented Young. “During Washington’s Art Day, Michael had an opportunity to mainstream in a general education class, where they were given a direct instruction lesson on the artwork of Edvard Munch, ‘The Scream.'”

“Michael was very successful with this lesson as he does well with step by step instructions and a model to follow,” added Young.

Levonyan’s success, through his own work and creativity, is supported by the efforts of a team of Washington Elementary teachers and staff, who throughout the month of April are highlighting Autism Awareness Month at the school.

Selected artworks from the 2017 Burbank Youth Art Expo are featured in the Creative Arts Center gallery at Olive Park through April 20.