Moving Beyond the "Inclusion School"
Several years ago, I visited a school that had been described as a model for inclusive education. It presented, in my opinion at the time, an exemplary program of inclusive practice. But when I visited other elementary schools in the same district, I encountered only segregated special education programs. I asked the Superintendent why the exemplary practices were not being scaled up in the other elementary schools in the district. I was surprised by the reply: “We don’t need to. We have our inclusion school.” I believe that inclusive education is a “best practice” and not just “an option on a service continuum.” This is one of the reasons that I am committed to helping districts scale up and sustain exemplary inclusive practices in all their schools. The process of implementing, sustaining and scaling up, however, is complicated and often requires intensive technical assistance. The SWIFT Center is now approaching the halfway point in its first full year of providing such assistance to 68 schools in 20 local educational agencies across five states as they implement inclusive education. My colleagues and I had the opportunity to devise a unique intensive technical assistance process for our partnership with these schools. I am pleased to share with you this SWIFT Center Technical Assistance Brief, which contains a thumbnail sketch of how that process works and the underlying concepts.
- Wayne Sailor