BRIDGEWATER, NJ - A number of teachers were recently presented grants from the Special Education Alliance to further their work with their students.

According to Monica Butler, executive director of student services, the alliance was formed in 1998 by a group of parents who had children in the special education program and were looking for opportunities to support each other and discuss any concerns they had about education.

“They formed the association to help and support other children with special needs,” she said. “Navigating the world of special education can be difficult, and can also bring many questions.”

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Butler said the parents wanted to support other families by offering workshops, bringing in speakers, educating themselves on IEP planning and more.

“The mission of the current SEA is to provide support, guidance and a safe sharing environment for families of children with special needs,” she said.

This year, Butler said, the SEA decided to present grants to teachers.

The SEA got 22 applications for more than 50 teachers, and they chose to give out two awards.

The first was given to psychologist Tina Miller and special education assistant Stephanie Kartelias at Hillside Intermediate School. They are planning to use the grant money to fund social language groups at the school, funding materials, workbooks and recording devices to help them in socially navigating with other peers.

The second grant was given to special education teachers Camille Mammolite and Susan Ward from the Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School. The money will go toward repairs for the greenhouse at the school, and to buy supplies for fruits and vegetables as they are planting them and watching them grow.