Tylan is a grade nine student at Bishop Lloyd Middle School who has developmental disabilities, and while things haven’t always been easy for him, he has found his place in school.
“He’s been included in every aspect of school, from when his day starts, when he is welcomed when he comes into the school, to him attending in-school clubs of his interest, to after school clubs, to him being embraced for his learning style and the teaching staff differentiating their instruction to meet his needs. I think it’s been a journey in a sense as we started in grade seven and we had a bit of a rough year but we’ve worked through and I think it was the solid collaboration and leadership provided by Shawn and Deb, the administrators at Bishop Lloyd,” says Stacey Andrews, Tylan’s mom.
With the work that Bishop Lloyd does with her son Tylan, she decided to nominate them for the National Inclusive Education Award. The award is a jointly provided by Canadian Association for Community Living and Inclusion Alberta and receiving the award came as a surprise to the school.
“It was a really welcome surprise. We know that in the past couple years we’ve definitely moved in our philosophy around inclusion and what it means and it was very exciting to receive it because we know that the work is meaningful and valuable and worth what we do,” says Debbie Kruchkowski, the Vice Principal at Bishop Lloyd.
She adds that all they do is treat Tylan like a regular student.
“We included him in the classroom like every other child and we just put supports in place to help him do what he needed to do to be successful.”
Stacey describes her son as having as zest for life.
“He loves being at school and he loves being with his friends and peers. He’s always up for a challenge and I think when people come to embrace his learning style that’s when they come to know that he is actually just like every other 14 year old boy. He has his quirks and probably drives people nuts as well, being a teenager,” Stacey added with a smile.
She also adds she is learning more about her sons capabilities because of school.
“I would’ve never had thought he would love cooking and those kind of things, but he’s been really, really engaged in his home [economics] class over the last three years and it was through some of the supports through the school that they made me think of him being involved in cooking club after school.”
Robin Acton, Past President of Inclusion Alberta of a board member of the Canadian Association for Community Living says Lloydminster Public School Division has been showing dedication to inclusive learning for years.
“Lloydminster and in particular the Lloydminster Public School Division has had a long term commitment for including kids with developmental disabilities in regular class. So they’ve been a leader, I would suggest, in inclusive education.”
Next year Tylan will be moving on to Grade 10, which his mom says will be a difficult transition away from the community at Bishop Lloyd.