Inclusive Schools Week 2022 – Unity Within Our ISKL Community

ISKL celebrated Inclusive Schools Week, an annual event that provides a platform for schools worldwide to reflect on their inclusion journey.
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Home » ISKL Blog » Inclusive Schools Week 2022 – Unity Within Our ISKL Community

“Inclusion isn’t about including us all equally. It’s about including us all differently. It’s our differences that add so much color to the world. It’s our differences that place an overview of how something can be seen in a way which gives a project its edge or a meal its flavor.”  – Dr. Wenn Lawson, Author

From November 28 to December 2, ISKL celebrated  Inclusive Schools Week (ISW), an annual event that provides a platform for schools worldwide to reflect on their inclusion journey. As outlined in ISKL’s Guiding Statements, they are integral to helping shape the next generation of global citizens who act with care, empathy, and understanding toward each other and the environment. These are all fundamental to ISKL’s learning journey and embedded within all we do.

This year’s ISW theme, Unity Within Our Community, truly speaks to ISKL’s commitment to embracing the diversity in each other’s identities so that all community members feel they belong, are valued, and are supported. ISW is a celebration of diversity at ISKL and a chance to learn more about how to make our community a safe and welcoming place for all, embracing all abilities, identities, backgrounds, and cultures. In addition to the activities planned for students, two on-campus events were held for the ISKL and the wider community.

Here’s a summary of what happened for each school division during ISW:

Elementary School

ES Classroom Activity Collage

Elementary School (ES) students engaged in learning about what Unity, Community, and Inclusion mean as individuals, classes, grade levels, and a school. These values are interwoven in the ES learning action plan and underpin all we do, where students learn the importance of individual/learning differences and how differences make our community stronger.

This is School by John SchuThe students took part in activities throughout the week, such as:

  • “You CAN Sit With Us: Games, Info, Cookie Decorating,” sponsored by the Rainbow Club.
  • “Panther Paw Decorating” which was sponsored by the HS Student Leadership Team (SLT), and used for a school-wide mural.

In the ES library, students could access a display of inclusive books available in the library that reflect Community and Unity, such as This is School’ by John Schu.

Middle School

In Middle School (MS) students took part in activities during homegroup such as taking the panther paw template and writing their intention on it, These were hung in their classroom and included in their MS door decorations.

MS PAW template collage

MS Diversity PosterMS students were also given pledge tickets to reflect on something new they learned that week or share how they had changed their thinking about inclusion in school. They also devised ways to include others and talk with their peers about one action they would do to welcome another individual.

MS ISW Film Festival

Students watched 5 short videos on inclusion and discussed them with each other afterward. They were:

  • Hedgehog Holidays – ‘Believe in Christmas’ ad | Erste Bank
  • ’Different’ | Tahneek Rahman
  • ’Inclusion Makes the World More Vibrant’ | Uniting
  • ’Understanding Disabilities’ | Penfield Children’s Centre
  • I am NOT black, you are NOT white | Prince Ea

High School

The HS DEIJ Committee from the Student Leadership Team (SLT) organized an assembly that celebrated and respected differences in the community.

HS DEIJ Inclusive Schools Assembly Dec 2022

Here, three High Schoolers shared their inspirational and touching experiences with diabetes, English as a second language, and ADHD to build empathy and care in understanding in the community. Students learned about the nuances of inclusive language, terms, and phrases to promote consideration regarding all disabilities best.

Sianna L. (’24), an HS SLT DEIJ Committee Member, shares, “Everybody in our community has a pivotal role to play regarding inclusion, and this assembly and advisory are just the first steps into integrating this. “

Inclusion Books

Over in the MS/HS library, diversity and inclusion are integral to curating the ISKL library’s virtual and physical collection. Some highlighted books for ISW come from realistic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres, with authors such as Ann Clare LeZotte, Teresa Toten, Merie Haskell, I.W. Gregorio, and Francisco X. Stork.

ISKL and the Wider Community

ISKL community and visitors were treated to a VOX ISKL CommUNITY Panel Discussion with an inspiring line-up of panelists discussing about what inclusion looks like and feels like for them, the language and cultural sensitivities to be aware of when talking about race, disability, mental health, and neurodiversity, as well as learning about how to advocate for a differently-abled child.

YouTube player

The panelists included the Malaysian-American Commission on Education Exchange (MACEE) Executive Director and ISKL parent, Curtis Johnson, two Paralympians, Suresh Selvathamby and Gloria Gracia Wong Sze, and a specialist in learning differences, Peggy Lam, as well as ISKL’s Director of Student Services Trina Cobbledick.

VOX ISKL CommUNITY Panelists

Aligned with ISKL’s student-centered philosophy, VOX was moderated by two of our High School students, Kelly C. (G12) and Khai H. (G11). Khai is one of the heads of the DEIJ committee in SLT and is passionate about creating positive change by fostering a safe and open-minded culture in ISKL. Kelley regularly contributes to clubs and service projects like the SLT, where she is one of the heads of the Student Voice in Learning Committee and seeks to inspire others to embrace their unique identities.

 Inclusion Fair at ISKL

Following the VOX panel discussion, ISKL’s annual Inclusion Resource Fair was held to share the support that ISKL has in place for all its learners and connecting parents with the resources and support available in Kuala Lumpur. The lineup of service providers covered speech, language, and occupational therapy, academic, social, and executive skills support, behavioral services, mental health support, and interpretation and translation services.

Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff participated in the Special Education Network and Inclusion Association (SENIA) virtual conference, SENIA VIRTUAL 2022: 20 Years of SENIA, The Inclusion Revolution. In particular, the keynote by Cornelius Minor frames a discussion around how to keep children at the center of what we do in a very uncertain world.  

Here’s to another successful global event acknowledging how inclusion benefits everyone. All of these unique events, like so many of ISKL’s traditions, creates a shared experience that celebrates the wide range of diverse identities that comprise our community. It’s been a joy to see our students engaged in activities and learning, centered around embracing the diversity present in our community.

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