As the current GHE legislative/ advocacy chair I’d like to briefly write about what Disability History Month is and the work our school is doing to recognize it.
In 2008 the WA State Legislature established Disability History Month as a civic holiday to raise awareness and understanding of disability rights and recognize the contributions disabled people have made to society. Disability History Month is now observed annually and promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities. The month has been recognized in many ways. One of my favorites is the video series, “One Out of Five” that The Office of the Education Ombuds created in 2019. This is one of the videos and features Shorewood High School graduate Kenassa Sarka.
In terms of recognizing the month at GHE, Assistant Principal Lisa Clayton led a staff training on teaching about disabilities. Many teachers are doing lessons around disability history, and some are hopefully using the incredible virtual rooms that our own virtual room rock star Leigh Ann Johnson created for the Seattle Special Education PTSA for Disability History Month this year (children’s virtual room/ teens and adults virtual room). The Foxes of a Different Breed group is also planning a talk for the end of the month that will be open to all GH families.
In a WA state report on the 2020/21 school year, 17% of GHE’s students were listed as being disabled— a pretty significant number. I know a lot of us on the Board have disabled kids, and that they are one of the reasons we are involved in the school like we are. To families of disabled kids, having a supportive school community can mean a lot, and I appreciate the work you all do to make this happen.