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Columbia Union Office of Education Hosts NAD REACH Training Event

By Beth Michaels

The Columbia Union Conference Office of Education recently conducted its first North American Division (NAD) REACH (Reaching to Educate All Children for Heaven) training session. Fifteen educators, representing elementary and secondary schools in each of the Columbia Union’s eight conferences, came to learn how to train others the REACH inclusion model.

“This is a great opportunity [for teachers] to learn how to emphasize working with all children’s particular needs, including those with learning differences,” said Debra Fryson, associate director for the NAD Office of Education. “In each union, teachers are being trained how to implement the REACH process and also how to support other teachers to do the same.”

Roberta Fleck, Alternative Learning Center director at Walla Walla Valley Academy in Washington state, led the training session, along with Fryson and LaVona Gillham, associate director for the Columbia Union’s Office of Education,

The REACH inclusion model is defined in the REACH Resource Manual that was produced by education professionals throughout the United States and published last year. Every school in the Columbia Union now has a copy of the manual. Fryson and Gillham are just two of the research/inclusion members on the manual committee who are helping to implement REACH into Columbia Union classrooms.

“This training will provide uniformity within our union, from school to school,” explained Gillham. “These trainers will provide other teachers with strategies and materials to identify and accommodate the many learning differences that are seen in a regular classroom. It’s exciting to see how our educators are embracing the idea.”