TIES Inclusive Education Roadmap

Resources

TIES Center's resources are organized to align with the five RISE Focus Areas. As organizations identify their priority area(s), these inclusive education resources can support building readiness, providing background and content knowledge, and supporting leadership and instructional skills needed for effective inclusive system change. (This section remains under construction.) 

10 Reasons to Support Inclusive School Communities for ALL Students

Educators, students, and families have found many compelling reasons to support inclusive education for students with and without disabilities. This Brief delineates ten reasons that supporting inclusive school communities for ALL students is important, but in a nutshell, inclusive learning communities are better, richer, and more effective when all students, including those with disabilities, are full participants.

10 razones para apoyar a las comunidades escolares inclusivas para TODOS los estudiantes

Educators, students, and families have found many compelling reasons to support inclusive education for students with and without disabilities. This Brief, translated into Spanish, delineates ten reasons that supporting inclusive school communities for ALL students is important, but in a  nutshell, inclusive learning communities are better, richer, and more effective when all students, including those with disabilities, are full participants. 

IMPACT: Feature Issue on Inclusive Education for K-8 Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities

Multiple articles from families and educators about their journey to advocating for inclusive education for all students and researchers summarize the evidence behind inclusive and integrated education systems. 

TIP #6: Using the Least Dangerous Assumption in Educational Decisions - There has been insufficient research to date to know what students with the most significant cognitive disabilities are able to do when given the opportunity to learn rigorous content while provided with appropriate supports.The least dangerous assumption holds that in the absence of conclusive data, educational decisions ought to be based on assumptions that, if incorrect, will have the least dangerous effect on the student outcomes and learning. Giving students with the most significant cognitive disabilities the opportunity to learn can help ensure their successful learning. This TIP includes an example, as well as implementation strategies and learning activities.

Taking the Alternate Assessment Does NOT Mean Education in a Separate Setting! (TIES Center Brief #2)

This Parent Brief describes how participation in the alternate assessment does not automatically mean that a student is in a different instructional setting from his or her same-age peers without disabilities. The brief defines who are students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, what is meant by the “least restrictive environment,” the legal provisions that support inclusion, including students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in general education classrooms, and next steps for parents.

Myth vs. Fact: What is True About Including Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities? | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Myth vs. Fact: What is True About Including Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities? discusses the myths and facts about including students with significant cognitive disabilities, and then suggests ways that teachers and students can be supported to overcome the harmful effects of the myths. 

Inclusive Instructional and Organizational Leadership (video) - Sustainable, inclusive education systems for students with significant cognitive disabilities do not stand alone. Districts must focus on building inclusive education systems for all students…systems that embrace all students for the benefit of all.

System Wide Learning (video) - For a district to build an effective and inclusive system, it must adopt and sustain  system-wide learning practices grounded in effective data use.

Sustaining a Culture of Openness and Inquiry (video) - Districts need to shape their organizational cultures in ways that make those cultures collaborative, caring, ethical, equitable, and amendale to positive change. Building a collaborative culture that values the contributions of all members and is open to self-reflection and learning is key to the development of sustainable, inclusive systems. 

Does All Really Mean All? | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Does All Really Mean All? provides a set of inclusive education indicators that define authentic inclusive education, describes the morning routine of a student in an inclusive setting, and illustrates that all students can be included in general education settings.

Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District: Inclusive Practices and Lessons Learned | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - The former Director of Student Support Services for Cottonwood-Oak Creek District (Arizona) shares seven lessons learned in making inclusive practices work with a focus on the school district level.

From Isolation to Inclusion: Anne’s Journey | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - The parents of a woman with a significant disability describe her experience attending a segregated early-education program followed by elementary, middle, and high school at her local neighborhood school. They describe her experiences in school and beyond.

Implementation Strategies for Inclusive Service Delivery | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Briefly defines inclusive education, before sharing six important strategies for making inclusive service delivery successful.

Inclusion, Friendships, and the Power of Peers | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Describes how peer support arrangements and peer networks can be used to change the social landscape of students with significant cognitive disabilities, while benefiting both students with and without disabilities.

The Hope of Lessons Learned: Supporting the Inclusion of Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities Into General Education Classrooms | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - This article presents ten lessons learned through working toward inclusive education systems, focusing on the systems-level changes that are needed to make inclusion work for students.

Who’s Missing? The Essential Question for Catholic Schools | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Beth Foraker, Founder and Director of The National Catholic Board on Full Inclusion, asks “who’s missing?” in Catholic schools. (See companion pieces “A Family’s Journey of Inclusion and “I Have Great Friends.”)

Wide Open Spaces: Maggie’s Story  - A parent shares how she learned the safest space for her daughter, Maggie, was not in a sheltered classroom, but in a classroom surrounded by typical peers. She also details how Maggie’s friends helped the adults around her understand and better address her needs and desires.

“We Expect Them to Teach All Students”: Syracuse University’s Inclusive Elementary and Special Education Program | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - The Coordinator of the Inclusive Elementary and Special Education Program at Syracuse University (SU) discusses the strategies, principles, and history behind SU’s inclusive education program. (See “To Truly Be Inclusive is a Whole Life Process: Reflections of a SU Graduate” for a companion piece.)

Expert Learning is for All | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Expert Learning is for All describes how Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and the idea of the expert learner can be used to adapt and redesign curriculum to meet the needs of all students.

Shifting Paradigms for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities: State and National Collaboration in Arizona | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Shifting Paradigms for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities: State and National Collaboration in Arizona describes how the state of Arizona, a member of the Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) consortium, has worked to raise academic expectations for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. A key to this work has been monitoring and sharing relevant data with Arizona educators. The data include information on the characteristics of students with significant cognitive disabilities and their instructional placement, as well as post-school outcomes for students with intellectual disabilities. The article describes professional development efforts to help educators understand, and act on, the data.

To Truly Be Inclusive is a Whole Life Process: Reflections of a SU Graduate | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - The author describes some of her own schooling experience, and how she came to understand that inclusion is a whole life process. (See “We Expect Them to Teach All Students” for a companion piece.)

DL#1: Morning Meetings - Many classrooms use morning meetings to check-in with students and lay out the goals of the day. Even with asynchronous distance learning or packets of work that go home, this is still possible.  See an elementary and middle school example of a morning meeting check-in.

DL#4: Dealing with Uncertainty: A Plea for Thoughtful Plans and Patient Collaboration - Systems change is always a challenge. During a pandemic it is a huge and unexpected change for everyone, including districts, teachers and families. None of us are experts in this area...yet. That will come, but in the meantime we need to allow the space and patience for each of us and ourselves to grow.

DL #5 Reflections About Individualizing Supports for Children and Families: Olivia’s Story - Olivia is a teenager, at home experiencing distance learning just like everyone else. She also has autism as an attribute. This is a reflection that her mother shared regarding what school teams need to take into consideration right now.

