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KPBSD team from Nikiski awarded top state recognition

20160219_HL_State-Inclusive-Practices-Award-Nikiski-Middle-High-School_LEAD

Nikiski Middle-High Team: L-R Front: Kally Seater, Megan Fowler
Back: Kristina Stadelman, Angela Smith, Zach Nerison, Jen O’Brien, Kristin Peek

A team of six KPBSD employees make a difference every day at Nikiski Middle-High School for their students with disabilities. Recognizing excellence, the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education awarded the 2016 Inclusive Practices Award to Megan Fowler, and her team of Zach Nerison, Jen O’Brien, Kristin Peek, Kally Seater, Angela Smith, and Kristina Stadelman.

“The culture of Nikiski Middle-High School is to include all students in our academics and activities no matter their skills, abilities, or talents,” said Dan Carstens, principal. “Megan Fowler and her team embody this culture and continue to serve as examples for inclusive practices to their peers.”

Megan Fowler
“Our team has a shared philosophy that exceptional students are limited only by what educators imagine is possible for them. This award honors the philosophy of celebrating abilities.”

Jen O’Brien, Speech-Language Therapy Aide
 “I’m honored to be a piece of the puzzle! A puzzle that easily fits together at Nikiski High School. I went into the field of Special Education for the outcome and although outcomes can take a bit longer in my field, it’s fun trying to plan success for all of our kiddos. Teaching these special thinkers and celebrating their victories is so rewarding!”

Kristin Peek
“It is such an honor to receive this award. This job can be so diversified that it takes us all working very hard together and with our school staff. It is very mentally and physically demanding, but the rewards are far greater than I've ever experienced in other positions. This is what makes it worth doing year after year!”

Kally Seater
“The students are what make our job amazing. I am inspired by their eagerness to deal with daily challenges and overcome them. This team works together and has great support from our administrators. I am very grateful to receive this award.”

Angela Smith
“It is an honor to be recognized for the hard work our students and staff do each day. It is truly a team effort supported by our whole school. True inclusion rewards everyone it touches, and spreads into the community. I am proud to see the ripple effect in their self-esteem and endurance to try their best every day. Congrats to all fourteen nominees – your programs all make a difference.”

Kristina Stadelman
“Our classroom has been successful because of all of the assistance we have received from people available to help in our district.”
The 2016 Inclusive Practices Award recognizes outstanding educators who work to ensure students with disabilities have the opportunity for an inclusive education in the general education curriculum. The nominations are based on the following activities that assure a positive learning environment for all:

  • Involving parents as equal partners in their child’s education
  • Encouraging student’s self-determination
  • Emphasizing inclusive practices amongst peers and others
  • Providing leadership in sharing the values of inclusion
  • Designing support services that enable access to the regular curriculum
  • Modifying programs or curricula as needed

This year’s award was presented February 9, 2016, at a luncheon at the Hilton Hotel in Anchorage. The Statewide Special Education Conference (ASSEC) was attended by more than 200 special education educators, administrators, parents and advocates from all over the state.

“We are so proud of the team at Nikiski Middle-High School for winning this award,” said Clayton Holland, director of pupil services. “This team has been relentless in their pursuit of providing the best possible education for their students. This award is an honor for this team, for the Nikiski staff, and for all the special education teachers and support staff in the KPBSD that provide countless hours and work toward educating students with disabilities.”

“I am very proud of our special education staff and extremely excited that we continue to have school teams recognized through the Statewide Inclusive practices program,” said Sean Dusek, superintendent. “The team from Nikiski exemplifies what happens across our district and this team of Bulldogs really deserve this recognition for all of their hard work with our students.”

Over the past year and a half, Nikiski Middle-High School has turned a corner in regard to their special education mindset,” said Elizabeth Falk, pupil services program manager. “As a result of Ms. Fowler’s resolve, and the support of our district office, the Intensive Needs classroom has shifted the thinking throughout the entire Nikiski community. While working with some of the most challenging students, this group of administrators, teachers, and paraprofessionals model a truly inclusive educational model. Students now participate across all school settings: in the lunchroom, gym and even in extra-curricular activities such as the wrestling team. For inclusion to work, educational practices must be child-centered—this classroom reflects that. The team has discovered where each of their students are academically, socially, and culturally to determine how best to facilitate individualized learning.”

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