A Peek into Inclusive Schools Week at APS

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Schools throughout APS celebrated Inclusive Schools Week from Dec. 3-7, 2012. Inclusive Schools Week is an annual event that commemorates the progress schools have made in providing a supportive and quality education to an increasingly diverse student population. The Week also provides an important opportunity for educators, students and parents to discuss what else needs to be done in order to ensure that their schools continue to improve their ability to successfully educate all children.

Burgess-Peterson Academy:
On Tuesday, each class created posters displaying why they like being an inclusive school, and students paired with younger special education students during lunch. Parents and the community attended an Open House Meet & Greet to learn more about APS Special Education.

Young Middle School:
“We are always excited about Inclusive Schools Week. Not only were all students engaged in meaningful dialogue about including students with exceptionalities, but students school-wide watched a video featuring high-functioning students with disabilities and responded in writing to a series of prompts on inclusion. The responses were touching and insightful,” says Annette Smith, Communications Ambassador at Young Middle School.

M.agnes Jones Elementary:
Every morning during announcements, they spotlighted an important person in society who overcame different exceptionalities, including Jay Leno and Justin Timberlake.

Mary Lin Elementary:
lin 7Students completed an “Inclusion Chain” that hung through the hallways and participated in a Poem and Picture Contest by drawing a picture using the theme “Great Things Happen in Inclusive Schools.”On Friday, a guest speaker named Leslie Ostrander shared her story with the students. Leslie was 4 years old when she was in a life-altering car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist-down and impaired the mobility of her hands. Leslie never let her physical disabilities limit her and has achieved great accomplishments. She was named Miss Congeniality in the 1993 Miss Columbus pageant and wrote a book called “In His Hands” in 2008. She is a wife and mother, has a speaking career, and is a designer of accessible housing for Nationwide Homes. “I don’t want to be just a good story,” Leslie says. “I want to be motivation where they can take elements of my presentation into their everyday life and use it.”

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Carey Rogers, Special Education Lead Teacher, says, “Leslie’s presentation gave the students a firsthand experience of how people can be different but still accomplish the same things as everyone else. I feel that everyone left the auditorium having a deeper understanding of the importance of accepting everyone for who they are.”

For more information on Inclusive Schools Week, please visit http://inclusiveschools.org.

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