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Special Olympics Coach Receives A+ Award

Reported by on 2/17/17

The Indian Prairie Educational Foundation and District 204 recently honored Blake Cline, a teacher in the district's STEPS program and Special Olympics coach, with the A+ Award recipient.

You can watch the A+ Award team's surprise visit to recognize Blake for "Making a Difference" at A+ Award video.

Janine McDonough and her son Ryan nominated Coach Cline for his work as a case manager, teacher and STEPS Special Olympics coach. STEPS is District 204's program for students with special needs who receive support and instruction for post high school transition to the community. McDonough praised Cline for his incredible enthusiasm and patience. "He is so supportive of the athletes and is always cheering them on both on and off the field," McDonough said. "He connects with each kid and knows what they need. He makes that connection and that's key."

Cline started his career in District 204 as a student teacher at Neuqua Valley High School before being hired as a staff member in 2014. He worked as a special education teacher at Clow and Graham Elementary Schools before moving to his role with the STEPS program. He was overwhelmed when more than two dozen parents and students showed up to help surprise him at swim practice with the A+ Award.

"He brings out the best in all our kids," parent Cheryl Butler said. "The world needs more Blakes!"

Wells Fargo Advisors is partnering with IPEF and District 204 to help recognize one staff member each month for making a difference for students. To celebrate these outstanding staff members, Wells Fargo Advisors donates $500 for the staff member to use in his or her school.

You can nominate a staff member at A+ Award.

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