How was your Inclusive Schools Week?
We want to know!
Did you have an "Aha Moment" this week about inclusion?
Is there a heartwarming story you would like to share?
Will you change anything instructionally after this week?
We are starting a new blog series called "Inclusion in 299 Words or Less". Please submit your stories and reflections to be featured on our Inclusive Schools Network blog to firstname.lastname@example.org. We can't wait to read your posts! Here is an insightful entry to kick off our series by Toni Riester-Wood, Ph.D., Associate at Stetson & Associates, Inc. We would love to hear your comments!
Inclusion is what the world needs, this I believe.
Inclusion in 299 Words or Less
Inclusion is substantiated by research as a means to improve academic outcomes for all students, especially those with disabilities. While academic gains are imperative, there are other benefits of inclusion – not easily quantified, yet equally as important. I believe there are ethical and moral benefits to inclusion that are critical components in our global society.
Quality inclusive practices begin with general and special education teacher collaboration for the purpose of anticipating and incorporating student-learning differences into instruction. Through this simple act, teachers are modeling and honoring a respectful acceptance of differences. Then, these teachers arrange flexible peer supports for process and product development resulting in a community of diverse learners, supporting and learning from each other while working collectively toward a common goal. Soon, these students are sitting together in the cafeteria and developing friendships outside of school.
Inclusion is natural for kids; it’s the adults who have to work at it. We are taught at an early age to assist and support – from the time our younger siblings are born, to helping grandparents and eventually parents carry groceries, negotiate stairs or put on a sweater. We teach, “It’s the right thing to do.”
Today classrooms are bigger and more diverse than. Working together in exclusive homogeneous groups is no longer effective or efficient. Inclusion is about strengths, awareness, respecting differences, persistent kindness and compassion. We are preparing students for a world with conflicting beliefs and dangerous consequences. Academic prowess is only one of the necessary critical elements for survival. We must also coexist and retain our individual beliefs, yet work together to create peaceful solutions to conflict. It’s the right thing to do. Inclusion, I believe, is the necessary foundation.
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Featured Inclusive Schools Week Celebrations!
Boston Public Schools (BPS)
have been busy celebrating Inclusive Schools Week! Four years ago, BPS had just five schools in the Boston Inclusive Schools Network. Superintendent Johnson has since expanded the list to 26 schools today with more planned for next year. The inclusion expansion has been led by the Office of Special Education and Support Services in partnership with EDC
. This week, Gardner Pilot Academy, Mendell Elementary and Bates Elementary had exciting events and activities planned daily to celebrate social inclusion. Check out their detailed ISW PLANS
! Gardner Pilot Academy was kind enough to share a couple of their scripts with us from their assembly on Monday and their morning announcement schedule - prepare to be inspired!
Sample Assembly Script 1
Sample Assembly Script 2
Month of Morning Announcements
in Marietta, Georgia celebrated The Week with a beautiful mural comprised of puzzle pieces designed by ALL of their students. Way to go Kincaid students, staff and PTA for supporting inclusive practices!