Institute on Disability Receives Gift for Center on Inclusive Education

February 9, 2018

DURHAM, N.H. - The Institute on Disability (IOD) at the University of New Hampshire has been awarded a five-year gift by TusaRebecca and Stephen Pannucci for the Center on Inclusive Education (CIE) to promote friendships and social relationships among students with and without disabilities.

“I have so much respect and gratitude for the Pannucci family for recognizing the importance of friendship and meaningful relationships on student outcomes and overall quality of life,” shares Dr. Mary Schuh, Director of the Center on Inclusive Education. “I am confident that there will be countless students and their families quietly thanking TusaRebecca and Stephen for the tools created by their generosity.”

The CIE will collaborate with UNH’s Department of Education to support a student intern who will lead the effort to expand resources and tools for use by teachers, students, and families to expand opportunities for students with disabilities to develop authentic friendships and meaningful social relationships. Resources may include stories from students, families, and educators on strategies to develop and promote friendships among students with and without disabilities; a free online course for students, families, and educators; and gathering and promoting existing resources in a single location to be widely disseminated.

"We feel that characteristics of a healthy and successful lifestyle are predicated upon strong and meaningful personal networks.  We recognize that, most often, childhood friendships are developed in schools, and we want to encourage learning environments where children with disabilities are given every opportunity to engage and establish relationships with all students. This is the work that the Center on Inclusive Education is focused on and we are thrilled to be able to support their efforts” share TusaRebecca and Stephen Pannucci.

The Center on Inclusive Education (CIE) at the Institute on Disability/UCED at the University of New Hampshire advances the view that disability is a natural part of the human experience and promotes the inclusion of all students within general education classrooms and school communities. A leader in the transformation of schools so that students of all abilities are successfully learning in their home schools within general education settings, the CIE believes that when students with disabilities are provided appropriate instruction and supports, they can learn grade-level general education curriculum, communicate in ways that are commensurate with their same-age peers without disabilities, have meaningful social relationships, and graduate from high school—college and career ready.