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Tuesday evening

April 25, 2017

Network and check in 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM

Workshop 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM

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Hampton Inn Boston/Natick 
319 Speen Street
Natick, MA 01760

Driving Directions 


Beth Tremblay Hall, Administrative Assistant 
Special Needs Advocacy Network, Inc. 

Building An Inclusive School and Community:  

Lessons Learned From Over a Decade of Work and Challenges for Continuing the Work

INCLUSION is an easy thing to do poorly! Why does inclusion matter? What does it take to support inclusive schools and ultimately inclusive communities?

Advocates know that a central purpose of IDEA is that students with disabilities receive “special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living (300.1).” SPAN, Inc. is honored to provide this opportunity for advocates and parents to learn from renowned expert in inclusionary practice, Dr. Joe Petner.

Dr. Petner is a former Principal of the Haggerty Elementary School in Cambridge, MA (1989-2007) and current Support Facilitator for the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Division of District and School Assistance Center (DSAC). He has worked since 1991to develop a whole school model of inclusion. Joe will talk about the development of this process, the successes and shortcomings of the Haggerty’s Whole School Model of Inclusion, and the lessons learned over 15+ years. 

This workshop will be interactive and focus on issues of school culture, development of a collaborative model of teaching between general education and special education staff, leveraging resources within the district and community to support the inclusion model. The discussion will also consider achievement data, concerns for natural proportions, and the ongoing challenges of continual assessment and development of best practices. Joe will also talk about his current work with the MA Dept of Education with underperforming schools in the Greater Boston Region. 

Dr. Petner will ask participants to reflect on the following quote by Ron Edmonds, Director of Urban Studies at Harvard University:  

“We can whenever and wherever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us. We already know more than we need in order to do this. Whatever we do, it must finally depend on how we feel about the fact that we haven’t so far.”

The workshop will close with an inspiring video.


Dr. Joe Petner earned a doctorate from the University of North Dakota’s Center for Teaching and Learning in 1974 and has worked in public education for almost 50 years. He is the former Principal of the Haggerty Elementary School in Cambridge, Massachusetts (Cambridge Public Schools) from 1989-2007 and current Support Facilitator for the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Division of District and School Assistance Center (DSAC); He has been Education Program Director, Adjunct Faculty at Lesley University, Wheelock College, and the Boston Teacher Residency Program at UMass, Boston. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Federation for Children with Special Needs and has won numerous awards and honors, including Greater Boston ARC's Distinguished Educator Award, and collaborated with Dan Habib, filmmaker, on his award winning documentary, Including Samuel. Joe and his family have participated in the Pan Mass Challenge Bike Ride for twenty two years. His wife Jody, his younger daughter Caroline, and he are all cancer survivors which has made them appreciate the value of friends, family, and a community.