Inclusive Schools Week 2017

FCPS schools support a culture of inclusiveness and  their actions have led to the promotion of greater access, participation, and support for students with disabilities in inclusive settings.

The following schools were featured by FCPS during Inclusive Schools Week 2017: Bush Hill ES, Columbia ES, Fairfax Villa ES, Flint Hill ES, Fox Mill ES, Franklin Sherman ES, Gunston ES, Key Center, Key MS, Langley HS, Madison HSOakton HS, Robinson Secondary, Rolling Valley ES, Shrevewood ES, Westfield HS, and Willow Springs ES.

Bush Hill Elementary School

Bush Hill Elementary School is always looking for new ways to enhance our inclusive culture. New to Bush Hill last year, our Peer Mentor Program has helped foster understanding and create a culture of inclusion within the entire school community. Our students with intellectual disabilities are paired with selected fourth and fifth graders who offer both social and academic mentoring. These mentors help guide and support their mentees during activities such as morning meeting, buddy reading, recess, and cooking. As a result of their participation, all students involved build new friendships, form meaningful connections, gain self-confidence, and share interests and experiences with a new peer group.

Bush Hill is also proud to start a Special Olympics Unified Basketball Team this year! Special Olympics Unified Sports is an inclusive program which combines individuals with and without intellectual disabilities on sports teams for training and competition. Participation in Unified Sports is proving to lead to new friendships, improved self-esteem, and positive changes in attitude, behavior, and performance for all students involved.

Bush Hill Elementary School has celebrated Inclusive Schools Week for many years! As our Panthers celebrate the uniqueness of our school community, we have several activities planned to teach students how to be more kind, accepting, and understanding of differences. Featured activities include:

  • Frank Stephens will help us kick off the week as he shares his experiences and accomplishments as an individual with a disability. Frank is a member of the Board of Directors of Special Olympics Virginia and a long-time Global Messenger, advocating on behalf of Special Olympics. He was awarded the Quincy Jones Excellence in Advocacy Award by the Global Down Syndrome Foundation in 2016 and is an active advocate for Global’s research. 
  • Students will rotate through a variety of stations that will help them experience the world as individuals who may be different due to disability, gender, cultural heritage, language preference, and other factors. Participation in these stations will lend a new understanding of and appreciation for obstacles that may be present in an increasingly diverse student population, and how we can help others accordingly.
  • Students will have an opportunity to take the ORANGE Pledge. Students will pledge to always: open access, respect others, assume ability, nix labels, get included, and embrace differences.

Columbia Elementary School

Students sitting around a floor map participating in cooperative learning experience.
This fourth grade class at Columbia ES worked together to create a food web using yarn and shared information with each other through a cooperative learning experience. Individualized accommodations are provided so students can demonstrate their knowledge and be successful.

At Columbia Elementary School, the focus always begins with inclusion in order to meet the individual needs of every child. Inclusive practices are implemented across the school through a co-teaching model within grade-level classrooms.  Scaffolds are implemented across all grade levels as needed to provide students with background knowledge and content. Co-teaching teams leverage the cooperative learning model while providing rigorous content for all students. The inclusion model allows instructional staff to support all students who need extra review and support.  

Fairfax Villa Elementary School

At the Villa, inclusion is part of our everyday life. Our students, no matter their needs, are all collaborative members of the Villa family. Currently, Fairfax Villa specializes in providing support for students in our intellectual disability (ID) program and special education preschool. We provide academic, behavioral, and social support to students in the general education curriculum as well as those who receive services through special education. Whether it’s singing in chorus, participating in the Sixth Grade Showcase, or cheering each other on at the end of the year kickball game, students at the Villa genuinely care for and support each other. Several of our teachers shared their stories. Read on to learn more about the Villa way…

A kindergarten story: A kindergarten student from the ID program joins my class for Morning Meeting and our Center Play Time daily. My students learn so much from her on a daily basis! She has taught her peers to be empathic, kind, helpful, and warmhearted.  My students are all so patient because they want her included in everything in our classroom and I am happy to oblige! My students have learned firsthand how to take the initiative in order for ALL friends to be included no matter what.  It truly warms my heart daily to watch it all.

A first grade story: I reinforce with my class acceptance of others daily. So I wasn't surprised when we were on a field trip to the science center and many of the students took the lead to volunteer to buddy with students in the ID program for activities.  Also when asked who would like to ride the "tagalong" bus-all hands went up! 

