2016 TASH Conference has ended
Each year, the TASH Conference strengthens the disability field by connecting attendees to innovative information and resources, facilitating connections between stakeholders within the disability movement, and helping attendees reignite their passion for an inclusive world. This year’s conference theme, “Gateway to Equity,” explores inclusive communities, schools, and workplaces that support people with disabilities, including those with complex support needs, in living a fair, just, and balanced life. Return to TASH website.
Wednesday, November 30 • 8:30am - 5:30pm
Faith and Inclusion: Embracing Inclusion for People with Disabilities in School and Community LIMITED

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Limited Capacity seats available

*Note: We have reached out to different private schools from other religions in the state in hopes to have a more diverse discussion. If they agree to participate, we will add them to the schedule. 

This inter-faith workshop will discuss practical approaches to ensure inclusion in all faith-based environments, including school, community, and congregation. Discussions will demonstrate how these approaches can work anywhere regardless of specific religion. 
This workshop is co-sponsored by Bethesda Lutheran Communities and by One-Classroom.

Who Should Attend?  
  • Religious leaders, Clergy, Congregation Leaders, Lay Leaders and Members
  • Parents and Family Members
  • Self-Advocates
  • Adult Service Providers
  • Educators
  • University/Divinity Students and Faculty

8:20- 9:10 AM In The Beginning: Catholic Theology, Catholic Social Teaching. This presentation is designed to equip attendees to be better advocates for inclusion in their faith communities. This module explores the theological principals the underpin our concepts of social justice and civil rights. However, advocacy in our faith communities is based on our relationship to Christ and we explore the life of Christ and the gospels and how His example directly inspires us. This session will build upon Christ’s example and these principals and explain Catholic Social Teaching as it applies to individuals with disabilities. We will also explore and learn from the advocacy of our leaders such as Pope Francis and Archbishop Carlson. Presenters: Tony Armitage, Director of One Classroom Foundation, and Michele Chronister, Co-chair Council for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, National Catholic Partnership on Disability.

9:10- 10:00 AM The Whole Family Matters. This presentation will explore how faith communities can learn to Be Sanctuary, Be In Fellowship, Create Places of Belonging and Move to Mutual Ministry through meaningful participation for the WHOLE family who experience developmental disability. Individuals, parents, siblings, grandparents and extended family all experience this journey differently. Explore how the journey of disability affects everyone in the family unit. Learn supports for each person who experiences the journey uniquely. Find tools to equip staff to minister with the whole family so they are not just surviving, but are thriving. Thriving includes using their gifts to fill a vital role in the spiritual life of the faith community. Presenter: Mona Fuerstenau, Director of Ministry Partnerships for Bethesda Lutheran Communities

10:00-10:10 AM Break

10:10 – 11:00 Advocacy, Change & Support: “FIRE Foundation” and “One Classroom” This presentation is designed to help the attendees better understand how to advocate and achieve change in their faith communities. Creating real, sustainable change in a faith community can be a complex and daunting endeavor. Two foundations dedicated to promoting and supporting inclusive education in their respective dioceses discuss their missions, organizational approach, and advice for promoting and supporting inclusive education. Presenters: Lynn Hire, Executive Director of FIRE Foundation & Tony Armitage, Director of One Classroom.

11:00-11:50AM Ending Marginalization by Disability. Explore how to become a person and place of welcome and belonging for people of all abilities. Discover how the intersection of faith and disability can reduce marginalization and increase community for people with disabilities. Everyone has unique gifts to bring to the table once they are invited, welcomed and valued in their participation. It begins with breaking down barriers and that begins with relationships. Presenter: Rev Josh Galgan, Western Division Director of Religious Life for Bethesda Lutheran Communities.

11:50AM-12:40PM Lunch Break on Your Own

12:40-1:30 All Are Welcome: Building the Capacity of Parochial and Faith-Based Schools to Serve the Needs of Students with Disabilities.  “All Are Welcome” is an initiative designed to support Catholic schools to develop innovative ways to meet the needs of all children within the Catholic school setting. This four-part process features professional development and direct support so that Catholic schools can develop innovative and sustainable programs to meet the needs of students. Learner Outcomes: Describe the essential components to implement an inclusive approach in Catholic Schools.; Identify critical elements for effective partnerships to support students. Presenter: Michael J. Boyle, Ph.D., Director of the Andrew M. Greeley Center for Catholic Education at Loyola University Chicago

1:30-2:20 Facilitating Natural Supports in Faith Communities. This session will explore the potential of faith communities as the ultimate community networking network! Identify entry points through shared interests and desires. Find practical ways to begin growing disability awareness within your faith community and move to experiencing meaningful participation, mutual ministry and life together with those with disabilities. Natural supports result when people are in relationship. Intentional engagement tools, models and best practices will be shared. Presenters: Mona Fuerstenau, Director of Ministry Partnerships for Bethesda Lutheran Communities, Rev Josh Galgan Western Division Director of Religious Life, Bethesda Lutheran Communities.

