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Fuller Fifth-Grade Student Salah Ahmed

“I have enjoyed this week, and the chance to talk about life and differences with other people and to find someone who might have something in common with you.  It feels good to be able to talk with others, and for them to know my differences and to share their differences with me.”

Fuller Parent

Beth Hagen

“My daughter was quite excited to share that a Paralympian came to school this week.  My daughter loves to play tennis, and until this week has never seen anyone play tennis in a wheelchair. I’m pretty sure she never realized that was even a possibility. That realization alone makes Fuller Elementary’s Celebrating Differences Week pretty darn special.  I’m convinced that my child is having a better elementary school experience by not just spending a week celebrating differences, but by sharing a classroom with students with disabilities every single day,” Hagen said. “By being in a classroom with students that learn and think in different ways, teachers are more likely to teach using a wider variety of learning styles. This not only benefits the students with disabilities, but every single student in the classroom.”

Fuller Special Educator

Wendi Socha

“Celebrating Differences Week provides such an awesome life skill for students. It is a week for students to understand and learn that all people have differences, and we all have similarities. They are learning how important it is to ask questions and learn about each other, and appreciate others for who they are.  Every single person is unique and special in their own way. If we can help our kids see that, not only through special weeks like this but every day, the more prepared they will be to help create a kinder world. 

Holmes Elem. Principal

Heidi Williams

"CEC and Holmes Elementary have partnered together for 3 years with the purpose of teaching children to celebrate and accept each other’s differences.  CEC developed multiple stations that our students rotated through which taught them to understand the challenges people have with disabilities.  Each station was led by a CEC volunteer and included an engaging, hands-on activity that all students participated in.  Students and staff both learned so much.  They were actively trying to pick up beans with a glove, tying their shoes without the use of their arms, feeling braille writing, drawing while looking through a mirror with images backwards, and much more.  Students walked away knowing how it must feel for their peers who have a physical, mental, vision, hearing handicaps or being ADHD, have developmental delays or have some form of autism.  We have 4 self-contained classrooms on our campus, we have students with disabilities pushing into classrooms, lunchtime and specials all day long.  We have several students with disabilities who are full inclusion into the classrooms.  As a result of this experience, our students have learned acceptance of each other and have found similarities and differences among each other, which has helped to build closer friendships.   Some students have even asked to volunteer in our self-contained classrooms.  We all believe that it’s important to start each school year out with the Celebration of Differences Week!  We look forward to partnering with CEC volunteers again next school year.  They are all super helpful, kind and supportive!  We thank them for their partnership!"

Holmes PE Teacher

"I love it because it allows general education students to feel and understand what it’s like to have a disability.  It helps to build empathy with our students because they have a better understanding of what our students go through."  

Holmes Classroom Teacher

"When we first got the self-contained programs at school or someone acted differently in class, kids would talk about them and sometimes make fun of them.  They didn’t have the knowledge to understand.  Now, it’s so exciting to see my students interact with everyone as equals and have that level of understanding that everyone learns differently and some students need different tools to help them be successful.  I absolutely loved the stations and the meaning behind them." 

Holmes Classroom Teacher

"Each morning Principal Williams would start morning announcements sharing information about a famous person and how their disability affected their lives and how they overcame that.  We did further research in class about a couple of them to learn even more about them.  It was a great way to start each day during that Celebration of Difference week!"

 Holmes 4th Grade Students

"I remember doing the stations in the library and how difficult it was to write backwards using a mirror and picking up beans with an oven glove.  It was fun but I also understand that the reason we were doing the stations was to learn how hard it is for some people.  I’ve seen a student at Holmes in kindergarten who is in a wheelchair and she eats in the cafeteria with her feet.  Her arm do not work.  Principal Williams talked to us the first day of school letting us know she was going to be doing that.  She read a story to us and she told us we shouldn’t laugh because it would hurt her feelings.  Everyone wanted to see her do this that first day, but now we don’t even think about it.  She’s just a student like all of us.  I’ve talked to her on the playground and she’s really nice, she just can’t use her arms.  This reminds me of the station when we had to tie our arms up and couldn’t use them.  It was hard."

Holmes Classroom Teacher

"The students benefited from the stations.  They helped the kids be aware of the differences among students because I’m not sure they recognized it.  It also normalized it for them.  The activities were very hands-on and relatable for young students."
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