A sixth grade story: In 6th grade Physical Education (PE), several girls have really stepped up to include one of their peers who spends most her day in a special education classroom. The students always make sure to greet their peer with smiles and high-fives. When playing team games, the girls not only select their peer to be on their team, but provide her opportunities to lead the team such as being the quarterback when playing flag football. The girls know how to motivate their peer. The student who receives adapted PE services spends a small portion of the class working on her individual goal, and she does not like to be separated from her peers in class. To help this student feel that she is not being singled out, her general education peers will join us and practice the goal she is working on too.  

As you can see, at the “Villa” we truly believe that our individual differences make us stronger.  We are all proud members of the Fairfax Villa Family.

Flint Hill Elementary School

Shoes decorated by students in a display case .
Shoes decorated by all students were included in a display case in the front of the school.  The shoes go along with the theme of, Stand Up, Sit Tall for Inclusion.

Check out the different classroom activities that Flint Hill has planned for each day of Inclusive Schools Week.

Monday (PTA hosted breakfast provided for teachers.)
Morning Meeting: Teachers introduce Inclusive Schools Week to their students by sharing information and having “Gab about your Gifts” share time. 
Tuesday Morning Meeting: Teachers will talk with their class about what word/character trait best describes their class community in order to create a school-wide Wordle.
Wednesday Morning Meeting: Students pair-up with a new friend (someone they don’t typically socialize with) to learn more about their interests. After students have learned 3 new facts, they will be called upon to share this information with their classmates. Upper Grades can share by playing “Two Truths and a Lie”.
Thursday “Wrinkle on My Heart” activity for teachers.  Social-emotional lessons using books from the book list and basket of books outside of the counseling office. 
Friday Read Aloud “Each Kindness” (viewed online using the SMART board)

Fox Mill Elementary School

Group of Fox Mill Students sitting on rug smiling at the camera
At Fox Mill, students with disabilities have the opportunity to be included with their grade level class for various activities throughout the year.

Here at Fox Mill Elementary, we continue to reflect upon and refine our strategies for supporting students with both high-incidence and low-incidence disabilities.  Our teachers share responsibility for the achievement of all students, and we are dedicated to using a variety of best practices to ensure student success.  Our non-categorical classrooms are regularly included with our general education classrooms, and many classrooms are co-taught with an emphasis on shared ownership of all students and the creation of a seamless learning environment.  

Highly effective instructional strategies, such as differentiated instruction, project-based learning, and cooperative learning are frequently incorporated into instruction.  As a Responsive Classroom school, all teachers are trained in effective classroom management and responding proactively to student behavior.  Classroom spaces support the learning of all students, and many classrooms use flexible seating to create the best learning environment for each student.  Within our Intellectual Disabilities (ID) program, our students have the opportunity to be included with their grade level class for various activities throughout the year.  Some activities include participating in morning meeting, lunch, recess, specials, some academic subject areas, and special events (e.g. holiday parties, field trips, assemblies).  Our students also are a part of book buddies in which they are paired with a 6th grader who reads or does activities with them.  The students in this program love to get to know all the students in the school.  We are excited to celebrate our commitment to inclusion at Fox Mill Elementary!

Franklin Sherman Elementary School

Franklin Sherman Elementary School is always creating opportunities to enhance our inclusive culture within our school community. Here at Franklin Sherman, we create opportunities using activities, space, and materials so that all students can learn. At Franklin Sherman, our teachers use various inclusive teaching strategies that address the needs of our students with a variety of backgrounds, learning styles, and abilities. When supports are in place, there are many benefits of inclusion. Inclusion improves learning for both special education and general education students alike. These strategies contribute to an overall inclusive learning environment, in which students feel equally valued. By using inclusive teaching we are able to connect with and engage with a variety of students. Students feel comfortable in the classroom environment to voice their ideas/thoughts/questions. 

Throughout all the classrooms at Franklin Sherman Elementary School, teachers create accessible classes for students. For example, teachers present information both orally and visually to accommodate students with visual and auditory impairments in addition to students with various learning preferences. When possible, our teachers provide flexibility in how our students demonstrate their knowledge and how our teachers assess student knowledge and development. 

For many years, students in general education classes have participated with students in the Enhanced Autism program in their Adapted Physical Education classes. This year our Adapted Physical Education class will be going on a bowling field trip and a few student mentors will be joining them for the fun! As a result of their participation in class, all of the students have built new relationships and new experiences. Students throughout the school spend time in our special education preschool class-based program. During these visits, the students read to the preschoolers and participate in other planned classroom activities.

Gunston Elementary School

Students and staff wearing their favorite team jersey.
Students and staff at Gunston wear their favorite team jersey in celebration of Inclusive Schools Week and to signify that they are all on the same TEAM.

Inclusive Schools Week celebrates the progress that schools have made in providing a supportive and quality education to an increasingly diverse student population. Join Gunston in celebrating by participating in the following activities.

