The Triannual Newsletter
Inclusion at Stonehill
Volume 13, Issue 1, November 2023
- Head of School Message
- Perspectives from the Primary School
- Perspectives from the Secondary School
- Boarding Focus
Welcome to the first edition of the Stonehill Triannual Newsletter for 2023-2024. In this edition, Principals and teachers in both Primary and Secondary share their thoughts and reflections on ‘Inclusion’ at Stonehill.
‘Inclusion’ has become a very popular objective for international schools around the world in recent years. As the world becomes more interconnected and people become more mobile, the diversity of students applying to schools naturally increases.
‘Inclusion’ has become a very popular objective for international schools around the world in recent years.
What Makes a Primary School Inclusive?
We believe inclusive education helps create a just and equitable society by providing a firm foundation for our students’ future development and learning experiences. This is why we create an environment where every student, regardless of their abilities, background, or differences, feels welcome, valued, and are able to thrive.
Inclusion is a fundamental principle that shapes who we are as an international school community. It allows us to create a sense of belonging amongst our students as we strive to ensure all our students have the opportunity to learn and thrive in a supportive environment, regardless of their abilities, backgrounds or identities.
Inclusion is essential to supporting our student’s holistic development, going beyond creating an environment with equal opportunities, mutual respect and understanding to make certain all students feel they belong. As students come to school everyday, it is our responsibility to make sure every student feels that they are walking into a safe and supportive environment where all of their needs are met. It is important that all key stakeholders in our community work together to continue supporting our students in reaching their full potential to ensure an inclusive education for all.
Whole School Head of Student Support Services
Teaching and Learning for Inclusive Education
The International Baccalaureate (IB) emphasises that inclusive education is an ongoing process aimed at fostering equal access and engagement in learning for all students by identifying and eliminating barriers.
The IB endorses several principles for inclusive education. These include:
- education for all is considered a human right
- education is enhanced by the creation of affirmative, responsive environments that promote a sense of belonging, safety, self-worth and whole growth for every student
- every educator is an educator of all students
- learning is considered from a strength-based perspective
- learning diversity is valued as a rich resource for building inclusive communities
- all learners belong and experience equal opportunities to participate and engage in quality learning
- full potential is unlocked through connecting with, and building on, previous knowledge
- assessment provides all learners with opportunities to demonstrate their learning, which is rewarded and celebrated
- multilingualism is recognised as a fact, a right and a resource
- all students in the school community fully participate in an IB education and are empowered to exercise their rights and accept their responsibilities as citizens
- all students in the school community have a voice and are listened to so that their input and insights are taken into account
- all students in the school community develop the IB Learner Profile attributes and develop into inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect
- diversity is understood to include all members of a community
- all students experience success as a key component of learning
In conclusion, the IB framework for inclusive education underscores a holistic approach to learning that goes beyond mere access, aiming to create environments where every student can thrive.
Emphasising collaboration, respect, and the celebration of diversity, the IB's principles highlight the importance of addressing barriers and leveraging strengths for the benefit of all learners. By nurturing an inclusive culture that values every student's voice, rights, and individual contributions, the IB classroom fosters a community where success is not only measured academically but also through the development of well-rounded, caring individuals who are equipped to contribute positively to a global society based on understanding, empathy, and respect. This commitment to an inclusive education enhances learning experiences and sets the stage for a more equitable and harmonious world.
- Learning Diversity and Inclusion in IB programmes, International Baccalaureate Organization 2016
- The IB guide to inclusive education: a resource for whole school development, International Baccalaureate Organization 2015
- Using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in the IB classroom, International Baccalaureate Organization 2016
Stonehill prides itself on fostering an inclusive and caring community, in which individuals can feel happy, safe and valued. We provide challenging learning opportunities for all our students, overcoming barriers to learning. Teachers and administration also drive the process of inclusion in a proactive and dynamic way, focusing on learning, curriculum access and solution seeking.
Our ongoing commitment to inclusion requires us to develop a new understanding of the world we live in and how we learn together, utilising our community’s diverse skills and perspectives.
First, we ensure to provide support and guidance based on the individual learning needs of the students. Students with diverse learning profiles have been assigned to a learning support supervisor who helps to support the students’ Individual Learning Plans, while also liaising with subject teachers to support acquisition of subject knowledge.
Stonehill is also fortunate to have a huge population of multilingual learners. Our English B department, which helps students to develop academic English proficiency, is expanding. Teachers provide push-in and pull-out sessions to support students in accessing the specific linguistic demands of their different subjects.
At the DP level, students regularly encounter challenges in managing the rigour of their course components and assessments. As support, the DP students have access to an ATL Coordinator, who individually helps students develop organisational skills and timelines for completing tasks.
Back in the classroom, teachers adapt different strategies, such as visual thinking routines and online tools, to better engage students, and several teachers have led helpful workshops after completing Harvard University’s “Project Zero” Visible Thinking Course.
At Stonehill we try our best to ensure that we are able to meet the learning needs of all our students.
Secondary School Principal
Inclusion in the Middle Years Programme
Bradley and Fischer (1995) had rightly pointed out that there is no typical middle school student because they are by nature so diverse and therefore it is at this level that the inclusion process can be most successful.
The English as an Additional Language (EAL) department in the MYP focuses on positive reinforcement to help the students make connections within their lessons and adapt to using English as the medium of instruction.
World-class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) and Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests conducted help identify specific areas that can be improved. Using the push-in and pull-out method of collaborative teaching, our EAL students benefit from language assistance. This helps the students feel inclusive in their mainstream classrooms where they are gradually made independent to be able to function with minimum assistance.
Our Learning Support department incorporates strategies and values necessary to provide effective education to students who require learning support. The teachers in the mainstream classes adopt different styles of learning using the inputs of the Learning Support team. It's important that students with learning needs are provided with experiences that do not make them feel left out.
Pastoral care and counselling for personal, social and emotional development go hand in hand in driving an inclusive environment within the student community. Effective pastoral care promotes inclusivity and cultivates an atmosphere where students not only grow academically but also demonstrate the development of character and crucial social skills essential for their future lives. Our Pastoral Care Head, along with PSD counsellors focus on physical, emotional and social welfare of the students through individualised interactions, interventions and resolutions.
The Middle Years Programme at Stonehill provides opportunities to students with different backgrounds and needs to learn and grow as a community, to the benefit of all.
Inclusivity in the Diploma Programme
The concept of equity can best be described by an image I recall seeing a few years ago.
Three people are trying to look over a wall. The first is tall and can see with no help.
Inclusion at Boarding
Inclusion is not merely a word; it embodies the fundamental value that defines the identity of our school. As we endeavour to establish a welcoming and nurturing environment for all, we are thrilled to share the latest developments and initiatives in our ongoing journey towards fostering inclusion at Stonehill Boarding.
Inclusion is not just a goal; it's a way of life at Stonehill Boarding. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion enriches the experiences of all members of our community and equips our students to thrive in an increasingly interconnected and diverse world.
We eagerly anticipate the future, continuing to learn, grow, and embrace the strength derived from our diverse community. Together, we can make Stonehill Boarding a place where every student can broaden their horizons and truly feel they belong.