DIVERSITY AND NEW HOPE
“Inclusive education is about setting high expectations, valuing and celebrating diversity; and employing high quality, evidence – based teaching practices focused on success for every student." Loren Swancutt
New Hope Education is a non-profit organization which promotes Christian education be made available to all students, regardless of race, nationality, ethnic origin, physical challenges, academic abilities, or economic limitations. This is based on our educational philosophy that all children are created uniquely by God, and have something special to contribute to the world in which they live.
In alignment with the mission and vision of our organization, the goal is to meet the needs of families who desire care and education for their children from a biblical perspective, and prepare students to enter adulthood with assurance of God’s purpose for their lives and are committed to assist parents in teaching students to know biblical truth, to develop Christian leadership, to exercise compassion for others, and to cultivate God’s purpose academically and spiritually in their lives.
Our goal at New Hope is to provide inclusive education to the level at which our staff are knowledgeable and capable of managing in the regular classroom setting, and as finances allow. As stated by Loren Swancutt, a master inclusion educator leading the inclusion education movement in Australia, “Inclusive education is about setting high expectations, valuing and celebrating diversity; and employing high quality, evidence –
based teaching practices focused on success for every student.”1
New Hope Education, Inc., encourages families of all ethnicities, races and cultures desiring Christian education to be a part of the Nest Daycare and Preschool, and New Hope Christian Academy. Jeremy Adam Smith, writer of “How Students Benefit from School Diversity” (2017) uses results of studies such as the one conducted by Jaana Juvonen and colleagues at the University of California, to demonstrate that “school integration went hand in hand with academic accomplishment. Several studies suggest it also leads to less racial prejudice and better life outcomes down the line, as the kids grow into adulthood.” In this same article, he reveals “additional benefits for the students of all ethnicities.” The research was conducted with sixth grade students from a diverse community in San Francisco, covering three emotional domains: “feelings of safety at school, bullying and social exclusion, and loneliness.” These researchers concluded, through a series of surveys, that “students who enjoyed the most diversity in their classrooms...also scored highest in each of these measures;” or simply stated, “as classrooms became more racially balanced, students felt safer, less
bullied, and less lonely. They also tended to view teachers as fair and they sought out...cross-race interactions at school.”2 We also recognize that the comfort zone for all students is to have a culturally diverse staff, which is a goal of New Hope Christian Academy. Our staff is currently a very diverse group, and one that well represents the student population of our school.
The activities and materials used in classrooms are designed to meet the needs of many children with or without disabilities. When they do not meet the specific needs of a child, they can be adapted or expanded to accommodate that child's individual needs. They allow children to use their current skills while promoting the acquisition of new skills. Adaptations can make the difference between a child merely being present in the class and a child being actively involved.
Developing adaptations for a child with physical needs is a continuous process that involves each child's collaborative team, which will consist of the teacher, any classroom assistants, administration and parents. The first step is to assess the child's abilities and the environment where the child will be spending time. Once the goals and objectives are identified and expectations for the child's participation in that environment are established, the team selects or creates adaptations that address those needs. Once implemented, their effectiveness should be assessed on an ongoing basis and revised as needed.
To meet the specific needs of a child, changes may need to be made in one or more of the following instructional conditions:
• Instructional groupings or arrangements. For any given activity there are a number of instructional arrangements from which to choose: large groups, small groups, cooperative learning groups, peer partners, one-on-one instruction, and/or independent tasks.
● Curricular goals and learning outcomes. To match the needs of a child within the context of an activity, it may be appropriate to individualize the learning objectives. This can often be accomplished using the same activities and materials.
● Adaptations to the method for responding. Sometimes children may understand a concept yet need an adaptation in the way they demonstrate that knowledge. Use of augmentative communication systems, eye gaze, and demonstrations may better allow a child to demonstrate his/her skills.