DL#24: The 5-15-45 Tool: Grab a Partner and Let's Collaborate! - Many teachers and administrators are struggling with how to support inclusive practices for students with significant cognitive disabilities in inclusive classes, especially during distance delivery.  This new 5-15-45 Tool can kick start collaboration whether you have 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 45 minutes or more!

DL#28: Not Letting LRE Slide: Ensuring Inclusive Education During COVID - During COVID, how can teams prioritize the least restrictive environment and inclusive education? How do we assure that we are teaching students with significant cognitive disabilities in the least restrictive environment possible during distance learning and as we return to various in-person delivery models? Considering three questions at key decision points regarding instructional models can raise the awareness of the impact of a team’s decision on a student. 

DL#29: Collaboration in the Trenches: Lessons Learned about Inclusive Technology during COVID - In this DL post, the specific collaborative activities to support continued use of assistive and educational technology during distance learning are explored. Lessons for teachers and leaders from the work in Loudoun County, Virginia are listed.

Taking the Alternate Assessment Does NOT Mean Education in a Separate Setting! - This brief discusses the characteristics of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, least restrictive environment, legal provisions, and next steps for parents.

MTSS for All: Including Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities PDF - The purpose of the MTSS for All: Including Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities Brief is to provide suggestions for ways in which the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), a framework for organizing and providing a tiered instructional continuum to support learning for all students, can include students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Ideas for how to make MTSS fully inclusive of all students are presented following a short history of MTSS and a summary of current MTSS models.

TIES Brief 4: Providing Meaningful General Education Curriculum Access to Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities - The purpose of this brief is to answer the question of what access to and progress in the general education curriculum means for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. This brief also confirms that federal education laws require that students who participate in the AA-AAAS receive instruction in the same grade-level content as all other students. It is the achievement expected on the same grade-level content that can be reduced in breadth, depth, and complexity. This information is very important in the discussion of a student’s educational setting. Often the myth that these students need an alternate curriculum is used incorrectly as an argument against educating the student in the general education classroom.

TIP #6: Using the Least Dangerous Assumption in Educational Decisions - There has been insufficient research to date to know what students with the most significant cognitive disabilities are able to do when given the opportunity to learn rigorous content while provided with appropriate supports. The least dangerous assumption holds that in the absence of conclusive data, educational decisions ought to be based on assumptions that, if incorrect, will have the least dangerous effect on the student outcomes and learning. Giving students with the most significant cognitive disabilities the opportunity to learn can help ensure their successful learning. This TIP includes an example, as well as implementation strategies and learning activities.

Distance Learning Engagement: An Overview Framework - This overview is intended to communicate a framework for supporting all students (including those with significant cognitive disabilities) to actively engage with classmates, learn grade-level general education curriculum, and learn other essential skills.

What Data Tell Us About General Education and Students with Disabilities | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - What Data Tell Us About General Education and Students with Disabilities presents information about the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) data for students with disabilities.  It demonstrates a significant difference in LRE for those students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. (See “The Hope of Lessons Learned:  Supporting the Inclusion of Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities Into General Education Classrooms” for more information.)

Wide Open Spaces: Maggie’s Story  - A parent shares how she learned the safest space for her daughter, Maggie, was not in a sheltered classroom, but in a classroom surrounded by typical peers. She also details how Maggie’s friends helped the adults around her understand and better address her needs and desires.

Inclusive Service Delivery: A Proactive Model | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Inclusive Service Delivery: A Proactive Model for Better Educating ALL Students shows how a school can restructure the usage of existing school personnel in ways that better support students learning in an inclusive setting. (See the companion piece “Vermont Educators Share Guiding Principles.”)

Vermont Educators Share Guiding Principles | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - In this interview, three educators share guiding principles that arose from their work in implementing an inclusive service delivery model. (See “Inclusive Service Delivery: A Proactive Model for Better Educating ALL Students” for more information.)

A Family’s Journey of Inclusion | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - In A Family's Journey of Inclusion, a parent describes how her son was included in his private school setting, how the school and family worked together, and the impact it’s had on her son and the school-wide community. In a companion piece, “I Have Great Friends,” her son describes his experiences.

Distance Learning and the Future of Inclusion - Distance Learning created significant stresses for students, families and districts. By listening to educators and families about their successes and challenges, the TIES Center identified five key learnings to help drive the work forward to achieve greater outcomes for students with significant cognitive disabilities in inclusive schools.

Lemonade in the Time of Corona - The pandemic upended the world, including the world of education.  This article, written by a parent, shares the impact of COVID on education for her daughter, including what was learned and ideas for moving forward. 

Inclusive Instructional and Organizational Leadership (video) - Sustainable, inclusive education systems for students with significant cognitive disabilities do not stand alone. Districts must focus on building inclusive education systems for all students…systems that embrace all students for the benefit of all.

Myth vs. Fact: What is True About Including Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities? | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - The article discusses the myths and facts about including students with significant cognitive disabilities, and then suggests ways that teachers and students can be supported to overcome the harmful effects of the myths. 

DL#28: Not Letting LRE Slide: Ensuring Inclusive Education During COVID - During COVID, how can teams prioritize the least restrictive environment and inclusive education? How do we assure that we are teaching students with significant cognitive disabilities in the least restrictive environment possible during distance learning and as we return to various in-person delivery models? Considering three questions at key decision points regarding instructional models can raise the awareness of the impact of a team’s decision on a student. 

Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District: Inclusive Practices and Lessons Learned | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - In Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District: Inclusive Practices and Lessons Learned, the former Director of Student Support Services for Cottonwood-Oak Creek District (Arizona) shares seven lessons learned in making inclusive practices work with a focus on the school district level.

Does All Really Mean All? | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Does All Really Mean All? provides a set of inclusive education indicators that define authentic inclusive education, describes the morning routine of a student in an inclusive setting, and illustrates that all students can be included in general education settings.

From Isolation to Inclusion: Anne’s Journey | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - The parents of a woman with a significant disability describe her experience attending a segregated early-education program followed by elementary, middle, and high school at her local neighborhood school. They describe her experiences in school and beyond.

Implementation Strategies for Inclusive Service Delivery | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Briefly defines inclusive education, before sharing six important strategies for making inclusive service delivery successful.

Inclusion, Friendships, and the Power of Peers | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Describes how peer support arrangements and peer networks can be used to change the social landscape of students with significant cognitive disabilities, while benefiting both students with and without disabilities.

The Hope of Lessons Learned: Supporting the Inclusion of Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities Into General Education Classrooms  Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - This article presents ten lessons learned through working toward inclusive education systems, focusing on the systems-level changes that are needed to make inclusion work for students.

Who’s Missing? The Essential Question for Catholic Schools | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - In Who’s Missing? The Essential Question for Catholic Schools, Beth Foraker, Founder and Director of The National Catholic Board on Full Inclusion, asks “who’s missing?” in Catholic schools. (See companion pieces “A Family’s Journey of Inclusion and “I Have Great Friends.”)

