Now is the time. Shifting mindset required.

Embedding Inclusive Practices.

When you think about inclusion, what comes to mind? You may think first of including everyone in an educational setting. Good start. What does that look like? Maybe it is making sure you do not forget to invite the students with disabilities to the assembly, making sure the speaker is loud enough for the student who is hard of hearing at the end of the day for announcements.

Inclusion isn’t about “those” kids or “these” kids… it’s about understanding that intelligence takes many forms and finding ways to accept every one of them in the classroom.  It’s about reaching, teaching, and including all kids. -Lydia Wayman

Expertise with inclusive instructional practices involves the ability to make use of practices that give each student access to the knowledge and skills in the general education curriculum (Frattura & Capper, 2007; Tomlinson, 2017). Effective assessment of instruction focuses simultaneously on improving student learning and improving instructional effectiveness (e.g., Black & Wiliam, 2006; Maughan, Teeman, & Wilson, 2012). It involves the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data about adults’ implementation of practices as well as about students’ emerging competence. In both cases, assessment is effective only as a support for wise decision-making. Student learning benefits when educators use assessment information to improve how they teach. 

In order to best serve in a culture of inclusion-it is not just about students. When coming to the table to make educational decisions, inclusion means making curriculum decisions with special education, family, partners, technology, and outside agencies, etc. at the table. Having all partners working towards making inclusive instructional practices based decisions provides optimal outcomes for ALL. Restructuring your day to provide for inclusive team planning practices sounds like a scheduling nightmare. While this is challenging, now is time.

Inclusion is not making sure that each student can have equal opportunities. It is not making sure that available teachers and administrators can come together if they are available. Inclusion means making sure that there is equal access to reach every student, to require you to have all of the players at the table, even when we have to stretch out minds to make it happen. Because it matters.  

The drive for truly inclusive education is a critical part of the broader effort aimed at achieving equity in education. It means reimagining systems to expand every student’s access to both the general education curriculum and intervention supports and services. It also means building a culture in which this expansion is the expectation and the norm, in which everyone agrees that there is no such thing as “good teaching” that leaves some students unserved and unsupported.

Your Students, My Students, Our Students

by Lee Ann Jung, Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher and Julie Kroener

Where does this leave you today? Do you invite everyone to the table? Do you want to take a role in helping ALL students? Does ALL mean ALL to you? Then get up. Make it happen. 

In order for teachers to have inclusive practices in their skillset, they need to build their capacity. Let us help build your team’s through professional development that is inclusive of ALL those working across the educational cascade so that we can make informed instructional decisions for ALL students. 

The purpose of this message today is to remind us all that growth is essential to helping us get to a place where inclusion is not a topic that we must remind ourselves of. How can we help you grow? How can you bring your key players to our table to get the best support? What shifts can you make to bring key players to the table for decision making about what is best for all students?