● Environmental conditions. The environmental arrangement is an important aspect of any educational setting. Changes in lighting, noise level, visual and auditory input, physical arrangement of the room or equipment, and accessibility of materials are important considerations.
● Adaptation of instructional materials. It is sometimes necessary to physically adapt instructional or play materials to facilitate a child's participation. Materials can be physically adapted by increasing: stability (Velcro on materials), ease of handling (adding handles, making materials larger), accessibility (developing a hand splint to hold materials, attaching an elastic cord or string to objects so they can be easily moved or retrieved), visual clarity or distinctiveness (adding contrast or specialized lighting), or size.
● Level of personal assistance. A child's need for assistance may range from periodic assessments to close continuous supervision. Assistance may vary from day to day and be provided by adults or peers.
● An alternative activity. This curricular adaptation should be used as a last choice when the above conditions cannot be used to meet a child's needs. 3
New Hope Education offers several options for financial aid, as well as scholarship options. We are strong advocates of school choice, wanting parents to have options for what is best for their student’s care and education. Please speak with our Administrative Specialist to know what options are available.
Loren Swancutt has developed a “multi-tier system of supports” that provides a framework to encompass students within a learning network based on their inclusive needs. Even though the New Hope Education staff members are not currently equipped to meet the needs of all students, we do believe there are instances in which we can accommodate many students under the following guidelines:
Matrix of Quality Practice & Adjustments for Students with Disability
New Hope Christian Academy is a school that routinely incorporates quality differentiated teaching practices, based on the needs of individual students within a classroom. For students who need the supplementary adjustments (coded above in the yellow category) for particular activities at specific times, or frequently with mid-level action, New Hope staff will collaborate with parents, therapists, diagnosticians, and support staff to provide full inclusion in the general classroom setting. Arrangements are made for students to leave school for therapy, or working in the school with therapists coming on campus.
Admission Requirements for Academic Inclusion
To enable our staff to more effectively meet the academic needs of our students, requirements for admissions with students will include:
● initial meetings with the teaching team and administration, prior to acceptance for enrollment, to discuss specific needs and goals for the individual student; as well as concerns and potential problems
● Request and acceptance of any testing, diagnostic assessments, etc. for the teaching team to review
● Acceptance is an administrative decision determined by the interviews and information collected and
given to the teaching team. An initial probationary period of the first 9 weeks of school will be designated to insure New Hope Christian Academy staff is able to accurately meet the academic needs of a particular student.
New Hope Education desires to be the private Christian school that is truly inclusive. To fulfill the mission of New Hope Christian Academy of teaching our students knowledge, leadership and compassion, the environment in which they learn must represent the world in which we live. We recognize that to effectively educate our students, we need a wholistic, and realistic educational environment that will only be as strong as the inclusive diversity we create.
"While the programs need to be accessible, inclusion is an attitude. Inclusion is a deep-seated belief that every child is special is his/her own way, and that every child has a unique capacity to learn, grow and contribute to the world. It really isn’t the program that we create or the class that we teach or the students that we strive to engage. A school is truly successful when inclusion is a part of the culture and when it is a genuine and integral part of the school’s mission."1
To be inclusive, New Hope Education is passionate about the following:
● a belief that all children have the potential to learn and grow
● the ability to respond to the cultural and/or socio-economic needs of the students
● the ability to support positive behavior in and out of the classroom
● a dedication to seeing each child as an individual
● the adaptation of curriculum and activities to include all students
1 “School Inclusion – From Theory to Practice,” Copyright, September 30, 2019. Retrieved 11/14/19 from https://school-inclusion.com
2 “How Students Benefit from School Diversity,” Copyright, August 15, 2017, Greater Good Magazine, Greater Good Science Center, University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved 11/17/19 from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_students_benefit_from_school_diversity
3 "Accommodating All Children in the Early Childhood Classroom," Copyright 2002, Circle of Inclusion Project, University of Kansas, Lawrence. Retrieved 11/14/19 from https://ici.umn.edu/products/impact/221/26.html