Newsletter: Notes from SENIA’s Director



Hello SENIA Peeps,

Last week, I had the privilege of virtually attending The Brookings Institute Symposium on Inclusion and Education Systems Transformation. Inclusive leaders from around the world gathered to address a critical issue:

“Despite global policy efforts to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for equitable education, no nation has succeeded in creating truly inclusive classrooms and school communities on a large scale. While some countries have made significant strides in meeting the needs of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), nearly every nation has fallen short in developing schools as settings for full social inclusion. This requires going beyond physical inclusion to create accessible and meaningful learning environments for all, including children with IDD.”

Five adults in chairs sitting agains a blue screen with white writing with the title of the symposium

World Leaders Discuss Inclusion

As international school leaders, educators, and families, we must prioritize this concern. Sustainable Development Goal 4 demands that schools be places where all children matter equally, participate fully, and develop the skills, knowledge, beliefs, and practices they need to thrive.

Becoming fully inclusive is not easy, but it can be achieved. The conference offered these recommendations: First, we need a mindset shift which is embraced school-wide and community-wide. Second, we must dismantle the silos in education, and encourage synergy in our roles. Third, according to Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics, “The central impediment to implementing effective inclusive education is the capabilities of a trained teacher workforce. You cannot ask teachers to become ‘includers’ in their schools or to manage children with complex learning needs without training.” Mr. Shriver also believes we need to empower young people as agents of change. Our students want inclusive schools. Are we ready to listen to their voices?

At SENIA, we endorse these points and strive to support schools on their inclusive journey by facilitating mindset changes, helping to create systems of support that involve the entire school community, and providing professional development opportunities through our conference and coursework. As well, our SENIA Youth are emerging as a strong voice advocating for change and will be our inclusive leaders of tomorrow.

With Sustainable Development Goal 4 as our guiding principle, we call on our schools to become more inclusive. We don’t expect you to do it alone. SENIA is here to support you.

Lori Boll


If you’d like to watch some of this symposium, check out this link.