TIES Inclusive Education Roadmap

Step 4: Action Planning Using Implementation Drivers

The inclusive education roadmap. You are on step 4: Complete the Action Plan

In Step 4, you will: 

  • Increase your understanding of the role of supportive leadership in systems change.
  • Learn about implementation drivers and how they apply to systems change for inclusive education.
  • Use the knowledge of implementation drivers to complete the Inclusive Education Action Plan. 

Overview

    Implementation drivers are structures and activities that are essential to create and sustain systems change. Research has shown that these drivers enable teams working in a wide variety of sectors (education, public health, behavioral health, etc.) to make change more effectively and efficiently, maintain that change over time, and scale up to support change across the entire system  (Fixsen et al., 2005). There are two types of implementation drivers: competency drivers and organizational drivers.

    Competency Drivers

    Inclusive Education Drivers drawn as an equilateral triangle. The base of the triangle represents Supportive Leadership. The left side of the triangle is the Competency Drivers, including Selection of Staff and Sites, Collaborative Professional Development, and Coaching - these elements are highlighted. On the right side of the triangle are the Organization Drivers, including Data-based Decision Making,  Administrative Structures and Processes, and Engagement with External Systems. In the center of the triangle are the words integrated and compensatory. Situated at the top of the triangle is the fidelity of implementation of the inclusive systems of education action plan. When all of these pieces come together, they lead to the T-I-E-S outcomes.

    Competency drivers focus on building capacity in the system to implement and maintain the chosen system change goal(s). Schools and districts are complex systems that can be slow to change. Leveraging competency drivers helps school personnel feel prepared and confident in implementing new practices and improving and maintaining these practices over time. The IER describes the competency drivers as they specifically relate to creating inclusive systems. 

    Selection of Staff and Sites- Choosing the people and places for initial implementation (and later, for scaling up) is key to the success of the system's action plan. Early adopters of inclusive education practices and individuals who embrace change as a means to growth make good candidates for initial implementation efforts. When choosing initial sites, look for leaders with a strong belief in inclusive education with high expectations for staff and students. Over time, inclusive education will become a system expectation. However, at the beginning of your journey toward inclusive education, identifying like-minded volunteers who want to participate in initial efforts can lead to early success.

    Collaborative Professional Development- Staff are at their best when they feel prepared to implement new practices. Engaging and collaborative professional development (PD) that provides specific and relevant information to all attendees is critical to developing buy-in and skills that support initial and sustained implementation efforts.

    Coaching- It is never too early to think about coaching as part of the PD plan. Inclusive education is comprised of a variety of evidence-based practices, and most staff will likely require coaching in some of the methods. In addition, having ongoing access to coaches with expertise in inclusive education provides staff with the support they need to implement new practices with confidence and problem-solve challenges.

    Leveraging Competency Drivers to Support Inclusive Education 

    Competency Drivers

    Application to Inclusive Education

    Selecting Staff and Sites

    • Engage all relevant stakeholders in creating the EILT
    • Identify champions of inclusive education who are already in the system
    • Identify examples of inclusive education practices that could serve as models within the system
    • Communicate with schools, grade-level teams, or subject area teams to elicit volunteers during the initial implementation of inclusive practices
    • Engage families in discussions about the benefits of inclusive education for students and school communities
    • Identify individuals with expertise in educating students with significant cognitive disabilities in general education classes, lessons, and activities (can be a person from inside or outside the system)
    • Consider the use of an external “critical friend” (i.e., someone from a local university with expertise in inclusive education)

    Collaborative Professional Development

    • Create  a professional development plan to support capacity-building for inclusive education
    • Ensure that general educators and special educators attend joint professional development sessions and learn together
    • Assess school personnel’s current knowledge and experience in skill areas specific to inclusive education, such as:
      • Demonstrating high expectations for students with significant cognitive disabilities
      • Ensuring that each student has a means of communication and the support to use it for engaging in the curriculum and with others
      • Interacting with students with significant cognitive disabilities who use alternative or augmentative communication systems
      • Adapting general education curriculum activities for students with significant cognitive disabilities
      • Supporting interaction and relationships between students with significant cognitive disabilities and their typical peers
      • Embedding IEP goals within general education lessons, activities, and routines
      • Talking with typical peers about students with significant cognitive disabilities
      • Supporting students with SCD to decrease challenging behavior
    • Prioritize the presentation of topics based on feedback from school personnel
    • Ensure relevant and ongoing PD for paraprofessionals