Monday We are all on the same TEAM at Gunston! Wear your favorite team jersey, shirt or colors! *Mindful Activity: Invite someone new to play at recess or join in a new activity or game.
Tuesday EXERCISE your right to be different! Wear workout gear. *Mindful Activity: Tell a classmate what you appreciate about them. 
Wednesday We are all UNIQUE! Dress to show what makes you unique! Example: a team or group uniform, a shirt from a place you have traveled, something that represents your heritage, culture, religion etc.*Mindful Activity: What makes you different? Write a journal entry about why you are special.
Thursday You are BLUE-tiful!  Wear blue. *Mindful Activity: Draw your self-portrait to show what makes you beautiful inside and out.
FriYAY We are all INCLUDED at Gunston! Wear Gunston Colors/Spirit Wear. *Mindful Activity:  Perform a random act of kindness for a classmate.

Key Center student posing with a Key Middle School student
Students at Key Center enjoy the socialization and look forward to spending time with their middle school friend.

Key Center & Key Middle School

Key Center, a public day school serving students with severe disabilities has a unique partnership with students from Key Middle School.  Key Middle School students take “Key to Key” as an elective semester course.  The students participate in a weekly seminar to learn more about disabilities and to explore career options working with students/adults with special needs.  They are then assigned a classroom to work in on a daily basis for the semester.  Key Middle School students support students in a variety of ways.  Students at Key Center enjoy the socialization and look forward to spending time with their middle school friend.  

Langley High School

United Sound is a school-based instrumental music club for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their typical peers. Dedicated to promoting social involvement through shared ensemble performance experience, United Sound joins students with and without disabilities to learn and perform in the band or orchestra together.

The United Sound program at Langley is run by band director Doug Martin and special education teacher Jasna Koceva. With assistance from student volunteers who serve as peer mentors, New Musicians learn to play the instrument of their choice at a personally modified level. Learning first in lesson format and ultimately transitioning to rehearsals with recorded music, the New Musicians learn a piece of music that they will then perform live in concert, once per semester, with their Peer Mentors and a full instrumental support ensemble.

Students who participate in United Sound programs are learning to be musicians. Making music together is a powerful force for learning, growth, friendship and understanding. Music is a language that transcends disability and the relationships formed in this way will truly resonate for all children involved.

The Langley High School Wind Symphony
The Langley High School Wind Symphony, joined by members of United Sound at the Virginia Music Educators Association Professional Development Conference at The Homestead in Hot Springs, VA.

Madison High School

Madison High students are featured in a video about their activities for Inclusive School Week, spearheaded by the Warhawk Buddies Club. Students were asked to write their hopes, dreams, and inspirations on feathers and created a giant mural of those future plans, a visual display of inclusion at the school.

Oakton High School

Oakton High School has been piloting an Adapted Government class which has an inclusion component at least once a week. 11th and 12th grade special education students in the Adapted Government class are working alongside their 12th grade peers in Honors Government on a variety of lessons. So far they have collaborated on lessons in American Values, Election Vocabulary, Campaign Ads, and Voting Districts. Additionally, they have gone on and are planning some future field trips which take the learning out of the classroom: Capitol Hill, Library of Congress, American Art Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery! 

Students making a "visual preamble" using photographs.
Making the Preamble Visual: Hands-on activities helps all learners increase their learning.

During Inclusive Schools Week, students are learning about Federalism and The Constitution and are excited to work together in small groups to make a “visual preamble” using photographs! Oakton High School is committed to providing special education students with opportunities along with a continuum of services that offers access, participation, and support in the activities of the school and community environments.

Robinson Secondary School

Special Olympics spirit boxes for the athletes
Partnership, an inclusive group of about sixty students from general education, team taught, and special education classes, work together to help the whole school get involved in Special Olympics by creating spirit boxes for the athletes.

Robinson Secondary School is excited to take part in Inclusive Schools Week December 4th-8th. Robinson strives to promote inclusion throughout the entire year through their Partnership class and Partner’s Club. Partnership is an inclusive group of about sixty students from general education, team taught, and special education classes. These students work together to create events and initiatives that promote inclusion and advocating throughout our school, community, and globally. Among the Partnership’s largest events are our Day Prom, Foundations Graduation, Into the Night Graduation Party, and regularly scheduled movie, karaoke, and dance nights. 

Partnership and Partner’s Club have been off to a strong start this year and have already helped develop our new sensory room and raised gift card funds for those affected by the hurricanes.  For “Dude be Nice” week, Partners worked together to create sensory boxes, make care packages for our nurses, and decorate pumpkins for administrators. They have been visited by guest speakers including Miss Southwestern VA and continue to plan inclusive activities in the school and community. 

