A leading magazine serving collision repair experts has given their automotive inspired teaching award for a special needs teacher.
40 percent of the students in Ken Cook’s collision repair class at Norwalk High School have special needs. “Every student in my class is capable of learning,” he said. “What I do is identify what a student is truly capable of doing, what works and what doesn’t, and I determine their strengths, and I work that to their advantage.”
Cook is the winner of the 2016 Inspired Teaching Award from the magazine FenderBender. His shop is a learning lab for repair work, and for life skills. He has a hands on teaching ability that enables his students to learn skills, and create projects that help others and build self esteem.
In his class, students have built bicycles, walking devices, and wheelchairs for special needs students, with $97,000 in funding from a State Farm Youth Advisory Board grant.
One of their most notable projects was an adaptive bicycle for an 8 year old boy. They customized the shorter frame, and added a backrest, safety harness and training wheels while decorating the bicycle with “Minions” themed decals.
Cook will start an assembly line approach to build ten more bicycles. They will be responsible for measuring and cutting, welding, and other important duties.