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Inclusion Column

Celebrating Inclusion

By: Blanca Livas and Laurie Behan

Last week the ASFM community celebrated Inclusion Week. It was a celebration of growth, learnings, and progress. The whole ASFM community was invited to participate and the response was overwhelming. The atmosphere felt energized, and our school was brimming with kindness.

Our inclusion theme for the week “It’s in Our Hands” was embedded into all of our lessons. Teachers and students on both campuses worked collaboratively for months ahead, planning and developing all the activities and displays to remind us of our individual responsibility in building an inclusive mindset.

Wednesday April, 3rd during the closing event of our AdvancEd accreditation process it was with pride that we heard Mr. Dennis Klumpp, Vice President of AdvancED Latin America, express how impressed he was that every one of the 210 randomly interviewed ASFM community members (students, parents, teachers, administrators, board members) was able to explain not only what inclusion was but, how it is part of their lives. It is years of daily modeling and living inclusive values that made these spontaneous and natural responses a reality.

For the adult members of our community we held our second Open and Caring Night, called “It’s in Your Hands” where parents were our special guests. We are thankful to Gaby Maiz and the whole EPU team for the night’s success. Around 30 presenters approached a vast array of inclusive topics ranging from Wellbeing to Entrepreneurship through inclusively structured workshops. Parents and guests were able to experience first hand what Inclusion feels like in our learning spaces.

In MSHS we should acknowledge and celebrate the student leadership of the Inclusion week activities, and the expressed desire of the students to continue activities of this nature as a regular monthly initiative. The embodiment of our mission statement, “Open Minds, Caring Hearts and Global Leadership,” these students worked collaboratively with staff on the Inclusion Planning and Leadership Committee to make Inclusion Week come to life. Student Ambassadors made arriving to school a truly welcoming experience by offering different greetings to everyone. Lunch time was celebrated with music and alternative seating offering opportunities to renew old and new relationships. During Advisory, conversations were prompted through carefully selected videos. These are just a few examples of what the MSHS community experienced.

Even this week we are still experiencing the joy and excitement of Inclusion Week at Elementary. Additional resources are being shared every day, and we are enjoying the songs, stories and experiences we have created together.

As a community we demonstrated our sincere interest and investment in becoming the best version of ourselves for our children and with our children.

For parents that would like to continue working on the science of strength-based teaching and parenting:

Learn more about Lea Water's research, media, TEDx talk and other projects
www.leawaters.com