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    Nathan Hale Students Share the Stage in Unified Drama Production
    Posted on 02/07/2019
    Students sit at cafe tables during a play performance on a school stage

    Nathan Hale Students Share the Stage in Unified Drama Production

    Student talent is celebrated across our district in various ways and through all sorts of expressions. At Nathan Hale High School, Unified Winter Production, a performance-based theater class, functions as a space for all students to feel welcome, included, and recognized for their creative talents and perspectives.

    By bringing general education students and students with disabilities into a creative arts space where they learn from one another, classes such as Unified Winter Production are making strides towards inclusive learning communities. The class is uniquely different from the traditional courses you’ll find at schools. Active participation and engagement between general education and students with disabilities are celebrated.

    David Roby teaches the class at the school and collaborates with the special education teachers, Susan Miller and Timothy Hilton, to support the students in staging a play. The culmination of efforts by students and staff resulted in a comedy play this January called “Check, Please!”

    Dr. Jill Hudson, principal at Nathan Hale, says, “We value the learning differences of all students and believe that celebrating differences builds an inclusive community where all students feel welcome. We made sure the class was open to all students.”

    Andrea, a sophomore at Nathan Hale and one of the actresses that starred in “Check, Please!” was thrilled to join the production. She arrived in the United States less than five years ago and has been at Nathan Hale for the last two years. Andrea didn’t feel any of the nervous jitters that actresses commonly experience before they go on stage. She was prepared, and when her time came, she impressed all those around her.

    Tanisha Jackland is an instructional assistant at Nathan Hale, and she works frequently with students that need additional support. She shares, “Andrea took on the acting role seriously. We wrote down her lines on cards, and she went home and memorized all of them. She wasn’t nervous on stage. She did great. She showed so much dedication.”

    One of Andrea’s classmates, Madeleine, was also part of the production. She came to appreciate the diverse talents and skills of her fellow classmates, and she’s grateful to the teaching staff for making everyone feel safe. “The biggest thing I like about this class is the staff. You know the adults are there to make sure you feel safe. They’ll protect you and others from bullying. They’re going to make sure there are no cliques, and this gives you the chance to meet everyone.”

    As part of the district’s strategic initiatives to expand inclusive, welcoming opportunities, the Unified Winter Production class acknowledges each student’s story, strength, and need; and furthermore, the class gives all students the space to explore their creative potential.

    Jolene Grimes, assistant principal says, “Our school community is proud of our special education department and drama department to offer such a unique and rewarding experience for our students and staff at Nathan Hale. Everyone wins when student’s talents are celebrated. Now students are earning credit and making huge contributions to our learning community.”