Contributed by: Ginny Grit, School Social Worker for Forest Hills Public Schools, MI
Not All Superheroes Wear Capes! We may all be different, but in this school we swim together!
According to the Forest Hills Public Schools' focus newsletter: "All children have hopes, dreams and wishes. Children who have a disability are no different. They do not have to wear a tiara to feel like a princess or don a cape to feel like a superhero. At Meadow Brook Elementary (Forest Hills Public Schools), all that the students from the cognitively impaired program have to do is enter their school to instantly feel the love, support, pride, encouragement, and compassion their inclusive school culture exudes.
The school culture has been transformed this year as a result of a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and Special Olympics Michigan called Project Unify. this grant was awarded to Forest Hills Public (school) social worker, Ginny Grit. The grant allows Grit, along with Barbara Sluiter, special education teacher, and Meadow Brook staff, to charter a new initiative and provides funds for students with cognitive impairments to work alongside their same-age general education peers. The gran supports four main areas: a unified sport, a school-wide campaign for diversity/acceptance for all, inclusive community service projects, and a Youth Activation Committee."
"According to staff, before launching Project Unify, Grit worked with Sluiter to first implement the LINKS program--a peer-to-peer support program which exists in several Forest Hills schools. The LINKS program--which stands for loyal, interested, nurture, kind, student--pairs a general education student with a special education peer." Focus Vol. 20, Issue 4 Read article for complete details as well as a parent testimonial.
"Education is much more than academics, it is about providing our students with inclusive opportunities to be leaders and role-models" by Ginny Grit