Long time SBCSC Assisted Technology educator given statewide honor

Long time SBCSC Assisted Technology educator given statewide honor
Posted on 02/05/2021
Marilou VanderGriend

Marilou VanderGriend presented the“Starfish Award” during surprise ceremony

In a surprise ceremony this afternoon, Edison Middle School Assisted Technology (CAT) Specialist Marilou VanderGriend was presented the Starfish Award on behalf of the PATINS Project, (Promoting Achievement through Technology Instruction), a state-wide technical assistance network that provides assistive technology, professional development, and technical support through the Indiana Departments of Education and Administration. The Starfish Award is presented to educators who “go above and beyond to meet the needs of all of their students through Universal Design for Learning and the implementation of accessible educational materials and assistive technology...one student at a time.”

VanderGriend was nominated by fellow CAT team specialist and colleague Marilyn Cahalan, an occupational therapist at Edison Middle School, along with members of her team.

“Marilou has supported many students over the years by evaluating them for assistive technology, guiding decision making and enabling them to better access their curriculum through the best technology, all while training students and staff,” said Cahalan. “Beyond her dedication to each individual Special Education student, Marilou has led initiatives to provide Special Education teachers, therapists, psychologists, and numerous programs with up-to-date technology to support learning for all.”

VanderGriend, who has worked within the SBCSC for thirty years, currently serves as a CAT specialist at Edison Middle School and is the district’s Digital Rights Manager. Her expertise in Universal Design for Learning (UDL), an educational framework based in cognitive neuroscience that develops flexible learning environments to accommodate learning differences, has led her to present at local and national levels. She has served as an associate faculty member within the Education Department at Indiana University South Bend, teaching Technology, Assistive Technology, and Universal Design.

Typically awarded during a surprise in-person ceremony, this year’s award was presented to VanderGriend during a virtual meeting with her colleagues.VanderGriend will receive a certificate, a silver starfish, and free admission to the “Access to Education” state conference, and be featured in PATIN’s video series honoring award recipients.

Contact: Monica Leyes, Assistant Director of Communications, [email protected], 574-850-4760