By: Sharon Aron Baron
Taking a family vacation flight with a child with autism can be stressful, and for many families, it is often an impossible dream. Thanks to a Broward County Public Schools partnership with JetBlue Airways, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport and the Transportation Security Administration, the Autism in Flight program is making this impossible dream a reality.
One Tuesday, the School Board of Broward County, Florida, along with Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief recognized JetBlue Airlines, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, and the TSA for their support hosting the third annual Autism in Flight event on May 20, 2015.
Commissioner Sharief, who was instrumental in the Autism in Flight project from the very beginning, has worked tirelessly along with School Board member Patti Good. Both have championed this initiative starting with one or two schools, to five in its third year.
This is an extraordinary initiative that positively impacts our families and students.” – Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert W. Runcie.
In May, 50 students with autism from Park Springs Elementary School in Coral Springs, Coconut Palm and Silver Lakes Elementary School in Miramar, Dania Beach Elementary School and Everglades Elementary School in Weston as well as their families, had the opportunity to practice the travel experience in a realistic, yet relaxed setting, ultimately allowing them to be better prepared for future travel.
“This is an extraordinary initiative that positively impacts our families and students,” said Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert W. Runcie. “We are honored to not only partner with the Broward County Commission, JetBlue Airlines, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and the Transportation Security Administration, but also recognize their commitment to Broward County Public Schools.”
The Autism in Flight program was honored as the District-Level Partnership of the Year at the 2015 BCPS Community Involvement Awards ceremony. In addition, the Department of Education recently honored JetBlue Airways and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport with the 2015 Commissioner’s Business Recognition Award, acknowledging their contributions to public education as outstanding business partners in South Florida.
“I’m grateful to each business honored with the Commissioner’s Business Recognition Award,” said Commissioner Pam Stewart. “Every gift of time, talent and resources helps to ensure Florida students receive a high-quality education that will prepare them for success now and in the future.”
The Commissioner’s Business Recognition Awards are administered by the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Education Foundation to encourage successful alliances within the business community and among local school districts for the benefit of Florida’s students.