Four Avon Maitland Staff Honoured
with Champions of Inclusion Award
Collectively, this group of enthusiastic, highly motivated individuals has over 100 years of experience in the field of speech and language pathology. Teresa Hopkinson, Diane Porte, Carole Oliver, and Leanne Armstrong recognize the value of inclusive education and work very hard to ensure that all students who have communication difficulties (and all those individuals who work with them) are supported in their classrooms. They work countless hours to produce materials and design communication tools which incorporate the curriculum and meet the students’ unique language needs and abilities. In designing, creating and/or modifying the tools, the ultimate goal is to improve the students’ ability to communicate with and learn alongside their peers in the classroom, and to assist them in meeting and exceeding expectations as learners, friends and citizens in their schools and communities. They value teamwork and reflect a positive attitude when they meet with students, parents, teachers and educational assistants to provide training in communication methods and work closely with them to ensure that goals are being met and the student is “always learning”.
As well as supporting individual students, Teresa, Diane, Carole and Leanne initiated a very successful program in our Board known as the “KLLIC” (Kindergarten Language Learning in the Classroom) program. This unique language and literacy program celebrates all students learning together. It is a fun and interactive approach to literacy which aims to improve language and phonemic/phonological awareness skills. Teresa, Diane, Carole and Leanne work closely with teachers and early childhood educators to demonstrate effective teaching approaches to support all kindergarten students and their diverse needs. Outside of the classroom they lead ‘professional learning communities’ to assist teachers in further developing their knowledge of speech and language
learning so they can better facilitate this learning in their inclusive classrooms. Teresa, Diane, Carole and Leanne are “champions” for their ongoing contribution to promote “inclusion” and should be recognized and celebrated.
The ‘Teaching to Diversity’ award was developed in 1999 to recognize, celebrate and highlight educators who live, breathe and implement Inclusive Education. They may be active in the inclusion movement but more importantly, their behaviour and the choices they make always reflect a positive attitude about the worth, value and ability of all students. The awards are sponsored by The Centre for Inclusive Education in Southwestern Ontario.