Robinson is also very involved in Special Olympics and Unified sports. We currently participate in soccer, basketball, and track and field. This year we added to our basketball teams and now offer a high school competitive Special Olympics team, a high school unified team, and a middle school unified team. Partnership helps the whole school get involved in Special Olympics by creating spirit boxes for the athletes, attending tournaments, and hosting FanQuest! FanQuest is a huge basketball tournament that thousands of community members attend; where we showcase local businesses that support individuals with special needs, and have guest performers from surrounding school’s clubs.

Some of our special events and initiatives for Inclusive Schools Week include an inclusion chain that will serve as a pledge for all students to be inclusive and will be displayed along our main hallway. Students will participate in their regularly scheduled Special Olympics basketball practice and Foundations drama club, and we will be promoting lunch buddies throughout the week. Special events after school include our MOD pizza fundraiser, annual Holiday Dance, and Painting Party! Look for our Partners in the main hall to welcome everyone to school, on Good Morning Robinson each day, and lining the halls for High Five Friday! 

Rolling Valley Elementary School

Rolling Valley Special Olympics team
Student athletes are supported by general education peers, staff, and parents at Special Olympics.

At the core of Rolling Valley is our inclusiveness. Students eat together, attend Specials, play together, and learn together. Inclusiveness is part of who we are and what we show our community. It is only when we interact and love others who are different from us that we can understand our authentic individuality. While we are all individuals, we are part of something bigger – we are a family based on respect.

Shrevewood Elementary School

Inclusive Schools Week celebrates our nation’s schools providing a supportive and quality education to a diverse student population including students with disabilities and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.  This year’s theme is “Stand Up, Sit Tall for Inclusion.”

As an inclusive school, staff at Shrevewood …

  • make sure each and every student feels welcome and is learning.
  • understand that all children - students with and without disabilities, English language learners, those with special talents - learn better if teaching is tailored to their abilities and interests.
  • hold high expectations for the success of ALL students.

 Shrevewood’s Inclusive Schools Week Activities (December 4-8)

Monday “Unity Day”. Students will wear a school spirit shirt or a red shirt and will participate in a classroom craft activity, “Inclusion in Our School Community”.
Tuesday “Crazy Hair Day”. Students will express themselves demonstrating that   they are all UNIQUE!
Wednesday Students will dress up as their favorite Superhero to show support for ALL students.
Thursday “I am Blue---tiful” Day.  Students will wear blue.
Friday A teacher appreciation breakfast will be provided to staff. Special education students will “Mix it up at lunch” by eating together with their general education peers.

Westfield High School

At Westfield High School, the staff and students strongly believe in an inclusive environment for all individuals. Teachers and students have partnered together to create opportunities throughout the school to promote inclusion and celebrate diversity. 

Since 2015, the Student Government Association (SGA) has partnered with special education teachers to create leadership socials as a way for student leaders and students in the Cat-B program to get to know each other. Once a quarter, a committee of SGA students plan and organize a social event including crafts, games, and opportunities to relax and have fun. The friendships created through these socials have flourished throughout the years, as students from both programs eat lunch with each other, hang out in the hallways in between classes and attend school events together. Students in SGA also seek opportunities to volunteer in special education classrooms as teacher assistants, and also support special events such as Day Prom. 

Along with leadership socials, students at Westfield participate in an after school club, called Bulldog Buddies. The club is open to any student who wants to foster friendships and relationships in a supported setting for students with disabilities. The club is comprised of a 12 member student leader team, and they take turns to plan themed meetings the first Monday of each month. The last Bulldog Buddies meeting promoted school pride and spirit, as the WHS football team began their playoff run. Students created posters in groups that were posted around the school and brought to the football game. The leaders of the club make sure they select themes that are relevant for all students involved. 

In support of National Inclusive Schools Week, Bulldog Buddies will hold its monthly meeting on 12/4, and the Leadership class will host their 2nd quarter social on 12/8.

Students participating in the Bulldog Buddies program
Students at Westfield participate in an after school club, called Bulldog Buddies.

Willow Springs Elementary School

The staff at Willow Springs Elementary School is very proud of our inclusive school practices. We believe that our Responsive Classroom practices provide us with the foundation for creating a caring and positive learning environment. Our teachers actively provide students with opportunities to learn about one another’s interests and to develop meaningful relationships. 

This year during Inclusive Schools Week the Special Education team is providing the staff with materials and resources to use to engage in specific conversations about common disabilities. These materials include read aloud books as well as activities that simulate how a disability may impact an individual. Our staff remains committed to promoting and supporting inclusive practices.