Harlandale ISD hosts seventh annual What’s Next? Symposium

Harlandale ISD hosts seventh annual What’s Next? Symposium

The Harlandale ISD Special Education Department welcomed families, students, administrators, staff and community members during its annual What’s Next? Symposium held at the Centro Fitness Ballroom on March 1.

The free event presented more than 55 services and resources available in the community for families and individuals with disabilities. Some of the participating organizations included Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG), Texas Workforce Solutions-Vocational Rehabilitation Services (TWS-VRS), Kinetic Kids, Mission Road Development Center, Special Olympics and Jamie’s Ranch.

Harlandale ISD Transition Facilitator Gerald Gawlik, one of the event’s organizers, shared why it is important to host the event every year.

“Parents are able stroll through the symposium and speak to agencies and services that are available for their child with special needs. They make face-to-face connections with particular vendors ranging from pre to post-secondary services to recreational organizations,” Gawlik said.

This year, the symposium added four breakout sessions and a Kinetic Kids Basketball Skills event. Students also had the opportunity to ride the adaptive bikes available in the district.

“The breakout sessions were phenomenal, which included the Believe It Foundation, Kinetic Kids Getting Active presentation, behavior basics for parents and caregivers, and working while on Social Security disability,” Gawlik added.

The Kinetic Kids Basketball Skills event allowed students to experience six different aspects of the game while working at their own level to their maximum extent possible. Partners in P.E. assisted and mentored the athletes at their skill level while having fun.

In addition to the sessions and basketball skills event, the symposium also focused on promoting literacy.

“We were able to promote reading among our special needs students by giving every life skills student a sight word book, and Kindle Fires were given to 20 lucky students whose names were drawn at the symposium,” Gawlik said.

The Special Education Department also partnered up with BibioTech to assist the lucky winners with installing applications on their newly won Kindle Fires, which will allow them to access hundreds of e-books and magazines that they can enjoy all year long.

Overall, the event was another big success. Parents and children had a great time participating in all the activities and games.


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