So …….the annual Coaching to Inclusion Conference (Inclusive Education – Making it Work) is only a day away! Always very rewarding to celebrate the successes of colleagues who have embraced the concept of inclusion and most importantly to recognize the “Champions of Inclusion” in our school system and validate their passion for inclusion at all levels. I am looking forward to attending the workshop “Moving from Tolerance to Acceptance Using a Peer-Mediated Approach to Increase Positive Social Interactions and Academic Success”.
This workshop promises to be very informative for me because I have always advocated for more peer-to-peer social interaction and I am very motivated that at St Mary’s High School we are moving along with implementing this widely applied and researched educational intervention. Because the Huron Perth Catholic District School Board has been using this approach for the past 8 years, I am very excited to hear about the benefits and essential components, and to receive resources to support successful implementation at St Mary’s. I was previously inspired by a presentation by Charmaine Chadwick, ABA consultant for the HPCDSB at the Roundtable Discussion on Inclusive Education held on June 2, 2014. She attested to the importance of transitions for students with special needs and in her highly motivational presentation she mentioned a ‘model’ transition she attended at Sacred Heart High School and spoke of the excellent “inclusion at work” best practices she observed when she had a transition meeting with the school team at SHHS.
I am confident that Paul Cook (Thames Valley District School Board) with his innovative approach to inclusion, will show me how their school teams collaboratively problem solve. His workshop on “Education Support Services Team” which meets weekly and embraces a Response to Intervention and Universal design for Learning approach will definitely provide an interesting perspective on the value of regular meetings with school teams.
The conference is a perfect opportunity to get together with educators who share the same vision, re-articulate my own vision and to come back to St Mary’s High School refreshed and ready to celebrate the excellence of our students and to carry on telling the story that inclusion is the way to go. After all, in order to embrace inclusivity, it needs to be felt by the teacher.