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Mission Estancia Elementary students create colorful “Choose to Include” reminders to hang around the school. Photo courtesy of the Encinitas Union School District.
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Encinitas students learn lessons about inclusion, accessibility

ENCINITAS — All nine of Encinitas Union’s elementary schools recently participated in a series of events promoting inclusion and accessibility.

The annual, week-long events brought together students, educators and community leaders to engage in meaningful dialogue and practical demonstrations centered around inclusivity in an effort to create a space where all children feel heard, respected and valued.

According to the school district, this not only enhances their academic experiences but also contributes to the development of empathy and adds to their experience of being a skilled communicator and a confident collaborator.

Additionally, each school highlighted an “abilities” celebrity gallery walk and hosted assemblies featuring blind athletes who shared their personal narratives of triumph and perseverance.

An elementary student experiences what it is like to read by braille. Photo courtesy of the Encinitas Union School District.

Students actively participated in immersive activities, experiencing firsthand the realities of dyslexia, braille literacy and adaptive sports. They also watched their teachers engage in wheelchair basketball sessions, which according to the district further underscored the importance of fostering empathy and a welcoming environment.

“I am always impressed with how our Special Education Parent Council, PTAs, TRAC Teachers, and Specialists work together to ensure all students have an opportunity to learn and grow with inclusive practices,” said Superintendent Andree Grey. “Of course, the overarching idea is that all children should have access to their dreams and inclusion.”

Beyond the week-long activities, families received suggested home-based initiatives to extend learning experiences, fostering sensory exploration and replicable ability simulations. Through these efforts, students are equipped to champion inclusivity within their communities year-round.

Beyond the weeklong series, the EUSD Board passed and adopted a resolution on Jan. 16 in support of “Abilities Awareness and Inclusion in Action.”

As stated in the adoption, “The Encinitas Union School District recognizes the importance of giving students and staff opportunities for greater understanding and acceptance of individuals with disabilities and designates support for Abilities Awareness / Inclusion in Action throughout the year.”

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