Statement of Inclusion
Inclusion is a philosophy that has as its central tenet "all children belong." Whitko Community Schools practices this inclusion philosophy in an effort to provide a better educational environment for students with disabilities. Along with promoting this philosophy, Whitko Community Schools developed a belief statement, "All Children Can Learn in the Mainstream of School and Community: Diversity is Valued and Celebrated." Inclusion is the process of acknowledging people with disabilities as people first.
Inclusion involves the careful assessment of the needs of each student and the application of measures that will meet those needs. Properly implemented through teamwork, collaboration, co-planning, and co-teaching, inclusive practices benefit all students. Some of the many gains made through inclusive practices are in the areas of social interaction, language development, appropriate behaviors, self-esteem, and academic performance.
Inclusion means that students with disabilities are educated in supported, heterogeneous, age-appropriate, natural, student-centered classrooms, schools and community environments for the purpose of preparing them for their adult lives in a diverse and integrated society.
There are varying degrees of inclusive practices. Whitko Community Schools practices "responsible inclusion." Responsible inclusion means that a student will be placed in the regular educational environment if the student can be successful with or without supplemental aids and services, the student will benefit academically and/or socially, and the student's presence does not have an adverse effect on the rest of the class. Through inclusive practices, we develop patience, acceptance, helpfulness, diversity, and compassion.