Music specialist Oluwatoni Adedeji of Sioux Trail Elementary in Burnsville has been named as the recipient of the Inclusive Education Practices Award for the 2015-16 school year in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191.
The award was created by the District 191 Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) to recognize staff members who are fostering meaningful inclusion of students with disabilities in classrooms and extracurricular activities, according to Stephanie Corbey, the executive director of Individualized Student Services. SEAC (comprised of parents, community members, school staff and administrators) advises the special education department on policy and program planning.
“Mr. A is always encouraging interaction and friendships among diverse learners and peers by modeling the social interactions and designing lessons to include everyone," said Katie Nelson and Sarah Henrich, Sioux Trail special educators, who nominated Adedeji for the award. "He spends time to make sure every student feels welcome in his classroom and participates to their full ability.”
“My goal at Sioux Trail is to create musical confidence in every student,” said Adedeji. “I want to help find each student's talents and let them shine!”
He believes that every student can learn and be creative musically and perform, and they should be given opportunities to do so. Students, who might be struggling in other classes, become leaders and excel in music classes.
“All together we make great sound, each part is important and valued as we create the whole performance,” he said. “It’s a joy to see this happen.”
Others nominated for the award this year were Kathy Bunkers, a special education resource teacher at Burnsville High School; Randy Geditz, a special education teacher at Metcalf Junior High; Shannon Rasmussen, a teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing with intermediate District 917, and Jane Wegleitner, a special education resource teacher at Burnsville High School.
This was the fifth year of the award. Previous recipients of the award are Mark Riggs of Burnsville High School in 2011-12, Leanne Banks of Eagle Ridge Junior High in 2012-13, Barbara Gierada of William Byrne Elementary in 2013-14, and Lori Haggerty, Tiny Tots preschool teacher in 2014-15.