TIES Inclusive Education Roadmap RETIRED

Facilitative Administration


“The primary function of Facilitative Administration is to create and maintain hospitable environments to support new ways of work”-State Implementation and Scaling-up of Evidence-based Practices, n.d.-c

Creating equitable and inclusive schools that sustain over time requires not just trained staff and buy-in from leadership, but organizational structures in place that ensure team collaboration and ownership of the learning of all students in a welcoming environment. These organizational structures will only be sustained when there are supporting policies and procedures in place at the state, district, and school levels. 

  • Research demonstrates that changes are needed in how schools operate in order to create hospitable conditions for implementation of effective inclusive practices. Systemic efforts to promote inclusive schools must address teacher values and beliefs, instructional practices, school organization, and roles and responsibilities of school staff (McLeskey, Waldron, & Algozzine, 2014). 

  • Individual teachers can navigate barriers and implement some inclusive practices for some students, but sustainable and systemic change requires facilitative leaders working collaboratively with stakeholders to engage, identify, and address barriers together in an ongoing fashion.

  • Research on system change for inclusive education for students with disabilities has identified the importance of the district’s vision and actions in creating and leading sustainable change. Central to this work is developing supportive policies and practices that promote system-wide learning for the adults grounded in the use of data; prioritizing teaching and learning for the students and the adults; implementing accountability structures and processes to build capacity district wide, and nurturing collaborative cultures for continuous improvement (Howley & Telfer, 2020; National Center on Educational Outcomes, n.d.). A district does not build an inclusive system for their students with significant cognitive disabilities. Rather, it creates facilitative structures and processes for inclusive systems that benefit all students, including those with significant cognitive disabilities 

Guiding Questions

  1. How does leadership use resources to support the development of staff competencies around inclusive practices (Ward et al., 2018)? These resources could be already existing (such as initiatives identified in the initiative inventory) or new resources could be needed to support identified development
  2. Are there any internal policies or procedures that may support or act as a barrier to inclusive practices?

Examples of policies and procedures (and how they may act as a support or a barrier to inclusive practices) at the state, district, and school levels

State Examples



Issues identified in the State Performance Plans/Annual Performance Reports

  • Support: Critically analyzes student LRE data, including placement in separate schools; identifying issues and creating plans that counteract policies that exclude students with disabilities

  • Barrier: setting benchmarks for improvement that are minimal from year to year; not analyzing to a level of granularity that produces data usable for supporting inclusive practices


  • Support: creating collaborative conversations between school teams and families assisting with interpretation of IDEA and FAPE in a way that is conducive to inclusive practices; following through on complaint decisions and remedies with fidelity

  • Barrier: “gatekeeper” or interpretations of law are not supportive of inclusive practices

Finance policy

  • Support: providing funding for students with disabilities based on levels of need, and identifying ways that funding can be  flexibly spent or braided with other funding streams to build cohesive supports for all students 

  • Barrier: providing funding for students with disabilities based on placement or misinterpreted by districts to be based on placement

Alternate assessment/alternate achievement standards

  • Support: Used for assessment purposes

  • Barrier: Used for assessment and also as a basis for instruction rather than grade level general education standards; or used as a criteria that supports placement in more restrictive settings outside of general education

IEP procedures

  • Support: State guidance incorporates procedures for writing inclusive IEPs that link the progress in the general education curriculum and routines with a student’s individual needs

  • Barrier: The IEP is written solely based on the student’s individual needs isolated from the general education curriculum and routines

Requirements for delivery of specially designed instruction

  • Support: designed by special education team and delivered in a flexible way by multiple educators 

  • Barrier: designed and delivered by special education staff only

District Examples



Description of roles and responsibilities for educators (general and special education, specialized support personnel, paraprofessionals)

  • Support: allow for teams to be comprised of diverse range of professionals working collaboratively and flexibly within their teams to meet diverse needs of students
  • Barrier: restrict and limit team members to rigidly defined and assigned roles and responsibilities separately within general education and special education

Internal school enrollment

  • Support: enrollment boundaries with all students being at the neighborhood school or school of choice if that option exists for all students
  • Barrier: Boundaries with enrollment for students with disabilities at center-based programs

Professional development

  • Support: teacher workshop days build a common knowledge base across for all educators, specialized support personnel and inclusive of paraprofessionals (when appropriate for them to be a part of the learning).

