Beyond Classroom Walls was co-created by Liz Peterson, a speech-language pathologist and Sommer Bowdre a special education teacher who worked together in the Cherry Creek School District. The two colleagues would often discuss their frustration with not being able to work with children with special needs in real life settings to provide the kind of social skills and language training needed to navigate successfully in the classroom, college, with peers, friends and in the community or work place. They witnessed many lost opportunities in the school environment to help these children develop these critical skills, and with the emphasis in schools on academics, simply did not have the support or opportunity to present their program ideas.
One morning in February of 2010, Sommer approached Liz and described a dream she had the prior night where they decided to offer social skills classes as a business. Liz became extremely excited and said, “Yes of course there is a need!” At the same time they both shouted out the different types of programs they could offer. Once a week for a year, the duo met at 7:00am for breakfast to generate the details of the programs. By February of 2011, they had completed programming for three groups and opened with two students. Beyond Classroom Walls was up and running! By late summer of 2011, Sommer had given birth to her third child and felt that running a business was a large undertaking at that time and stepped down as co-owner. In 2013, Sommer became the owner of an established dance studio and Liz operates Beyond Classroom Walls with the help of skilled associates. Both have left the school district to be proud and happy business owners working with kids in the Denver - Aurora areas.
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