Inclusiveness imperative to learning process

This week, we are celebrating the many ways students from all backgrounds and abilities are included in our classrooms and communities and taking a look at how we can continue to become more inclusive.

It’s not just happening in San Francisco. Schools across The City and the country are celebrating Inclusive Schools Week. I love this week because we’re shining a light on something at the core of what public schools are all about: Everyone has a right to a free public education in a supportive environment.

This means we include our students who are receiving special education services in our general education classrooms. It means students in the San Francisco Unified School District who identify as lesbian, gay, transgender and questioning feel safe. This means students who just arrived here from another country are supported to maintain their culture and language while also learning a new culture and language.

This week, students are reading important books about people with disabilities, writing about times they felt different and even choosing new classmates to eat lunch with. At one school, stereotypes are being written on rice paper and dissolved in water.

Our schools have made great strides over the past several years, but we acknowledge we still have a lot to do to ensure every single one of our students receive the support they need to be successful.

And teachers and principals will gather to talk about what they can do to improve on inclusiveness.

Yesterday, we kicked the week off on the steps of City Hall to make sure the whole city knows about our special week. Members of the Board of Supervisors spoke to show us they understand our goals and let us know how The City can support us. High school students played an exhibition soccer game sponsored by our partner, Special Olympics Bay Area, and students who receive special education services played alongside students who don’t.

If you have a child in one of San Francisco’s public schools, find out what your school is doing for Inclusive Schools Week.

For more information, visit www.inclusiveschools.org.

Richard Carranza is the superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

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