KPBSD team wins 2011 Inclusive Practice Award

 Tina Gilman 
Tina Gilman, at right, and a team from Soldotna Elementary School, also were nominated for the Inclusive Practice Award.

A team of educators at Sterling Elementary School has been honored for its commitment to creating an inclusive environment for all students who call Sterling home. At the Alaska Statewide Special Education Conference in February, the Inclusive Practice Award was presented to a team of educators serving Sterling Elementary, including Connie Ferguson, Gail Frasher, Carolyn Hitzler, Amy Hogue, Nancy Kimball, Barbara McNinch, Brenda Moody, Bethany Nyboer, Sarah Riley, Trina Uvaas and Susie Ward.

The award was established by the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education to recognize outstanding educators who work to ensure students with disabilities have the opportunity to experience education in the classroom with their peers as part of the general education curriculum.

“For so long our students have been bused to town to have their needs met. This is such an exciting thing to have all of our families feel supported and connected and feel like a part of our community in every way,” said Christine Ermold, principal of Sterling Elementary School.

The Sterling team worked to expand services and support at the school so that students with intensive needs could learn and grow with their peers and neighbors. Data on individual students reveals that the team’s effort to promote student independence has been hugely successful.

Nominations for the award are made by parents, students and educators. 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; and
  • Modifying programs or curricula as needed.
Bethany Nyboer IPA 
Bethany Nyboer accepts the 2011 Inclusive Practice Award at the Alaska Statewide Special Education Conference in February, on behalf of her educational team at Sterling Elementary School.

“The recognition celebrates the fact that our school has been able to successfully offer an educational program that meets the needs of all kids in Sterling Elementary School. As a Sterling community member, these children are my neighbors. They’ve all grown up together and now all stay together for school and have that connection,” Ermold said.

At Soldotna Elementary School, Tina Gilman, Kristin Sisneros and Zita Spann also were recognized as nominees for the award.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District congratulates these educators for their well-deserved recognition, and is proud of all of staff members who continually strive to enrich the educational experience of all its students.