“We Expect Them to Teach All Students”: Syracuse University’s Inclusive Elementary and Special Education Program | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - The Coordinator of the Inclusive Elementary and Special Education Program at Syracuse University (SU) discusses the strategies, principles, and history behind SU’s inclusive education program. (See “To Truly Be Inclusive is a Whole Life Process: Reflections of a SU Graduate” for a companion piece.)

Creating Inclusive Schools: What Does the Research Say? | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - This article reviews the research on inclusion, presenting the essential practices that create inclusive schools as well the benefits of inclusive education.

Shifting Paradigms for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities: State and National Collaboration in Arizona | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - This article describes how the state of Arizona, a member of the Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) consortium, has worked to raise academic expectations for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. A key to this work has been monitoring and sharing relevant data with Arizona educators. The data include information on the characteristics of students with significant cognitive disabilities and their instructional placement, as well as post-school outcomes for students with intellectual disabilities. The article describes professional development efforts to help educators understand, and act on, the data.

To Truly Be Inclusive is a Whole Life Process: Reflections of a SU Graduate | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - The author describes some of her own schooling experience, and how she came to understand that inclusion is a whole life process. (See “We Expect Them to Teach All Students” for a companion piece.)

Paraprofessional Roles and Layers of Instruction | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - The article details how a layered instructional framework can be used to organize students’ programs and the role of paraprofessionals.

DL#3: Effective Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) Within the Distance Learning Environment: What in the world does that look like? - During a move to distance and online learning, educators and administrators are struggling with what it means to provide specially designed instruction for students with the most significant disabilities. TIES Center has some considerations around the initial basic questions for supporting students with IEPs.

DL #5 Reflections About Individualizing Supports for Children and Families: Olivia’s Story - Olivia is a teenager, at home experiencing distance learning just like everyone else. She also has autism as an attribute. This is a reflection that her mother shared regarding what school teams need to take into consideration right now.

DL #6: Getting "Unstuck:" Tips to help your child if they get stuck with their remote learning - This article includes 4 tips to help parents support their child when they are stuck in their learning during this new remote learning. These tips can help all students, including those with significant cognitive disabilities, build independence with their own learning.

DL #10: Distance Learning and Communication Systems - Students who are learning or using Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems have added barriers to learning. Here are some ways to support those students even when you aren’t all together.

DL#12: Promoting Engagement for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities on Group Learning Platforms - This article helps answer the question of how to keep students with significant cognitive disabilities engaged in an inclusive way during this time when teachers are delivering instruction through online learning platforms. 

DL #16: Increasing Opportunities to Respond and Provide Feedback to Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities in Inclusive Online Environments - This Distance Learning Series post helps inform teachers how to deliver effective feedback to students with significant cognitive disabilities through asynchronous (online, not live with a teacher) and synchronous (online, live with a teacher) learning environments.

DL #17:  Planning for Instruction both at School and Distance Learning: The 5C Process - This article provides a process for planning the learning priorities and steps to plan and transition between inclusive instructional programs for students with significant cognitive disabilities at school and at home during periods of distance learning. The 5C Process are key: learning components, collaboration, continuity, collecting data, and capacity building. 

 DL #20: Online Inclusive Education: Guidelines and Considerations for Planning Virtual Lessons - Planning lessons for online inclusive classrooms is challenging, but there are strategies for helping make them accessible for all learners. By targeting adaptations and differentiation strategies, teachers can meet the needs of all online learners, including those with significant cognitive disabilities.

DL#21: Distance Learning and Deafblindness: Learning From Parents - Looking for inspiration to help you with the new academic year? In this DL post, we highlight the voices of parents of children with deafblindness. Check out collective wisdom on how to be more proactive and inclusive in distance learning.

DL#30: An Example of UDL and Online Collaboration - What does it look like has always been one of the biggest questions about including students with significant cognitive disabilities. This post is one example of how a middle school in Carroll County, MD moved their UDL lesson planning process online as a result of COVID. It includes the process and examples of the actual work. 

TIES Brief 4: Providing Meaningful General Education Curriculum Access to Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities - The purpose of this brief is to answer the question of what access to and progress in the general education curriculum means for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. This brief also confirms that federal education laws require that students who participate in the AA-AAAS receive instruction in the same grade-level content as all other students. It is the achievement expected on the same grade-level content that can be reduced in breadth, depth, and complexity. This information is very important in the discussion of a student’s educational setting. Often the myth that these students need an alternate curriculum is used incorrectly as an argument against educating the student in the general education classroom.

TIES Brief 5: The General Education Curriculum–Not an Alternate Curriculum! - Students with significant cognitive disabilities are to be provided access to and make progress in the grade-level general education curriculum. It should not be an alternate curriculum. Determining whether this is happening can be difficult.  The purpose of this Brief is to help parents determine whether their child with significant cognitive disabilities is provided meaningful access to the general education curriculum. It addresses the myth that students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who take the state’s alternate assessment based on alternate academic achievement standards (AA-AAAS) need an alternate curriculum. This myth is often the basis for inappropriately educating these students in separate settings. 

TIP #14: Academic Standards for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities in Inclusive Classrooms: Same Content Standards, Alternate Achievement Standards - The purpose of this brief is to clarify what academic content standards and alternate achievement standards are, how they are different, and how they contribute to inclusive education.

Developing IEPs that Support Inclusive Education for Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities – A Parent Brief focuses on developing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) that support inclusive education for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. IEPs that support inclusion are especially critical for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who participate in a state alternate assessment aligned to alternate academic achievement standards (AA-AAAS), as well as for those in grades PreK-2 who may not yet take state assessments. The purpose of this Brief is to identify specific ways in which the IEPs of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities can be written to support inclusion in the general education curriculum and, ideally, the general education classroom.

TIP #6: Using the Least Dangerous Assumption in Educational Decisions - There has been insufficient research to date to know what students with the most significant cognitive disabilities are able to do when given the opportunity to learn rigorous content while provided with appropriate supports.The least dangerous assumption holds that in the absence of conclusive data, educational decisions ought to be based on assumptions that, if incorrect, will have the least dangerous effect on the student outcomes and learning. Giving students with the most significant cognitive disabilities the opportunity to learn can help ensure their successful learning. This TIP includes an example, as well as implementation strategies and learning activities.

NCSC Brief 5: Standards-based Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for Students Who Participate in AA-AAS - This Brief from the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) provides information about creating a standards-based IEP for students who participate in alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards. The brief includes information about: how an IEP differs from curricula; individualization of the plan; creating systems-level support for standards-based IEPs; and guidelines for incorporating grade-level standards.

Prioritizing Teaching and Learning (video) - The central mission of schools and districts is teaching and learning. In effective inclusive systems, leadership focuses on the learning of all participants -both the students and the adults -to support continued growth.

