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 What is Inclusion?

Inclusion is a learning approach in which all children, regardless of ability, learn together in the same school and classroom.

Dr. Michael Boyle describes the concept of inclusion with a metaphor from a Thanksgiving family meal table: “Our Catholic schools are tables. Some are invited to sit at the table and others are not. Sometimes, when those with disabilities are invited, they are only invited to the ‘kids’ table’, not in full participation at the ‘big table’. It is not enough just to be invited, as some small token. We must work to ensure that all have a place at the same table” (Ensuring a Place at the Table, NCEA, 2018).

Inclusion is an equitable and participatory learning experience:

 The Importance of Inclusion

What is Inclusion?

Inclusion is about intentionally planning for the success of ALL students.

Inclusion is a learning approach in which all children, regardless of ability, learn together in the same school and classroom.  Students have access to all learning opportunities and experiences and teachers are trained and supported to meet the needs of all learners.


One Spirit, One Body

An Agenda for Serving Students with Disabilities in Catholic Schools

Michael Boyle Ph. D. and Pamela R. Bernard Ed. D.

Who Benefits from Inclusion?

ALL students benefit from the resources available in an inclusive classroom.

Placing students with different needs in a general education classroom creates opportunities for typical students to serve others and to assume responsibilities previously not available.  These students may experience considerable personal growth as a result.


A Longitudinal Study to Determine the Impact of Inclusion on Student Academic Outcomes

Sandi Cole, Ed.D., Hardy Murphy, Ph.D., Michael Frisby, Teresa Grossi, Ph.D., & Hannah Bolte


Catholic schools are called – through scripture, Church documents, and in Catholic Social Teaching – to serve ALL students. 

All children are created in the image and likeness of God with unique characteristics and abilities.  Pope Francis says, “A person with disabilities… needs to belong to a community. I pray that each person may feel the paternal gaze of God, who affirms their full dignity and the unconditional value of their life.”


Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on Persons with Disabilities, 1978

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