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“Vision for Inclusive Practices”. Inclusion “Inclusion incorporates all children as active, fully participating members of the school community; that.

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Presentation on theme: "“Vision for Inclusive Practices”. Inclusion “Inclusion incorporates all children as active, fully participating members of the school community; that."— Presentation transcript:

1 “Vision for Inclusive Practices”

2 Inclusion “Inclusion incorporates all children as active, fully participating members of the school community; that views diversity as the norm; and that maintains a high quality education for each student by assuring meaningful curriculum, effective teaching, and necessary supports.”

3 History of Inclusion “Big Picture” In the beginning, we were serving more students in separate schools (i.e. Springer ILC and DAP). Then, we had students in cluster sites (The Bush school used to be where all students with special needs went for kindergarten). Now, we are serving most of our students in their home schools.

4 Goals for District Leadership for Special Education Programs Establish a Shared Vision Build consensus around what special education is and how various programs, service models, and instructional practices best serve our students. Raise the level of professionalism around special education staff in order to maximize and be more systematic in the delivery of services. Continue to improve in the area of customer service by adopting a “servant to servant” approach with a our families and buildings.

5 Organizational Changes to District Office-Fall 2012 The Board of Education and Dr. Holodick commitment to special education programs with district level support. Supervisor of Special Education dedicated to just special education programs. Two additional coordinators for special education (Kate Siegel- Elementary and Susan Krikelis- Secondary).

6 The Stetson Report- April 2006 In 2005, BSD requested Stetson & Associates, Inc. to submit a proposal for consideration as an external evaluator of services provided to students with disabilities within the district. The purpose of this evaluation was to look at how BSD was serving students with disabilities and make recommendations for improvements.

7 Evaluation Tools Focus group sessions with multiple stakeholders Parent Forum with district personnel Surveys of parent perceptions of BSD services for students with disabilities Surveys of faculty members’ perceptions Structured interviews and classroom observations Review of comparable district statistics and other information

8 Six Emerging Themes A Common Vision for Students with Disabilities within the Context of Inclusive Education Decision-Making Processes that are Student Centered Instructional Excellence for All Students within the Context of High Standards Staffing Models that Support Student Success An Atmosphere of Collegiality and a Focus on Effective Collaboration Respectful and Productive Parent-School Partnerships

9 A Common Vision for Students with Disabilities within the Context of Inclusive Education Overall, Stetson stated that the district should be applauded regarding its movement toward inclusive education practices. Create a clear understanding the BSD desires a “unified system” leaving the parallel system behind. “Embrace, Inspire, and Challenge Every Student Every Day” Prepare a brief matrix of current, research based practices related to inclusion, access to the general education curriculum, collaborative planning and service models.

10 Common Vision-continued Connect best practices for student with disabilities with best practices for all students (Learning Focused Solutions, Response to Intervention, Instructional Support Teams). Various communication methods from district office to reiterate their shared commitment to expectations (parent, school, team, PLC, department meetings). Effectively address students with disabilities in our school success plans. Ensure distribution of resources is equitable to support schools (allocation meetings).

11 Common Vision-Continued Provide training to school administrators (Administrative Monthly PLCs). Create and share an operational definition of inclusive education (Council revisiting). Clarify roles and responsibilities of staff (Council revisiting). Encourage schools to consider multiple ways in which special education personnel are incorporated in team meetings (accomplished). Clear feeder patterns have been outlined and the district has reconfigured the elementary and middle school grades.

12 Decision-Making Processes that are Student Centered The district has created a vision and purpose for the Instructional Support Team (IST) Model. The district has committed an IST Facilitator in the elementary buildings. The district continues to refine the process for IST. The buildings utilize various data and data collection methods (i.e. Itracker Pro) to monitor student progress. The district is working to implement Response to Intervention (RTI). Professional Development in the area of IST and RTI has been ongoing. The goal for both the IST and RTI models is to support students that are academically struggling.

