Wave Staff Report
CULVER CITY — For the first time in its history last year, the Culver City Unified School District celebrated October as Disability Awareness Month, with individual events and projects at each school site. The milestone was conceived of and achieved in no small part by local parent Lindsay Crain.
Crain, in partnership with fellow Linwood E. Howe Elementary School parent Deborah Snoonian Glenn, formed the first school site PTA Disability Committee in 2017 at the end of her daughter, Lena’s, kindergarten year.
It sparked a movement as additional school sites established Special Ed Committees, all under the umbrella of a newly formed District Special Education Committee.
“I couldn’t reconcile that my daughter, who has cerebral palsy, was in a segregated class with other fantastic kids who happened to have disabilities,” Crain said. “It was a visceral reaction watching a subset of students separated from their peers.
“That year was an awakening of watching my daughter’s class be relegated to ‘other,’ despite good intentions and the normalization of outdated special education practices. I threw myself into learning more about inclusion and best practices.
“Once you see how inclusion can and should look, you can’t unsee it. Every child deserves a standards-based education. They deserve to be sitting next to their same-aged peers with teachers who are invested in them and believe they are worth it.”
Crain has remained a passionate and active leader in the district’s special education and disability awareness movement since Lena’s days at Lin Howe Elementary. With Lena now at Culver City Middle School, the Culver City Disability Advisory Committee, through the Parks, Recreation & Community Services Department, honored her Oct. 11 as the City Council declared October Disability Awareness Month and issued a proclamation.
Megan Oddsen Goodwin, a parent volunteer in the district, nominated Crain for this special award.
“Lindsay has been an amazing source of help and support for Culver City parents of children with special needs, helping them navigate the school system and advocating for their rights in and outside of the classroom,” Goodwin said. “She’s also a major advocate and has been a huge influence on the inclusion model that now exists within [the district]. We owe so much to her.”
Crain has also helped countless others through her work at Special X and Undivided, which is an invaluable resource and service to families with special needs. Undivided is a trusted partner helping parents raising kids with disabilities dream bigger and achieve more through community, collective knowledge and resource support.
“I’m thrilled the city stands behind the years of hard work parents and the district have been doing to forward inclusive practices for all students,” Crain said. “I’m excited to continue building an environment where the strengths of all students are valued, nurtured and celebrated.
“Kids in our district will now grow up learning alongside children with and without disabilities as the norm instead of the exception. We still have much work to do, but I’m proud our city is committed to leading the way in educational equity and inclusion.”
“Lindsay is just an amazing woman whose kind, compassionate persistent sprit is making a huge difference in the lives of many children and adults in Culver City and beyond,” Goodwin added.