NEWTON, MA | November 29, 2005
The 5th Annual National Inclusive Schools Week is December 5–9, 2005 and will be marked in classrooms, schools, and communities throughout the country, highlighting the progress made to provide a supportive and quality education to all students, particularly those with disabilities and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
This year’s theme “Bridging the Gap: Achievement for All” focuses on ways schools and districts are narrowing the disparity in academic performance between individual groups of students. The success of students with disabilities has been regarded as one of the most significant issues faced by schools and communities in the past 30 years, and new rigorous federal mandates have pushed schools, many with limited resources, to demonstrate that all students, including those with disabilities, are making progress. National Inclusive Schools Week highlights successful approaches many schools have used to improve learning outcomes for all students.
Since it began in 2001, National Inclusive Schools Week has been celebrated in thousands of schools and communities around the country. Events planned for 2005 include:
- California: Los Angeles Unified School District will recognize schools that have increased opportunities for students with disabilities to be in general education and will include preschool, elementary ‘inclusion,’ middle and high school inclusive education, and transition to adult life. Presentations to focus on organizational structures that make inclusive education work. (Coordinator: Nancy Franklin, 213-241-8167)
- Florida: Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the Miami-Dade Florida Inclusion Network (FIN) have organized a “Share Fair” teaching expo to highlight and encourage collaborations between general and special educators. Over 150 schools in the district participate. (Coordinator: Cathy Orlando of FIN, 305-995-2732)
- Connecticut: Hartford Public Schools will host a dinner event to acknowledge the work of community, family, and school personnel in making its schools and classrooms more inclusive. (Coordinator: Dr. Romain Dallemand, Assistant Superintendent for Special Education Services: 860-695-8600)
- Maryland: The Arc of Maryland conducts a poster and essay contest for all elementary and middle school students in the state on the theme: “Together We’re Better.” (Coordinator: Tonia Ferguson, 410-974-6139 x31)
- Louisiana: The state’s Developmental Disabilities Council organizes a poster and essay contest “Celebrating disAbility: Open Up Your Mind and Your Community.” Winners receive certificates from the Governor. (Coordinator: Robbie Gray, 225-342-6803 or 800-450-8108)