Inclusion Events in Virginia 2018

In 2018, the Virginia Department of Education in collaboration with the Partnership for People with Disabilities supported the Inclusion Project youth leaders in their efforts to increase inclusion events across Virginia. The youth leaders awarded mini-grants to support the inclusion events below. The youth leaders hope that these events inspire you to host inclusion events that spread disability awareness in your school or community.

First Colonial High School


Summary of the Event

The one-day event (open to all Virginia Beach Public School students/families) included the following:

  • Keynote address by a Global Messenger from Special Olympics
  • Round-robin activities
  • A performance by students with disabilities and desserts made by FCHS work-experience students
  • A closing ceremony with a game of wheelchair basketball.
  • Each participant received a t-shirt designed by a team of students with and without disabilities

Hollymead Elementary School


Summary of the Event

  • Hollymead Elementary hosted a “Little Feet Meet,” a part of Special Olympics with track and field events to develop relationship and athletic skills.
  • Students with disabilities were partnered with a peer without a disability and met with them several times a week to practice for events.
  • They planned a pep rally and made posters for the school to put up at the track meet.
  • A panel of 5th grade students who were peers shared their experience with the school.

Radford City Public Schools


Summary of the Event

  • To celebrate Disability History and Awareness month, RCPS hosted a series of events throughout the month of October.
  • Teachers created materials to share at group sessions to educate students on famous people that have/had disabilities.
  • Physical education teachers developed adapted lessons for students with disabilities and simulations for all students to understand challenges a student with disabilities may face while in a physical education class.
  • Hosted a wheelchair basketball game with the Charlottesville Cardinals which was covered by local news outlets.

Sarah Dooley Center for Autism


Summary of the Event

  • Promoted literacy and social skills by partnering with a local school and matching students with disabilities with peers based on age and similar interests
  • Students had the opportunity to be “pen-pals” and develop writing skills through a letter or email exchange system.
  • Students visited with each other for a “Buddy Reading Day” and read It’s Okay to Be Different and The Rainbow Fish
  • Students had lunch and completed activities with their “buddies,” such as coloring blank puzzle pieces together, while learning the importance of acceptance and inclusion.


What you need to know for planning your event, creating a planning committee, setting the goals and vision of the project, and creating an agenda and work plan.

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Tips for a successful Inclusion Project event and a sample timeline for announcements, audio/video tests, and guest accommodations leading up to the day of the event.

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Several example activities to hold during your Inclusion Project event, divided into Elementary, Middle, and High School level activities.

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The Virginia Department of Education and Virginia Commonwealth University are equal opportunity/affirmative action agencies providing access to education and employment without regard to age, race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, veteran status, political affiliation, or disability, If alternate formats of this document are needed, please contact Marianne Moore at (804) 225-2700;, Jack Brandt at (804) 828-1365;, or Dana Yarbrough at (804) 828-0352; or (800) 828-1120 (TDD relay).