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How a $5,000 Tools for Schools grant will help students with special needs at Mashburn Elementary
Out of Chaos Founder Leslie Josel, left, presented the $5,000 Tools for Schools grant to Principal Steve Miller during the ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Aug. 9. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

A company that provides educational tools for families presented Mashburn Elementary School with a $5,000 grant on Tuesday, Aug. 9, to help fund a new sandbox for students with special needs.

Order Out of Chaos founder Leslie Josel visited the school to present a check for the first-ever Tools for Schools grant to new Principal Steve Miller and former Principal Fonda Harrison.

“On behalf of Mashburn, I would just like to say thank you to Order Out of Chaos for recognizing our sweet little school,” Miller said. “But more importantly, for helping us to recognize the dreams and goals of our special needs population.

“Not that they’re a forgotten population, but they’re the ones who, oftentimes, don’t get all the bells and whistles. And we have an amazing sandbox for them thanks to Order Out of Chaos.”

Josel said she began Order Out of Chaos 19 years ago when her son was diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Through the company, she wanted to build a community for parents and schools to receive support for students in both learning and life.

Most of the students the are neurodiverse, and 10 years ago, Josel developed an academic planner to help those students better learn time management skills. Since then, they have sold tens of thousands of planners across the world.

To celebrate the anniversary, Josel and her team wanted to give back to the community they serve, so they created the Tools for Schools grant program. It provides $5,000 grants for schools to use in whatever way they choose.

And after learning more about Mashburn Elementary, Josel said it “was a no-brainer” that the school would be their first grant recipient.

Principal Steve Miller and former Principal Fonda Harrison cut the ribbon to officially open Mashburn's new sandbox to its students. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

“It wasn’t because you guys are doing this incredible work for your autism skills classes or even for your special needs classes,” Josel said. “It’s what you’re doing for all of your students. I know that your philosophy is that every student is an individual learner, and you embrace that and you celebrate that and you teach to that. That is, by far, the mission we have at Order Out of Chaos.”

Miller said that the grant helped not only to fund the new sandbox, but it also allowed them to update the entrance to the school with Mashburn’s colors.

After presenting the check, Josel and school leaders held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new sandbox, which sits right next to the K-5 playground. They cut the ribbon together, officially opening the sandbox for students.

“Our teachers and administration work tirelessly every day to support all our students,” Miller said. “We are so thankful to Order Out of Chaos for allowing us to continue that commitment and for providing the necessary funds to ensure that our school remains a fun and safe learning environment.”

To learn more about Order Out of Chaos, visit

Mashburn Elementary's teachers celebrate the opening of the school's new sandbox. - photo by Sabrina Kerns