Institute Overview

Inclusion is not something you do. Inclusion is 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 delve into these values and offer strategies and tools to participants to create a holistic approach to inclusive learning. The goal is for all kids to be included in the classroom, in their school communities, and to have a sense of belonging.

During the conference, participants from all over British Columbia will come together virtually. They will learn from our speakers who have been doing this heart work for decades, and who have experienced success in all aspects of Inclusive Learning. This year our 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.

Join us for daily, insightful, and powerful keynote presentations delivered by Dr. Leyton Schnellert, Shelley Moore, and Sue Sterling-Bur, champions in diverse, innovative approaches to facilitating inclusive school environments.

Areas of training for 2021 are: 

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

By creating inclusive schools, developing lessons and plans that will include all kids right from the start, and looking deliberately at how we can transform school culture to have a place for everyone, inclusive environments are created, and a sense of belonging will be experienced by all kids. This belonging transcends the school environment and ultimately positively impacts people’s lives in all areas such as employment, relationships, post-secondary education, self-esteem, and participation.

All participants will receive a package of information to share with their colleagues in their schools. There will be opportunities to ask challenging and difficult questions. Participants can expect to receive direct, tangible strategies to 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 virtually with other schools from all over British Columbia and share knowledge and approaches. Finally, participants will leave the Institute with the knowledge, skills, desire, and confidence to make their school welcoming and accessible to all kids.

Why an Institute?

The Family Support Institute connects with thousands of families each year. The majority of support calls regarding school aged children are consistently about inclusive education challenges. Examples of the calls we receive are children being sent home from school due to lack of support, challenging behaviors deemed by school personnel as unmanageable or unsafe, and exclusive practices. Families know that their children belong in school but struggle to have them included in the classroom in a meaningful way. Like all parents, their wish is to have their children fully accepted in their school community with all of their gifts and strengths recognized as focal points.

The education system has an untapped resource of capable professionals who have a passion for children, learning, innovative approaches, and successful outcomes for everyone. We see many of those educators struggling with good practice and limited tools to facilitate belonging and inclusion for their students. Given the opportunity, our group could help to create an environment where people can join school-based teams to have robust, meaningful conversations to begin tackling these issues. The creation of the Summer Institute allows us to learn more about inclusive practice and provides us with strategies around facilitating inclusive learning environments for all students. Participants will leave with a common language around values, best practices for a shared understanding to foster inclusion, and pathways to put those values into action in their schools and communities.

About FSI

The Family Support Institute of British Columbia (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 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, guiding families to supports and services in their regions, and facilitating training and educational sessions. FSI has developed 14 different workshops that are presented all over BC. All of our workshops are written and presented by parents. FSI is unique in Canada and is the only grassroots, family-to -family support organization with a broad volunteer base and mandate.

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