Pilot Program to Help Special Needs Students Use the Phone

Pilot Program to Help Special Needs Students
Use the Phone

Purchase Line School District and Bell Atlantic Team Up to
Make Using Telephone Services Easier

December 3, 1999


Joanne Rae


INDIANA, Pa. -- Making emergency phone calls or using a pay phone can
be a challenge for youngsters with special needs. Now a pilot program
developed by special education teachers in the Purchase Line School
District and some Bell Atlantic employees is being set up to help.

Working together, the teachers and Bell Atlantic employees developed a
curriculum that teaches students from kindergarten to the twelfth grade
how to place collect calls, use phone cards and follow automated prompts
they hear on a pay phone.

"When we heard about the problems some students were having
making phone calls, we collaborated with special education teachers to
create a program that would build students' confidence as well as increase
their safety and quality of independent living," said Christine
McCoy, Bell Atlantic manager-network services.

Some 75 Purchase Line special needs students will participate in the pilot
program, which will be known as JUMP (Just Unlock the Mystery of
Phone-related services), starting Dec. 6.

McCoy and her JUMP co-chairperson Karen Hawes encouraged Bell
Atlantic employees and retirees to help Purchase Line educators develop
the curriculum that also teaches students how to place emergency calls,
use a telephone directory and understand a phone bill.

"We're delighted to be involved with Bell Atlantic in such a
wonderful educational opportunity for our students," said Dr. James
Ola, Purchase Line School District superintendent.

Purchase Line educators will teach the pilot program at the high school
and South Elementary School in Commodore, Pa. for one semester.
Teachers will modify the program based on the age and abilities of the
students. Bell Atlantic employees will lend their expertise in various
segments of the program. "At the end of the semester, we want
students to be comfortable whenever they use the telephone, whether for
an urgent call or just for pleasure," McCoy said.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information
industry. With more than 43 million telephone access lines and more than 10
million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier
providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in
wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell
Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth
global communications markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.

The Purchase Line School District is committed to preparing students for the vast
technological, educational, and vocational opportunities in the current world. The district
educates approximately 700 high school and 800 elementary school students in
northern Indiana County and a portion of Clearfield County. The rural nature of
the district has naturally made the schools a centralized center for activities and