Inclusive Schools Week

Resource Guide Curated by the CAC

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Join us in celebrating Inclusive Schools Week December 6-12, 2021!

Ventura County SELPA

A collaborative partnership of

school districts, staff, students, parents/families, and community agencies

Supporting Equitable Learning, Programs and Access

for ALL students.

What is the CAC?

The Ventura County SELPA has a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) that facilitates communication between districts and families, has regular meetings to discuss issues with SELPA leadership, and provides parent trainings on topics such as the IEP process, behavior strategies, life after high school and social skills. The CAC promotes services and resources for special education students and their families.

Inclusive Schools Week is an annual event which is held each year during the first full week in December.

Since its inception in 2001, Inclusive Schools Week has celebrated the progress that schools have made in providing a supportive and quality education to an increasingly diverse student population, including students who are marginalized due to disability, gender, socio-economic status, cultural heritage, language preference, and other factors.

Inclusive Schools Week also provides an important opportunity for educators, students and parents to discuss what else needs to be done in order to ensure that their schools continue to improve their ability to educate all children successfully.

This year, the theme for Inclusive Schools Week is “Rebuilding our Inclusive Community Together.”

Why do we need Inclusive Schools Week?

Inclusive Schools Week advances an international dialogue on the importance of building inclusive schools and communities, where all students have full access to educational opportunities.

  • Celebrating is important because it creates an awareness of the benefits and challenges inclusive schools face.

  • It brings the school community together in good spirit for a common purpose.

  • It provides us a pause in our busy lives to reflect on where we are and where we are going.

  • But celebrating is only the beginning...

  • Reflection, planning and action are the elements necessary to understand the potential of inclusive education and realize its promise.

What are the goals of Inclusive Schools Week?

  • Celebrate the progress of schools in educating an increasingly diverse student population

  • Acknowledge the hard work and commitment of schools, families and communities in creating inclusive opportunities for all children regardless of disability, gender, ethnicity, language, health status, etc.

  • Encourage reflection on how culture, policies and practices in schools can promote inclusive education

  • Promote action to increase the capacity of schools and communities to meet the needs of all learners

Guiding Principles

In order to get the most out of your Inclusive Schools Week Celebration, we suggest developing a set of guiding principles to help focus your planning efforts.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Involve families, school faculty and students in the planning of Inclusive Schools Week activities.
  • Make certain Inclusive Schools Week activities are inclusive and accessible to all.
  • Reaffirm your school’s commitment to providing a quality education to all children.

Getting Started

There are many ways to get your school involved in Inclusive Schools Week.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Convene a planning team of faculty, students and family members. See the Planning Materials in the Celebration Activities & Lessons section for ideas.

  • Create excitement by hosting poster and essay contests or hanging a banner in your school lobby.

  • Promote the week in your school and community by sending out a press release, announcing your celebration in local media outlets, posting updates on your school website, etc. See the Media Kit in the Celebration Basics Download section for examples.

  • Utilize the following resources and materials to support your celebration and continuous efforts to promote and develop practices in your community.

Why is Celebrating Inclusive Schools Week Important?

Celebrating Inclusive Schools Week:

  • Sends a message to the community that your school is serious about inclusive education.

  • Jump starts plans for initiating or improving inclusive educational practices in your school.

  • Makes a positive impact on the overall environment in the school, including more tolerance and acceptance of differences.

  • Propels your school to new levels of inclusion.

  • Solidifies your commitment to quality education for all students.

  • Highlights your schools accomplishments and plans for the future.

Inclusive Celebrations

Inclusive Schools Week offers a remarkable opportunity to spread the word about the benefits of inclusive schools. As you prepare for district, school, and classroom celebrations, it is important to ensure that the materials and activities are accessible to all members of the school and community. You may want to encourage faculty members trained in special education and/or bilingual education to participate in the planning process to help make suggestions for providing access and accommodations.

A successful Inclusive Schools Week can motivate your school community. Faculty, families and students should feel empowered by their role in supporting the participation of all students in schooling.

Examples of adapting materials and events include:

  • Interpreter services for programs and events

  • Printed material available in languages spoken in the community and in Braille

  • Wheelchair accessibility to all events

  • Assistive technology devices available

How to Celebrate Inclusive Schools Week

You care about the dignity of all children — those with disabilities and those from diverse backgrounds — and you know that your school and community can do a better job of meeting their needs through the use of inclusive educational practices.

We encourage you to take the lead in coordinating Inclusive Schools Week in your school, school district, or community.

Thousands of teachers, family members, and school administrators, local, state, and national organizations and advocacy groups, and entire school districts have enthusiastically stepped up to this task and have found this experience to be extremely rewarding in terms of its impact on children and youth.



  • With a partner or in a small group, draw a map of the school to become familiar with the layout of the school and the location of staff members and services for all students. Share and display maps.
  • Interview students, staff, parents, and community members to discover what makes our school welcoming to all.
  • Engage in listening games with classmates or staff such as “What did I say—What did you hear?”
  • Encourage journal writing, oral presentations, and suggestion boxes.
  • Create school, home, and community surveys to learn and respond to “what’s working” and “what isn’t” with regard to inclusive practices. With this information, it will be easy to design even more successful inclusive schools.


