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Blog: Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

Celebrating our Inclusive Educators

Experts of inclusive education all agree that it takes much more than just placing students with disabilities next to their general-education peers to achieve truly inclusive classrooms. Educators, such as Jennifer Johnson, and her two educational assistants, Elaine van Dyke and Anita Grover, have made it their mission to establish a truly inclusive Grade 4/5 classroom that celebrates individual differences and values the contributions of all students. Their unwavering dedication to successful inclusion is highly laudable, particularly in light of the fact that the needs of some of their students are among the most complex they’ve experienced in their careers thus far.

Jennifer, Elaine and Anita work hard as a mutually supportive team to manage the demands of this very busy classroom of tremendously diverse needs and personalities. Taking time to co-plan, coordinate schedules, and ensure flexibility when exceptional circumstances require crisis management are all factors in making this a powerful team. Their actions indicate sincere dedication and devotion in addressing student needs over their own.

Ongoing professional development reflects this team’s commitment and passion for inclusive education. They have attended several days of POPARD training, they work closely and regularly with District resource people, and they read all varieties of professional articles to remain on the cutting edge of current practice. Jennifer has attended all of Shelley Moore’s Abbotsford workshops where she has learned, among other things, about backwards design planning, which allows for students to meet the same goals, but in a variety of ways. As she experiments with goals-based backwards design in her classroom all students are afforded equal access to new learning as she ensures multiple points of entry. Furthermore, Jennifer makes sure she takes the time to share her knowledge with other teachers on staff during professional development days.

As we continue to face the challenge of meeting the needs of every student in our classrooms it is encouraging to see teachers and educational assistants as committed to the challenge as this team. With this type of commitment and perseverance, they serve as an excellent model of inclusion for other educational professionals to emulate.

Principal, Ross Elementary