Approaching disability with a positive and inclusive mindset is a foundational element of healthy school systems. That said, the concept of “inclusion” has a far broader reach than placement in the regular classroom in a school setting. Schools with a desire to embrace and involve students with disabilities create an atmosphere where ALL students are active and valued participants in the school community, using their abilities to contribute in a multitude of ways. In October, we observe Disability Awareness Month, looking to highlight and celebrate the many ways that students with disabilities enrich our schools.
In kicking off Disability Awareness Month, Greg Swartz (DPSD’s Director of Special Programs) visited Deer Park’s regular meeting of the Board of Directors on September 23rd. Mr. Swartz shared a brief presentation about the many ways educators in Deer Park Schools work to serve the diverse needs of our students with disabilities and the amazing things students with disabilities are doing in our schools and in our community. Mr. Swartz was joined by a student from Deer Park High School who shared a bit about her experience at DPHS and the way her special needs are being met.
Take a moment to watch this great video, produced by the State of Indiana:
All our schools strive to provide equal educational opportunity, high-quality academic development, and a safe learning environment for ALL our students. We strive to create and foster a positive mindset regarding inclusive practices and provide strategies to ensure appropriate levels of inclusion. Appropriate inclusion is characterized by practices and programs which provide for the following:
- A full continuum of placement options and services.
- Ongoing professional development.
- Class sizes that are responsive to student needs.
- Active participation in school events and activities.
- Staff and technical assistance that is specifically appropriate to student and teacher needs.
- A system-wide understanding that inclusion is a process, not an event.