Building Capacity through Support and Accountability (video) - A key leadership role in effective and inclusive districts is to build capacity for high-quality instruction, equitable community engagement, professional teaming, and productive decision-making to support all learners. 

TIP #1: How Peers Can Support AAC Use by Students with Significant Communication Needs - Encouraging peers to use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) with students with significant cognitive disabilities who also have complex communication needs increases access to repeated, interactive, and generative language opportunities across environments. Inclusion, friendship, and communication ensure valued social roles and life-long learning. Peer-mediated supports combined with training are essential for supporting AAC users. Embedding simple, evidence-based strategies that involve peers will serve to increase success in inclusive settings for students with significant cognitive disabilities who have complex communication needs.

TIP #5: Connecting Core Words, Aided Language Modeling, and Literacy - This TIP provides information on how to model the use of a student’s Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device and identify core vocabulary for communication and interaction. When combined, these two approaches are useful for increasing receptive and expressive language skills for students with significant cognitive disabilities as well as increasing the use of AAC devices.

TIP #3: Getting to Know Students who use AAC - This TIP describes how educational team members can develop and use student profiles, communication plans, and daily plans to guide the successful involvement of students with significant communication needs in inclusive classroom activities.

Strategies for Supporting AAC Use in Inclusive General Education Classrooms | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Supporting students with complex communication needs is an important part of creating inclusive classrooms. In Strategies for Supporting AAC Use in Inclusive General Education Classrooms, five strategies are described for using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) in schools.

5-15-45 (planning) Start Your Collaboration Out Right! - This tool will help you go from a borrowed, bought, or mandated lesson to a more inclusive lesson for all.

Lessons for All: The 5-15-45 Tool - This tool will help you go from a borrowed, bought, or mandated lesson to a more inclusive lesson for all. Many teachers plan their instruction by using existing lesson plans. Starting with a lesson that comes from a curriculum package, online site, or colleague may save time, but also requires adjustment to meet your needs as a teacher and the needs of your students, especially those with significant cognitive disabilities. Think about your student with significant cognitive disabilities and what you are teaching, and let’s get started!

DL#24: The 5-15-45 Tool: Grab a Partner and Let's Collaborate! - Many teachers and administrators are struggling with how to support inclusive practices for students with significant cognitive disabilities in inclusive classes, especially during distance delivery.  This new 5-15-45 Tool can kick start collaboration whether you have 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 45 minutes or more!

DL#30: An Example of UDL and Online Collaboration - What does it look like has always been one of the biggest questions about including students with significant cognitive disabilities. This post is one example of how a middle school in Carroll County, MD moved their UDL lesson planning process online as a result of COVID. It includes the process and examples of the actual work. 

DL#29: Collaboration in the Trenches: Lessons Learned about Inclusive Technology during COVID - In this DL post, the specific collaborative activities to support continued use of assistive and educational technology during distance learning are explored. Lessons for teachers and leaders from the work in Loudoun County, Virginia are listed.

DL #26: Universal Design for Learning: Intentional Design for All - Distance learning has brought new challenges for how educators approach curriculum. How can UDL support lesson design?

Expert Learning is for All | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Expert Learning is for All describes how Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and the idea of the expert learner can be used to adapt and redesign curriculum to meet the needs of all students.

Together We Are Better! Collaborative Teaming to Support Authentic Inclusion of Students with Complex Support Needs | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - After opening with vignettes showing how two boys with similar disabilities experience very different school days, this article details how collaborative teaming is used to provide an inclusive setting and experience for a student with significant disabilities. (See “Unfiltered Truths of Co-Teaching” for a companion piece.)

Unfiltered Truths of Co-Teaching | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - In this article, two teachers, one coming from a special education background and one from a general education classroom, share their realizations based on co-teaching together for two years. (See “Together We Are Better! Collaborative Teaming to Support Authentic Inclusion of Students with Complex Support Needs” for a companion piece.)

Tip #11: Grading for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities in Inclusive Classrooms -Teachers in inclusive classrooms must carefully consider the grading process to provide fair and equitable grades for all students in their class, including students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. This TIP shares grading considerations and potential adaptations.

Tip #12: Standards-based Grading and Report Cards in Inclusive Elementary and Middle Schools Article - This TIPS sheet provides guidance on how to provide fair and accurate grades for students with significant cognitive disabilities in inclusive settings. It also addresses ways to report standards-based grades for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

Tip #13: Talking About Grading with Parents or Guardians and Students for Inclusive Classrooms Article - The purpose of this TIPS is to provide suggestions to teachers about how to effectively communicate about how grades are assigned to student work and report cards and what they mean. 

DL #22: Grading Considerations for Inclusive Classrooms in an Online Environment - Grading students with significant cognitive disabilities through distance learning requires carefulthought into what grades really mean and how to quantify student learning in a way that isenriching for all students.

TIP #7: Homework in the Inclusive Classroom - This TIP provides information and recommendations for collaborative educational teams on how to make homework successful for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in inclusive classrooms. 

Distance Learning Engagement: An Overview Framework - This overview is intended to communicate a framework for supporting all students (including those with significant cognitive disabilities) to actively engage with classmates, learn grade-level general education curriculum, and learn other essential skills.

DL#2: A Collaborative Start to Behavioral Supports - Positive and consistent behavioral supports are needed by all students, and for some students, they are absolutely vital for meaningful engagement to be achieved. By intentionally identifying, collaboratively communicating, and consistently following through on the identified supports, students with significant cognitive disabilities are more able to participate and engage meaningfully through distance learning.

DL#3: Effective Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) Within the Distance Learning Environment: What in the world does that look like? - During a move to distance and online learning, educators and administrators are struggling with what it means to provide specially designed instruction for students with the most significant disabilities. TIES Center has some considerations around the initial basic questions for supporting students with IEPs.

DL #7: Self-determined Schedule Making - This article includes two strategies for helping parents support their child in planning their daily schedule and following through using time management skills. These resources can help all students, including students with significant cognitive disabilities, build independence in creating and implementing daily routines for at-home learning.

DL #10: Distance Learning and Communication Systems - Students who are learning or using Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems have added barriers to learning. Here are some ways to support those students even when you aren’t all together.

DL #11: Embedding Instruction at Home - Grade level standards-based curriculum can be taught through authentic learning activities at home. By embedding instruction in home activities, students apply and practice the content in meaningful ways in their own homes. The three-step process provides a means for collaboratively problem-solving how to apply the content during distance learning.

DL#12: Promoting Engagement for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities on Group Learning Platforms - This article helps answer the question of how to keep students with significant cognitive disabilities engaged in an inclusive way during this time when teachers are delivering instruction through online learning platforms. 

DL #14: Teachers: Understand and Communicate about Emotions to Support Deep Learning - This article includes 4 tips to help educators help and children understand their emotions -These tips can help all learners, including students with significant cognitive disabilities, gain self-regulation and executive functions skills that are critical for learning.

