ELEVATE Conference: Not all stories are equal

What does it mean to be ‘all in’? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, being all in shows a lot of “determination and a willingness to take a big risk in order to achieve something.”

For students with disabilities to succeed in our schools, we collectively must be all in. 

In December 2022 we hosted D.C. school leaders, teachers, students, and community members at our ELEVATE summit to delve into conversations that highlighted inclusive practices and drive home the importance of being all in.

Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr., founder and chief executive officer of Revolutionary ED, LLC – an unapologetic advocate for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and racial equity in education – delivered the keynote about how to address biases that exist within special education.

“Not all stories are equal. Not all histories are told, ” Dr. Hutchings told attendees. He called on all of us involved in schools to identify and address challenges head on even if they’re uncomfortable truths.

“If you’re not saying it – if you’re not defining the problem … you’re definitely not going to find the solution.” 

We have been working to be a part of the solution by partnering with classrooms across the district to show how Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) have been game changers for both teachers and students.

For the past 5 years we have been building a network of demonstration classrooms across D.C. schools, each highlighting an evidence-based practice, and serving as models for schools striving to improve outcomes for students with disabilities.These demonstration classrooms have allowed the Co-op to create spaces that can be observed by member schools to better understand the structures required to implement high-quality classrooms that serve all students. This spring, we’ll be hosting tours of the Co-op’s UDL demonstration classroom at Bridges PCS.  Learn more about UDL here and this demo here. 

Interested in watching the summit? You can register and watch here.

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