- Paperback: 200 pages
- Publisher: Harvard Education Press (October 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1612501095
- ISBN-13: 978-1612501093
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 23.5 x 15.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #560,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Blind Advantage: How Going Blind Made Me a Stronger Principal and How Including Children with Disabilities Made Our School Better for Everyone
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In an age when the word “hero” is overused, Bill Henderson clearly deserves the title. Long before most educators embraced the concept of inclusion, Bill built a school that became a model of equity and excellence. This book offers a rare glimpse of highly effective school leader. --Thomas Hehir, professor of practice, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Bill Henderson, a pioneer in inclusive urban school leadership, provides an honest, practical, and joyful guide as to what it takes to make inclusion work organizationally and instructionally. A must read for educators and parents! --David P. Riley, executive director, Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative
From the Back Cover
That was the advice first-year teacher Bill Henderson received when he discovered he was gradually losing his vision. Instead, Henderson persevered and became principal of the Patrick O’Hearn Elementary School in Boston, an ethnically and economically diverse school where about a third of the students have mild, moderate, or significant disabilities.
In The Blind Advantage, Henderson describes how the journey into blindness helped him develop key qualities—determination, vision, sensitivity, organization, collaboration, and humor—that made him a more effective principal. At the same time, he shows how the inclusionary policies and practices at the O’Hearn School (now renamed the William W. Henderson Inclusion Elementary School) elicited and developed these qualities in others.
The Blind Advantage provides insight into the challenges, possibilities, and practicalities of including students with disabilities—and into the mind and heart of an inspired and determined leader.
“In an age when the word ‘hero’ is overused, Bill Henderson clearly deserves the title. Long before most educators embraced the concept of inclusion, Bill built a school that became a model of equity and excellence. This book offers a rare glimpse of a highly effective school leader.” — Thomas Hehir, professor of practice, Harvard Graduate School of Education
“Bill Henderson, a pioneer in inclusive urban school leadership, provides an honest, practical, and joyful guide to what it takes to make inclusion work organizationally and instructionally. A must-read for educators and parents!” — David P. Riley, executive director, Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative
“Henderson provides an honest, heartfelt account of his experiences coping with vision loss and his leadership in the inclusive education movement. He offers practical advice and guidance for parents and educators. The Blind Advantage should be a required acquisition for public, academic, and special library collections.” — Kim Charlson, library director, Braille & Talking Book Library, Perkins School for the Blind
“Bill Henderson’s book artfully blends his personal narrative about gradually becoming blind, the counterintuitive effect this had on his work as a principal, and his school’s success in including children with severe special needs in regular classrooms. The heart of Bill’s book is a series of case studies that show how inclusion can be transformational for students—and for the adults who serve them.” — Kim Marshall, former Boston Public School principal and editor of the Marshall Memo
Bill Henderson was an educator in the Boston Public Schools for 36 years. He was appointed principal of the Patrick O’Hearn Elementary School in 1989 with a mandate to develop an inclusive program, and he remained its leader for twenty years.
Top customer reviews
I have been lucky enough to have three students attend the O'Hearn, and I can tell you that Dr. Henderson is a more amazing man than he gives himself credit for in these pages. He truly cares about every student, past or present, and every family he has worked with. He has the respect of all. And the work he started during the first 20 years of inclusion at the O'Hearn is being carried on by a new principal and the devoted and caring teachers and staff. But I don't recommend this book because I know Dr. Henderson, but rather because I'd like every educator to know him---to really understand what inclusion means. It meant my daughter, when she was diagnosed with autism, could attend the same school her older brothers did, and be truly included there. It meant my older son had the help he needed to be on track to start college in a year with a 4.0 GPA. It meant my middle son had a wonderful 8 years, from ages 3-11, with his friends, children with and without disabilities, and was helped to become the fine young man he is. If you are an administrator thinking of working to make your school inclusive, this book will surely inspire you.
Thank you, Dr. Henderson, for all you have done, including writing this book to help others follow your path.