DL #17:  Planning for Instruction both at School and Distance Learning: The 5C Process - This article provides a process for planning the learning priorities and steps to plan and transition between inclusive instructional programs for students with significant cognitive disabilities at school and at home during periods of distance learning. The 5C Process are key: learning components, collaboration, continuity, collecting data, and capacity building. 

DL#18: Preparing for the First Week of School - Planning for the 2020-21 school year may seem a bit different than planning for previous years.  Here are some checklists and ideas for getting ready for successful communication with families, peers, and students.

DL#19: The First Days of School - The first days of school may look a little different if you are teaching in-person, online or a combination of both, but the need to set norms and classroom routines are necessary.

DL #20: Online Inclusive Education: Guidelines and Considerations for Planning Virtual Lessons - Planning lessons for online inclusive classrooms is challenging, but there are strategies for helping make them accessible for all learners. By targeting adaptations and differentiation strategies, teachers can meet the needs of all online learners, including those with significant cognitive disabilities.

DL#21: Distance Learning and Deafblindness: Learning From Parents - Looking for inspiration to help you with the new academic year? In this DL post, we highlight the voices of parents of children with deafblindness. Check out collective wisdom on how to be more proactive and inclusive in distance learning.

DL #22: Grading Considerations for Inclusive Classrooms in an Online Environment - Grading students with significant cognitive disabilities through distance learning requires carefulthought into what grades really mean and how to quantify student learning in a way that isenriching for all students.

DL #23: Pivoting Between Paraprofessional Support in Inclusive Schools and Distance Learning - Paraprofessionals are central to the success of educating students with disabilities in general education contexts, especially students with significant cognitive disabilities. Distance learning is pushing the field to consider how paraprofessionals can fulfill their roles in new and creative ways, particularly with the use of technology. Apply the Learning Components framework to clarify paraprofessional roles and how they can be carried out whether instruction is in-school or during distance learning. 

Does All Really Mean All? | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - This article provides a set of inclusive education indicators that define authentic inclusive education, describes the morning routine of a student in an inclusive setting, and illustrates that all students can be included in general education settings.

Vermont Educators Share Guiding Principles | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - In this interview, Vermont Educators Share Guiding Principles, three educators share guiding principles that arose from their work in implementing an inclusive service delivery model. (See “Inclusive Service Delivery: A Proactive Model for Better Educating ALL Students” for more information.)

Inclusive Instructional and Organizational Leadership (video) - Sustainable, inclusive education systems for students with significant cognitive disabilities do not stand alone. Districts must focus on building inclusive education systems for all students…systems that embrace all students for the benefit of all.

System Wide Learning (video) - For a district to build an effective and inclusive system, it must adopt and sustain  system-wide learning practices grounded in effective data use.

TIP #8: High Leverage Practices Crosswalk - High Leverage Practices (HLPs) are strategies every teacher should know and use. The purpose of this TIPs sheet is to provide ideas for inclusive general education classroom implementation of HLPs that are common to both general and special education.

TIP #9: Special Education High Leverage Practices for Instruction in Inclusive Settings - The purpose of this TIP is to show how a set of high-leverage practices developed for special education can be applied to instruction of students with significant cognitive disabilities in inclusive classrooms.

Distance Learning Engagement: An Overview Framework - This overview is intended to communicate a framework for supporting all students (including those with significant cognitive disabilities) to actively engage with classmates, learn grade-level general education curriculum, and learn other essential skills.

DL #26: Universal Design for Learning: Intentional Design for All - Distance learning has brought new challenges for how educators approach curriculum. How can UDL support lesson design?

DL#30: An Example of UDL and Online Collaboration - What does it look like has always been one of the biggest questions about including students with significant cognitive disabilities. This post is one example of how a middle school in Carroll County, MD moved their UDL lesson planning process online as a result of COVID. It includes the process and examples of the actual work. 

Lessons for All: The 5-15-45 Tool - This tool will help you go from a borrowed, bought, or mandated lesson to a more inclusive lesson for all. Many teachers plan their instruction by using existing lesson plans. Starting with a lesson that comes from a curriculum package, online site, or colleague may save time, but also requires adjustment to meet your needs as a teacher and the needs of your students, especially those with significant cognitive disabilities. Think about your student with significant cognitive disabilities and what you are teaching, and let’s get started!

5-15-45 (planning) Start Your Collaboration Out Right! - This tool will help you go from a borrowed, bought, or mandated lesson to a more inclusive lesson for all.

DL#24: The 5-15-45 Tool: Grab a Partner and Let's Collaborate! - Many teachers and administrators are struggling with how to support inclusive practices for students with significant cognitive disabilities in inclusive classes, especially during distance delivery.  This new 5-15-45 Tool can kick start collaboration whether you have 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 45 minutes or more!

TIP #11: Grading for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities in Inclusive Classrooms -Teachers in inclusive classrooms must carefully consider the grading process to provide fair and equitable grades for all students in their class, including students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. This TIP shares grading considerations and potential adaptations. 

TIP #12: Standards-based Grading and Report Cards in Inclusive Elementary and Middle Schools Article - This TIPS sheet provides guidance on how to provide fair and accurate grades for students with significant cognitive disabilities in inclusive settings. It also addresses ways to report standards-based grades for students with significant cognitive disabilities        

TIP #13: Talking About Grading with Parents or Guardians and Students for Inclusive Classrooms Article - The purpose of this TIPS is to provide suggestions to teachers about how to effectively communicate about how grades are assigned to student work and report cards and what they mean. 

TIP #7: Homework in the Inclusive Classroom - This TIP provides information and recommendations for collaborative educational teams on how to make homework successful for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in inclusive classrooms. 

Tip #10: The Use of Graphic Organizers in Inclusive Classrooms for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities - Classroom teachers have used graphic organizers for years to help students gather, sift through, organize, and share information. Graphic organizers are appealing because they have a wide range use and adaptability for many different topics and subjects. General education teachers are familiar with common layouts for graphic organizers but may not be as familiar with how to adapt graphic organizers for students with varied learning needs. This TIPs sheet will expand on the traditional graphic organizer formats to show how they can be differentiated to meet the needs of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities through the use of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

TIP #15: Turn and Talk in the Inclusive Classroom - In this TIPS Brief, we show how to remove barriers to allow students with significant cognitive disabilities (SCD) to engage in Turn and Talk activities during instruction in general education classes through the UDL framework and examples from an inclusive classroom.

TIP#16: Making Inferences in Inclusive Classrooms -This TIPS provides suggestions for teachers on how to teach inferencing skills to all learners in an inclusive classroom. The examples presented are reflective of a collaborative process required to plan the use of inferencing strategies in inclusive classrooms through the UDL framework. 

