Inclusion is a big part of each day at Granite Falls Elementary School. Every day, students from third through fifth grade join students in Dana Miller’s Exceptional Children’s classroom. Each EC student is paired with a reading buddy to help go over sight words, reading passages and letter recognition.
“I had so many students who wanted to be part of our Unified Club that I had to open up reading buddies and lunch buddies to some of our Resource and struggling readers,” explains Miller.
Not only do students work together on reading, students play with GFES Pre-K students in the morning and share their lunch time with their buddy, as well. As they play, they practice for kickball games against Hudson Elementary School, another Unified Champion School. The kickball games bring excitement and joy to buddies and EC students alike.
During their last game in November, Granite Falls Elementary and Hudson Elementary traveled to Granite Falls Recreation Center to help open the new ADA playground. The students were the first to play on the new accessible playground and everyone had a blast. But this spring’s kickball game will be even more exciting, because they are inviting a new Unified Champion School, Sawmills Elementary, to join them!
From sports to the stage, Granite Falls Elementary School students are currently preparing for the schoolwide talent show and the ESTaR (Exceptional Children’s Talent and Resources) event.
“My class has a total of 7 students,” said Miller. “They wanted to dance, but would never get up in front of others to do it.”
With that knowledge, thirty three of the Unified Club members decided to dance with Miller’s students at the school talent show and the ESTaR event. For students who don’t want to dance, club members are going to join them in singing “True Colors” at both events.
Both events will be nights that students will never forget. This spring, as Miller’s students travel through the hallways to depart for the local Spring Games, they will be met with cheering, high fives and support. For Miller, it’s moments like this one that make it clear why everyone should choose to include.
“I realize each day how lucky my class is to have such awesome friends who love them for who they are,” expressed Miller.
From participating in the local Polar Plunge to spreading the word to end the R-word, these students don’t just play Unified. They live Unified.