Thursday, February 21, 2019

"When everyone is included, everyone wins." Jesse Jackson

I saw a story CBS by Steve Hartman that gives a whole new meaning to the educational term "Learning Community."  In Newton, Massachusetts, a chatty 2 year old girl just loves to talk, but because she is hearing impaired and speaks in sign language, her circle of communication is limited.  Allow me to correct that statement - her circle of friends WAS limited.  The friends and neighbors on her street have formed their very own learning community, hired a teacher, and are learning ASL (American Sign Language), just so they can communicate with little Samantha.  What a beautiful story!  What a neighborhood!  Their caring attitude of inclusion and outreach to Samantha are going to help this little girl succeed in life and relationships. I posted the link to the story below.  (If you haven't seen this clip, be ready for your heart to melt.)

When I was in the classroom for those 37 years, our school had many mainstreamed students who spoke in sign language and worked with interpreters.  Through the years, I added a few more words to my sign vocabulary with each new student I encountered.  I remember the delight they took in teaching the teacher, and the delight that I took in being the student. 

One thing I am absolutely sure of after all those years teaching 10th grade is this: everyone needs to feel included. Schools need to teach kindness and the basic tenets of inclusion to all students so that all students feel they belong to the school's learning community and that they are a part of the school culture. I truly believe that if schools did a better job of including all students and teaching and modeling inclusion practices, the problems in schools would be fewer.  

Here is the link to this uplifting story: 


As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 
Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom.  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 and 2018 (new edition) from The Authors' Zone.Grady also won a 2018 prestigious Moonbeam Award for Best Children's Book with Merchandise.

Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out! 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at  The website now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. 

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