TIP #18: Choosing Accessible Grade-Level Texts for Use in Inclusive Classrooms - Individuals with disabilities should have the opportunity to engage in grade-level texts, connect memories, and learn from favorite books alongside their peers. Accessible texts promote comprehension through the use of adaptations that modify original print formats. This TIPS will outline considerations for choosing appropriate accessible grade-level texts for students with significant cognitive disabilities in inclusive classrooms.

TIP #3: Getting to Know Students who use AAC - This TIP describes how educational team members can develop and use student profiles, communication plans, and daily plans to guide the successful involvement of students with significant communication needs in inclusive classroom activities.

Developing IEPs that Support Inclusive Education for Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities – A Parent Brief focuses on developing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) that support inclusive education for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. IEPs that support inclusion are especially critical for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who participate in a state alternate assessment aligned to alternate academic achievement standards (AA-AAAS), as well as for those in grades PreK-2 who may not yet take state assessments. The purpose of this Brief is to identify specific ways in which the IEPs of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities can be written to support inclusion in the general education curriculum and, ideally, the general education classroom.

TIP #1: How Peers Can Support AAC Use by Students with Significant Communication Needs - Encouraging peers to use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) with students with significant cognitive disabilities who also have complex communication needs increases access to repeated, interactive, and generative language opportunities across environments. Inclusion, friendship, and communication ensure valued social roles and life-long learning. Peer- mediated supports combined with training are essential for supporting AAC users. Embedding simple, evidence-based strategies that involve peers will serve to increase success in inclusive settings for students with significant cognitive disabilities who have complex communication needs.

TIP #4: Successfully Using Communication Practices in the Inclusive Class - This TIP provides background on the use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices for students with significant cognitive disabilities in inclusive classrooms. Key sections address the research evidence, definitions of key terms related to AAC use, descriptions of AAC implementation in an inclusive classroom, and resources on AAC use.

TIP #5: Connecting Core Words, Aided Language Modeling, and Literacy - This TIP provides information on how to model the use of a student’s Augmentative andAlternative Communication (AAC) device and identify core vocabulary for communication and interaction. When combined, these two approaches are useful for increasing receptive and expressive language skills for students with significant cognitive disabilities as well as increasing the use of AAC devices.

Inclusion, Friendships, and the Power of Peers | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Describes how peer support arrangements and peer networks can be used to change the social landscape of students with significant cognitive disabilities, while benefiting both students with and without disabilities.

Peer Networks Benefit Kentucky Students: The Power of Communication | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - This article shares how student Jaimar Fish’s communication network was expanded through participation in a peer network, how students formed lasting friendships, and how the Kentucky Peer Support Network Project has benefited students with and without disabilities.

DL #16: Increasing Opportunities to Respond and Provide Feedback to Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities in Inclusive Online Environments - This Distance Learning Series post helps inform teachers how to deliver effective feedback to students with significant cognitive disabilities through asynchronous (online, not live with a teacher) and synchronous (online, live with a teacher) learning environments.

Paraprofessional Roles and Layers of Instruction | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Paraprofessional Roles and Layers of Instruction details how a layered instructional framework can be used to organize students’ programs and the role of paraprofessionals.

DL #23: Pivoting Between Paraprofessional Support in Inclusive Schools and Distance Learning - Paraprofessionals are central to the success of educating students with disabilities in general education contexts, especially students with significant cognitive disabilities. Distance learning is pushing the field to consider how paraprofessionals can fulfill their roles in new and creative ways, particularly with the use of technology. Apply the Learning Components framework to clarify paraprofessional roles and how they can be carried out whether instruction is in-school or during distance learning. 

Does All Really Mean All? | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Does All Really Mean All? provides a set of inclusive education indicators that define authentic inclusive education, describes the morning routine of a student in an inclusive setting, and illustrates that all students can be included in general education settings.

DL#18: Preparing for the First Week of School - Planning for the 2020-21 school year may seem a bit different than planning for previous years.  Here are some checklists and ideas for getting ready for successful communication with families, peers, and students.

DL#19: The First Days of School - The first days of school may look a little different if you are teaching in-person, online or a combination of both, but the need to set norms and classroom routines are necessary.

DL#1: Morning Meetings - Many classrooms use morning meetings to check-in with students and lay out the goals of the day. Even with asynchronous distance learning or packets of work that go home, this is still possible.  See an elementary and middle school example of a morning meeting check-in.

DL#2: A Collaborative Start to Behavioral Supports - Positive and consistent behavioral supports are needed by all students, and for some students, they are absolutely vital for meaningful engagement to be achieved. By intentionally identifying, collaboratively communicating, and consistently following through on the identified supports, students with significant cognitive disabilities are more able to participate and engage meaningfully through distance learning.

DL#3: Effective Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) Within the Distance Learning Environment: What in the world does that look like? - During a move to distance and online learning, educators and administrators are struggling with what it means to provide specially designed instruction for students with the most significant disabilities. TIES Center has some considerations around the initial basic questions for supporting students with IEPs.

DL #5 Reflections About Individualizing Supports for Children and Families: Olivia’s Story - Olivia is a teenager, at home experiencing distance learning just like everyone else. She also has autism as an attribute. This is a reflection that her mother shared regarding what school teams need to take into consideration right now.

DL #6: Getting "Unstuck:" Tips to help your child if they get stuck with their remote learning - This article includes 4 tips to help parents support their child when they are stuck in their learning during this new remote learning. These tips can help all students, including those with significant cognitive disabilities, build independence with their own learning.

DL #7: Self-determined Schedule Making - This article includes two strategies for helping parents support their child in planning their daily schedule and following through using time management skills. These resources can help all students, including students with significant cognitive disabilities, build independence in creating and implementing daily routines for at-home learning.

DL #8: Time Management During Distance Learning - This article includes a strategy for helping parents support their child in following through using time management skills. These resources can help all students, including students with significant cognitive disabilities, build independence in creating and implementing daily routines for at-home learning.

DL#9: Start Now to Plan for Students Transitioning Back to School - Even as teams continue developing their skills to provide distance learning to students with significant cognitive disabilities, States are discussing various scenarios for when and how-to bring students back to schools. Proactively thinking now about what needs to be considered to successfully transition students back to school will help facilitate this transition.

DL #11: Embedding Instruction at Home - Grade level standards-based curriculum can be taught through authentic learning activities at home. By embedding instruction in home activities, students apply and practice the content in meaningful ways in their own homes. The three-step process provides a means for collaboratively problem-solving how to apply the content during distance learning.

DL#12: Promoting Engagement for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities on Group Learning Platforms - This article helps answer the question of how to keep students with significant cognitive disabilities engaged in an inclusive way during this time when teachers are delivering instruction through online learning platforms. 

DL #13: Distance Learning is Emotional Work: Tips for Parents and Caregivers - This article includes tips to help caregivers, parents, and children manage their emotions. These tips can help all learners, including students with significant cognitive disabilities, gain self-regulation and executive functions skills that are critical for learning.

