All-Access Choir to include all abilities
December 9, 2019
The DGN Fine Arts program has always pushed inclusion. Whether it be painting or musical theater, there is a spot for anyone who wants one. All-Access Choir is no different.
All-Access Choir is a class where students with special needs and general education students are brought together to learn songs in a safe environment. Although it is not an official class, it does not stop students from requesting their 8th period off to join the inviting environment.
“I had never been in a choir before and I really wanted to be in one, but I wasn’t a good singer. So, I joined All-Access because of the welcoming environment” senior and third-year All-Access Choir student Carly Hazen said.
The choir meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays every week during 8th period and connects special needs kids with a passion for singing with student volunteers who enjoy helping others.
“The average day we stretch and do warm-ups. Then, we rehearse two or three songs. And last but not least, we have a dance party where we all get together and dance to our favorite songs,” junior Hope Tschosik said.
All-Access was started about ten years ago to experiment with a relaxing different way to form relationships between multi-needs students and general education students.
“There’s not a lot of other times during the school day when groups like this are brought together. It doesn’t even have to be between students with special needs and general education students. It’s kind of everyone,” choir teacher Beth O’Riordan said.
The goal for the students is to learn to connect different peer groups together to have a fun learning experience. General education students tend to take the lead in what they choose to do that day, even making lesson plans and choosing songs for the next days.
“It’s cool because you get to learn more about your peers and special education students and what their lives are like and how you can meet their needs and involve them in a general education setting,” Hazen said.
Although the class is labeled as a choir, students do not need to have any previous musical experience to join.
“It’s called All-Access for a reason, anyone can join. You don’t have to be in a choir, it doesn’t really matter. It’s a really comfortable environment to be in. Everyone is super accepting; there’s no judgment,” senior Kate Morrisey said.
All-Access Choir students create friendships and learn lessons every day, leaving a lasting impact on everyone in the class.
“You don’t need to be a good singer to do it, but if you are looking for something fun to do, you will make some of the best relationships you will have during high school,” junior Nora Long said.