Towers, MARTA partner to help disabled students

A special education teacher at Towers High School identified a problem with her students’ transportation needs and partnered with a parent liaison to bring the Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) “Mobility on the Road” program to a school for the first time.

“It’s so great to be the first high school to host one of these events,” said Tabatha Roberts, the parent liaison who coordinated with MARTA officials. “The cards are an asset to these family, and for MARTA to come in the building … that’s just top notch.”

Roberts said she is experienced with special needs patrons qualifying for MARTA Breeze cards, because—as her brother’s caregiver—she had to travel to stations including Five Points and Lindberg for her brother to take the exam.

Roberts added that Jasmine Allen, a moderate intellectual disability (MOID) instructor at Towers High School, asked why special needs students are required to travel so far away from their homes and their schools to get a card that they will use primarily for transportation to school and home. Having experienced the same struggle, Roberts contacted MARTA and took the first step toward creating “Mobility on the Road at Towers High School.”

MARTA officials said the transit authority handled the rest, bringing a mobile version of its MARTA Breeze card exam event to Towers High School. The event marked the first Mobility on the Road event at a high school, according to officials, after MARTA hosted its first such event at Clayton County Office of Senior Services.

MARTA Communications Director Stephany Fisher added that the event at Towers provided “onsite assessment and certification for 25 moderately intellectually disabled (MOID) students, a process that typically occurs at our Mobility Center located near our headquarters on Piedmont Road.

“It was such a success we were eager to expand the program,” said Fisher.

MARTA officials added that Mobility on the Road events create a one-stop shop for assessment and certification and reduces a 31-day process to a single day. The event reduces logistical challenges for the school or group and resource allocations for MARTA, according to officials.

Fisher added that MARTA leaders met with Roberts and Allen after the event to discuss bringing more Mobility on the Road events to Towers and about expanding to other DeKalb schools.

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