Parent leads KSES iPad effort

Published 9:37 pm Tuesday, May 29, 2012

At Kilby Shores Elementary School, parent Cynthia Gregory and son Aiden Gregory celebrate the delivery of a new iPad with teacher Sharon Copeland.

A special education teacher at Kilby Shores Elementary School has a host of new ways to engage her students after a parent raised money to supply the classroom with an iPad.

Cynthia Gregory, whose son Aiden has autism, sold hair ribbons to raise money for the electronic device.

Early Education Special Educator Sharon Copeland, Aiden’s teacher, says her classroom now has two iPads to do amazing things with, when Aiden also brings his own to school.


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Copeland said Gregory had been “really thrilled with all the applications that he (Aiden) was able to use” with his iPad, including reading, writing, letter identification and letter names.

“She asked me if I’d like to have one for the classroom, and I said, ‘Yes! Anything to get the kids interested in writing,’” Copeland said.

According to Gregory’s blog,, she turned to the hair ribbons after first trying another fundraising method.

“I signed up for a fundraiser that several of my online friends have had tremendous success with, but after a week it became clear that particular fundraiser wasn’t going to do the trick,” Gregory wrote.
“To be honest, I hate losing. I drummed up the whole fundraising idea and nothing was happening, and that made me feel like I was losing.

“Then it hit me. I have dozens of hair pretties I have been making because I am a crazy lady that finds relaxation from making hair bows. Voila! An idea was born.”

Gregory set one price for a single hair bow and another for pairs, she wrote, and “started walking around with my blue bucket of barrettes.”

She made an album on her Facebook page to help with marketing, and also took special orders.

The ribbons sold like “hotcakes.” Good Karma Applications, a maker of apps for autism sufferers, matched sales and donations for a 24-hour period.

After five days, Gregory had raised enough for the iPad, which was delivered to Copeland’s classroom on the last day of Teacher Appreciation Week.

Copeland said it is the first time a parent has raised money for her classroom in 25 years in special education.

“That’s why I was so excited that she would take the initiative,” she said. “It wasn’t anything that I asked her to do — I was just thrilled!”

She said she uses the iPad to introduce lessons, for the actual lessons themselves, and to affirm lessons.

“It has really enhanced my classroom setting,” she said. “No other classrooms that I know of use an iPad.”