North Penn Special EDition
Volume 3 Issue #1                                                                             October 2016

Director's Corner:
Keeping the Inclusive Spirit Alive

As we learned from Dr. Julie Causton's inspirational convocation message, inclusive schools are places where students don't need to leave to learn.  Inclusive classrooms build upon students' gifts, strengths, and talents, rather than focusing on deficits.

While the premise of an educational system that does not separate or segregate dates back to 1954's landmark case, Brown versus the Board of Education, the inclusion of students with disabilities in general education classrooms remains a topic of debate.  However, the reality is that inclusion isn't a practice that schools may choose to adopt or reject (Kluth, Villa, & Thousand, 2001).  It is not an initiative or a pilot - it is a civil rights issue supported by state and federal laws.  Further, inclusion is "an evidence-based practice that continues to show positive outcomes for students with and without disabilities in schools" (Causton-Theoharis & Kasa, 2012, p. 11). 

Inclusion challenges us because there is no cookie-cutter recipe for success.  There is not a single professional development opportunity that provides us with the magic answers, nor is there a one-size-fits-all model of implementation.  What works for one student or classroom may not work for another.  Yet, classrooms that successfully include students with disabilities elevate the learning for all children.

This month's Special EDition highlights North Penn staff and students who have taken risks and worked with one another to embrace the ideals of inclusion.  Their classrooms and communities are places where individuals of all abilities are welcomed, valued, and respected.  I hope you enjoy reading about these staff members and students who were caught being inclusive!

Jenna Mancini Rufo, Ed.D.
Director of Special Education and Student Services

Caught Being Inclusive

The inclusive spirit is catching on in all eighteen of our school buildings!  Who do you know below who was caught being inclusive???
  • Find out who took the co-teaching marriage vows at Hatfield.
  • Learn why inclusion is a work of art at NPHS.
  • Who's singing out at Montgomery?
  • Discover why Kindergarten is like a box of chocolates at Knapp.
  • How do two Penndale teachers make science engaging for all students?
  • Why does a General Nash teacher treat her students like royalty?
  • Understand why occupational therapy just makes SENSE at Bridle Path.
  • Which special area teachers are cooking up something special at Pennfield?
  • Learn how North Wales created INCLUSION FUSION.
  • Catch the co-teaching spirit at Kulp.
  • Why do the wheels on the bus lead to Gwyn Nor?
  • Be inspired by the amazing friendships developing at Walton Farm.
  • Clip to it at Oak Park!
  • How are Pennbrook students getting the full middle school experience? 
  • Learn why Northbridge has the WRITE stuff.
  • Why is the Gwynedd Square team ALL IN with related services?
  • Discover how Go Math! goes co-taught at York Avenue.
  • Who was caught collaborating over at Inglewood?
Have you caught someone being inclusive who you'd like to nominate for the next newsletter?  Let us know by clicking here.

Match the Model and Win a Beverage!

Got co-teaching?  Oak Park does!  Click here to match the co-teaching models observed at Oak Park one sunny September morning.  Answer correctly and you will be entered to win a free beverage of your choosing (alcohol-free of course!).
From Mayor To King:
An Inclusive Homecoming Story

Inclusion isn't something you do - it's who you are.  The election of this year's homecoming king at North Penn High School is a celebration of  student belonging, acceptance, and friendship. 

Ben Hartranft Crowned Homecoming King
Ben Hartranft and Victoria Braeunle
Crowned Homecoming King and Queen
Welcome New Special Education & Student Services Staff

The North Penn School District is thrilled to welcome a group of talented professionals to the special education and student services team.  We invite you to read about your new colleagues and the many gifts they bring to North Penn!   

A Family Affair
One of our future newsletters will highlight the experiences of  individuals who have family members with disabilities.  If you are willing to share your story, click here.