FREDERICTON, NB – The New Brunswick Association for Community Living (NBACL), in partnership with the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL), named 13 recipients of this year’s National Inclusive Education Awards today. Introduced by CACL, the awards recognize individuals, groups, or facilities that have endeavoured to include all learners in education, school life, and the community.
“A truly inclusive classroom, school or community benefits students of all abilities,” said Suzanne Desrosiers, President of NBACL. “All learners benefit from being among their peers, and being among a varied group of students can help children and youth develop into more empathetic, caring adults.”
In previous years, the award ceremony has been hosted by the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick at Government House in Fredericton. However, this year’s ceremony has been cancelled due to COVID-19, with alternate plans to honour the award recipients to be confirmed in the fall.
“We dream of the day when inclusion is viewed as ordinary, rather than revolutionary,” said Robin Acton, President of CACL. “Those being honoured today, and in previous years, are proof that we are moving closer towards that dream every day.”
New Brunswick’s recipients of the 2020 National Inclusive Education Awards are:
Staff of the Chatham Day Care Center, Miramichi – The staff of the Chatham Day Care Center have created a truly inclusive environment where all children are welcomed and embraced for who they are and their abilities as individuals. Daily learning activities are based on the individual strengths of children and the centre uses these strengths to support children with their specific challenges.
Sheryl Titus, After-school/Summer Camp Director at QPlex in Quispamsis – Focusing on the strengths and potential of all children, Sheryl has worked hard to create an inclusive, supportive community. She has welcomed children that were not accepted at other centres, created a sensory room to allow children to decompress, and sets requirements for mandatory regular professional development, ensuring that all QPlex educators are up-to-date with the best inclusive practices for the children in their care.
Joanne McIsaac, Instructor at Western Valley Adult Learning in Woodstock – As a GED instructor, Joanne help all students to realize their potential, frequently working after hours on evenings and weekends to provide additional tutoring support. Recognizing that many of her students are dealing with challenges outside the classroom, she works with each student at their own pace. Her students credit her with their success and improved confidence, and many of her students have gone on to study at NBCC.
Educational Assistants at Keswick Valley Memorial School, Burtts Corner – The educational assistants have worked to ensure all students are included in daily activities and after-school events such as dances and family fun nights. They look for ways to support students to participate in all activities, and have brought in extra materials and equipment as needed.
Wanda MacDonald, Educational Assistant at Champlain Heights School in Saint John – Wanda focuses on what each student can do instead of what they cannot and fosters an atmosphere of belonging and respect in the school community. In the most recent school year, she has supported a student with autism and has come to know this student very well – she’s able to diffuse situations before they get out of control and the student’s parents have noticed a calmer demeanor when he comes home from school.
Robin Buchanan, Physical Education Teacher at Oromocto High School in Oromocto – A leader and innovator in inclusion at his school, Robin has made the gym space into a welcoming safe space for students of all abilities. Students have been given the skills and knowledge to use the gym safely and appropriately, and Robin has made some instructional videos with Para New Brunswick for sledge hockey and wheelchair basketball. He has also led the introduction of a Unified Basketball team – an inclusive sports program created by Special Olympics for students with and without a disability.
Rhonda Magee & Ellen Higgins, Kindergarten Teachers at Hazen White-St. Francis School in Saint John – Rhonda and Ellen foster an atmosphere of belonging and respect in their classrooms, and focus on what each student can do instead of what they cannot. They also developed a personalized learning progress system inspired by Super Mario that made students excited to “level up” and improved learning outcomes for all students.
Integrated Services team at École Carrefour-Étudiant, Beresford – The school’s integrated services team doesn’t hesitate to innovate or make necessary changes to make the school more inclusive. Personal support animals, use of supportive technology, non-gendered spaces, and ongoing professional development are among the ways the team has shown their commitment to inclusion.
Students at École Les Éclaireurs, Fredericton – From seats at the front of the school bus left empty for those who need them, to older students reading to students who need assistance, to finding ways to communicate with students who do not use words, the students at École Les Éclaireurs are a living example of inclusive education.
Marie-Josée Couture, Inclusive Education Coordinator at District Scolaire Francophone Nord Est – As an inclusive education champion, Marie sees the potential of all students. Serving as a resource for her district, Marie responds to dozens of daily requests and helps educators find solutions to support all students to learn and be included in the school community.
Steven Austin, Carpentry Instructor at NBCC Moncton – Over the years, Steve has supported many students with disabilities in the carpentry program. He pays close attention to each student’s strengths and uses these strengths to develop higher levels of practical learning, while treating all students with dignity and respect.
Welding Faculty at NBCC Saint John – The instructors welcomed a student with autism into their classrooms this year and have gone to great lengths to support the student, including offering one-to-one instruction outside of instructional hours. As a result, the student’s engagement and confidence have grown and other students in the classroom have learned about inclusion.
Staff at École Mgr-Lang, Drummond – Recognizing that adaptation is an important part of inclusion, the educational team at École Mgr-Lang strives for continual improvement to their inclusive practices. All students are included and valued in the classroom, and the school team emphasizes that inclusion is more than having students present, but rather an approach centred on the strengths of each student.
About the New Brunswick Association for Community Living (NBACL)
NBACL is a provincial, non-profit organization that works on behalf of children and adults with an intellectual or developmental disability and their families. We lead in the creation of opportunities for individuals with an intellectual or developmental disability to live full and valued lives in all aspects of society.
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New Brunswick Association for Community Living