Thorp Elementary wins Schools Rule! contest

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THORP, Wis. (WEAU) -- Do you ever feel like you just need a place to go and relax throughout the day?

That's probably the case for a lot of us, and it's especially true for kids with sensory issues.

Right now one western Wisconsin school is making major strides to better serve these students.

That's why WEAU 13 News and Gordy's Market are thrilled to name Thorp Elementary as our latest Schools Rule! contest winner.

Thorp Elementary School's therapy room may not look like much now,
but leaders in the special education department have a vision for it.

"We're looking at getting some swings in here we want to get some different chairs there are seats that they can sit," explains Becky Felmlee, Director of Special Education.

Bouncy balls, stuffed animals, and comfy rugs are just some of the items featured in the space.

"Just the kind of things we don't have time to have in a normal classroom anymore, with the demands of education so it's just nice for students to have that place to go," says Jill Penk, a special education teacher.

The idea was to create a safe place for kids to go when they're feeling anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed.

"They're able to come in here, regroup, they come with an adult, they may do sensory things that help them bring back their focus to learning," says Felmlee.

And it's designed with everyone in mind.

"Especially with students having some emotional disabilities or even students that just maybe life was rough at home the night before and they're just frustrated," says Penk.

But the issue: paying for the equipment on a tight budget.

That's why Thursday afternoon, WEAU 13 News and Gordy's Market were thrilled to stop by and surprise them with $3,000 in Box Tops for Education, courtesy of General Mills, to help them buy supplies for the new space.

"Providing that space and the materials needed is really really important for these kids," says Felmlee.

"Every kid learns differently, so it's really nice to have different tools, to help different students," adds Penk.

Congratulations Thorp Elementary!

To nominate your school in our monthly contest, visit the link attached to this story, click on the "Schools Rule!" tab, and tell us how your school could use the money.

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