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Laurie Meston Receives National Inclusive Education Award

Education Watch image13Inclusion BC recognizes Laurie Meston, Senior Administrator, with the National Inclusive Education Award.

Mrs. Laurie Meston who is currently the Acting Superintendent of the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows School District was recognized by Inclusion BC and the Canadian Association for Community Living with a National Award in 2014.

Mrs. Meston began her career with the district at a time when inclusion in the school system for students with special needs was a brand new model. In a variety of roles such as district consultant, vice principal, principal, Director of Student Support Services, Deputy and Acting Superintendent, Mrs. Meston has translated her belief, that all students must be supported to fully participate in all aspects of school life, into concrete policies and practices.

For the past 30 years she has continuously demonstrated her enthusiasm to go above and beyond what is expected in order to establish a welcoming and inclusive learning experience for all students. For example, Mrs. Meston
has ensured that all students participated in all school events, field trips and in particular an annual outdoor education trip, no matter the location. She provided direct, ongoing support to school staff by:

  • Being actively involved in developing and implementing programs for children who challenge schools the most;
  • Being a liaison between school and home; and
  • Helping to find solutions when issues arose.

Among her many, many accomplishments, Mrs. Meston:

  • Led the district in the very first Ministry of Education internal and external review of Special Education;
  • Established what was perhaps the first Inclusive Education Committee in the province; and
  • Served as president of BC Council for Administrators of Special Education and developed teaching resources designed for leaning assistance and resource teachers.

A colleague of Mrs. Mestons’s says this about her:

“She has lived and breathed being part of moving from more segregated settings to all children attending their neighbourhood school. She has championed ensuring that all children are educated with their peers, working with parents to develop comfortableness with their children attending the local school, listening to the concerns and fears of teachers about teaching children with special needs and promoting the motto, of “Try it, Fly it, Fix it”. She walks the talk.”

Mrs. Meston continues to provide leadership and support to principals to ensure schools respond from an inclusive mindset – all in the midst of budget challenges.

Inclusive education means ensuring that all students are educated with their peers in regular classrooms, have equitable access to learning and achievement, and are welcomed, valued and supported in the education system.

For more than ten years Inclusion BC, in conjunction with the Canadian Association for Community Living, have been presenting awards to individuals and teams who are making a positive contribution to inclusive education in BC.