Several donor partners and staff from local districts gathered at Hillman Elementary School to celebrate the completion of Phase 1 of the AMA ESD's ADA Playground Initiative.  

Elementary school playgrounds serve as the central outdoor learning and play space for children of all ages in each neighborhood community.  Our schools know these spaces serve a greater need beyond recreation and play.  These areas provide the opportunity for children to practice collaborating with peers, develop decision-making skills, build social and imaginative skills, and cultivate healthy friendships.  When these areas lack the necessary adaptive equipment for students with disabilities, those students with the greatest need for inclusive opportunities are left out.  These playgrounds not only provide access to students during the school day/year, but they are also community facilities that are utilized in the evening and over the summer breaks by families and visitors to our region.

Justin Gluesing, AMA ESD Superintendent, was excited to see Phase 1 completed early. 

"We were expecting installation to occur in the summer, but with the warmer weather early in the spring, we were able to complete installation early, " Gluesing said. "Alcona, Hillman, and Atlanta sites are now complete and students have been able to use the new equipment for several weeks already."

Phase 2 of the project will add six more sites across Alpena Public Schools' elementary campuses. 

"We have a little more money to raise before the end of the calendar year to complete Phase 2," Gluesing added. "We are confident that we will meet our goal.  We have had tremendous support from our community partners and are grateful for their ongoing support of the project."

Pictured from left to right:

  • Justin Gluesing, Superintendent - Alpena Montmorency Alcona Educational Service District
  • Tony Suszek, Superintendent - Atlanta Community Schools
  • Crystal Vogt, Hillman Elementary Principal
  • Dan O'Connor, Superintendent - Alcona Community Schools
  • Dr. David Rabbideau, Superintendent - Alpena Public Schools
  • Lee Fitzpatrick, Board President, Alpena Montmorency Alcona Educational Service District
  • Gary Dawley, Manager/Trustee - Besser Foundation
  • Steve Wright - United Way
  • Joe Gentry, Executive Director - United Way
  • Mike Mahler, President - First Federal Legacy Foundation
  • Brian Watros, Atlanta Branch Manager - AAACU
  • Liz Cavanaugh - Dean Transportation
  • Ashley Payne, Transportation Supervisor - Dean Transportation

Donors who were not present for the photo.

  • The Community Foundation of NE Michigan
  • Alpena Rotary