Newton Public Schools 2009 ISW Events and Activities

Teachers sitting at table with "TEAM" puzzle pieces

Submitted by Jo-Louise Allen, Co-Chair, Newton Parents Advisory Council for Special Education 

High School Activities

Newton South High School

Advisory teachers showed a YouTube video clip of "Soeren Colombo Speech about his Sister" during the Tuesday, December 8th advisory block. The speech focuses on the use of the word "retard" and its effect on our mentally disabled population. Teachers were given a list of possible discussion questions. 

The documentary "Including Samuel" was shown in the lecture hall during B2 and A4. Teachers signed up their classes to view this screening of the documentary. 

A slide was displayed on the screen in the student center that said "Inclusive Schools Week December 7-11, 2009." 

A display of books/materials were readily available in the library. 

Middle School Activities

Brown Middle School and Oak Middle School

Brown and Oak Hill have joined together to host a screening of Including Samuel on Thursday evening, December 10th at 7:00pm.  Open to the community.

Brown Middle School will use extension/community blocks during the week to work on a program called, Color Your Destiny.

Brown and Oak Hill have joined together to form the Respect for Human Differences Committee across both schools.

Day Middle School

Plans to use daily broadcast for an "inclusive fact" of the day for each day of the week.

May connect with the Day daily television show.

Inclusive facts of the day will be created in collaboration with the Inclusion Facilitator, the ELL teachers and the Gay Straight Alliance. 

Elementary School Activities


  • The Inclusion Facilitators will select and distribute grade level books about inclusion for teachers to read thoughout the week. Students will participate in discussion and create posters reflecting their responses to: 
“Inclusion is important because…”The posters will be displayed in the building for the entire month of December. Breakfast for the inclusion and special education aides and behavior therapists.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 8, Faculty Meeting: Principal and Inclusion Facilitators will speak about ISW.
  • Plan to screen Including Samuel at a future faculty meeting.
  • Principal will publish Angier’s Inclusion Statement in the weekly newsletter, “The Greensheet”


Burr School created activities for Inclusive Schools Week with the Burr Respect for Human Differences committee:

  1. Compilation of bibliography of "inclusive" books that is appropriate for teachers and guest parent read-alouds during the week of Dec. 7 – 11, 2009.
  2. Book:  A Bad Case of Stripes, It's OK To Be Different will be used in the classrooms.
  3. Principal Cynthia Benecal will raise awareness of Inclusive Schools Week at the December 2nd all school meeting.
  4. Paper strips for students to complete, "I feel included when……." will be distributed to all classrooms and posted around the school for all to see.
  5. Future presentation of speakers in Feb/March and clips from Including Samuel will be shown at a PTO meeting.


Jeanie Roper, parent, and expert artist, will create her third banner for Inclusive Schools Week.  The theme of ISW 2009 is Technology.  Jeanie will create a computer screen with different visuals, assistive technology tools, and all students and faculty will sign the banner, to be displayed prominently in the school.

All grades will read a story, Hey, Little Ant by Hoose & Hoose, which expresses values such as respecting differences, fostering respect for living things, considering stereotypes, recognizing alternatives for resolving conflicts and standing up to peer pressure.

Students in grades K – 3 will then write alternate endings to the story, illustrate them and then share them and their reasoning with their classmates.

Students in grades 4 & 5 will do a role play, by acting out the qualities of the main characters and then talking about the feelings that are evoked and their implications for their own social relationships.

A range of other stories and books will be available to teachers to reinforce these themes and provide opportunities to expand the conversation.

Eventually we hope to have a banner made for our school to be hung prominently in our cafetorium.

One possible choice that represents the focus of our approach for Inclusive Schools Week and throughout the year is the following quote:

Clearly, inclusion is more than a set of strategies or practices.  It is an educational orientation that embraces differences and values the uniqueness that each learner brings to the classroom. (Kluth 2005) 

  • Music: Music Teacher to teach song “Hey Little Ant” by Hoose & Hoose 
  • Art: Art Teacher to organize students to do a Thumbprint Activity; have student’s press thumbs into ink pad and make thumbprints. Compare them. They are almost alike, but each is unique and special in its detail. Then have students draw self portraits using their thumbprint.
  • Library: Library teacher will have a developmentally appropriate selection of books related to inclusiveness, which she will read to
students during Library time.
  • PE: P.E. teacher will select specific games/activities, which underscore the themes of inclusion, cooperation, and fair play.

Memorial Spaulding

  • Tuesday, December 8 at 12:30: The Inclusion Committee will host a luncheon for the assistants to acknowledge their hard work and dedication (25 to 30 expected to attend) 
  • Tuesday, December 8 at 1:15 (following luncheon): Sarah Ward will do a presentation on Executive Functioning for all faculty. 
  • Tuesday, December 8 at 7:00 pm: The film Including Samuel  will be presented to our community (all are invited) and there will be a sale of  ‘movie food’ to raise money for wish list resources.
  • Bake sale during book fair (morning during drop-off or evening of book sale) to collect money for wish list resources to support inclusion  – table attendants will hand out small cards with information about inclusion.
  • Art Teacher will do an art project with all grade levels representing inclusion during the week 
  • Classroom teachers will read books and lead class discussions about inclusion. 
  • Each class will create a poster with all students' comments on "including everyone is important because…"
  • Posters will be collected at year end for next year’s ISW celebration
  • Ongoing – after conclusion of Inclusion Schools Week: At every faculty meeting the Inclusion Committee will take at least 15 minutes to discuss how we are doing and what we are doing to have an anti-bias/antiracist/multicultural curriculum and how we are teaching our students about understanding and accepting differences and inclusion.


  • Monday – Friday: including ISW in morning announcements for the week
  • Tuesday, December 8: hosting a breakfast for the staff in honor of the special education staff in the building.
  • Principal's newsletter column will be focused on ISW 
  • Teachers will be provided with idea strips and will be encouraged to use idea strip activity in open circle ("I feel included when…")
  • Volunteer parent readers will read aloud a book (title chosen by inclusion facilitator) for any classroom teacher who accepts this offer
  • Mayor-Elect Setti Warren will read aloud a book (title chosen by inclusion facilitator) to first grade classrooms
  • All students will go home with ISW bookmark on Friday, December 11th. 


  1. A school wide assembly that focuses on inclusion. A first grade class will sign (American Sign Language) the pledge of allegiance, fifth graders will read a book about inclusion and a song will be sung by all kids about inclusion;
  2. Friday morning, December 11th: coffee for parents. The first graders will sign (American Sign Language) the pledge for the parents, a fifth grade class will demonstrate how they run a "responsive meeting" and two panel discussions, one with several teachers who will talk about how they build an inclusive classroom and use differentiated instruction and a second
panel with the inclusion facilitator, learning center coordinator and ELL Coordinator;
  3. Specialists (PE, Art, Music) will be asked to incorporate inclusion themes into their activities for the week;
  4. The librarian will highlight inclusion for the week
  5. We will give out Inclusion Week pencils to all the kids on Walking Wednesday.


  • Each class will be making a poster to put up in the hallways illustrating various kinds of inclusion and how it contributes to making Zervas a stronger community. Each class will discuss inclusion as part of this activity.  PAC PTO liaison Susan Bottery will take a digital photo of each poster and hopes to create a slide show for next year. The library will display “Inclusion books” and stories etc.
  • Luncheon for the Inclusion Facilitator, therapists, specialists, and aides.  Zervas parents have volunteered to host, set up and clean up the event.  

Do you have an Inclusion in Action Story to share? We’d love to read about it and share it with others.

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