    Coaching

    • Identify coaches with expertise in inclusive education for students with significant cognitive disabilities
    • Determine the specific evidence-based practices that will be coached
    • Provide ongoing professional development for coaches on evidence-based practices for inclusive education in support of curriculum and instruction, inclusive service delivery, effective collaboration, coaching skills, and implementing systems change

    Organizational Drivers

    Inclusive Education Drivers drawn as an equilateral triangle. The base of the triangle represents Supportive Leadership. The left side of the triangle is the Competency Drivers, including Selection of Staff and Sites, Collaborative Professional Development, and Coaching. On the right side of the triangle are the Organization Drivers, including Data-based Decision Making,  Administrative Structures and Processes, and Engagement with External Systems - these elements are highlighted. In the center of the triangle are the words integrated and compensatory. Situated at the top of the triangle is fidelity of implementation of the inclusive systems of education action plan. When all of these pieces come together they lead to the T-I-E-S outcomes.

    Organizational drivers describe “the way we do things” within a system. Organizational drivers include how the system organizes its people and processes, routinely uses data to prioritize and monitor progress toward goals,  and identifies and makes changes to people and processes when needed. Leveraging organizational drivers for inclusive education can be best described as “barrier-busting.” Barriers of all kinds will arise during any systems change process, and being able to identify barriers and eliminate or minimize them ensures a system’s forward momentum towards its goals.

    Data-based Decision-Making- Measuring the progress and knowing when to adapt or change a strategy keeps initiatives moving forward. The first step is to identify how you will measure each goal in the Inclusive Education Action Plan. Then, gather and collect baseline data. Using preexisting data systems (data already being gathered) is an excellent time-saving strategy. Identify and collect additional types of data only when it is essential to answer specific questions related to implementation. Lastly, schedule regular times for the EILT to review the data and make changes to the Action Plan.

    Administrative Structures and Processes- Many barriers to inclusive education are due to the administrative “silos” that separate general education from special education. This is true at the state, district, and school levels. A unified inclusive system views all students, including those with significant cognitive disabilities, as general education students who receive special education services in general education settings. Transportation, staff distribution, master scheduling, grading, and diploma requirements are just a few administrative structures and processes that may need to be addressed when creating a unified inclusive educational system.

    Engaging with External Partners- Many external variables can affect implementation efforts positively and negatively. Engaging with a variety of external partners such as parent and community organizations, State Departments of Education, and local universities can support and maintain systems change for inclusive education. School and district leaders do not always have the authority to address all barriers that affect their work. But, they can bring issues to the attention of others who can address the barriers. When states, districts, schools, families, and the community work together in a coordinated fashion, barriers can be eliminated more quickly.

    Leveraging Organizational Drivers to support Inclusive Education 

    Organizational Drivers

    Application to Inclusive Education

    Data-based Decision Making

    • Review the system’s LRE (least restrictive environment) data, especially regarding placement patterns for students with significant cognitive disabilities
    • Determine how increases in inclusive education that are not yet reflected in the LRE data  will be measured (e.g. increased minutes in general education)
    • Determine how increased implementation of EBPs for inclusive education will be measured
    • Schedule ongoing meetings for the EILT to review the implementation and outcome data
    • Determine how  general education academic progress for students with significant cognitive disabilities will be measured

    Administrative Structures & Processes

    • Review and change the master schedule as needed to ensure collaborative planning time and facilitate co-teaching
    • Roster students with SCD into homerooms and general education classes
    • Introduce flexible staffing models
    • Engage with facilities department as needed regarding accessibility concerns
    • Engage with transportation department to ensure all students are transported in the most inclusive manner. 
    • Ensure that students with SCD are included in all  multi-tiered systems of support with the system
    • Create or modify existing job descriptions for inclusive education coaches

    Engagement with External Partners 

    • Identify external organizations that are supportive of inclusive education for possible partnerships
    • Engage with local universities with teacher preparation programs with a focus on inclusive education 
    • Engage with parent and community groups
    • Engage with multiple administrative levels (state, regional, district, school, student IEP team) to identify and eliminate barriers to inclusive education 

        Equity Check

        Did all stakeholders actively participate in the action planning process?

        Are your SMARTIE goals truly inclusive of students with significant cognitive disabilities?

        What's Next?

        • Detailed support for creating the Inclusive Education Action Plan based upon the competency and organizational drivers is provided in the more complete explanation of each driver. 
        • Complete the Action Plan 
        • In Step 5, you will find more details about implementing the Inclusive Education Action Plan.