All of Us Together: The Story of Inclusion at the Kinzie School

All of Us Together: The Story of Inclusion at the Kinzie School

All of Us Together: The Story of Inclusion at the Kinzie School

All of Us Together: The Story of Inclusion at the Kinzie School

Synopsis

At one point in 1982, the Chicago School Board debated whether or not to close John H. Kinzie Elementary School due to its shrinking school-age population and its many problems typical of city schools. But an energetic new principal, James Franklin, brought in fifteen classes of deaf and hard of hearing children that changed the Kinzie School dramatically. This remarkable tale is presented in All of Us Together. Told by Jeri Banks, at the time a teacher who played a key role in Kinzie School's revival, the story begins simply, with the arrival of the new students. At first the 450 hearing students resented the invasion of 135 deaf and hard of hearing children because the new children seemed strange and also because only their part of the school was renovated. The deaf and hard of hearing students envied the hearing children because they had recess. Franklin and the teachers recognized the validity of these complaints, and they all worked hard to address them. At the same time, Banks started a small dance group for the deaf girls as a way of building their egos. Eventually, this group grew into an arts program that involved virtually all of the students. Over the years, the Kinzie School was transformed. The parents joined Franklin, Banks, and the other teachers to deal with an entrenched bureaucracy for the good of the children. On one occasion when the School Board wished to remove a physically disabled student from Kinzie because of rigid adherence to an outdated regulation, both Franklin and the child's parents fought all the way to court. The student stayed at Kinzie and excelled, and the Chicago School System also profited from his success. All of Us Together is a warm, encouragingtestament to the dedication and hard work of the Kinzie teachers and parents. All of their efforts are framed in the strict context of improving the school for their children, and the students' own feelings featured through
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