Kennedy Middle students take to the court of Inclusive Schools Week

Students from Kennedy Middle School‘s Program for Exceptional Children (PEC) and general-education students got to know each other a little better on the court as they participated in physical-education activities together during Inclusive Schools Week. Seven of the more severely disabled students had fun bowling, playing volleyball and trying baseball in the gym, assisted by sixth- and eighth-grade students.

Physical-education teacher Fabrice Aime (Kennedy’s 2010 Teacher of the Year), adapted PE coach Vanessa Morton, PE coach Cecilia Wooten, Beverly Easterling (PEC lead teacher), and eighth-grade math teacher LaQuise Glass helped monitor the action.

Easterling was amazed at how quickly students came together during activities, including general-education students who previously weren’t the most social around PEC students. (“One girl just came up to me and said, ‘Can we do this every week?’ Easterling said.) A student with a more severe disability normally becomes hyperactive in group settings, but grew calmer and more relaxed over the course of the hour.

Eighth-grader Davanta Ponder was especially moved by the experience. He has a younger brother who has Attention Deficit and Hyperactive Disorder.

Earlier in the week, Outward Bound students read books about diversity and inclusive practices to small groups in the Pre-K program. (Easterling also is the Outward Bound faculty sponsor.) In today’s concluding activities, band director Matthew Hall hosted “A Holiday Inclusion Experience, with performances by seventh-grade alto saxophonist Wynessia Stansberry performing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “The Christmas Song.” The Kennedy Middle School Jazz Ensemble also performed”White Christmas,” with a little help from teacher Grace Opigo’s intellectually disabled classes.

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