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Focus on Students: Ridge Meadows PE Teacher Helps Secure Adaptive Bike for Student

Our theme for the 2022-2023 school year here in Rockwood School District is “safe, focused and fun.” Our main focus is on our students and ensuring that they have every opportunity to realize their potential. Part of our strategic plan, The Way Forward, involves recruiting, attracting and developing outstanding staff members to provide the best instruction and educational opportunities for all students. Here is a story of one of our outstanding staff members.

 A Rockwood student and educator smile as the student sits on her adaptive bicycleOn a recent Monday, Ridge Meadows Elementary fourth-grader Evie Morgan was whipping around the school track on her adaptive bicycle, sitting atop her seat and turning the handles with her hands so that the bike’s wheels spun on the asphalt beneath her.

Just a month earlier, this would not have been possible.

Morgan was born with spina bifida, the effects of which cause her to walk with forearm crutches or use a wheelchair to move around. During physical education classes, her teacher, Drew Beckner noticed that, when Morgan used her crutches, the effort of walking to join her classmates out on the field left her physically exhausted by the time their activities even began. When she was using her wheelchair, she could barely make it to the outdoor track because of the terrain.

So, after consulting with Morgan’s adaptive PE teacher, Brian Carroll, Beckner started looking for ways to help Morgan get more involved in class. He reached out to the Disabled Athlete Sports Association (DASA) in search of grant opportunities. Because of Morgan’s need – and the fact that Beckner takes his students outside for class every day he possibly can – DASA decided to provide Morgan an adaptive bike, free of charge.

Beckner corresponded with Morgan’s mother, Heather, who completed the application process. In late October, the Morgans made the trip to St. Peters to fit Evie’s new bike.

“This is completely above and beyond what a teacher is hired to do,” Heather said. “He saw a need and found a solution. The fact that Mr. Beckner figured this out for me, for Evie, still has me at a loss.”

Evie and the bike made their debut at the school’s annual Pumpkin Run on Oct. 31. While she was still figuring out the technology, she was able to participate in the event in a more substantial way than she had before.

That goes for class every day as well, and Evie has access to the bike outside of school hours.

A Rockwood student pilots her adaptive bicycle around a track“She’s getting even more comfortable with it,” Beckner said. “It’s awesome to see how much growth, just in the time we’ve had it here, she has made. It’s awesome. To see her light up, be able to go around the track and not just get the exercise but socialize with her peers a lot more is just incredible. I’m thrilled that I could help her. Her smile just kind of sums up exactly how I feel.”

A Rockwood student sitting on her adaptive bicycle high-fives another studentBeckner urged other area PE teachers to seek out resources such as DASA to see what might be available for their students.

In Evie’s case, the impact has been tremendous.

“Mr. Beckner has quite literally changed the trajectory of Evie's life at Ridge Meadows,” Heather said. “He went above and beyond the call of duty. We are so thankful for Mr. Beckner.”



A Rockwood parent, student and educator smile as the student sits on her adaptive bicycle A Rockwood student smiles on her adaptive bicycle