School Celebrations: Building Knowledge and Skills

Activities in this section reflect the importance of taking awareness to the next level—Action! Building the knowledge and skills of students, families, school staff, and members of the community increases the likelihood that inclusive practices will become integrated into the framework of the community.

  • Create a website that highlights the inclusive nature of your school. Have students and teachers work together to design the site, develop content, and act as webmasters. Make sure that the website is fully accessible (for more information, see the Web Accessibility Initiative website: http://www.w3.org/WAI/
  • Host a video, PowerPoint presentation, poster, or essay contest in your school on the theme of “How Technology Helps Me to Learn.” Send us the electronic copies of the winning entries, and we will post them on www.inclusiveschools.org.
  • Utilize time during faculty or team meetings to explore websites that have online tools to promote access to content. For example, visit the website of the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives, at http://nlvm.usu.edu/, and discuss how virtual manipulatives might be used with your curriculum to promote student learning.
  • Have students develop a school brochure outlining all of the resources available within the school that support student achievement including technology, academic support (tutoring, study groups), counseling services, related therapy services, etc.
  • Pair general education and special education teachers into teaching teams. Encourage each team to implement at least one lesson together during the Week. Challenge the teaching teams to continue this strategy on a regular basis throughout the school year.
  • Host a professional development day focused on having teachers work together in pairs or small groups to brainstorm new and different instructional delivery methods. Ask each teacher to commit to trying out these new instructional strategies.
  • Ask each grade level in the school to adopt an area of the school building to make it more accessible. Areas can include the cafeteria, mail lobby, gym, art room, main office, principal’s office, etc. Encourage students to be creative in finding adaptations that are creative and monetarily feasible. Hold a mid-year celebration to highlight progress and share solutions.
  • Host a brown bag lunch for community leaders and teachers to help educate the school staff about the different cultures represented in the community. Ask each community leader to come with some ideas about how the school can better contribute to the values and traditions of the community.
  • Celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., during the Week (you don’t need to wait until his birthday in January!) Host school forums and discussions about his mission of unity and peace. Ask students to contribute essays or speeches using Dr. King’s famous starting phrase “I have a dream” and relating it to their dream about building a more inclusive school and community.
  • Dedicate a school professional development day to instructing faculty on topics such as differentiating instruction, culturally relevant curriculum, and providing accommodations for learners with disabilities.
  • Offer American Sign Language to meet the foreign language requirement or as an elective.
  • Bring together grade-level and content-specific teachers to redesign curriculum to meet the needs of all learners. This includes looking at the accessibility of materials and developing accommodations and modifications to the curriculum.
  • Invite school faculty to attend a monthly book club meeting with the goal of discussing literature about inclusive education, community building, and diversity.
  • Have school faculty and staff watch instructional videos on inclusive practices during their lunch hour or after school one day per week.
  • Ask teachers to invite their colleagues into their classrooms to observe and provide them feedback and ideas about additional ways to reach diverse learners.
  • Encourage related service providers (speech pathologist, teacher of the visually impaired, occupational therapist, school nurse, etc.) to share information about their area of expertise and provide instruction on how to incorporate strategies to support children receiving special services in the classroom.

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