December 2016 VSA Webinar: “Arts As Inclusion: Holding Ourselves Accountable in Reaching Students with Disabilities”

As schools work to educate students with disabilities in the least restrictive environments, oftentimes the first place a student learns alongside his peers is the arts classroom. Indeed it is the assumptions on which arts learning is based—every student has something to express, there is no “wrong answer,” everyone can participate—that make the arts classroom an inviting place for all students. How, though, do we move beyond the intuitive belief that the arts work for all learners and hold ourselves accountable to the promise of inclusion: to provide opportunities for students with disabilities to access instruction and meaningfully engage in learning with their peers?

This session challenges the notion that arts instruction is inherently differentiated, thereby pushing practitioners to demonstrate (in concrete, assessable ways) differentiated instruction for students with disabilities in the arts classroom. It provides arts educators with frameworks for designing accessible arts lessons, tools to evaluate student learning, and language to effectively discuss the performance of students with disabilities in inclusive settings with other members of a student’s IEP team—transforming art educators into powerful advocates for the inclusion of students with disabilities throughout the school day.

Click on the play button below to watch a free recording of the Webinar. (You will be prompted to enter your email address and contact information prior to viewing the Webinar.)



Jenna Gabriel is theIMG_1603_credit_Sarah_Hitchcock_Burzio Manager of Special Education at The Kennedy Center, where she supports all education initiatives affecting students with disabilities or their teachers, including the annual VSA Intersections: Arts and Special Education Conference.  Ms. Gabriel was previously based in Boston at IBA-Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción, where she designed and supervised out-of-school-time programs for ELLs and struggling readers. Ms. Gabriel is the Founding Executive Director of Daytime Moon Creations, a NYC-based nonprofit providing arts programs to children with disabilities, and has led arts-based special education programming throughout NYC. Her most recent publication, “Use of Theatrical Techniques and Elements as Interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorders” was released in 2016 by Bloomsbury Press. Ms. Gabriel holds a BFA with honors in Drama from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and studied Intellectual Disabilities and Autism at Teachers College, Columbia University before completing her Masters in Education at Harvard University.

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