The district’s special education program made the honor roll at an annual conference that recognizes the merits of schools statewide.
Dawson County’s program received two awards Nov. 11 from the Georgia Council for Administrators of Special Education.
The awards mean Dawson schools met performance goals for students with disabilities. Lonnie Trahan-Dikowski, director of special programs for the district, said one award was for having the highest number of students graduate with a regular education diploma.
The other award was for educating the most students in the least restrictive environment.
The awards were categorized by district size. Dawson County has about 400 students involved in special education programs, according to Trahan-Dikowski. The students are spread out through elementary, middle and high school.
“It takes every school working together to achieve this,” she said. “It’s an award for the entire school system. The education of these students starts when they’re preschoolers and goes on until they graduate.
“It’s all the intervention and work that leads to success in the end,” she added. “The ultimate goal, of course, is graduation and for these kids to be prepared for the workforce.”
Recognition by the Georgia Council for Administrators of Special Education comes every year.
“We’ve won in different areas in the past. Last year we won an award at the preschool level for least restrictive environment,” she said.
There are five total awards in each category.
“Of course, our goal is to get all five,” she said. “But winning two awards is a great thing, and I was extremely pleased.”
In a Dec. 1 letter from the Georgia Department of Education, Dawson County was applauded for the accolades.
According to the letter, “data from the 2008-2009 school year reflected the accomplishments of [Dawson County’s] system.” The disabilities of students in Dawson County’s system are varied.
Trahan-Dikowski said the district has children with “developmental delays, mild to moderate speech problems, intellectual disabilities, autism, learning disabilities, health impairments and physical impairments.”
Trahan-Dikowski said it takes a skilled and competent group of educators to meet the needs of all students.