MINETTO, NY – Twenty-five years ago, one parent, Pat Goldstein, wanted her child to attend school with peers.
One director of special education, Priscilla Putnam, said, “Yes” and one school psychologist, Angela Voninski, agreed to support.
A special education teacher, Linda Stummer, was hired and so began Oswego’s fully-integrated special education program, or inclusion.
Minetto’s fully-integrated program began in 1989 prior to the establishment of current laws requiring least restrictive environment.
Oswego City School District was on the forefront of educational reformation.
What began as a single kindergarten classroom with a general education teacher, a special education teacher and teaching assistant, grew each year until the program spanned kindergarten through twelfth grade.
The current program involves the collaboration of many individuals including, but not limited to: general education teachers, special area teachers, special education teachers, occupational therapists, physical therapists, teachers of the deaf, teachers of the vision impaired, speech-language pathologists/therapists, teaching assistants, nurses, aides, reading specialists, math specialists, media specialists, educational audiologists and more.
Oswego City School District’s special education program continues to be a leader in programming for all students within the inclusive model.
Other school districts continue to send their staff to observe our model so that they may begin a similar model in their districts.
According to Lauren Ward, a licensed speech-language pathologist at Minetto Elementary School, both the Minetto School and Oswego City School District continue to be a place where all students are welcome.
“If you ask one of our students to define inclusion, they very well may not be able to. For our children are raised in a diverse setting and to them, it is the norm,” Ward said.