TIES Inclusive Education Roadmap RETIRED

Selection of Partners

Selection of District and School Partners for Initial Inclusive School Community Work

Selecting districts and schools in which to initiate developing and sustaining inclusive practices and policies that support increased time, instructional effectiveness, and engagement in the general education curriculum and with peers as members of general education classroom communities for each and every student is only an initial step. Starting by focusing the development work in select districts and schools provides a strong foundation for the scaling up of the work across the state and district-wide.  

In selecting the initial districts and schools in which to work, readiness for change is considered. This readiness is not a pre-existing condition that you are trying to identify, but rather, openness to working with an inclusive education leadership team to develop, nurture, and sustain the practices and structures required to support an inclusive school community for every student.

The materials in this section include:

  • District Selection Process Recommendations

  • District Application

  • School Selection Criteria 

Overview of State Selection Process and Procedures

School District Intensive Technical Assistance on Inclusive Practices and Policies

Step 1.  An email and Technical Assistance (TA) District application will be sent to Directors of Special Education inviting them to apply for consideration as a TA District partner. 

Step 2.  A second communication is sent to Directors of Special Education, two weeks prior to the deadline, reminding them of the opportunity to submit an application for consideration as a TA District and sharing the rubric that will be used in evaluating applications.

The TA applications from school districts are reviewed with the assistance of a rubric by a review team consisting of representatives from the State Department of Education and the specific TA providers. 

  • Additional state department or TA providers can review applications and provide feedback to the review team regarding district selection.

Step 1. Any additional reviewers will share their feedback with one of their representatives on the review team prior to the conference call.

Step 2. During the conference call, each reviewer will identify the top districts based on their review. The number of districts to be selected will be dependent on the capacity of the state to provide intensive TA. Reviewers will share and discuss rationale for their selection – beginning with districts identified by more than one reviewer.

Step 1. Acknowledgement and thanks will be provided to each district who applied.

Step 2. State department of education personnel will notify the districts selected and agree upon a date to discuss and work on a Partnership Agreement that captures a jointly developed plan of TA.  

Grounding Assumptions

The State Department of Education (SDE) invites applications from interested districts to engage in technical assistance (TA) on inclusive practices and policies. The goal of the TA is to support systems change efforts in order to build equitable and effective inclusive education systems for all students with an explicit, but not exclusive, focus on students with significant cognitive disabilities. The application will ensure diversity in district type (for example, urban or rural) and demographics in the selection process; specify the nature and duration of district participation; require district-wide participation; and identify the responsibilities of each participating district. In an effort to support mutual selection, a meeting will be held with finalists in order to exchange information and ensure that a shared vision for the work exists.

The SDE designs a tiered model to provide intensive TA to a select number of districts and universal TA to all districts.  For the intensive TA, dependent upon state, some combination of SDE-level personnel, regional-level personnel, and professional development cadre members (for example, institutes of higher education, advocacy, professional organizations) are identified to support selected districts to build the capacity for district-level change across the state.  Priority content foci of the intensive TA will be identified with the use of the Reflections on Inclusive Systems for Education (RISE). General and special educators, administrators, specialized support personnel, paraprofessionals, families, and community members will be considered/included in the delivery of technical assistance.

Resources For State, District, and School Partner Selection Process and Procedures

State Application for Districts : Application for School Districts seeking intensive Technical Assistance 

A School Dedicated to Inclusion : An article about a school with inclusive structures and supports, with flexible learning environments and schedules to support teachers and students (Vandercook, T., Nelson, M., & Montie, J. (1998, January). Principal;  77, p. 37-39)

Children with Disabilities (IDEA) School EdFacts Age File Specifications: EdFacts Supporting Document for Link within District/School Selection Form

District Profile Data: EdFacts Category B, Categories A and C, and Category E

School Selection Criteria Guidelines

Selecting schools in which to initiate the work of developing and sustaining inclusive practices and policies that support increased time, instructional effectiveness, and engagement for each student in general education is only an initial step.  Beginning the work in select schools provides a strong foundation for the scaling up of the work district-wide.  

In selecting the initial focus schools in which to work, readiness for change is considered. This readiness is not a pre-existing condition that you are trying to identify, but rather an openness to working with an equitable inclusive education leadership team to develop, nurture, and sustain the practices and structures required to support an inclusive school community for every student.  Below are some criteria to consider when identifying initial schools with which to work.

School Mission Statement

  • Does the school have a mission statement that expresses an inclusive education vision that values diversity and supports a philosophy that every student can learn and make progress in the general education curriculum?  

  • Is this mission statement used frequently to support collaboration across general and special education, placement in general education classrooms, and the use of universally designed instructional practices?

Current Initiatives

  • Does the school currently have initiatives in place that are supportive of equitable inclusive work?

  • Does the school’s professional development (PD) plan include a focus on supporting equitable and inclusive schools? Does this PD include general educators, special educators, support staff, and administrators?

Open Mindsets

  • Has the school community, including leaders, teachers, staff and families engaged in discussions about equitable inclusive schools, both why they are important and how they can be supported?   

  • Have these discussions included opportunities to to express concerns about equitable inclusive schools and have steps been taken to address these concerns?

Neighborhood Schools Placement

Has the school demonstrated support for all students with disabilities to attend their neighborhood school, inclusive of those with a more significant need for support?

Scheduling

Is scheduling in place that provides the time for general and special education to co-plan, co-implement, and co-evaluate instruction?

Physical Spaces

Are flexible learning spaces used to meet all students' needs or is there an openness to that model versus the use of separate spaces that are only used for those students who qualify for special education services?

Staffing

Is there a sufficient amount of educators and support staff to successfully place and meaningfully engage students with significant cognitive disabilities in the general education classroom? Does this include a commitment to a sufficient number of special educators to collaborate with general educators, resulting in either a reassignment of paraprofessionals as members of inclusion support teams in general education or fewer paraprofessionals allowing for additional special education teachers?

LRE Data

What does the school’s LRE data reveal about the commitment to increase how often students with disabilities are included in general education?

Feeder Schools

Does this school receive students from a school setting that is working to be equitable and inclusive?  Does this school send students to a school setting that is working to be equitable and inclusive?