Reviewed by Mary McLaughlin, M.S. SpEd
The Inclusive Education Practices Award was created to honor preschool teachers who have made an active effort to promote and create programs that allow students with disabilities to have a more active role in every area of academic instruction. Each year, an advisory committee who act as advisors selects the recipient of the award. The committee is comprised of various community members that include educators and parents. Several preschool teachers were nominated for this year’s. Beth Mortinson, Genevieve Kappel, Katie Nelson, Jennifer Bordonaro, Jean Jaeger, and Lori Haggerty were nominated for this year’s Inclusive Education Practices Award, with Haggerty emerging as its recipient.
This year’s recipient has been an active preschool teacher for over two decades. When Loris Haggerty entered the profession, she was met with the welcoming realization that the institution she was working in possessed a strong inclination towards including students with disabilities in all aspects of academic and extra curricular life. Haggerty is quick to assert that her school district was way ahead of its time when it comes to educational practices that possess a focus on the value of inclusion. It is a practice that, according to Haggerty, has only proven to grow in leaps and bounds for over 20 years.
Haggerty received this year’s Inclusive Education Practices Award from Executive Director of Individualized Student Services, Stephanie Corbey. The nature of inclusive educational practices requires each educator to merge special needs students with non–disabled students in classroom instruction practices.
Typically, inclusion programs are implemented with selected students who display either a mild or considerable need for special accommodations. Full inclusive academic programs still prove to be a rarity. A comprehensive inclusion program practically eliminates the distinction between special education and general education and every student absorbs classroom instruction in a fully integrated class configuration.