Institute Overview

Inclusion is not something you “do”, it’s something you feel. Within the general education system many trained professionals want to enable inclusion for all students, but seek the skills to ensure this truly happens for all students. These skills are drenched in values, capacity and a strong desire to do things differently.

“Creating the Future – Partnerships in Inclusive Learning” is a Summer Conference on inclusive education that will dig into these values and offer strategies and tools to participants which will assist them in ensuring that all kids are included in the classrooms and school communities and that all kids have a sense of belonging.

During the conference, individuals from all over BC come together at the University of British Columbia, to hear from people who have been doing this heart work for decades and who have experienced success in all aspects of Inclusive Learning. This year’s speakers include Dr. Jennifer Katz, Dr. Brenda Fossett, Dr. Paul Malette, Dr. John-Tyler Binfet, Deborah Simak, Shelley Moore, Dr. Leyton Schnellert, and Dr. Donna Kozak,

The success of this conference can be attributed to many factors. There are daily, insightful and powerful keynote speeches, delivered by Dr. Leyton Schnellert, Shelley Moore and Sue Sterling-Bur, champions in diverse, innovative approaches to facilitating inclusive school environments. There are also many areas of training for participants to choose from.

Areas of training for 2021 are: 

  • Universal Design for Learning
  • BC’s Competency Based Inclusive Education Plans
  • Positive Behaviour Supports
  • Autism and Inclusion
  • Literacy and All Students
  • Transition and Employment
  • Social Emotional Learning
  • Inclusive Literacy Practices

It is clear, when we create inclusive schools, develop lessons and plans that will include all kids right from the start, and look deliberately at how we can transform school culture to have a place for everyone, inclusive environments will be created, and a sense of belonging can and will be experienced by all kids. This belonging transcends the school environment and ultimately positively impacts people’s lives in all areas including employment, relationships, post secondary education, self esteem, and participation.

All participants will be given a package of information that can be shared with all people in their schools. They will be given the chance to ask difficult and challenging questions, and be given direct, tangible strategies to help overcome some of the obstacles that are perceived to be in the way of forming inclusive learning environments for all kids. There will be opportunities to network with other schools from all over BC, and share knowledge and approaches. Finally, they will leave the Institute with the knowledge, skills, desire and confidence to make their school welcoming and accessible to all kids.

Why an Institute?

At the Family Support Institute we connect with approximately 10,000 families each year. For over 10 years, the majority of our support calls consistently surround inclusive education challenges. Examples of the calls we receive are children getting sent home from school due to lack of support, challenging behaviors that are deemed by school personnel as unmanageable or unsafe, and exclusive practices. Our families know that their children belong and should be included – they want for their kids to feel as though they belong, be accepted with all of their gifts and strengths as focal points in the classrooms with all of the school population, and to be included equitably and in a meaningful way.

The Education System has an untapped resource of capable professionals who have a passion for children, learning, providing new and innovative approaches to teaching, and providing good outcomes for everyone. We see many of those educators struggling with good practice and limited tools to facilitate belonging and inclusion. Given the opportunity, our group could help to create an environment where we can have people join in school-based teams and have robust, meaningful conversations and learning to tackle these issues. We plan to do this through the implementation of a “Summer Institute” that would allow us to embark on learning more about inclusive practice and strategies around facilitating inclusive learning environments for all students, with participants leaving with a common language around values and a shared understanding about how to facilitate that and put those values into action in their schools.

About FSI

The Family Support Institute (FSI) is a provincial non-profit charitable society registered in 1985. FSI supports and connects with approximately 10,000 families each year who have a family member with a disability. This support to families stems mainly from our large volunteer network of Resource Parents (RP’s) and Resource Family Members (RFM’s). Currently our RP/RFM Network supports over 200 volunteer parents who support families regionally by sharing experiences and expertise, connecting families with each other, guiding families to supports and services in their regions, and facilitating training and educational sessions. FSI has developed 12 different workshops that are presented all over BC. All of our workshops were written by and are presented by parents. FSI is unique in Canada and is the only grass roots, parent-to-parent support organization with a broad volunteer base and mandate.

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