13 Instructional Excellence for All Students within the Context of High Standards The district designed guidelines/procedures for accessing the general education curriculum. However, this needs to be evaluated again. Buildings are utilizing options to support students within the general education curriculum (i.e. co-teaching and in class support). However, this is an area for growth. The district has offered professional development in special education. However, the professional development plan needs to be more systematic. There has been a commitment from the district with Learning Focused Solutions. LFS is student focused and helps teachers plan lessons more effectively. The district continues to support best practices through cooperative learning, student-centered learning, and positive behavioral supports.

14 Instructional Excellence- continued Accommodations and modifications are developed by the Individualized Education Plan Teams. They support access to the general education curriculum. Flexible, heterogeneous, and homogenous groupings are used in increase instructional effectiveness. There are an elementary and secondary grading committees that are currently meeting. The district has and continues to develop reference materials for administrators regarding effective instruction. Instructional technology is being reviewed by Jud Wagner. The recent passing of the referendum addressed this area. A plan for the increasing need to get technology into the hands of our students is being developed.

15 Staffing Models that Support Student Success Master Schedules are currently being discussed in order to best serve student needs. At our Administrative Professional Learning Community (PLCs) meetings, we are looking at how to best utilize earned staffing units under the Delaware Department of Education’s Guidelines. The district holds allocation meetings with building level administrators in an open forum. The Educational Diagnostician’s (ED) role is no longer split with the IST role. The primary function of the ED’s role is to serve special education programs. Professional development continues to be an area that the district is seeking to address systematically.

16 An Atmosphere of Collegiality and a Focus on Effective Collaboration The implementation of the Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) have created more opportunities for teachers to plan collaboratively. However, the district continues to challenge itself to provide more opportunities. The district has committed additional support to the buildings with the hiring of the two additional coordinators. District and building level administrative staff consistently meet on a monthly basis. Currently, I meet with our identified building level “special education experts” on a monthly basis. At the these meetings, the emphasis is on special education topics. The district is striving to send the message to our buildings and families that we are here to serve them.

17 Respectful and Productive Parent-School Partnerships The district continues to strive for parent/family partnerships. We are presently working on relationship building through our Brandywine Special Needs PTA. We have engaged in a number of conversations thus far. The district is going to strive for increased avenues for parent/family participation in our goals moving forward. The district has been partnering with the Parent Information Center (PIC) and our internal family engagement teams. We are increasing opportunities for parents and educators to receive training relevant to special education. For example, we are going to hold a webinar on February 20 th, 2013 from 3:30 to 5:00pm at Claymont Elementary- 2 nd Floor Conference Room. The topic will be, “Creating Inclusive IEPS.” The webinar is open to families and staff. The buildings continue to work on building relationships with families and sending an inclusive message. In December, we celebrated Inclusive Schools Education Week. The message was “Its not just a seat!” The district continues to work at developing “genuine “ relationships with our families. We truly want families to feel comfortable that they can reach out to schools and district office for support.

18 Current Initiatives The reorganization of the district and it’s commitment to additional support to help facilitate improvements. Evaluating current programs and services. Identifying the needs in those programs and services and working to build systems that will serve our students more effectively and efficiently. The Special Education Council has been established and has met two times thus far. From the staff perspective, these themes were identified as areas of need: – 1. Roles and responsibilities – 2. IEP Writing – 3. Specialized Instruction – 4. Professional Development – 5. Programs and Services – 6. Communication

19 Current Initiatives-continued Created a Professional Learning Community (PLC) for building level administrators that will become “Special Education Experts.” We hold monthly professional development on special education topics. Evaluating practices in the related services area (i.e. Speech and Language and School Psychology). Identifying current practices in Inclusion and designing improvements. Utilizing coordinators to support efforts in helping teachers better understand and implement inclusive practices. Build consistency within our inclusive models and the language we use to define them and evaluate their progress.

20 Special Education Council’s Vision (Draft) The special education council’s vision is that students with disabilities will reach their full potential as members of society. We embrace parents/guardians as collaborative partners in a process that promotes trust and respect. Each student shall be treated as a unique individual and shall receive appropriate inclusive education through the use of best practices based on scientific research.


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