We first became aware of Hope Technology School (HTS) through Russ Ewell (@D_Scribbler), founder of Hope Technology Group. He shared that HTS was an excellent example of what a genuinely inclusive school looks like. We reached out to Howard Kiyuna (@HowardKiyuna), a teacher at HTS and asked a few questions about how he got started with the school and what he thinks makes HTS a great learning environment for all students. Below is his response:
My name is Howard Kiyuna, and I am the Language Arts teacher for the Middle School program at the Hope Technology School. I also serve as the Director of Technology. From 1988 to early 2001, I worked in the field of Child Development. I started this work because I wanted to work with kids. Years later, I wanted to use this experience to be of more help to others, and I began volunteering for the Hope Technology Group, which had various projects in the S.F. Bay Area. About the same time, I was also planning on changing my career to teaching regular education.
I was interested in helping the Hope Technology Group more and as it’s projects began to focus on the Special Needs community, I decided that a special education credential would be a more practical use of my talents. I went from wanting a more stable income and a three-month vacation to jumping in headfirst into a new career. I was 35 years old at the time.
Very soon after beginning the credential program, the group decided to open a school. I was in the right place at the right time. I was one of 3 teachers hired to start the school. My wife left her career in deaf education and began the pilot program in May of 2001. By the summer, we had three classrooms and a therapy department up and running.
To describe what makes our school different I will give you a quote out of our Assistive Technology Manual:
“We began with a parent’s vision of an inclusive community for families with and without disabilities. The hope was to use technology, particularly computers, to include individuals with disabilities and their typically developing peers into one classroom environment.”
For me, inclusion is a mindset. It is a goal for every student. I envision all populations of students benefiting from this experience. Our test scores and our experience tells me that it works.
I have many ideas for the school’s future. The difficulty is focusing those ideas and building smart. Inclusion involves time, planning, training, and vision. I believe that you have to want it for the kids, for the families, and the community to successfully do it. Inclusion is about serving the best interest of the student and the family. What works in one situation will not necessarily meet the needs of others.
These video clips tell the story:
Thanks for your time and attention to helping students!
Howard K. Kiyuna, M.A.
Teacher, Director of Technology
We want to thank Howard Kiyuna for his time and response to my questions… It is remarkable how much can be done for all students when you never give up on them. For more information about Hope Technology School visit their website at http://www.hopetechschool.org/.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2012 and has been updated with a new featured image and formatting.