Audience: Students and/or Faculty

Give students a chance to sum up their best traits while reviewing adjectives with this bulletin board decoration. Instruct each child to fill out the gift pattern, decorate it, and cut it out. Then invite each child to share the adjectives with the class. Display the completed gifts on a bulletin board. Read more…


Audience: Students

Start each day of Inclusive Schools Week with a discussion about the gifts students have and how they can share them. Use a gift box as a prop and add to it each day after the discussion with our easy, yet powerful activities. Read more….


Audience: Students

As a class, students brainstorm character traits they possess. Inclusive Schools Lotto is a quick, fun vocabulary game that can be played in pairs or individually. For more detailed instructions visit our website and read more…


Audience: Faculty

This activity is a small group discussion that reconnects the participants to the reasons for teaching and the characteristics of effective teachers. The facilitator concludes by debriefing the last two questions on the participant form for the whole group.


Audience: Faculty

This activity involves group brainstorming and individual selection of the most meaningful word or words to serve as a paperweight. This rock paperweight will remind each participant of their commitment to support all learners.


    Audience: Students

    Ask students to create Inclusive Schools Week cards or artwork including reasons why they like being part of an inclusive school. Create a slideshow of the students’ designs using Animoto or Photopeach to show your school’s commitment to inclusive education. Post the slideshow on your school website. Share your video with the Inclusive Schools Network!


    Audience: Students

    Use the template provided by the Inclusive Schools Network to create a visual of the ship you are steering in your own school! Proudly display in your classroom or hallway celebrate everyone’s contribution to inclusive schools. See the inspiration image on this page, or find more ideas about creating your “All Hands on Deck” bulletin board here.

    Classroom Discussions and Activities

    Start of each day of Inclusive Schools Week with a discussion about the gifts students have and how they can share them. Use a gift box as a prop and add to it each day after the discussion with our easy, yet powerful activities.

    Celebration Guide

    Information, tools and resources to help plan a successful Inclusive Schools Week.

    Celebration Activities

    Lessons and Resources for Educators

    Social Media Kit

    How to Promote Inclusive Schools Week Celebration

    Videos and Books About Inclusion of Students with Disabilities

    All Are Welcome:

    Discover a school where ALL young children have a place and feel loved and appreciated for who they are. (Ages 4-8)

    All the Way to the Top:

    The true story of lifelong disability activist Jennifer Keenan-Chaffins and her participation in the Capitol Crawl as an eight-year-old. (Ages 7-10)

    Just Ask:

    Written by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, this book encourages caring and curiosity about the differences that make us unique. (Ages 6-10)

    The Invisible Boy:

    A story about a boy who feels invisible until his outreach to a new kid at school helps him to become seen and included. (Ages 5-10)

    Inclusive Schools Week 2020 - Everyone
    Sesame Street: Mila Kunis: Include

    Include with Sesame Street and Mila Kunis: Mila Kunis explains the word “include” with the help of her friends from Sesame Street. (Ages 4-7)

    CGI 3D Animated Short: "Ian" - by Mundoloco CGI Ian Foundation | TheCGBros

    A boy with cerebral palsy wants to make friends on the playground, but he finds that accessibility, discrimination and bullying are barriers. His determination inspires other kids to accept his differences and reach out to include him.

    HELLO - a short film about tolerance & diversity (1ST PLACE in the Nikon Cinema Z Film Fest 2019)

    A simple greeting is all it takes to change lives.

    NOT SPECIAL NEEDS | March 21 - World Down Syndrome Day | #NotSpecialNeeds

    A light-hearted video with a deep message about the term “special needs.”

    Connect With Us!

    Sign Up for Emails from the Ventura County SELPA

    The Ventura County SELPA is dedicated to providing information and support to families and caregivers of students with disabilities so that they can be informed partners in the educational process of their children. There are numerous activities and resources that are provided to fulfill that mission.

    Sign up to receive announcements of informational items for families directly to your email.

    Ventura County SELPA

    The Ventura County SELPA office is responsible for the implementation of the Ventura County Special Education Local Plan, and for ensuring a free appropriate public education to all students with identified disabilities according to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

    Emily Mostovoy-Luna - Associate Superintendent
    Sarah Fontenot- Administrative Assistant III

    Local Plan Implementation
    Interagency Coordination, Policies & Procedures
    SELPA Office Operations
    Related Staff: Adapted PE Teachers, Assistive Technology Assessment Center,
    Orientation & Mobility Specialists, Residential Placement Consultants

    Regina Reed - Director of Personnel Development
    Barbara Rush - Administrative Assistant II

    Program & Personnel Development
    ERSES Program & COEDS
    Early Start
    Related Services Staff: Social/Emotional Services Specialists, DHH Teachers

    Joanna Della Gatta - Director of Technical Support and Transition
    Evangelina Diaz Ortiz - Administrative Assistant II

    SIRAS Support, Forms & Instructions
    Private Schools
    Pattern of Strengths & Weaknesses Model
    WorkAbility Program
    Related Services Staff: Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, WorkAbility Specialists

    Kim DeAnda - Program Specialist

    Jeanine Murphy-Coordinator: Family, Student, School Collaboration
    Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Services