  • Barrier: general and special education teachers have different foci or topics they are learning, separate from one another on teacher workshop days; paraprofessionals are not offered the opportunity to participate when appropriate

Updating of school facilities

  • Support: ensuring that there is a plan for all schools to be accessible

  • Barrier: only planning for some schools to be accessible


  • Support: flexibility in how students with disabilities are assigned to a school bus, accessible buses for any student to ride available for field trips; paraprofessional support is available on typical bus routes 

  • Barrier: rigidity in how some students with disabilities only take the special bus; limited accessible transportation for field trips; paraprofessionals only assigned to special education-only buses

District-wide initiatives such as MTSS/PBIS

  • Support: communicating the expectation that all students receive Tier 1 instruction in a general education classroom

  • Barrier: no clear communication about Tier 1 instruction for students with disabilities  

Assessment/Use of assistive technology (for example,the SETT process, which stands for Students, Environment, Tasks and Tools)

  • Support: assessment and support for students provided in the general education classroom and environments

  • Barrier: assessment and support for students provided only in a self-contained or 1:1 setting

Delivery of specially designed instruction

  • Support: designed by special education team and delivered in a flexible way by multiple educators throughout the school day

  • Barrier: designed and delivered by special education staff only

Extended school year (ESY) programming

  • Support: students with disabilities receiving ESY services in inclusive placements, and based on individualized programming

  • Barrier: students with disabilities receive ESY services in a separate setting with other students with disabilities, and for predetermined (often limited) time

School Examples



Schoolwide initiatives such as MTSS/PBIS

  • Support: All students, including those who receive supplemental special education services, have access to receive instruction in Tier 1 and Tiers 2 and 3, as needed.

  • Barrier: Students receiving special education services receive Tier 3 supports to the exclusion of Tiers 1 and 2

Scheduling/ master schedules

  • Support: development of master schedules that prioritize collaboration and alignment across general education and special education and ensure continuity of learning and provision of services in the general education environment for all learners 

  • Barrier: development of master schedules that leads to silos and separation between general education and special education supports

Planning time for general and special educators

  • Support: Special education teachers are provided regular common planning time to co-plan with general education teachers; collaborative processes are used to support effective collaboration

  • Barrier: Special education teachers engage in co-planning with other special education teachers only or co-planning does not exist for anyone

Special education and specialized support personnel inclusive service delivery

  • Support: allow special educators and specialized support personnel to work collaboratively and flexibly within general education settings to meet diverse needs of students

  • Barrier: services are delivered separately from general education settings

Requirements for delivery of specially designed instruction

  • Support: designed by special education team and delivered in a flexible way by multiple educators  

  • Barrier: designed and delivered by special education staff only

Discipline policies

  • Support: Policies that are inclusive of students with disabilities, but also provide flexibility for individual student needs

  • Barrier: Policies are not inclusive of students with disabilities, or are inclusive of them, but very rigid

Flexible spaces for staff and students

  • Support: There are flexible spaces in the school for different instructional arrangements such as one to one and small group where heterogeneous groups or individual students  go to receive additional instruction supported by staff from across different areas, such as English Learner, Special Education, Title 1, Gifted education, and General Education

  • Barrier: Students with disabilities go to special education rooms to receive pullout services

How does leadership...

  • support an inclusive vision and climate in the organization where all students means all students? 

  • support state/district/school teams in navigating their policies/procedures and changing them as needed to support inclusive practices?

  • regularly communicate, collaborate, and promote the importance of inclusive practices to stakeholders (for example, staff, students, families, community partners, Board of Education)? 

  • work to sustain inclusive practices over time, including ongoing problem-solving using data and staff recognition related to the effectiveness of inclusive practices?