All in at Coley’s Point Primary
Bay Roberts school awarded 2013 Inclusive Education Award
Coley’s Point Primary in Bay Roberts has been named this year’s winner of the 2013 Inclusive Education Award.
At a ceremony in the school’s gymnasium on June 4, the entire school community was celebrated for work done by principal Joy Brown and her staff to ensure that each student is involved in a wide range of school activities, and are recognized as valuable members of Coley’s Point Primary.
“I am proud of our staff and I am so proud of our students,” said Principal Brown.
In 2008, Coley’s Point was one of only two schools on the Avalon to become involved in the inclusive education initiative.
Over those five years, members of the school have worked tirelessly to ensure that each student was made to feel like a contributing member of the school community with “emphasis on celebrating our differences, creating a safe and caring environment where all students feel welcomed,” she added.
The school started by training teachers in these initiatives, who in turn, taught other teachers.
“What was once the challenging needs room at Coley’s Point Primary no longer exists — all children are educated together, alongside their peers, in the regular classroom,” said Sherry Gambin-Walsh, the executive director of Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Community Living.
“Students requiring additional supports have their individual needs met by a safe and supportive approach, which focuses on transitioning back into the classroom. The staff at Coley’s Point Primary keeps the best interests of the child first and foremost.”
Education Minister Clyde Jackman was on hand for the presentation. Pointing to the school song on the wall behind him, Jackman noted the first verse of the song.
“That means you respect, you appreciate and you accept others for all of the differences that exist in the world,” he said.
An inclusive school
To see how Coley’s Point is an inclusive school, one had to just be in the gymnasium for the announcement. The school choir is a shining example.
All students who are able take part, even learning to sing a song in Hebrew for the event.
Whi le the choir sang one song, hearing-impaired student Jaylin Parsons, of Butlerville, sang in his own unique way using sign language. It brought a smile to the face of everyone at the event and shows why the school is a leader in the inclusive education initiative.
“I’m not surprised that Coley’s Point is being honoured,” said Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood.
A parent’s perspective
John Brown has first- hand experience of the work Coley’s Point Primary has done to make sure all students are made to feel as a contributing part of the school community. His daughter, Laura, is in Grade 2.
“I am especially pleased that our children have the opportunity to be included,” said John.
A former president of the school council at Coley’s Point, John has been in awe of the work done by the current school council.
“The work this council has done is absolutely amazing,” he said.
Meanwhi le, Principal Joy Brown is set to retire at the end of this school year, and adds the 2013 Inclusive Education Award to an impressive mantle that includes being named one of the country’s outstanding principals for 2013.
Education Minister Clyde Jackman speaks at Coley’s Point Primary in Bay Roberts on June 4.