TIES Inclusive Education Roadmap
Step 3: Conduct an Initiative Inventory
In Step 3, you will:
- Understand the importance of linking the RISE's priority area and Takeaways with other organization initiatives,
- Understand the steps in completing an Initiative Inventory, and
- Integrate what was learned into the Inclusive Education Action Plan
Initiative fatigue is real. Educators are unlikely to buy into new practices if they view them as just another thing that will be gone in a year or two when everything will "go back to normal." The intent is to change what is seen as normal so all students access and benefit from high-quality instruction in general education. Developing an inclusive system often overlaps with initiatives that the state, district, or school are currently engaged in. Identifying overlap is a positive! Not only can recognizing and building off overlaps reduce initiative fatigue, but it can also accelerate implementation momentum (SISEP, 2017).
In Step 3, the Initiative Inventory is completed, aligning and integrating priorities and activities within and across the organization. The priority Focus Area chosen as a part of the RISE process helps narrow down which initiatives to consider.
The Initiative Inventory process includes four main activities:
- Prepare- A smaller subgroup of the EILT with key participants is identified
- Do- The EILT subgroup completes the Initiative Inventory
- Analyze- The Initiative Inventory results are reviewed and analyzed with the entire EILT
- Plan - The EILT identifies which organizational initiatives align with the RISE priorities and would be beneficial to incorporate into the Inclusive Education Action Plan.
What are the activities of the Initiative Inventory?
The purpose of the Initiative Inventory is to identify initiatives ongoing in the organization that are or could be related to increasing inclusive school community practices or policies. These might be initiatives that focus on general education students without identified disabilities; general education students with identified disabilities, including significant cognitive disabilities; or a combination of both. The use of general education first language is intentional so that the team considers every student as a general education student. This makes it easier to analyze initiatives that currently do not support students with significant cognitive disabilities, but could. For example, a district literacy initiative that originally did not include students with significant cognitive disabilities, but could be adapted to include them in the literacy instruction.
The information and data collected in the Initiative Inventory can be used by the organization to consider the inclusive priorities identified with the RISE and:
- expand the focus of current work,
- guide decision making to make room for new work, and
- assist with alignment of efforts within and across levels of the organization.
First, identify a subgroup of the EILT to conduct the Initiative Inventory (In smaller districts or schools where the EILT is not large, a subgroup may not be necessary).
Second, evaluate the representation of the interdisciplinary EILT. The subset group should be familiar with and/or impacted by the organization’s priorities and work. The inclusion of families and community members in this activity is critical for ensuring a deeper understanding of the effect of initiatives. The team engaging in the Initiative Inventory should include representatives of:
- Leaders (for example, school board member(s), superintendent, director, principal),
- Practitioners (for example, general and special educators, union representatives, specialized instructional personnel),
- Parents/families (with children with and without identified disabilities), and
- Community members (for example, employers, agencies, family supports, self-advocates).
Third, identify who in the subgroup is responsible for entering the information that is collected into the Initiative Inventory spreadsheet.
Activity 2 takes 1 to 1 1/2 hours to complete.
First, the team considers any organizational initiative that impacts increasing the time, instructional effectiveness, and engagement in the general education curriculum and with peers. Those pertinent organizational initiatives are added to the Initiative Inventory spreadsheet (Tab 1, Column A). [The Initiative Inventory spreadsheet can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.]
Second, the team considers the following questions for each of these initiatives (Columns B-P):
- What are the expected outcomes?
- What are the key activities to support outcome attainment?
- What data sources will be used to measure outcomes?
- Does the target student population include general education students without identified disabilities? With identified disabilities? With identified significant cognitive disabilities?
- Who is the target audience? (Examples of potential target audiences could include: all teachers, special educators, general educators, specialized support personnel, media specialists, support staff such as paraprofessionals, families, and community members)
- Who provides initiative leadership? In addition, are there any internal and external partners?
- Identify the extent of implementation: 1=beginning, 2=ongoing, 3=completed
- Identify resource commitment (i.e., personnel, financial): 1=low, 2=moderate, 3=high
- Identify the initiative's relation to the organization’s priorities & strategic plan: 1=low, 2=moderate, 3=high
- Does this initiative connect to increased (a) time in general education, (b) instructional effectiveness, and (c) engagement with the general education curriculum and peers? An initiative can connect to multiple areas.
Third, the information from columns A, E-G, and M-P will automatically fill to the T-I-E Synthesis spreadsheet (Tab 2), if you are using the downloadable form. These two spreadsheets are the basis of discussion for the remainder of the analysis portion.
