All in at Co­ley’s Point Pri­mary

Bay Roberts school awarded 2013 Inclusive Ed­u­ca­tion Award

The Compass - - CLASSIFIED - PHO­TOS AND TEXT BY NICHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

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.

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Clyde Jack­man speaks at Co­ley’s Point Pri­mary in Bay Roberts on June 4.

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