DL #14: Teachers: Understand and Communicate about Emotions to Support Deep Learning - This article includes 4 tips to help educators help and children understand their emotions. These tips can help all learners, including students with significant cognitive disabilities, gain self-regulation and executive functions skills that are critical for learning.

DL# 15: Data Collection and Distance Learning - Distance Learning does not mean that legal requirements for meeting the needs of students with disabilities have stopped. Educators and administrators are struggling with how to collect and use data in a distance learning structure. This resource provides concrete strategies and tips.

DL #17:  Planning for Instruction both at School and Distance Learning: The 5C Process - This article provides a process for planning the learning priorities and steps to plan and transition between inclusive instructional programs for students with significant cognitive disabilities at school and at home during periods of distance learning. The 5C Process are key: learning components, collaboration, continuity, collecting data, and capacity building. 

DL #20: Online Inclusive Education: Guidelines and Considerations for Planning Virtual Lessons - Planning lessons for online inclusive classrooms is challenging, but there are strategies for helping make them accessible for all learners. By targeting adaptations and differentiation strategies, teachers can meet the needs of all online learners, including those with significant cognitive disabilities.

DL#21: Distance Learning and Deafblindness: Learning From Parents - Looking for inspiration to help you with the new academic year? In this DL post, we highlight the voices of parents of children with deafblindness. Check out collective wisdom on how to be more proactive and inclusive in distance learning.

DL #22: Grading Considerations for Inclusive Classrooms in an Online Environment - Grading students with significant cognitive disabilities through distance learning requires careful thought into what grades really mean and how to quantify student learning in a way that is enriching for all students.

DL #25: Embedding Instruction During Hybrid Learning - Many teachers are balancing how to ensure access to the general education classroom for students with significant cognitive disabilities with pressure to ensure their students are also making progress on individualized goals. This DL article explores how embedded instruction can serve as a solution. Teachers, how might you have embedded instruction for your students before, even if you didn’t know it as a specific strategy?

DL #27: Planning Hybrid (Online and In-person) Lessons for Inclusive Classrooms - Teaching in hybrid learning can be complicated, whether it is a combination of online and offline learning (synchronous and asynchronous) or online and in-person learning. Are you wondering how you can keep up with all the changes and meet the needs of all learners through different teaching formats? Check out this Distance Learning post about how to plan and organize hybrid learning options in a way that reduces teacher stress and increases student success.

Together We Are Better! Collaborative Teaming to Support Authentic Inclusion of Students with Complex Support Needs | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - After opening with vignettes showing how two boys with similar disabilities experience very different school days, this article details how collaborative teaming is used to provide an inclusive setting and experience for a student with significant disabilities. (See “Unfiltered Truths of Co-Teaching” for a companion piece.)

Creating Inclusive Schools: What Does the Research Say? | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - This article reviews the research on inclusion, presenting the essential practices that create inclusive schools as well the benefits of inclusive education.

Expert Learning is for All | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Expert Learning is for All describes how Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and the idea of the expert learner can be used to adapt and redesign curriculum to meet the needs of all students.

Strategies for Supporting AAC Use in Inclusive General Education Classrooms | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Supporting students with complex communication needs is an important part of creating inclusive classrooms. In Strategies for Supporting AAC Use in Inclusive General Education Classrooms, five strategies are described for using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) in schools.

Vermont Educators Share Guiding Principles | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - In this interview, Vermont Educators Share Guiding Principles, three educators share guiding principles that arose from their work in implementing an inclusive service delivery model. (See “Inclusive Service Delivery: A Proactive Model for Better Educating ALL Students” for more information.)

Inclusive Instructional and Organizational Leadership (video) - Sustainable, inclusive education systems for students with significant cognitive disabilities do not stand alone. Districts must focus on building inclusive education systems for all students…systems that embrace all students for the benefit of all.

Prioritizing Teaching and Learning (video) - The central mission of schools and districts is teaching and learning. In effective systems, all participants are learners--both the students and the adults.

Building Capacity through Support and Accountability (video) - Effective and inclusive districts build capacity for high-quality instruction, equitable community engagement, professional teaming, and productive decision-making.

Sustaining a Culture of Openness and Inquiry (video) - Districts need to shape their organizational cultures in ways that make those cultures collaborative, caring, ethical, equitable, and amendale to positive change. Building a collaborative culture that values the contributions of all members and is open to self-reflection and learning is key to the development of sustainable, inclusive systems. 

MTSS for All: Including Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities PDF - This Brief PDF provides suggestions for ways in which the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), a framework for organizing and providing a tiered instructional continuum to support learning for all students, can include students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Ideas for how to make MTSS fully inclusive of all students are presented following a short history of MTSS and a summary of current MTSS models.

Inclusive Service Delivery: A Proactive Model | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - This article shows how a school can restructure the usage of existing school personnel in ways that better support students learning in an inclusive setting. (See the companion piece “Vermont Educators Share Guiding Principles.”)

Creating Inclusive Schools: What Does the Research Say? | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - This article reviews the research on inclusion, presenting the essential practices that create inclusive schools as well the benefits of inclusive education.

Inclusive Instructional and Organizational Leadership (video) - Sustainable, inclusive education systems for students with significant cognitive disabilities do not stand alone. Districts must focus on building inclusive education systems for all students…systems that embrace all students for the benefit of all.

Building Capacity through Support and Accountability (video) - Effective and inclusive districts build capacity for high-quality instruction, equitable community engagement, professional teaming, and productive decision-making.

Sustaining a Culture of Openness and Inquiry (video) - Districts need to shape their organizational cultures in ways that make those cultures collaborative, caring, ethical, equitable, and amendale to positive change. Building a collaborative culture that values the contributions of all members and is open to self-reflection and learning is key to the development of sustainable, inclusive systems. 

Paraprofessional Roles and Layers of Instruction | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - This article details how a layered instructional framework can be used to organize students’ programs and the role of paraprofessionals.

DL#23: Pivoting Between Paraprofessional Support in Inclusive Schools and Distance Learning - Paraprofessionals are central to the success of educating students with disabilities in general education contexts, especially students with significant cognitive disabilities. Distance learning is pushing the field to consider how paraprofessionals can fulfill their roles in new and creative ways, particularly with the use of technology. Apply the Learning Components framework to clarify paraprofessional roles and how they can be carried out whether instruction is in-school or during distance learning. 

Distance Learning and the Future of Inclusion - Distance Learning created significant stresses for students, families and districts. By listening to educators and families about their successes and challenges, the TIES Center identified five key learnings to help drive the work forward to achieve greater outcomes for students with significant cognitive disabilities in inclusive schools.

Lemonade in the Time of Corona - The pandemic upended the world, including the world of education.  This article, written by a parent, shares the impact of COVID on education for her daughter, including what was learned and ideas for moving forward. 

