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Inclusion Week at Memorial-Spaulding Elementary School

What does inclusion mean to students at Memorial-Spaulding Elementary School?

Before the holiday break, the student council of Memorial-Spaulding Elementary School met to discuss the all-school meeting that took place on December 17, 2012, and to follow-up on the variety of activities students participated in to recognize National Inclusive Schools Week 2012.

Inclusive Schools Week, which took place the week of December 3rd, spanned a variety of cross-curricular activities at Memorial-Spaulding. In art class, for example, students read or listened to The Dot by Peter Reynolds. Students then discussed how the main character felt like she was not good at drawing until her teacher said, “make a mark and see where it takes you.” A homework assignment on how to make your mark, and an easy, downloadable link to the book kept the conversation going with family members at home.

Each student and staff member made their own dot to symbolize how they want to make their mark in the world. The artwork will be displayed in a school-wide installation. View the slide show below!

The entire student population also learned the song, “Hello to All the Children of the World,” and sang this at the all-school meeting. The song encourages the idea of unity despite differences in geography and language.

Student council members, clad in pajamas for a fifth-grade party day, were eager to share their definitions of what it means to be inclusive. “Everyone has to include everyone,” they said. “Be kind and play with others, helping others and showing respect,” were other definitions.


Memorial Spaulding's Student Council

When Principal Lisa McManus asked student council members if they only practiced inclusion during Inclusive Schools Week, she was met with a resounding, “No! We do it all year round.” In fact, one of Memorial Spaulding’s staple fixtures is a “Kindness Tree” taped up in the entryway to the school. Students can both give and receive kindness leaves that acknowledge a helpful or inclusive act. Leaves are then displayed on the tree. Fifth-grade student council members said the kindness tree had been ongoing part of their school community since they were in Kindergarten.

Memorial Spaulding also maintains an Inclusion Committee of teachers including: Classroom teachers Liz Walkin, Amory Bliss, Amy Montalto, JoAnne Kazis, Art teacher Alexandra Etscovitz, Social Worker Sally Mazur, and Inclusion Facilitator Nicole Pisciotta.


The Kindness Tree at Memorial Spaulding

Finally, in the spirit of giving and helping others, members of the student council organized a “Spare Change for Sandy” drive. The school raised $1,091.32 and donated it to the American Red Cross to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.