December 3–7, 2018 is “Inclusive Schools Week”
[NEWARK, NJ, December 3, 2018] – The Newark Board of Education and Newark Public Schools (NPS) will join schools across the nation to recognize Inclusive Schools Week, December 3 – December 7. Inclusive Schools Week is celebrated annually the first week in December and highlights and celebrates the progress that schools have made in implementing inclusive practices to ensure a quality education for an increasingly diverse student population.
Superintendent of Newark Schools Roger León said, “Inclusivity and diversity are two of the most important tenets of our school district, and the city, state, country and world. At Newark Public Schools, it is our practice to be inclusive and celebrate diversity every day. The benefit to our students, families and school community, are monumental.”
Newark Public Schools has two pillars of learning during Inclusive Schools Week; professional development for teachers, and programs throughout the week and year for students. The Superintendent added that one of the most important lessons for students is to celebrate differences – NPS does that through teaching, the curriculum, extra-curricular activities and other programs.
The New Jersey Coalition of Inclusive Education (NJCIE) and the NPS Office of Special Education collaborate to assist school-based teams in supporting students in Least Restrictive Environments. Teachers from NPS have attended the NJCIE Conference at Montclair State University where they have received provide professional development on teaching inclusion practices for students. In addition, professional development and coaching is provided at 16 NPS schools that participate in the Inclusion Schools Project.
As part of Inclusive Schools Week, students across the district are delivering their schools’ daily “Good Morning,” message in different languages including Tagalog, Arabic, Portuguese, Hindu, Hebrew, Spanish, and either Cantonese, Mandarin or Thai. In addition, NPS has incorporated strategies for Inclusive Practices into class lessons and a number of the week’s activities; such as poster contests for students, team building exercises for teachers and students, diversity in attire and more. The school district will also show “Intelligent Minds,” a documentary that celebrates inclusion and diversity.
Inclusive Practices is open to participation from all schools. This year, Regional Day, JFK and Camden Street Schools won a grant for Unified Schools for Special Olympics NJ. Through this grant, schools will engage in reverse inclusion concepts and develop youth leadership programs that are inclusive of general education and special education students, by collaborating with other schools across the district. Each of these schools have also developed plans for training and hosting a Unified Games event.
Ann Street School Principal Linda J. Richardson said, “At Ann Street School, inclusion is not tolerance; it is unquestioned acceptance.” She continued, “Each of our teachers is engaged and involved in the instruction of students, both general and special education, within the same classroom in the co-teaching model. In our inclusive program, general and special education teachers engage in multiple modes of instruction from parallel teaching to team teaching – these are techniques designed to benefit both general and special education students.”
Superintendent León said, “I especially want to recognize the administration, teachers and students at the 16 schools who continually make inclusion a part of their everyday learning experience.” The 16 schools are; Abington Avenue, Chancellor Avenue, Roberto Clemente, George Washington Carver, Harriet Tubman, Hawkins Street, Dr. William H. Horton, Eagle Academy, Franklin, Raphael Hernandez, Lincoln, Luis Munoz Marin, and Speedway Academies. In addition, I want to also thank our participating high schools; Arts, Barringer, and University High Schools.