Climbing The Rock Wall (Steve Guditus @sguditus)


This weekend, I attended the Adaptive Open House at the Lynch van Otterloo YMCA in Marblehead, MA.  A fabulous event for many reasons, one of which was meeting some amazing people.  As I witnessed a wheelchair-bound guest be lifted out of her chair and proceed to climb the rock wall in the lobby, I thought about school (to where my mind often wanders).

I had seen many people climb that rock wall in the lobby, but had never seen someone without the use of their legs climb the rock wall.  The accomplishment was the same, and I found myself overwhelmed watching the accomplishment in the lobby.  Holding the expectation the same, the athlete had spotters and climbing rope assist her, which allowed her to make the same accomplishment as all other rock wall climbers.  Truly, the Y had provided the scaffolding required to allow the athlete to accomplish her goal.  

I wondered, Do we always provide the proper scaffolding to all of our students, so they are able to climb the rock wall?  Students come in all shapes and sizes, with all sorts of strengths and weaknesses; some students need more grips on the rock wall, others need spotters, some need additional ropes and supports, but ultimately, schools must do whatever it takes to help students accomplish the same goal: climbing the rock wall.

Do we always ensure high standards for all of our students, including those with a disability, despite an obstacle or a weakness? We must remember, as Rick Wormeli coined, "fair isn't always equal." Is it fair for some students to get extended time, enlarged text or less homework volume? Yes. As educators, we must do whatever it takes to provide scaffolding so all students can climb the rock wall. When some students need something more or something different, what an inspiring visual to remember that all students deserve whatever it takes for them to achieve high standards.

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