Gregory Heights Elementary School
16201 16th Avenue SW Burien, WA 98166

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Creating a Sense of Belonging

Creating a Sense of Belonging

Rookie Teacher of the Year: Kristen O'Connor

Step into Gregory Heights Elementary and you'll find special education teacher Kristen O'Connor seamlessly moving from one classroom to another. Here, students of all abilities and needs learn together.

Rather than teaching from a single room, Kristen meets students where they are in general education classrooms, not separated into different classrooms or schools. 

This is what we call “inclusive education.” All students receive the support and resources they need as part of one learning community where all are welcome, valued and safe.

Inclusion benefits everyone. In Kristen's classrooms, students not only learn academic subjects but also master friendship and problem-solving skills and develop a positive self-image. They learn acceptance and respect — qualities that will serve them beyond school walls. 

Join us in celebrating Kristen O'Connor, this year's Gold Star Award recipient for Rookie Teacher of the Year. Her skilled teaching and heart show us how powerful inclusive schools can be.