K-12 Education

A Tribute to Amanda Clark (1984-2024)

Amanda Clark headshot

Amanda Clark (1984-2024)

It is with profound sorrow that we report the loss of our beloved colleague and dear friend, Amanda Clark, following complications from heart surgery.  She is survived by her beloved husband, Ryan, and their two sons, Emmett and Sawyer. 

Amanda joined HDC’s LASARD team in August of 2022 to support school parishes across Central and Southwest Louisiana in inclusive education. She holds dual certification in Elementary and Special Education (Mild/Moderate) and is a Nationally Certified Educational Diagnostician. Amanda’s previous roles as a music teacher, a special education teacher, and an Educational Diagnostician with the Pupil Appraisal team underscored here commitment to individualized and appropriate inclusive practices, building relationships, co-teaching and collaboration, and working to foster independence. Additionally, Amanda was actively pursuing a doctoral degree with a concentration on Exceptional Learners. Her absence will be keenly felt by all.

Here are some tributes from her HDC family:

“Amanda brought exuberance and passion into our LASARD workgroup. She connected quickly as a team member, seamlessly assuming the roles of “coach” and “presenter”(sure to always grab audience attention creatively). Problem solving was another attribute that Amanda had in spades, at home and in her work life…she didn’t let the rough spots get her down. It is rare to work on a team where the bond and commitment across members is highly valued. The loss of Amanda will ripple through each of us in the days to come because she made the effort to connect and bring 100% to the table.”

“Amanda was one of the most passionate advocates for students that I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with.”

“She was vibrant and always present as a coworker and friend.”

Further details can be found at: https://www.mourning.com/obituaries/Amanda-Clark-3/#!/TributeWall

Instead of flowers, the family requests that donations be directed to Maddie’s footprint (https://maddiesfootprints.org/).

During this difficult time, we ask that you keep Ryan and the rest of Amanda’s family in your hearts and thoughts.

Families Helping Families of Greater New Orleans offering Lunch and Learn Series: Introduction to Work for Young Adults and Their Families

Families Helping Families of Greater New Orleans: Supporting All Disabilities

Families Helping Families of Greater New Orleans is offering free educational webinars for youth, parents & professionals scheduled for all Thursdays in September at 12:00-1:00 PM.

The Schedule is as follows: 

DateTitle (Click for Registration Link)
Key Resources and Skills to Ensure Career Planning Success
Key Laws That Support Youth and Career Readiness
An Overview of Key Employment Skills
An Overview of Resources to Support the Development of Skills from the Working Independently, Here We Come Checklist

HDC’s IPP scholars chosen for poster presentation at 2023 Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Conference

Scholars Madison Humphries and Mary Katherine Hadden of HDC’s Interprofessional Preparation Program (IPP) were chosen to present at the 2023 OSEP Combined Leadership and Project Directors’ Conference on July 24-26 in Arlington, VA.

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Recruitment begins for scholarship program preparing allied health students to serve children receiving special education

Related Service professional colors with middle-school aged boy in wheelchair. Text reads: Get off campus and Practice your profession in Community-based settings. The Interprofessional Preparation Program is now recruiting for the 2023-24 year. The program offers: Full tuition, paid travel, and cash stipend. Visit www.hdc.lsuhsc.edu/iprsp/ to learn more and apply.

Are you a graduate student in the Allied Health Professions and considering working with students with disabilities after your graduation?

Get acquainted with this unique population by participating in the Interprofessional Preparation Program.

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HDC Spotlight: Nicky Gillies, MS, NIC

DeafBlindness affects more than 10,000 children between birth and 21 years of age in the United States, and has over 70 known causes, including Usher’s syndrome, CHARGE syndrome, meningitis, and rubella. Nicky Gillies, MS, NIC and the Louisiana DeafBlind Project (LADBP) work with families and school districts to ensure that they are providing the best supports for children and youth that address deafblindness as a unique disability as well as any other disabilities that may be present.

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Orleans Parish School Guides for Parents

At the start of the school year, NOLA Public Schools posted three guides for parents of children with special health care needs on programs, resources, and transitions services for their children. HDC was made aware of the guides through an interview aired on WWNO the morning of December 20th with Jennifer Coco, Local Policy Manager for the Center for Learner Equity. The guide is also mentioned in Jennifer Coco’s open letter to the Advocate on December 9th, 2021.

About NOLA Public Schools

We are a community of public schools devoted to educating and preparing all our students to thrive in life. For 180 years, public education in New Orleans has been a part of this vibrant and multicultural city’s complicated history.

HDC’s LASARD project extends reach across Louisiana

Julie Riley gives presentation to a group of 20 educators.

This article was written in collaboration with HDC’s K-12 Initiatives Director Julie Riley, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA, and HDC Director Philip Wilson, Ph.D.

Human Development Center’s Louisiana Autism Spectrum and Related Disabilities (LASARD) project has nearly tripled the number of school districts it collaborates with over the past two-years; going from about 10 districts to over 25 school systems across the state this 2021-22 school year. The HDC LASARD project is proud to serve “traditional” districts and charter systems from Webster and Morehouse in the northern part of the state, to Concordia in the east, to Jeff Davis in the southwest, and to Tangipahoa and ReNEW charters in the southeast.

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HDC Spotlight: Ali Kowitz, M.Ed., ET/P

Ms. Ali Kowitz recently joined the staff of HDC’s K-12 Educational Initiatives as an educational facilitator.  Ali coaches special educators and regular education teachers to better serve students, including those with disabilities in several school districts across South Louisiana (i.e., Iberville, East Baton Rouge, ReNEW-New Orleans, and Belle Chasse Academy). According to Ms. Julie Riley, HDC’s K-12 Education Initiatives director, “Ali may have only been in this role for three-months, but her expertise in instructional strategies and transition has added greatly to our team.” In fact, Ali has already developed professional development materials focusing on instructional strategies and accommodations/modifications to assist students with disabilities function within school-wide and classroom norms. Happily, these strategies work for students of all abilities!

Ali Kowitz
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