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Special thanks to Versacare® for
funding the REACH project.

History

The number of students with learning and /or behavioral challenges is increasing. Adventist educators can make a difference in the lives of students with learning differences.

Some of the most important and effective solutions can be found in general classroom instructional strategies. For instance, a teaching emphasis that addresses multiple learning styles (i.e., Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences) will enhance the educational process of all students. This more effective process has its foundation in the principle of “accommodation,” that is, adjusting classroom environment and instructional strategies to assist students in experiencing success.

In 1996 Southern Adventist University instituted a Master’s Degree in Inclusive Education. That same year the Upper Columbia Conference K-12 Board of Education set up a committee to study the issue of students with learning differences and to assist teachers in working with these students more compassionately and effectively. In 1999 the Oregon Conference joined in this project. Meanwhile the Potomac Conference hired a conference level special educator, and other conferences were attempting to address the need as well. As the need continues to grow, individual schools have been trying to respond. In 2007 the North American Division assembled the Inclusion Commission to develop a comprehensive plan to address the needs of students with learning differences in general Adventist classrooms. This comprehensive plan is outlined in the REACH Manual.

The driving force of the Inclusion Commission is the belief that every student can experience success. As teachers come to appreciate and understand the power of accommodation, students will progress in new ways and in new areas.