Thinking Outside the Box

Girl in wheelchair with two woman hugging her in front of a think outside the box booth
  • Nazareth Area Middle School

    IU20 - Colonial Intermediate Unit
    Nazareth Area SD
    355 Tatamy Road
    Nazareth, PA 18064

  • Success Story Contact

    Christina Glasgow
    Phone: 610-759-3350

  • BSE/PaTTAN’s Role in Success:

While most stories across the commonwealth focus on a district’s or school’s success implementing a targeted program to benefit students, this is a story about one school’s successful effort to include one child with significant needs. Nazareth Area Middle School would like to introduce you to Mikayla Resh.Mikayla Resh was born with severe brain injuries resulting in cerebral palsy and she uses a wheelchair. Her family moved into the district and in first grade Mikayla was placed in a fully inclusive setting. While inclusion is not easy, it can also be easy when a district is committed to making it happen. In this case, Nazareth Area school District adapted to the child, not making the child adapt to the school district. With a highly individualized program just for her, Mikayla successfully made the transition from elementary school to middle school and is now preparing to enter high school.Recognizing that all school age curriculum would be beyond Mikayla, who functions on the level of a six-month old, her Individualized Education Program (IEP) included goals that were worthwhile and attainable, which are social, sensory and switch related*. With a full team that includes Mikayla’s mom, Mikayla’s schedule is crafted to make sure she is in a classroom setting the whole day so she can interact with the teacher and the other students. While there are certain teachers who work with Mikayla exceptionally, the overall Nazareth Area School District has been wonderful. And the students in Mikayla’s class have benefited as well.

In third grade, Mikayla’s classmates wrote the book “Our Friend, Mikayla,” because they felt it was important to educate children about people with disabilities so they know to treat them the same way they treat others. Their book describes the unique way Mikayla does everyday activities; she eats through a tube in her stomach and uses a ramp to get in and out of the school bus. Recently, the Bubel/Aiken Foundation chose the book to pay for it to be published. The grant announcement was made by American idol finalist Clay Aiken himself who came to the school to read to the students and meet Mikayla.