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Making Inclusive Education Work

Making Inclusive Education Work

May 10, 2019

This blog post is part of our 2019 Teacher Appreciation Week celebration highlighting just a few of the teachers at public charter schools who are going above and beyond for their students. Thank you to all the teachers in the charter school movement!

When I think about a great teacher I think about how they embody their role as an educator. And what makes a great teacher are the relationships they build with students. Minetre Martin has been teaching 1st grade at Bridges Public Charter School for two years. I absolutely love seeing the relationships she has built with her students. Ms. Martin has a great passion for teaching and works hard to engage students in learning through high energy, hands-on lessons. She has a zeal for learning about children and their behaviors in order to understand the many unique ways they learn.

Ms. Martin was born in Pascagoula, Miss. and raised in Grove Hill, Ala. She holds a degree in Psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. As an educator, Ms. Martin has advocated and supported students instructional days with specialized instruction, she facilitates social inclusion that goes above and beyond, and creates amazing extracurricular activities. She is passionate about supporting her students with disabilities and as lead teacher, she communicates daily lesson plans, delegates tasks, and motivates all team members to stay engaged in an inclusive environment. She supports everyone’s efforts while providing feedback and resources to help them reach goals.

Ms. Martin is probably one of the finest, creative, and most approachable teachers with whom I have worked. It has been my very great pleasure to know her over the years. Each lesson she teaches embeds opportunities for students to communicate and emphasizes the importance of sharing their voice. She allows her students to struggle to achieve mastery, learning lessons along the way. As these successes build on one another, her students grow in confidence. Ms. Martin continues to help students discover their strengths and then develop those strengths into habits. It is so gratifying and fulfilling to see her students move forward with skills they will use for the rest of their lives.

During the 2016-2017 school year, Martin took on the challenge of facilitating a school wide race and equity meeting. As the facilitator, it was her job to guide the conversations in a positive way that created a safe space for all staff members. The meeting allowed staff to open up about the race and equity issues they encountered. From that meeting, staff requested more meetings and continue to share their experiences so that we can have open conversations about how to best handle them. Everyday Ms. Martin displays what inclusive education represents—the promise of an equitable education for all students. She believes that all of her students can succeed, and she will do whatever it takes to support their achievement.

Ms. Martin has always having the courage to speak up for what is important and make decisions. She’s able to adjust plans when needed. When she sees work that needs to be done, it gets done. She doesn’t hesitate to get things done and always ensures that teachers can confidently trust that she will be reliable. Her contributions don’t stop at the classroom door—Ms. Martin loves writing, participating in coed community sports, and volunteering her time with nonprofit organizations such as D.C. Central Kitchen and Lunch Bag Social. Bridges Public Charter School is very thankful to have Ms. Martin!

Whitney J. Royal is native Washingtonian and a fifth-year special education teacher at Bridges Public Charter School.

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