Campaign Description

Here's what this campaign is about:

Ensuring equal opportunities in curriculum and programming for all students

Providing our students and faculty with safe, healthy, technology-driven learning environments

Committing to our neighborhood schools

Guaranteeing responsible stewardship of public funds

Celebrating the diversity within our district

Engaging parents to become active participants in the schools

Making data-driven decisions with measurable results

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Remembering Bill

There is a great opinion piece in the Press-Citizen today by Jan Martins regarding special education needs in our district.  Stability, Safety and Continuity specifically are mentioned in the article.  I highly recommend giving it a look. Martins' piece is a perfect segue to share a story about a long time Iowa City entity named Bill. 

Bill Sackter was a man who, by today's standards, would be considered as special needs.  Bill lived in a time when institutionalization was the norm for people with special needs.  He spent much of his life in a very sheltered existence until a young film student at the University of Iowa named Barry Morrow met Bill and little by little broadened his horizons.  Listen to this audio clip of the story by clicking here: Barry and Bill

Barry Morrow went on to write the screenplay for the movie Rain Man.  Bill Sackter successfully ran Wild Bill's Coffee Shop which still exists to this day in North Hall on the University Campus.   There were even two movies made about Bill and Barry starring Mickey Rooney and Dennis Quaid.  

I remember seeing those films as a child and I remember getting to meet Mr Sackter on numerous occasions around the town.  My parents made a point to see that I was introduced to the man who became an Iowa City icon whether he was just out and about, working at the coffee shop, or playing Santa Claus to the children of Iowa City.

At the Friends of Community Inclusion Forum last Monday, I noted that the District Belief Statements list that each person has intrinsic worth. Also listed is that the understanding of and respect for human diversity are fundamental to individual rights and enrich community life. In Bill's case, all it took was one man to recognize that intrinsic worth and give Bill the tools to achieve his highest potential. 

Bill Sackter's intrinsic worth and his contribution to our community still exists today.  He personifies what Iowa City is about and is just as much a part of our city's history as Helen Lemme, Irving Weber or James Van Allen.  I am honored to have met him and believe his story to be one worth keeping alive in our collective consciousness as we consider our commitment to students with special needs. 

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