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Two Academy District 20 staff members were recognized for their efforts in the realm of special education at the annual Colorado SHERPA Award ceremony. This event honors outstanding achievements in integrating individuals with disabilities into the workforce.  

A standout at this year's awards were D20’s SWAP Coordinators Michelle Casner and Morgan Markewich for connecting D20 student Quentin Avinger with an opportunity at Dandelion’s and Petals and Blooms Flower Shops in Colorado Springs.  

DeNyse White, owner of Petals and Blooms Flower Shops and Quentin’s supervisor, was also honored for her outstanding support and dedication to fostering an inclusive workplace environment. Her partnership exemplifies the collaborative spirit between local businesses and educational institutions in our community. 

The SHERPA event, named for Strong Helpers in Educating Relevant Practices for All people with disabilities is organized by Bob Barrows, former D20 Special Education Director.  

In District 20, initiatives like SWAP are integral to providing inclusive educational opportunities that prepare students for lifelong success. By bridging education and local businesses, our staff ensure that all students have the tools and experiences necessary to thrive in their chosen careers.