Highlights of the 2018-2019 School Year

Tuesday was the last day of school at the Barber National Institute. We had such a remarkable year with so many outstanding accomplishments! As I look back over the last nine months, many come to mind:

  • Our Erie Arts and Culture residency program which featured creative dance instructor, Shari Mastalski, M.A. Over a period of 20 days, Shari worked with our students exploring how creative dance creates an environment to learn body and space movement, listening, focus, and relationship building.

Shari Mastalski, M.A.

  • Trisha Yates and the Erie Playhouse. During our second semester, Trisha met weekly with our students as they prepared for the production of the book, “The Rainbow Fish.” Our opening premiere was May 23rd at the Erie Playhouse and they “wowed” the audience! You could see the enthusiasm and excitement on the students’ faces as they received a standing ovation from the packed auditorium. 


    Trisha Yates at “The Rainbow Fish” premiere 

  • Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports. With a goal of promoting a positive culture in our school, faculty learned proactive strategies for defining, teaching, and supporting appropriate student behaviors.
  • Collaboration with Notre Dame and robot therapy. In one of our projects, Notre Dame students programmed the robot according to a script of activities regarding expectations of how to act in a group. While interacting with the students, the robot demonstrated appropriate behaviors and the students would then model the robot’s behaviors. Some examples are to keep hands and feet quiet in a group and to look into the eyes of a person talking. They loved their robot visits! For next year, we are considering some games that the robot will play with our students to increase joint attention.


    Interacting with the robot

My highlights could go on and on…so much has happened in the Elizabeth Lee Black School! I am truly grateful for our outstanding faculty who day in and day out “make dreams come true” for our children and their families, and the Erie community at large who believes and supports our mission!

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