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Celebrating 50 years of “Each Belongs” in the HWCDSB

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of “Each Belongs” in the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board.

Each Belongs is a philosophy of inclusive education that supports the full integration of students with special education needs into mainstream schools.

In 1969, the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board forever changed the course of Catholic education when it adopted “Each Belongs,” a special education model built on six principles. The last of those – “the kicker” – stated that the integration of all children into the ordinary school system was a reasonable aim.

“That was 50 years ago when segregation and institutionalization was the way children with special education needs were predominantly handled,” said Director of Education David Hansen. “And here we are 50 years down the road, 50 years of gifted educators ensuring that we have a fully inclusive school system.”

In this tribute video, educators, administrators and parents, past and present, reflect on the impact of Each Belongs.

“The heart of our school system is the belief that in every classroom, our students are works of God – creation alive,” said Hansen in concluding remarks. “And if we believe that then we have no choice but to understand that the philosophy of ‘Each Belongs’ has to guide our school system.”

“Or, as James Hansen would say, 'Each student belongs not because he or she can or cannot do something. Each belongs because he or she is.'”

Video produced by Matt Trabucco.