Friday, March 4. It’s a day I’ve been hearing about and looking forward to for a while. Today, students are not at school because it’s a district-wide professional development (training) day. And at every school, every member of the staff will receive a half-day of training on how to include students with disabilities.
It’s past time, and today is just a start. But I think it’s also appropriate to pause and reflect on how far we have come in two short years. When I joined the Board in January 2009, the idea that we would devote any time in a precious professional development day (let alone HALF of that day) to improving our special education practices as a district was kind of unthinkable. But here we are.
As part of today’s training, staff at every school will watch a five-minute video that underscores the district’s commitment to improving special education services and expanding our capacity to be inclusive of students with disabilities. It’s meant to both set the vision for the future, and highlight some bright spots in the district where we are already doing the work of inclusion thoughtfully and successfully. OK, yes, videos are not action — they are not hard evidence that things will really change. But this video does represent a promise, from the Superintendent himself, expressed more directly and publicly than I have heard it before. I’m told the video will be posted on the district web site, and I’ll post a link when that happens.