TIES Inclusive Education Roadmap RETIRED

Suggested Learning to Promote Readiness

Building Readiness for Inclusive Education

Readiness for any system change is an under-emphasized part of the implementation process (Fixsen et al., 2013). Increasing readiness in a system happens throughout every change process and is essential for increasing the understanding and developing the mindset about the why, what, and how of equitable inclusive education, including for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Part of readiness is unpacking and understanding that phrases like “all students will achieve to high standards,” historically, has not meant embracing that all truly means all students, including those with significant cognitive disabilities. And, that implementing inclusive education for “each and every student” is about equity, high expectations, and improved life-long outcomes for all students. 

Foundational Statements

  • Building readiness is a critical need at each implementation stage, but particularly in the initial “Getting Started” (Exploration) and the Organizing for Success (Installation) stages, as well as every time an organization introduces or scales up a new aspect of inclusive education.
  • “Resistance” occurs when people are asked prematurely to move to action. They are “resistant to change” because they are not “ready for change.” However, system leaders cannot simply wait for readiness to appear” (Fixsen et al., 2013, p.1).  
  • Readiness is not a one-time endeavor. It is not a one-time item on a checklist. It is a continual circling back, sharing of information and nurturing the discussion as the why, what, and how to move forward into action. 
  • Efforts to increase readiness support all stakeholders in learning about the why, what, and how of the proposed change.  Creating readiness for inclusive education, particularly when considering inclusive models for students with significant cognitive disabilities, may require leaders to challenge individual preconceptions about what are the best educational practices (evidence-based practices) for students with and without disabilities. Readiness efforts will also need to address preconceptions about each educator’s role in meeting students’ needs in the educational system. 
  • To create readiness for inclusive education, stakeholders need targeted information both about why this change is important and also what will be expected of each person. 
    • During the “Getting Started” stage (Exploration), the organization’s leadership first develops the readiness of the Equitable Inclusive Leadership Team (EILT). Often members of the EILT have a range of knowledge about inclusion, what it looks like, and its possibilities. Some members may have been chosen because of their personal commitment to this work, such as Inclusive Education Champions. Others may be in key organizational positions that are important to the work, but are less knowledgeable about inclusive systems. Some may feel strongly about inclusive education, but have not considered the idea of each and every student, including students with significant cognitive disabilities. Assuring a process that builds the readiness of the EILT provides the opportunity to support their learning and prepare them for their leadership roles in building an inclusive education system. 
  • Part of the responsibilities of the EILT is to take a leadership role in supporting readiness throughout the organization. EILT members reach out and connect with others in the organization, share a common message, and bring back the questions to the team to learn more about how to meet the diverse needs of the stakeholders.  The Reflections of Inclusive Systems of Education (RISE), developing the Inclusive Education Action Plan, and the continuous improvement cycles, all of which are components of the Inclusive Education Roadmap (IER), provide multiple opportunities for the EILT to revisit the vision for inclusive education and how to support stakeholder readiness in its implementation.

Creating Readiness: Process and Resources

Creating readiness for inclusive education has two primary components. First, there is the need for information. This typically takes the form of information to build background knowledge about inclusive education; data about the impact of inclusive education; as well as stories that share others' journeys, what they learned, and the impact on children both those with disabilities as well as peers without disabilities. Second, stakeholders will require time to process the new information, envision what the change will mean both for themselves and their roles, as well as the whole organization. 

The Inclusive Education Roadmap has several resources to support readiness for building inclusive education systems that include students with significant cognitive disabilities. As the EILT completes the RISE, they will explore the focus area of Vision and Values that looks at the features that underlie readiness in greater depth. Check out the Resources section for resources that align with this focus area. 

To kick off the work, there are a few resources that strongly support readiness and provide key information to different stakeholders depending on their needs. Those are highlighted in the table below. Consider how a readiness discussion can be structured to provide reflection time. Could a group read a short article or watch a video and then use it as the springboard for a larger discussion?  Do some people need research to answer their questions and do others need stories of the impact on children and families? Do some people want to hear from role-alike colleagues, such as a teacher sharing with other teachers or a parent sharing with other parents? Having a repertoire of resources helps ground both conversations related to readiness as well as when these conversations go deeper into your organization’s core values and mission and vision as part of the RISE.

Key Resources for Creating Readiness for Equitable and Inclusive Education Systems Change

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.

Facilitator Guide for 10 Reasons to Support Inclusive School Communities for ALL Students

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 that summarize the evidence behind inclusive and integrated education systems. 

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.