Teacher and Band Leader
Lewisville Middle School, Riverview
An Efforts toward Inclusive Education Award in the intermediate education category was presented to Laura Huffaker. She was nominated by her co-worker, methods and resource teacher Sandra Smith.
Laura Huffaker is the music teacher at Lewisville Middle School in Riverview. She is also the middle school band teacher and runs the school’s beginner band program. According to her nominator, Ms. Huffaker “Works tirelessly to create and implement lesson plans that are inclusive to every child in her class, regardless of ability.”
Ms. Huffaker extends the same consideration in her band program. As Ms. Smith wrote: “You don’t often see students who require teacher’s aides attending extra-curricular clubs and activities, but several attend Ms. Huffaker’s beginner band.
“She recognizes the importance of music in a child’s life and does not feel that a physical, emotional or intellectual disability should interfere with that relationship. . . . She demonstrates enormous patience by providing any and all additional instruction and practice time that her students require to fully participate in beginner band. It is a pleasure to see such an inclusive extra-curricular activity at our school.”
A story recounted by parent Kim Daborn in her letter of support for Ms. Huffaker’s nomination captures just how this wonderful teacher has changed at least one family’s life.
Mrs. Daborn wrote:
“My 12-year-old son, Brent, is in Grade 7 at Lewisville Middle School in Moncton. Brent has cerebral palsy, is confined to a wheelchair and has limited motor skills. Aside from that, Brent is a very bright and verbal young man. His biggest struggles in life are being able to do things ‘like my friends do.’”
Her letter went on to recount how every year Brent would ask to sign up for various extracurricular activities like sports, drama and so on, and how disappointed he would be when he would learn that he could not.
“Since a very young age Brent has had a love for music and has shown great interest in musical instruments,” the boy’s mom wrote.
“Once again this year, he came home very excited. It was time for kids to sign up for band and he wanted me to sign the permission form, literally begging me to. . . .
“My heart broke once again to see the disappointment in his eyes when I tried to explain to him that I didn’t think this would be possible. So, I wrote to Ms. Huffaker asking if there was any way that Brent could be part of the LMS band. Ms. Huffaker had no hesitation in replying ‘yes, we will find something for him to play and make it work.
“Today Brent is a very proud member of the LMS school band playing the tambourine and attending band practice once a week…
Mrs. Daborn concluded her letter by saying:
“Ms. Huffaker has made a difference in a child’s life by overlooking the disability and removing the barriers.”