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Take the Exceptional Children Challenge Today: Join the Movement to GROW for our students

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     When it comes to our students with disabilities, we’ve got to do a lot better.  It is an emergency.

     And because of this I am asking you all to join me in taking the following pledge and share it with your colleagues at work, on social media, and throughout your PLN.

1.         We HAVE to grow professionally, nonstop.  I don’t know about you, but my special education training as a secondary educator was limited to one course that offered a comprehensive look at the spectrum of disabilities.  While important, it was a broad overview of every possible case and most of these students were not the ones I would ever have the privilege to teach.  We need to acknowledge that most teachers are thrown to the wolves when it comes to teaching students with ADHD, Autism, and other specific learning disabilities.  Teachers deserve practical experience and training in college and continuous yearly learning opportunities, provide them with the flexibility to apply it to fit the unique learning of the students they teach.

2.         We have to passionately advocate for the needs of all students against all interests, but our strongest work will occur within our own classrooms.  This means following all accommodations for all IEP’s.  We have to understand these accommodations are the minimum and we have the autonomy to always do more.  And we should, if it’s best for the student. 

3.         Finally, and most importantly, we HAVE TO stop using phrases such as “SPED”, “low”, and other terms that dehumanize kids.  People first language is the only way to talk about our students and educators should be leading the charge.  These are not “Autistic kids” that we teach.  They are wonderful, articulate, smart, charming, capable students that on a cellular level, have a complex, neurodevelopmental disorder known as Autism that we are still learning about every day.  I don’t just teach them.  I’m also the proud dad of one!  Can you see why labeling a child is nothing more than selling him or her very short of their potential?  What chance would schools ever have or eradicating hateful terms like the r-word if we never lead the change ourselves?

 Educators, join me in taking the Exceptional Children Challenge by signing this petition and let us show this great country one more time why Tennessee is making waves and leading the nation in academic growth and excellence!



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