An Open Letter to my Students

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Teach For America 25th anniversary summit in Washington, DC. The summit had over 15,000 attendees, all committed to improving the quality of education for students in low-income communities. One session that particularly moved me was titled “Fighting Like Hell for Kids: Award-Winning Teachers on Staying in … Read more

Proud to call this man a friend!

As professionals in the disability world, we often hear about the dismal situation for transition planning and services for adults with disabilities. Adults with disabilities have one of the highest unemployment rates of any group in the United States. In many cases, once individuals with disabilities age out of school, they spend more time alone … Read more

Jack’s Story

Last year, my first year teaching, I had a student in my co-taught math class (whom I will call Jack) who was so painfully shy that I felt guilty for speaking to him; He was so clearly anxious about adult interactions that he would bite his sweatshirt sleeve until there were legitimate holes all over … Read more

Diversity at the Holidays

As a special education teacher who teaches in a primarily inclusive setting, I have had the pleasure of seeing inclusion in its many forms. I have seen students embrace various forms of diversity, acknowledging and celebrating many types of differences. Children are remarkable in that they are naturally curious, not judgmental, about human differences. They also … Read more

Seeing Each Other as Humans: Sportsmanship

Throughout my life, I have loved this time of year. As a zealous NFL fan (Go Steelers!), I love watching the playoffs as our country prepares for the Super Bowl– the best day of the year for football, commercials, and an amazing concert. (Side note: Did you know that this year’s Super Bowl halftime show … Read more

Inclusion is Everywhere

Sea turtles, hummingbirds, palm trees, and breathtaking sunsets surrounded me over the holiday season. I was traveling with a large group of my family, visiting the gorgeous Caribbean island of Martinique. There were eleven of us there, ranging from age 7 to age 80. Even while on vacation, I was unable to stop noticing the beauty of … Read more

When I Know My Work Here is Done

With the holidays coming, everyone at school as been squirrelly, students and teachers alike. With the restlessness has come some behavioral challenges, and I have felt myself beginning to lose patience. Sometimes, I just think to yourself, “Were my directions really that difficult? Why doesn’t anyone seem to listen? If I hear, ‘Wait, what are … Read more

Tim Harris: Congratulations!

Last weekend, my friend had another friend in town visiting from Albuquerque, New Mexico. I’ve never been to New Mexico; I don’t really know much about the state, in fact. I do know, however, about a very special place in Albuquerque– a restaurant called Tim’s Place. Tim’s Place is run by a man named Tim … Read more

Our Support for the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino

This week, our nation’s attention has been focused on San Bernardino, California, a town that many Americans may not have even heard of. This is becoming an all-too-common trend. Few people across the country knew about Newtown, Connecticut before the devastating Sandy Hook tragedy, and many did not typically follow Aurora, Colorado in the news … Read more

Little Italy Restaurante in Anchorage: Thank you for your advocacy!

Little Italy Restaurante in Anchorage, Alaska recently demonstrated solidarity by refusing service. The restaurant stood behind its staff member with a disability, demonstrating that discrimination and disrespect would not be tolerated– by staff or customers. The restaurant’s management chose to value humanity over business. In addition to its extensive dine-in menu consisting of fan-favorite Italian and … Read more