Advocate committed to inclusion & social justice, proud mother of three wonderful humans, and part of the team that started Ollibean.

The Quiet Key to This School’s Success

What do you do when you become the principal of a school with the lowest academic performance and  the highest rate of suspension, absenteeism, and teacher turn over? Nothing. [...]

Five Reasons You Need to Read ‘Ghost Boy’ by Martin Pistorius

For over ten years Martin Pistorius was trapped in his own body, fully cognizant, but unable to speak or move. He was surrounded by people who believed he was incapable of thinking and tried desperately to get just one person to notice. His story serves as a wake-up call for all of us to drastically change our assumptions about speech and intellectual capacity as well as the need to radically reform expectations and treatment of people with complex communication needs.

The Impact of 250 Words on Literacy

Ollibean Literacy Lifehacks : Tools for parents and care providers without education backgrounds to easily provide literacy instruction. Sign up for our free Flashcards of the 250 Words that represent over two-thirds of captioned television.

How to Improve Literacy Without Even Trying

One of the simplest things you can do to improve your child’s reading skills is already in your home. Closed captioning is free, easy to use, and a natural literacy booster. [...]

Accessibility Is a Right Not a Privilege

Accessibility is a right not a privilege. 20 posts on Accessibility, Universal Design, and Inclusion   It's Time to Go Beyond Access Creating Equal Opportunities For ALL Students to [...]

Parents – Acceptance Starts at Home

Parents, home is the single most important place for our children to feel accepted. We must embrace ALL of our children with love and acceptance for being exactly who they [...]

Who Cares About Kelsey

Kelsey Carroll lived with homelessness, self-mutilation, abuse and ADHD.  She was a likely high school dropout — until she encountered an education revolution that’s about empowering, not overpowering, teens with emotional and behavioral disabilities. Kelsey’s story, a story of trying to be seen for her potential rather than her past behavior.

Transforming Education to Benefit ALL Students

As part of a 5-year, $24.5 million grant awarded by the U.S. DOE , the SWIFT Center was founded to assist districts and their schools to engage in a transformational process, in order to achieve equity and excellence for all students. Research has demonstrated that inclusive education significantly improves academic and behavior outcomes for all children.

Thank You, Ed Roberts

"And we’re going to develop leadership, that has a fundamental difference and that is, it's inclusive . It believes in people, and in our strengths together . And we are going to change our society. " Ed Roberts

Disabilty and Civil Rights: Standing On the Right Side of History

"If we were to go back to the 1960s and we were to talk to those leaders who were vehemently against desegregation, we would hear the conviction in their voices of them stating why they believe their decisions and what they were doing to those children were just. Just as I believe that some of you and some of the board members that have spoken believe that their decisions are just. But, I fear that the Hillsborough County School Board is standing on the wrong side of history."

I Am Here To Make A Difference For My People

"I am here to make a difference for my people. I hope that you listen to what I have to say. I want people like you to stop judging me." Tres Whitlock

Ollibean Spotlight: Renee Salas

" Talk to people with disabilities. As many as you can: Adults, adolescents, kids. These people are the real experts on disabilities. These are the people that can tell you what life with a disability is like." Renee Salas

Ollibean Spotlight: Kerima Cevik Pay It Forward Activist

"Equal access, level playing field, dignity, respect for my son and all his community. No separate classrooms separate doors or isolation from others. See I’m a woman of color. When I began my education you could still see the Colored Only bathrooms in the Deep South. If you put my son in one room and say he is not good enough to be where the law says he should be, with his peers, then red flags of segregation fly up at me. Many parents of color feel the wrongness of it organically, but they have been convinced that their neurodiverse children are not good enough for their neighborhood school and that their children are a distraction or threat to typical children in some way. The different operating system in their child’s brain throws them off, particularly when maladaptive behaviors are in the mix. It leaves them feeling guilty, helpless, afraid their kids will come to harm, and they listen to anyone, even if their gut tells them the advice is unjust. I am and advocate of Universal Design for Learning. I think my son can be with his peers in age as well as ability and everyone can benefit." Kerima Cevik

Believing in Your Child and Why It Matters

"No one affects a child's day, dreams and future like a mother. Of course we are never perfect, but perfect is never the goal." Tonya Whitlock

Ollibean Mama Spotlight : Ariane Zurcher

"It means living in a society that embraces the diversity of human beings. It means inclusion is a way of life and manifests itself in every aspect of our culture, from the schools and education, to the work place and everything in between… It means paradise!" Ariane Zurcher