First Endowed Fund Established For Special Education

The $100,000 donation will support students receiving special education services across all grade levels.


Photo courtesy of Highland Park ISD

Pictured is Adam and Janelle Hickey who donated the first-ever endowment gift for HPISD Special Education. Their endowment will support the academic needs of students and teachers across all grade levels of the special education department.

The Highland Park Education Foundation announced on Jan. 28 the establishment of the first-ever endowed fund for Highland Park ISD’s Special Education Department due to a $100,000 donation from Janelle and Adam Hickey.

The donation will be invested as part of the Highland Park Education Foundation Programmatic Funds within the Tartan Endowment.

The Highland Park Education Foundation, founded in 1984, assists the district in fundraising to preserve HPISD’s quality of education. It manages two fundraising campaigns, Mad For Plaid and the Tartan Fund, houses the HPHS Alumni Association, the Moody Innovation Institute and the Veterans Plaque.

The Hickey Family moved to the Park Cities in 2018 and have been heavily involved in the school community. Adam Hickey first served as a volunteer on the Education Foundation’s Finance Committee and has recently joined the Board of Directors during the 2020-2021 school year.

The family has two children, one of whom receives services from the special education department.

“We feel passionate about ensuring the unmet academic needs of students, teachers and administrators in the Special Education Department in HPISD are satisfied for the long-term,” Janelle and Adam said in a district press release.

The Tartan Fund, which the donation will be invested towards then redistributed, was created due to the belief that the amount of funding that the district was receiving from property taxes was not enough to maintain a high quality of education due to the State of Texas recapturing 60% of all tax dollars. The Tartan Fund is the Education Foundation’s solution, an endowment held up by private donations that the State cannot recapture, which currently holds donations valued at over $35 million.

The Hickey’s Donation will go towards the special education department, which serves over 680 students from ages 3 to 22. The department is led by Laurie Gagne and serves students at all seven of the district’s school campuses. The Special Education Parent Advisory Committee works with parents, school administrators and district leaders. They meet every month.

Speech and language therapy, physical therapy and transportation, among others, are all services provided by the Special Education Department. Programs like Sparkling Scots, a group of special needs students who assist in bringing school spirit to school events, allow these students to feel more included.

“The Hickeys set a remarkable example of commitment and passion for supporting academic excellence in HPISD, honoring the inclusion of every student,” said Education Foundation’s Executive Director Lauren Holloway in a district press release. “We are so grateful for this generous gift dedicated to special education.”

The donation will be a starting point for future investment into HPISD’s Special Education Program and will be used by the program to help its students.