“It is time for parents to teach children early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” - Maya Angelou
Eureka! Inclusive is a vision driven by parents who met while serving on the Community Advisory Committee for Special Education (CACSE) in San José Unified School District (SJUSD). We met many families across the district who shared personal stories of their difficulties accessing the school-based resources and supports their children need to be meaningfully included in their schools and in their communities.
In the absence of a school designed specifically to address inclusion, many children are denied an ordinary childhood of academic, social, and recreational opportunity. This causes these children to experience further feelings of isolation, social exclusion, and other big, confusing emotions. Many children do not have the language to communicate these feelings, nor the maturity to understand them. Instead, they communicate by acting out – or shutting down. And oftentimes, the response is more punitive than supportive, excluding these students at the very time they need to be included. Children should never be segregated, incarcerated, or feel so hopeless they no longer want to live.
As parents, we wanted a school that recognized and met the needs of every single student. And while the teachers and staff at San José Unified do their very best to provide each student with an excellent education, they are bound by the constraints of a “norms” based environment. So we brought together diverse experts and stakeholders from the fields of education, finance, law, and child development to identify barriers, research solutions, and develop what would be the first intentionally-inclusive, universally-designed, relationship-based publicly-funded school in Santa Clara County.