February Monthly Meeting – 2/24

The second half of this service year with Class 18 is on the move! Fellows joined together on Friday for an EPIC training with both the Empowering People for Inclusive Communities (EPIC) Leaders and our “fellow” Fellow, Andrew Liedtka, who is serving at Waltham High School.

After Fellows mingled and shared updates about their past month, we dove into the first training, Understanding Ableism and Building Inclusion. In this training, Fellows were able to focus on what “inclusion” looks like on a daily basis and what it really means. We first did an activity where we listed disabilities that were known to us. Jeff along with 3 individuals from EPIC carefully facilitated the workshop for the Fellows, educating us on and dissecting the American Disability Act (ADA). Our task was to focus on what it should look like in our workplace and programs, and ultimately, in our world. During the EPIC training, Fellows were able to differentiate between mainstreaming and inclusion. In academia, we observed that many schools and institutions adapt the mainstreaming approach, where special education students “earn” the opportunity to work with their peers in “regular” classes. This is opposed to inclusion, which would ensure that each participant will have access to strive in every aspect of the task at hand.

We recognize that we have a vast amount of expertise among the Fellows, which is why we give them a chance to facilitate workshops during our Monthly Meetings. Andrew brought to use some tactics to use when building objectives for our curricula. With the use of Bloom’s Taxonomy, Fellows played several games – including A Big Wind Blows, Invisible Maze, Do as I Do, and Two Truths and a Lie – and worked on creating an objective for each one. Through the games Fellows gained skills on how to warrant that activities done during program serve a learning purpose for students and that the purpose gets across to them.

After months of supporting students, building curricula, and facilitating programs, Fellows are beginning to prepare for winter retreat, March 22-March 24 at Jiminy Peak in Hancock, MA! During this time we will continue to build community among ourselves through culture shares, Olympic games and our “Talent Show 2.0”. Fellows will also participate in a resume workshop and a 2 part peer training opportunity.

We are all looking forward to receiving some “R&R” during the three days! Look out next time for and update from retreat!

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