MJHS 2012 Crystal Apple Award Winner - Miss Jo Edan Parker

MJHS faculty writer - Linda Lewis
2012 Crystal Apple Award Winner - Miss Jo Edan Parker

Mapleton Jr. High School is happy to announce that Miss Jo Edan Parker has been chosen as the Crystal Apple Award winner for the 2011-2012 school year.  Miss Parker works with a unique and challenging group of young children from all over the Nebo School District.  These students all have severe intellectual and behavioral challenges, and a diverse and complex range of needs.  Working with these students requires highly specialized training, patience, and perseverance.  Miss Parker exemplifies total dedication to this rare population of students with very severe disabilities.

She is an advocate for her students, who cannot speak for themselves.  Miss Parker prepares them with life skills.  Along with teaching her students reading, writing and arithmetic, she prepares them for their entrance into society.  From washing hands to getting along out in the public sector, Miss Parker has the tedious task of educating these wonderful but challenging children.    

Ms. Parker goes beyond the extra mile for and in behalf of “her kids”.  Because “transition” plays such a major part of the student’s life, every month Miss Parker organizes a field trip to give her kids exposure to outside the classroom experiences.  She will take them to the mall where they have experience buying things and interacting in crowds.  She takes them to restaurants where they learn manners when eating in public.  She provides fishing excursions and bowling field trips where she takes each student and a number of peer tutors several times a year. 

Together, Miss Parker and another MJHS teacher co-founded and organized what has become known as the annual Nebo Special Education Extravaganza.  Every junior high special education student in the Nebo district attends this event, along with well over a hundred peer tutors from the various schools and Mapleton’s Service Learning and Student Government classes.  This event allows children with special needs to participate in carnival type events along with relay races, archery and high jump competitions, and various track and field events.  The event is concluded with a dance and awards presentation for their efforts.  Everyone is presented with an award.

Miss Parker collaborates with her colleagues, on a weekly basis.  She is in constant touch with district personnel, speech therapists, occupational therapists, school counselors, parents, and the school nurse and school administration to review and discuss her student’s progress. She spends countless hours with them individually and in each of her student’s Individual Educational Planning meetings.  Miss Parker runs an extensive peer tutor program with selected students that work daily with each of her students. 

Perhaps the words of one grateful parent expresses the true substance of what Jo Edan is all about, “Her success cannot be measured by test scores, academic praise for her students, or any acknowledgement on a scholarly level.  Her reward is measured by the students who now have the ability to function in a school setting that was, before meeting her, considered an impossibility, and this mother’s heart is truly grateful for her.”

Mapleton Jr. extends our warmest congratulates to Miss Jo Edan Parker for this great accomplishment.