Florida Top CmPS Team
A P.I.R.A.T.E.S. Life for Us!
Most pirates plunder for gold. Some run for it.
Robert Roach, Misti Cole, Mariah Velez,
JoAnna Thomas, Stephanie Redmond, and Piper Waite might be the nicest pirates
you’ve ever heard of. These six students from the Gifted Student Program at
These students opted to “buddy” with their
school’s Self-contained Exceptional Education classes as their project, and
soon Project P.I.R.A.T.E. (Please Include Respect and Treasure Every Student)
The bulk of the project was focused around
EMH students. They paired with the Gifted Program students as “buddies”
because of a need for curriculum modification. The initial plan was to
work alongside their special needs peers in Special Area Classes (Art, Music,
PE, Science Lab and Technology). But true friendships quickly developed
between the CmPS kids and their buddies, and the students saw a need to do
Barbi Miller, the CmPS students’ teacher,
said “While extracurricular opportunities abound for students in the Gifted
Program, similar opportunities are rarely available to students on the other
end of the Exceptional Education spectrum. So, the CmPS kids decided to
include their buddies in clubs and field trips throughout the year.”
“Then a flyer for Special Olympics Track and Field entered our school
house. We aren’t sure where the initial information came from, but the
CmPS kids jumped on it! “Hey, we can start our own Track and Field Club
for Mrs. Messer’s kids!” And so they did. A plan was immediately
set in motion: parents were contacted, permission from the administration was
granted, the Coach attended meetings with Special Olympics personnel and the
Palm Bay Li’l Pirate Team was underway! Every Tuesday since the first of
the year, the CmPS kids direct and coach their athletes at practices.
We have received tons of support from the
school, including all of the Athletes’ and Unified Partners’ parents, the
Administration, and other Teachers!
Both gifted students and special education
students have unique emotional and learning needs, and they’re both often
misunderstood in society, so they immediately related to each other.”
Here’s an excerpt form the student’s project report:
“We, the CmPSers, have started a Track and Field Special Olympics team at our school so that all students from Mrs. Messer’s class would have the chance to belong to an after-school, extra-curricular activity. To create a true sense of belonging, we created personalized uniforms for each of us to wear! We meet every Tuesday afternoon. On Saturday, March 1st we went to the Special Olympics District competition. Everyone went home with three ribbons! We were the youngest team of kids at the event and the only team with Unified Partners!
Unified Partners mean that our CmPS team is
able to run with the athletes in relay races. We had parents, teachers,
and staff from our school cheer us on at the Special Olympics event (even Mrs.
Miller’s parents came!)! We have had Cindy and Tonya, who are the
coordinators of Special Olympics Brevard County, come and teach us to properly
do the different athletic activities like pass the baton in the relay and the
running long jump.
The Unified Sports component of Special Olympics is a perfect fit for our project! The Special Olympics Florida Information Guide explains why Unified Sports programs are unique: they integrate athletes with and without intellectual disabilities in a training and competition program. They prepare athletes with higher skill levels for participation is school and community sports programs. Most importantly, they build friendships and understanding between athletes with and without intellectual disabilities.”
The Community Problems Solving project is part of Future
Problem Solving Program International, an organization that engages students in
creative problem solving for real world issues.
The Palm Bay
Elementary CmPS students presented their project in April at the state Future Problem Solving Program competition and
won first place! Next stop was the International Competition, May 28-June 1, at
The L’il Pirates competed at their very
first State Summer Games, May 16-17. At first, it seemed nothing could top the
experience of getting to stay in a hotel, without mom and dad, for the first
time. But then came an Opening Ceremony with Mickey Mouse and fireworks, then
came meeting new friends and finally, what they had practicing for all along:
The (traditional) Special Olympics athletes
on the team competed in a variety of track and field events, earning an array
of medals and ribbons.
The last event of the weekend is always the
dramatic relay races – a crowd favorite. This is when the Unified team would
finally get their turn. The L’il Pirates may have been outsized in the 4x100M
and 4x400M Unified relay races, but everyone who watched agreed: nobody had
How did they do? The L’il Pirates captured
1 Gold medal in the 4x100M relay, 1 Bronze medal in the 4x100M relay and Gold
in the 4x400M relay!