New organization teams with teachers to support inclusive educationby Western New York Catholic
The Foundation for Inclusive Catholic Education sponsored its first workshop of the 2015-16 school year at Our Lady of Victory School in Lackawanna on Sept. 4.
The philosophy of the organization is to provide inclusive education for all God's children, regardless of ability, to learn together in the same classroom with services and support to ensure academic success. Students with special needs are empowered to accomplish their own individual academic goals while learning alongside their peers.
Nationally-acclaimed inclusion expert Dr. Paula Kluth presented "Differentiating Instruction in the K-12 Classroom" to more than 100 teachers from 20 different schools. Robert M. Bennett, chancellor emeritus and newly appointed member to the Advisory Council for the diocese, welcomed attendees and commended them for their dedication to their vocation of educating all of God's children.
"Studies show that all children achieve better academic outcomes in an inclusive classroom setting," Bennett said. "We need to continue to build capacity in our Catholic schools to further this opportunity for our children."
The goal of the workshop was to provide teachers with new ideas for supporting diverse learners in the classroom through expanding instructional materials, providing movement, peer connections, and "brain breaks." The workshop evaluations were overwhelmingly positive. Many attendees appreciated the hands-on learning they experienced throughout the day.
"This training provided a variety of ways to engage students and modify curriculum for students with special needs," said Joann Biggie from St. Andrew's School in Kenmore. "I found this to be very beneficial."
Karen Monaco, from St. Amelia School in Tonawanda, said Kluth was terrific and especially liked her energy and enthusiasm.
A teacher support group is being piloted this year though FICE. Opportunities for teachers to come together to share best practices and to learn more tools for providing the best classroom experience for all of their students will be scheduled in the upcoming months. Additionally parent meetings will also be scheduled providing critical information for parents to support their teachers in the inclusive classroom.
In an effort to continue its support of inclusive Catholic education, FICE will be hosting its second annual fundraiser, "Taking Flight" dinner and auction, which is scheduled for February 25, 2016, at Salvatore's Italian Gardens in Depew.
Proceeds from the fundraiser will be used to provide resources, professional development and training for Catholic school teachers and administrators.
Tickets may be purchased online at www.fice-program.org, or contact FICE committee at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 716-824-3819.
For more information visit www.fice-program.org.