DL#15: Data Collection and Distance Learning - Distance Learning does not mean that legal requirements for meeting the needs of students with disabilities have stopped. Educators and administrators are struggling with how to collect and use data in a distance learning structure. This resource provides concrete strategies and tips.

DL#28: Not Letting LRE Slide: Ensuring Inclusive Education During COVID - During COVID, how can teams prioritize the least restrictive environment and inclusive education? How do we assure that we are teaching students with significant cognitive disabilities in the least restrictive environment possible during distance learning and as we return to various in-person delivery models? Considering three questions at key decision points regarding instructional models can raise the awareness of the impact of a team’s decision on a student. 

Distance Learning Engagement: An Overview Framework - This overview is intended to communicate a framework for supporting all students (including those with significant cognitive disabilities) to actively engage with classmates, learn grade-level general education curriculum, and learn other essential skills.

DL#24: The 5-15-45 Tool: Grab a Partner and Let's Collaborate! - Many teachers and administrators are struggling with how to support inclusive practices for students with significant cognitive disabilities in inclusive classes, especially during distance delivery.  This new 5-15-45 Tool can kick start collaboration whether you have 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 45 minutes or more!

DL#26: Universal Design for Learning: Intentional Design for All - Distance learning has brought new challenges for how educators approach curriculum. How can UDL support lesson design?

DL#4: Dealing with Uncertainty: A Plea for Thoughtful Plans and Patient Collaboration - Systems change is always a challenge. During a pandemic it is a huge and unexpected change for everyone, including districts, teachers and families. None of us are experts in this area...yet. That will come, but in the meantime we need to allow the space and patience for each of us and ourselves to grow.

DL#9: Start Now to Plan for Students Transitioning Back to School - Even as teams continue developing their skills to provide distance learning to students with significant cognitive disabilities, States are discussing various scenarios for when and how-to bring students back to schools. Proactively thinking now about what needs to be considered to successfully transition students back to school will help facilitate this transition.

DL#18: Preparing for the First Week of School - Planning for the 2020-21 school year may seem a bit different than planning for previous years.  Here are some checklists and ideas for getting ready for successful communication with families, peers, and students.

DL#21: Distance Learning and Deafblindness: Learning From Parents - Looking for inspiration to help you with the new academic year? In this DL post, we highlight the voices of parents of children with deafblindness. Check out collective wisdom on how to be more proactive and inclusive in distance learning.

DL#29: Collaboration in the Trenches: Lessons Learned about Inclusive Technology during COVID - In this DL post, the specific collaborative activities to support continued use of assistive and educational technology during distance learning are explored. Lessons for teachers and leaders from the work in Loudoun County, Virginia are listed.

Taking the Alternate Assessment Does NOT Mean Education in a Separate Setting! - This brief discusses the characteristics of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, least restrictive environment, legal provisions, and next steps for parents.

NCSC Brief 5: Standards-based Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for Students Who Participate in AA-AAS - This brief from the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) provides information about creating a standards-based IEP for students who participate in alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards. The brief includes information about: how an IEP differs from curricula; individualization of the plan; creating systems-level support for standards-based IEPs; and guidelines for incorporating grade-level standards.

TIP #14: Academic Standards for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities in Inclusive Classrooms: Same Content Standards, Alternate Achievement Standards - The purpose of this Brief is to clarify what academic content standards and alternate achievement standards are, how they are different, and how they contribute to inclusive education.

Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District: Inclusive Practices and Lessons Learned | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - The former Director of Student Support Services for Cottonwood-Oak Creek District (Arizona) shares seven lessons learned in making inclusive practices work with a focus on the school district level.

Does All Really Mean All? | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Does All Really Mean All? provides a set of inclusive education indicators that define authentic inclusive education, describes the morning routine of a student in an inclusive setting, and illustrates that all students can be included in general education settings.

From Isolation to Inclusion: Anne’s Journey | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - In this article, the parents of a woman with a significant disability describe her experience attending a segregated early-education program followed by elementary, middle, and high school at her local neighborhood school. They describe her experiences in school and beyond.

Inclusion, Friendships, and the Power of Peers | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Describes how peer support arrangements and peer networks can be used to change the social landscape of students with significant cognitive disabilities, while benefiting both students with and without disabilities.

Peer Networks Benefit Kentucky Students: The Power of Communication | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - This article shares how student Jaimar Fish’s communication network was expanded through participation in a peer network, how students formed lasting friendships, and how the Kentucky Peer Support Network Project has benefited students with and without disabilities.

The Hope of Lessons Learned: Supporting the Inclusion of Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities Into General Education Classrooms | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - This article presents ten lessons learned through working toward inclusive education systems, focusing on the systems-level changes that are needed to make inclusion work for students.

Together We Are Better! Collaborative Teaming to Support Authentic Inclusion of Students with Complex Support Needs | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - After opening with vignettes showing how two boys with similar disabilities experience very different school days, this article details how collaborative teaming is used to provide an inclusive setting and experience for a student with significant disabilities. (See “Unfiltered Truths of Co-Teaching” for a companion piece.)

Unfiltered Truths of Co-Teaching | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - Two teachers, one coming from a special education background and one from a general education classroom, share their realizations based on co-teaching together for two years. (See “Together We Are Better! Collaborative Teaming to Support Authentic Inclusion of Students with Complex Support Needs” for a companion piece.)

Wide Open Spaces: Maggie’s Story  - A parent shares how she learned the safest space for her daughter, Maggie, was not in a sheltered classroom, but in a classroom surrounded by typical peers. She also details how Maggie’s friends helped the adults around her understand and better address her needs and desires.

“We Expect Them to Teach All Students”: Syracuse University’s Inclusive Elementary and Special Education Program | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 -The Coordinator of the Inclusive Elementary and Special Education Program at Syracuse University (SU) discusses the strategies, principles, and history behind SU’s inclusive education program. (See “To Truly Be Inclusive is a Whole Life Process: Reflections of a SU Graduate” for a companion piece.)

TIES Center: Supporting Sustainable Change in K-8 Education | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - This article  introduces the TIES Center, the National Technical Assistance Center on Inclusive Practices and Policies for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. 

To Truly Be Inclusive is a Whole Life Process: Reflections of a SU Graduate | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - The author describes some of her own schooling experience, and how she came to understand that inclusion is a whole life process. (See “We Expect Them to Teach All Students” for a companion piece.)

Vermont Educators Share Guiding Principles | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - In this interview, three educators share guiding principles that arose from their work in implementing an inclusive service delivery model. (See “Inclusive Service Delivery: A Proactive Model for Better Educating ALL Students” for more information.)

What Data Tell Us About General Education and Students with Disabilities | Impact | Winter 2018/19 Volume 31, Number 2 - This article presents information about the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) data for students with disabilities.  It demonstrates a significant difference in LRE for those students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. (See “The Hope of Lessons Learned:  Supporting the Inclusion of Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities Into General Education Classrooms” for more information.)