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Security resident recognized for his dedication to job

 

Last updated 9/8/2021 at 9:43am | View PDF

James Bristol

Last month, Security resident James Bristol received an Outstanding Paraprofessional Award for his work at the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind. This award is given every year as part of the Principals of Schools for the Blind and Outreach Service Providers Awards. These awards recognize:

Outstanding Teacher of Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Outstanding Teacher of Students who are Blind/Multiply Impaired

Outstanding Residential Life Staff Member

Outstanding Paraprofessional

Outstanding Related Services Provider

Outstanding Provider of Outreach Services

The Principals of Schools for the Blind (POSB) is organized under the Council of Schools and Services for the Blind (COSBVI), a national organization that serves students "through promoting dignity, independence and the best practices in education."

Bristol was more than a little bit shocked when he learned that he had gotten the award, and at first thought it referred to a coworker.

"I heard about it in mid-August when we returned to school," he said. "I was rather surprised. I had nominated a teacher from our school for the teacher of the year award, but was unaware that I was nominated. When they first started reading off the award from POSB, I thought he had won! It wasn't until the end that I discovered it was me!"

Bristol has lived in Security for nearly 30 years, and began working at the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind in 1987. Initially, he worked as a Special Education Technician in the school's residential units. After eight years working in "the dorms," he transferred to working at the school itself, helping students with educational activities.

"Working as a paraprofessional is challenging, and ever changing," he said. "It can range from helping students with personal hygiene, to making tactile models of plant cells for students to explore, to finding substitutes for staff that are ill. My favorite part is when the little lights go on above students' heads and they 'get it' based upon an analogy or model I developed."

While Bristol seems to relish that challenge, he admitted that parts of the job do not get easier.

"The most challenging part of my job, for me, is the physical demands," he said. "I'm not as spry as I once was, and lugging Braille writers between buildings, or helping lift a teenager with mobility impairments, can be strenuous."

However, it's clear that hasn't stopped Bristol from doing whatever he can to follow the school's tradition of helping students succeed.

"My personal [mission statements] are one, to make a difference in the lives of the children, and two, send them home with a smile," he said.

The Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind is a state-funded institution, founded in 1874 by Jonathon R. Kennedy as "The Colorado Institute for the Education of Mutes," renamed in 1893. Gen. William Jackson Palmer, one of the area's founding fathers, donated 13 acres of land for the school and it is still located on the same property (33 N. Institute St. in Colorado Springs). It provides education for students in grades K-12, including after-school programs and residential facilities for some students. Learn more at csdb.colorado.gov.

 

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