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This website is dedicated to promoting inclusive schooling and exploring positive ways of supporting students with autism and other disabilities. Most of my work involves collaborating with schools to create environments, lessons, and experiences that are inclusive, respectful, and accessible for all learners.

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Get Advocates on the School Board

Posted on March 14, 2013 in Inclusion

From Section 4, idea #9 of Don’t We Already Do Inclusion?

When parents come to me and say, “I am so discouraged about my district. What can I do?” I often ask, “Would you consider running for school board?” This answer is a surprise to many but it shouldn’t be. The school board has power and makes decisions related to school culture, beliefs, values, and practices. They also hire the superintendent and that individual has a whole lot to do with how accessible, welcoming, and challenging schools will be for all learners.

The school board essentially establishes a vision for the schools. Responsibilities include budgeting, reviewing policies, assessing progress on district goals, responding to comments and complaints from the public, and approving curriculum materials. School boards are also directly or indirectly charged with answering questions such as, “What philosophy or values do we want integrated into our schools?; and “What are the priorities in this district?”

Of course, district employees cannot run for the board, but parents can. Local advocates can. Educators from other districts can. Self-advocates can. Can you?

Would you consider running for school board? Do you have an inclusion-minded friend who might do the same?

Comments

  1. From Julie Mecikalski on 15 Mar 2013

    The sad thing about this is with all of the cuts in education – and possibility more drastic cuts – there is not much a school district can do. Many rural districts are getting inundated with students with special needs – and some with severe needs – however, there may not be enough money to hire adequate support. This results in burn-out not only by the special education teacher (who has a tremendous amount of paperwork to do and no time to do it due to meeting the significant needs of the students), but also the paraprofessionals who also get a lot dumped on them with little compensation. The administration keeps preaching that there is no money to hire for special education support.

    Then, what can be done? I do not think an advocate can be as helpful in this situation – maybe I am wrong?

  2. From Terrie Wolf on 15 Mar 2013

    I live in Baltimore MD. We have an elected school board, several counties in our state do. We have been working to change this with little success. Any suggestions. Thank you, I have enjoyed you blog and share. Terrie