Team Chesterfield celebrates Inclusive Schools Week

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Students, staff and schools across Chesterfield County are celebrating this week creating inclusive learning environments that serve a diverse community of learners.

“It’s important that we take time to recognize the collaborative efforts of families and staff to provide optimal learning environments for all students, specifically within this week’s celebration our students with special needs,” School Board Chair John Erbach said. “For the past two years, Chesterfield County Public Schools has been a regional leader in growing the I’m Determined initiative that supports teachers, students with special needs and their families in gaining the skills, supports and relationships for students to be full participants in their educational journey.”

Since its national inception in 2001, Inclusive Schools Week has celebrated the progress that public K-12 school divisions have made in providing a quality education to an increasingly diverse student population. According to the Inclusive Schools Network, the weeklong celebration also “also provides an important opportunity for educators, students and parents to discuss what else needs to be done in order to ensure that their schools continue to improve their ability to successfully educate all children.”

“Our school division’s Local Report to the Public published in summer of 2018 demonstrates that Chesterfield County Public Schools meets and exceeds the state target in the area of students with disabilities included in the general education setting for the majority of their school day,” Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty said.

As two examples of Team Chesterfield highlights related to creating inclusive learning environments, the school division:

  • Serves as an Excellence in Co-Teaching Demonstration Site for the Virginia Department of Education (Bensley Elementary School), promoting and providing professional development in the area of inclusive teaching practices.
  • Was awarded an Inclusive Practice Initiative support grant from the Virginia Department of Education that works to implement an array of instructional and assistive technologies based on research that is then shared through professional development and training (Falling Creek Middle School)

“Moving forward, it is imperative that we continue to remove barriers to learning for all students,” Dr. Daugherty said. “The Equity Committee’s findings and recommendations provide guidance, but we will continue to rely on partnerships with parents of special education students and recommendations by the School Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee. We must find ways to continue to enhance services provided to our special needs students and to wrap our arms around them in support of their work.”