Fourth, ensure that all EILT members have copies of the completed spreadsheet for their review. During the time between Activity 2 and Activity 3, all EILT members should review the spreadsheet and reflect on the questions at the bottom of the T-I-E Synthesis tab. They can do this individually as well as share the materials and questions with other stakeholders, even those not included on the team, to get their feedback.
Activity 3 takes about 1 hour to complete.
The purpose of this activity is for the whole EILT to identify alignments and gaps across initiatives as well as make recommendations for next actions. It is important to realize that additional initiatives or resources may not be necessary to amplify the priorities for building an inclusive education system if teams are able to leverage what already exists in the system. Can current initiatives be improved upon to address T-I-E? If not, then creating a new initiative in the Action Plan may be necessary.
The key questions are:
- How do we ensure what is happening includes each and every student, including students with significant cognitive disabilities?
- How can we improve the outcomes related to T-I-E?
- Which initiatives connect to the priority identified with the RISE?
First, ensure that everyone on the EILT has a completed copy of the Initiative Inventory spreadsheet. This can be electronic or paper.
Second, identify a designated note-taker.
Third, create a way for the large group to record their thoughts and answers to the guiding questions. If the EILT is meeting in person, this may include using posters on the wall or highlighters on the actual copies of the Initiative Inventory spreadsheet and T-I-E synthesis to collect the group’s responses. If the team is meeting virtually, you can use an online whiteboard, such as Jamboard, or a way to electronically take notes.
Fourth, have team members share their thoughts on the Guiding Questions related to T-I-E:
- Who participated in completing the inventory? Was family voice included? General Educators? Special Educators? How do the responses to these questions impact the recommendations that will inform action planning?
- Is sufficient focus currently being expended upon the Time, Instructional Effectiveness, Engagement with general education curriculum and peers (T-I-E) themes? If not, what recommendations for expansion might be considered?
- To what extent are general education students with identified disabilities, especially those students with identified significant cognitive disabilities, being addressed within those initiatives? If needed, how can the target student population be expanded?
- When considering implementation and outcomes related to T-I-E, what opportunities might be leveraged to share and/or align with:
- Activities (for example, professional development or technical assistance)
- Information (data)
- Resources (for example, leadership, partners, financial resources)
- Are there any initiatives that should be incorporated into the Inclusive Education Action Plan in support of the priority identified with the RISE?
The last activity is to make final recommendations for action planning.
First, based on the review and analysis of the initiative inventory, what are recommendations for consideration in the following areas?
- Expansion of focus related to Time, Instructional Effectiveness, Engagement with general education curriculum and peers (T-I-E)?
- Expansion of target student population?
Second, where are there opportunities for leverage from:
- Activities (for example, professional development, technical assistance)
- Information (data)
- Resources (for example, leadership, partners, financial resources)
- Reconsidering initiatives due to a low connection with the organization’s priorities/strategic plan
Third, add the recommendations to the Inclusive Education Action Plan. Then determine with whom to communicate these recommendations.
A State Department of Education's (DOE) EILT decided their initial priorities would focus on (1) broadly messaging the department's vision and values about inclusive education for students with significant cognitive disabilities, and (2) building the capacity of general education and special education teachers to increase the use of inclusive education practices across the state. Using the Initiative Inventory allowed the EILT to leverage an initiative to improve the statewide professional learning portal for all educators. A review of this portal's data showed that very few special educators in the state were using it, opting instead for the state's special education professional learning portal. The merging of the RISE Priorities with the findings from the Initiative Inventory became the basis for their Inclusive Education Action Plan goals.
Their Action Plan described a strategy to decrease the use of the special education portal and provide joint professional learning opportunities on inclusive education on the portal open to all educators, including administrators. Additionally, DOE representatives planned to join the Teaching and Learning Department's bi-monthly meetings to bring the concept of joint professional learning opportunities forward. Doing this also allowed the DOE to model the cross-department collaboration they were advocating for at the district and school levels.
Frequently Asked Questions
The whole Inventory takes about 2 to 3 hours. (1 to 1.5 hours for Activity 2 and 1 to 1.5 hours for Activity 3).
- For Activity 2, you will need to download an electronic copy of the Initiative Inventory spreadsheet (See Downloads at bottom of this webpage).
- For Activity 3, the materials needed depend if the EILT will be meeting in person or virtually (posters/markers, highlighters with paper copies; online whiteboards such as Jamboard, or electronic notetaking).
- Complete the next section of the Inclusive Education Action Plan by filling in the results of the Initiative Inventory (Use the Action Plan form that had portions filled in at the end of Step 1 and Step 2).
- The EILT will complete the Action Plan by learning about and considering how to use the Inclusive Education Drivers to support system change.
Inclusive Education Action Plan (Regular version) (Note: Do not start a new Action Plan if you started one in Step 1. The information from Step 3 should be incorporated into that Action Plan.)