2:20-2:30 PM Break 

2:30-3:20 PM Case Study: Mary Queen Of Peace: From “No” to “Yes.” How one parish school became inclusive. Inclusion happens one student at a time, one family at a time, one school at a time. The purpose of this presentation is to help the attendees take real life obstacles and challenges, and how they were overcome and managed, back to their community. This presentation shares the example of how one parish school wrestled with the challenges of addressing inclusive education and eventually opened their doors to students with special needs. This presentation also explores the day to day challenges of managing change, implementation and training, and resource availability. Presenters: Nicolette Gibson, Director of Inclusive Education, Kansas City, St. Joseph Diocese & Amy Schroff, Principal at Mary Queen Of Peace School, Webster Groves, MO

*3:20-4:20 PM Islamic Private Education- Description and presenters TBA

*4:20- 5:20 PM Jewish Private Education-  Description and presenters TBA

5:20- 5:30 All Hands Talk- ALL presenters discuss lessons learned by Tony Armitage

avatar for Tony Armitage

Tony Armitage

Director, One Classroom
One Classroom is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating inclusive educational opportunities for children with special needs. We believe every child deserves a Catholic education in their local parish school in full community with their peers. One Classroom creates awareness... Read More →
avatar for Michael Boyle

Michael Boyle

Director, Andrew M. Greeley Center for Catholic Education-Loyola University
Michael J. Boyle is the Director of the Andrew M. Greeley Center for Catholic Education at Loyola University Chicago. Dr. Boyle has worked in education in a variety of settings and roles. As a school psychologist at both the high school and elementary levels, he worked with students... Read More →
avatar for Michele Chronister

Michele Chronister

co-chair Council for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, National Catholic Partnership on Disability
Michele is a wife, mother, and speaker & author advocating for individuals with special needs. Michelle has a Masters degree in theology from Notre Dame University and her books include “Handbook for Adaptive Catechesis” a guide for those in ministry for individuals with disabilities... Read More →
avatar for Mona Fuerstenau

Mona Fuerstenau

Bethesda Lutheran Communities
Mona Fuerstenau is a longtime disability advocate passionate about communities of belonging, currently working primarily in faith communities. Her role with Bethesda Lutheran Communities as Director of Ministry Partnerships nationally led to the sponsorship and development of this... Read More →
avatar for Josh Galgan

Josh Galgan

Bethesda Lutheran Communities
Josh Galgan is the Western Division Director of Religious Life for Bethesda Lutheran Communities. In this role Josh leads a team of people in six different western states that work one on one with adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities to determine their desired... Read More →
avatar for Nicolette Gibson

Nicolette Gibson

Director of Inclusive Education, Kansas City - St. Joseph Catholic Schools
Nicolette is the Director of Inclusive Education for the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph, MO. She began supporting Inclusion in this role in 2006. Since that time she has worked to support the inclusion of students with a wide range of disabilities and needs in their parish... Read More →
avatar for Lynn Hire

Lynn Hire

executive director, FIRE Foundation
Lynn is the executive director of the FIRE Foundation, an organization founded in 1996 to support inclusion in Catholic schools in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri. She oversees all advocacy and fundraising initiatives for FIRE. Since its inception, FIRE has granted... Read More →
avatar for Amy Schroff

Amy Schroff

Principal, Mary Queen of Peace School
I am the principal of Mary Queen of Peace Catholic School in Webster Groves, MO. We are a preschool-grade 8 parish elementary school. We have embarked on the journey of inclusive education, welcoming students with Down syndrome and other special needs. I'll be co-presenting a session... Read More →

Wednesday November 30, 2016 8:30am - 5:30pm CST
Grand C 1820 Market Street, St. Louis, MO 63103