Roger Stock, RUSD

A Touch of Understanding plays critical role in local schools

Rocklin, CA_- There are quite a few things that the Rocklin Unified School District is known for– like our outstanding students, hard-working staff members, devoted families and community members– all of which contribute to our motto of excellence in education! As part of our district’s ongoing effort for equity, though, we are diligently working to make RUSD a prominent hub for one simple word: Inclusion.

This school year, the RUSD Focus on Equity Committee has truly gone above and beyond to make this happen. These staff members are enthusiastic about all that Rocklin Unified is and can be when it comes to student success both academically and socially.

To kick-start this initiative, in conjunction with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, our Office of Educational Services was thrilled to announce the first-ever Focus on Equity event– an evening of awareness at Spring View Middle School on December 4, 2019. RUSD invited families from throughout the district and community to join us for an event that celebrated our differences and recognized the challenges that persons with disabilities sometimes face.

Those in attendance heard about the night’s importance from leaders in our Special Education and Support Programs Department as well as inspirational stories from members of our RUSD community, like Rocklin High School Alumni and Adult Transition Program student, Alec Huerrman and his mother, Candace Capron, and Spring View Middle School Independent Living Skills Supervisor, Richard Rehhaut. Students also had the chance to participate in activities that showcased various challenges that a peer with disabilities might face thanks to our generous sponsors at A Touch of Understanding, including stations for orthotics and prosthetics, learning disabilities, autism, and braille.

A highlight of the night was recognizing the winners of our poster contest! We invited our K-12 students to create a poster that showcased how students with disabilities can break barriers, focus on their strengths or achieve their dreams! Nearly 150 submissions were received and WOW– each of the posters was incredibly thoughtful and demonstrated understanding and beauty! Congratulations to our 20 winning designs, all the way from Kindergarten to 12th-grade!

After the evening came to an end, the consensus was clear: the RUSD family truly loves our Focus on Equity event and our efforts towards inclusion for all! We were overwhelmed by the amount of support during and following the evening’s events and look forward to planning our next evening of awareness.

The success of our Focus on Equity event would not be possible, however, without the generous sponsorship of both Studio Movie Grill, who provided delicious food, prizes and free admission tickets for everyone in attendance and A Touch of Understanding, who helped to spread awareness and understanding to our students and families! Many of our schools partner with A Touch of Understanding throughout the year. If you are interested in learning more about their mission and the programs they offer, visit their website at www.touchofunderstanding.org.

As we enter this new year– new decade, in fact– my pride for Rocklin Unified and all it offers continues to grow! I am truly amazed at the genuine kindness and drive that our entire RUSD family demonstrated last year and look forward to the resolutions we set for our staff, students and their families in the coming decade. What are you looking forward to this new decade? Drop me a line at rstock@rocklinusd.org and here’s hoping all of your New Year’s wishes come true!