A Newcomerstown school administrator and a Newcomerstown student were among those recognized at the "2018 Better Together Bash" by the Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

Erin Peoples, principal at Newcomerstown’s West School, received the "WOW Award," with the Board of DD noting: "In recognition of your ability to educate and challenge students with developmental disabilities to empower each student to reach their full potential. The Wow Award recognizes an educator or school employee who exhibits exemplary skills as they support students with developmental disabilities to educate and challenge each student according to their abilities so each student is empowered to reach their full potential."

Abby Cool, a Newcomerstown student, received the "Diamond Award," with the board noting it was "In recognition of your fearless bravery and efforts to advocate for yourself and on behalf of others to achieve your dreams and encourage others to do the same. The Diamond Award recognizes an individual with developmental disabilities for their fearless bravery and efforts to advocate for themselves and on behalf of others to achieve their dreams and encourage others to do the same."

The TuscBDD also has announced the launch of a new disabilities awareness outreach program "What it’s Like", that is designed to give students in local schools and community organizations the opportunity to learn through interactive experiences what it is like to live with a disability. This outreach program is based out of TuscBDD's FANS Network.

FANS has partnered with Big Brothers & Big Sisters and Kent State University Tuscarawas to reach local students from elementary age through college. FANS will partner with Sam Patterson and other speakers to bring schools and organizations a unique perspective on what works and what doesn’t in the school setting and on-the-job. Look for that program in 2019. To request a program, please contact Nicole by phone at 330-339-3199 or by email at fans@tuscbdd.org.

The TuscBDD is also celebrating the earning of a three-year state accreditation award, the highest possible award that is granted by the state of Ohio.

"We are fortunate to receive zero citations which is great news, but we understand that there is always room to improve and are focused on only getting better," Supt. Nate Kamban wrote. "I can't thank the staff enough! The entire agency works hard to ensure that people living with disabilities in Tuscarawas County are reaching their goals and living a good life in their community."