Great Things Are Happening in Inclusive Schools Week

Guest blog post by SFUSD parent, Julia Martin.

Inclusive Schools Week is December 3rd - 7th, 2018!

There are great things happening in San Francisco Public Schools during the first week of December. Inclusive Schools Week, December 3-7, is a time to celebrate our differences with special recognition of students with physical and developmental disabilities. For kids who learn differently, this week can be a chance for them to hear about others who have the same struggles. It is also a chance for all of our students to gain understanding and learn about the diverse lives of their classmates. Most importantly, it’s a reminder for all of us to be inclusive in the classroom, on the school yard, and in our communities all year long.

SFUSD is making great strides towards inclusion. Schools throughout the district have co-teaching classes and students with disabilities are frequently in class with their peers. In fact, 75% of our SFUSD Special Education students are taught in General Education classes. Inclusive Schools Week provides an opportunity for SFUSD educators to teach students about disability, gender, socio-economic status, cultural heritage, language preference, and other differences. Education helps take away the mystique and stigma that may surround these differences and allows students to become confident self advocates.

How to be an ally:

This year’s theme is a “Kaleidoscope of Friends.” When you look into a kaleidoscope all the different pieces work together to make a beautiful image. Likewise, when everyone is included in our schools, that diversity is a beautiful thing. Now add in the word friends to that image and think about the importance of having friends across difference. When we support someone who is different from ourselves we are helping them tremendously. Having someone speak up and look out for you is very powerful. So this year, think about the marginalized students at your school, the ones who sit alone at recess or circle the yard. How can you support and include them?

Special Olympics partnership:

SFUSD is partnering with special olympics to celebrate Inclusive Schools Week. There will be exhibition soccer games, Special Olympics representatives will be talking to students and hosting an Inclusive Skills Day.  For more information about Special Olympics and some of the great programs they offer check out:

How parents can get involved:

Check in with your student, teachers or school staff to see what activities are planned this week at your child’s school. Offer to help out, bring snacks for your special education teachers or volunteer to read a story in your child’s classroom. (Note: You don’t have to be a special education parent to volunteer. Being a special education parent can be an isolating experience. Knowing that there are other parents out there who are allies, willing to lend a hand is a good thing.) For more information about the week or simple things you can do check out:

Special film screening this year:

At the end of Inclusive Schools Week this year Support for Families of Children with Disabilities is partnering with SFUSD and UCSF to bring Dan Habib to San Francisco for a special screening of his new film, Intelligent Lives. The film is about young adults who have intellectual disabilities challenge perceptions of intelligence while navigating high school, college and the workforce.

Her is a link with more details on the film: Intelligent Lives Film

The screening will be held at Mission High School on Wednesday, Dec 12th at 6pm. It is open to the public and tickets are free but we ask that folks reserve a spot in advance so we can anticipate our attendance. Reserve a spot here.

Have a great Inclusive Schools Week!

Written by Julia Martin, Member SFUSD Community Advisory Committee on Special Education, Co-Sponsors of SFUSD Inclusive Schools Week.

SFUSD Community Advisory Committee for Special Education