On Tuesday, February 28th, honored guest Khun Ploypailin Jensen, granddaughter of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, presided over a ribbon cutting ceremony for ISB’s new Intensive Learning Needs Classroom. Students enrolled in this program will begin school in August of 2017.
The first intensive learning needs classroom will be taught by special educator Lori Boll, and will cater to six elementary-school aged students. In coming years, we will open a Middle School and High School classroom, taking students from PreK through graduation at ISB. The program is designed for students with developmental or intellectual disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, cerebral palsy, and Down’s Syndrome, or global developmental delays.
Mr. Andrew Davies, Head of School, International School of Bangkok
ISB has been working towards becoming a more inclusive school for more than 5 years. In January 2016, the Board of Trustees approved the founding of an Intensive Learning Needs program at ISB, based on the belief that families that wish to work abroad should have access to an education that meets the needs of all of their children, and that siblings should be able to attend school together as often as possible. We believe that our community will be enriched by the inclusion of more diverse learners.
The ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by over 100 guests including foreign dignitaries, officials and representatives from various schools and agencies in the area. The food was catered by Steps With Theera, a coffee shop and vocational training center which supports young adults with special education needs transition to sustainable employment opportunities.
This event would not have happened without the hard work of many people. We wish to extend a thank you everyone who helped with the event. The Thai PTA team, ISB PTA, and ISB Building and Grounds were instrumental in planning the event. Khun Rarin Punjarungroj donated cut-outs to explain the learning that will take place. ISB students from the HS Graphic Design club created informational signs and Middle School Best Buddies helped welcome the visitors.
Students, staff, and families at ISB are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our new students. Natalia Yepes, a grade 7 student is particularly excited, “ I think that both the students with special needs and the other kids from ISB will benefit from this. The kids coming won’t be isolated and they will interact with the ISB community and be with students from ISB for friends and help. Students from ISB will learn about them. They will learn about acceptance…”.
In the next several months, multiple awareness campaigns will take place at school to help current students learn about their new schoolmates. Tips on how to introduce this with your own children will be provided to parents as well.
ISB is proud to join the ranks of just a few international schools in the world with such a program, and excited about the options it will provide for families of students with special needs.
Article contributed by Lori Boll