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McCutcheon students create and relate
Sue Scott

Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team to compete in basketball, football and other sports. A new program at McCutcheon High School has special education students collaborating to create works of art together.

Students in Julia Berry’s ceramics class mentor special education students to help them create a textured bowl and holiday ornaments. Berry says it’s an opportunity to have an inclusive art room where everyone feels included, valued and encouraged.

“My students have used the texture plates, doilies, and stamps with clay to show the kids what to do,” says Berry. “The goal is for the guest artists to create their own pieces with little help from their mentors.”

Senior Andrea Nufer helped Josh with his textured bowl. When it came time to paint Josh favored bright yellow and fluorescent pink. “I feel like we all got to know each other through our actions instead of words,” says Andrea. “I hope that through our little game of charades Josh was able to make something he was proud of and I think both of us had fun making those gifts for his parents.”

Special Education Teacher Matt Muncy says his essential skills students loved the opportunity to join the art class to make something with their hands. “Utilizing clay is a great sensory activity for many of our students,” says Muncy. “It was also a great social opportunity for our students to engage with their peers in other classes.”

“I think it gave Josh a break from his routine and let him have some fun with art and be able to make things the way he wanted to,” adds Andrea. “I think it helped me to learn how to communicate without perfect language, and spread joy.”