2021 National Inclusive Education Awards
The National Inclusive Education Award is an initiative organized by Inclusion Canada and its Provincial and Territorial member associations. The award for Alberta is provided jointly by Inclusion Canada and Inclusion Alberta to honour a teacher, school or school district whose commitment to inclusive education is exemplary and deserving of recognition.
This year, the award is presented to:
- Simon Fraser School in Calgary (Laureen Lailey)
- AE Cross School in Calgary (Chris Aylesworth, James Froehler, and Nicholas Moskaluk)
- Learning Services at Edmonton Catholic Schools and St. Mary Elementary School (Rhonda Lang)
As an organization that values and supports the full inclusion of children in regular classrooms, Inclusion Alberta thanks Simon Fraser School, AE Cross School, Learning Services at Edmonton Catholic Schools and St. Mary Elementary School for their commitment to their students who have been fortunate to be fully included in their regular classrooms.
Simon Fraser School in Calgary (Laureen Lailey)
Nominated by Melanie and Dave Williams, parents of grade 9 student Carter
Melanie Williams – “Laureen Lailey welcomed us with enthusiasm, and excitement about the possibilities that lay ahead. Her positivity and innate belief in Carter’s belonging in her school was something we had never experienced before, and it was wonderful.
Laureen personifies her belief in inclusion and understands what it takes to make it happen. With thoughtful intention, Laureen planned for the best homeroom environment for Carter. He has a dynamic, experienced teacher who has created a welcoming and accepting place for Carter, and all her students. Laureen’s ability to lead the school staff by exemplifying acceptance and belonging has been truly touching. She has developed a genuine relationship with Carter, sees and highlights his skills and interests, gently leading his teaching team by example so Carter has positive interactions and engaging experiences. She values our collaboration and truly respects our vision for Carter’s life. Laureen continues to work with us for a smooth transition to high school next year and has tirelessly advocated for Carter’s full inclusion with the high school team.
People always told me, ‘With good school leadership, school will be a good experience”. Before this year, I had no idea what that meant. Now Laureen has shown us what genuine acceptance and good inclusive education looks like. And beyond that, what a rich full life for Carter, can look like.
I can think of no one better than Laureen Lailey to receive this award. She absolutely deserves recognition for her exceptional leadership and contribution to furthering good inclusive education in Alberta.”
AE Cross School, Calgary (Chris Aylesworth, James Froehler, and Nicholas Moskaluk):
Nominated by Shiva Shahrestani & Makan Ahmadi, parents of grade 8 student Shuan
Shiva Shahrestani: “Shuan has been attending AE Cross since grade 7. Last year it was a constant fight to try to keep him in the regular class with his peers until the end of the year when Chris Aylesworth took the position as principal. Our world suddenly changed. We finally felt like someone was in Shuan’s court. Chris truly cared and understood our vision for an inclusive education for our son.
Before September 2020, Chris introduced us to Shaun’s new teachers, James Froehler and Nicholas Moskaluk. Since then, these teachers have been committed to working with us and Inclusion Alberta to include Shuan in their classrooms alongside his grade 8 peers. These teachers truly saw our son as a learner and a contributing member to their classrooms. Their perseverance and openness have helped Shuan find great success as a student. His teachers recently provided us with the most amazing report card that Shuan has ever received. Shuan is now content and loves going to school again.
We are absolutely pleased to see that the new acting principal, Rhonda Williams, is carrying on Shuan’s inclusive education. Words cannot express how thankful we are to everyone at AE Cross who has made our son’s inclusive dreams a reality. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.”
Learning Services at Edmonton Catholic Schools and St. Mary Elementary School (Edmonton Catholic Schools, Rhonda Lang)
Nominated by parents Monique Carley and Wouter Buyks, parents of grade 3 student Adelyn
Monique Carley: “Congratulations to this remarkable team. You have been, and continue to be, a mighty and courageous group of allies in our pursuit of an inclusive education for our daughter.
Our family’s inclusive education vision and journey first intersected with a key and steadfast supporter in the middle of Adelyn’s kindergarten year. Adelyn is in grade 3 now, and each year since being connected to you, Rhonda, another component of our vision has come to life. Your leadership, influence, and early work brokered the tension between possibility and caution that challenged the scope and comfort of our community school. Your openness to engaging with Inclusion Alberta as a community partner fundamentally stabilized and continues to enable Adelyn’s day-to-day educational experience. Thank you for connecting to our story and our unwavering hope so genuinely.
This award is also about recognizing the interdisciplinary teamwork and insight shared among all of you skilled Division and school staff. Each of you knows we are primarily interested in unlocking and enabling Adelyn’s access to the expectations, lessons, topics, places, routines and relationships that her peers experience. You all demonstrate what it means to presume potential, and we appreciate your incredible work to test and find the “just-right challenge” that either furthers Adelyn’s learning or highlights her inherent genius & identity.
Our daughter’s inclusive education is enabled by thoughtful coordination, creative planning, partnerships across school-home-community, and perhaps most critically, a shared commitment to honouring the child at the centre of it all. We are glad to contribute to this reputable recognition.”