TIES Inclusive Education Roadmap RETIRED

Sustainability and Implementation Science

The goal of the IER is to build inclusive education systems for all students, including students with significant cognitive disabilities. Yet, organizations are often more successful in building inclusive education practices for individual students with significant cognitive disabilities, then in scaling up these practices to benefit all students. The outcome is a “vapor effect” where the features of inclusive education practices that were implemented for one student evaporate as that student advances to the next grade or exits the education system. The result is that when a new student with complex needs enters the school, there is confusion because an inclusive education system was never built and, therefore, inclusive practices need to be rebuilt. This occurs because the inclusive education practices were designed around an individual student, rather than systematically building and supporting a robust inclusive education system that benefits all students and is sustained over time. 

Implementation Science (Fixsen et al., 2005) offers guidance on why some educational practices thrive and achieve positive outcomes for students. It also offers guidance on why some initiatives, despite best intentions, remain scattered in their implementation, limited in their reach, and unsustainable over time. After several decades of research across multiple fields, an Implementation Science framework (State Implementation and Scaling-up of Evidence-based Practices, n.d.-a) has been developed for creating conditions that facilitate the systemwide implementation of evidence-based inclusive education practices that support improved outcomes for students. 

The Implementation Science framework provides scaffolding for the Inclusive Education Roadmap. The scaffolding is what shifts the needle from high-quality inclusive education programs for a few to high-quality, positive impact inclusive education programs for all, inclusive of those with significant cognitive disabilities. The Inclusive Education Roadmap framework includes the Implementation Science stages of: 

Stages of Implementation

The stages of implementation:

  1. Exploration (getting started)
  2. Installation (organizing for success)
  3. Initial Implementation (beginning to implement change)
  4. Full Implementation (continuous implementation and improvement)

Arrows point both directions between each stage which is meant to indicate that teams may move back and forth between stages.

Illustrated above are the stages of implementation. The two sided arrows between each stage indicate that implementation is not a linear process. Teams may find that they move between stages one or more times.

  • Exploration (Getting Started)
    • What needs to happen to start off strong with building an inclusive system?
    • How do we build readiness for inclusive education? 
  • Installation (Organizing for Success)  
    • How do we reflect on our current system and prioritize where to start in building an inclusive system? 
    • What infrastructure do we need to put in place to support and sustain implementation? What data is needed to understand the current situation and to what extent goals are being reached? 
  • Initial Implementation (Beginning to Implement Change) 
    • How do we move forward with the priorities identified in our Inclusive Education action plan? 
    • How will leadership build inclusive education systems for all students ensuring the systems are inclusive of students with significant cognitive disabilities? 
    • How do we use the mix of the drivers in our system to build the capacity for educators to teach and collaborate using effective inclusive practices? How do we reach fidelity in our practices to positively impact all students?
  • Full Implementation (Continuous Implementation and Improvement)
    • Once the identified priority has reached 60% or more of intended users and they are implementing with fidelity, how do we sustain this work while also systematically scaling up to expand the impact?