I want to begin our brief time together today wishing a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Kids Included Together founder, Gayle Slate.
What Gayle started KIT over 20 years ago at the Jewish Community Center with her husband Don, Mary Shea, and a handful of dedicated volunteers has turned into something that reaches all across the United States, and around the world. And, this week we soft-launched our brand new Inclusive Schools division!
We’ve been working for months on a pilot that we are kicking off soon in Minnesota, but this week was a kind of coming out party for Inclusive Schools in Wisconsin. Inclusive education expert Dr. Jennifer Sommerness has joined our team to lead the new effort, and this week she presented her strengths-based approach to inclusion to 500 educators from Wisconsin at the Summer Leadership Institute. I have to share that Jennifer is a serial overachiever, which makes her a great fit for the KIT team. When I asked her to send me a photo from the Institute, she sent me this selfie with her 500 participants in it!
We’ll be working all year on expanding our services to serve schools, and one of the centerpieces of our outreach effort will be our annual presence and presentation at the South by Southwest Education conference in March 2019. If you’d like to help us, please vote in the Panel Picker to get selected as presenters at the conference. We have three sessions proposed and here are the links to vote: (Note that you do have to create an account to vote- and then you can vote for all three!)
Embracing the Language of Disability in Education, presented by Torrie Dunlap & Emily Ladau
What Success Looks Like: Accessing Academics, presented by Jennifer Sommerness & Dawn Bly
Partnership Design Model: School & Afterschool, presented by Cheri Chord
We’ll have lots more to share about our efforts to help schools in the coming weeks and months. Thank you for joining with us to create more inclusive schools and communities!