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“Vision for Inclusive Practices”
“Inclusion incorporates all children as active,
fully participating members of the school
community; that views diversity as the norm;
and that maintains a high quality education for
each student by assuring meaningful curriculum,
effective teaching, and necessary supports.”
History of Inclusion “Big Picture”
• In the beginning, we were serving more
students in separate schools (i.e. Springer ILC
and DAP).
• Then, we had students in cluster sites (The
Bush school used to be where all students
with special needs went for kindergarten).
• Now, we are serving most of our students in
their home schools.
Goals for District Leadership for
Special Education Programs
• Establish a Shared Vision
• Build consensus around what special education is
and how various programs, service models, and
instructional practices best serve our students.
• Raise the level of professionalism around special
education staff in order to maximize and be more
systematic in the delivery of services.
• Continue to improve in the area of customer
service by adopting a “servant to servant”
approach with a our families and buildings.
Organizational Changes to District
Office-Fall 2012
• The Board of Education and Dr. Holodick
commitment to special education programs
with district level support.
• Supervisor of Special Education dedicated to
just special education programs.
• Two additional coordinators for special
education (Kate Siegel- Elementary and Susan
Krikelis- Secondary).
The Stetson Report- April 2006
• In 2005, BSD requested Stetson & Associates,
Inc. to submit a proposal for consideration as
an external evaluator of services provided to
students with disabilities within the district.
• The purpose of this evaluation was to look at
how BSD was serving students with disabilities
and make recommendations for
Evaluation Tools
• Focus group sessions with multiple stakeholders
• Parent Forum with district personnel
• Surveys of parent perceptions of BSD services for
students with disabilities
• Surveys of faculty members’ perceptions
• Structured interviews and classroom
• Review of comparable district statistics and other
Six Emerging Themes
• A Common Vision for Students with Disabilities within
the Context of Inclusive Education
• Decision-Making Processes that are Student Centered
• Instructional Excellence for All Students within the
Context of High Standards
• Staffing Models that Support Student Success
• An Atmosphere of Collegiality and a Focus on Effective
• Respectful and Productive Parent-School Partnerships
A Common Vision for Students with Disabilities
within the Context of Inclusive Education
• Overall, Stetson stated that the district should be
applauded regarding its movement toward
inclusive education practices.
• Create a clear understanding the BSD desires a
“unified system” leaving the parallel system
behind. “Embrace, Inspire, and Challenge Every
Student Every Day”
• Prepare a brief matrix of current, research based
practices related to inclusion, access to the
general education curriculum, collaborative
planning and service models.
Common Vision-continued
• Connect best practices for student with disabilities with
best practices for all students (Learning Focused
Solutions, Response to Intervention, Instructional
Support Teams).
• Various communication methods from district office to
reiterate their shared commitment to expectations
(parent, school, team, PLC, department meetings).
• Effectively address students with disabilities in our
school success plans.
• Ensure distribution of resources is equitable to support
schools (allocation meetings).
Common Vision-Continued
• Provide training to school administrators
(Administrative Monthly PLCs).
• Create and share an operational definition of inclusive
education (Council revisiting).
• Clarify roles and responsibilities of staff (Council
• Encourage schools to consider multiple ways in which
special education personnel are incorporated in team
meetings (accomplished).
• Clear feeder patterns have been outlined and the
district has reconfigured the elementary and middle
school grades.
Decision-Making Processes that are
Student Centered
• The district has created a vision and purpose for the
Instructional Support Team (IST) Model.
• The district has committed an IST Facilitator in the
elementary buildings.
• The district continues to refine the process for IST.
• The buildings utilize various data and data collection
methods (i.e. Itracker Pro) to monitor student progress.
• The district is working to implement Response to
Intervention (RTI).
• Professional Development in the area of IST and RTI
has been ongoing.
• The goal for both the IST and RTI models is to support
students that are academically struggling.
Instructional Excellence for All Students
within the Context of High Standards
• The district designed guidelines/procedures for accessing
the general education curriculum. However, this needs to
be evaluated again.
• Buildings are utilizing options to support students within
the general education curriculum (i.e. co-teaching and in
class support). However, this is an area for growth.
• The district has offered professional development in special
education. However, the professional development plan
needs to be more systematic.
• There has been a commitment from the district with
Learning Focused Solutions. LFS is student focused and
helps teachers plan lessons more effectively.
• The district continues to support best practices through
cooperative learning, student-centered learning, and
positive behavioral supports.
Instructional Excellence- continued
• Accommodations and modifications are developed by the
Individualized Education Plan Teams. They support access
to the general education curriculum.
• Flexible, heterogeneous, and homogenous groupings are
used in increase instructional effectiveness.
• There are an elementary and secondary grading
committees that are currently meeting.
• The district has and continues to develop reference
materials for administrators regarding effective instruction.
• Instructional technology is being reviewed by Jud Wagner.
The recent passing of the referendum addressed this area.
• A plan for the increasing need to get technology into the
hands of our students is being developed.
Staffing Models that
Support Student Success
• Master Schedules are currently being discussed in order to
best serve student needs.
• At our Administrative Professional Learning Community
(PLCs) meetings, we are looking at how to best utilize
earned staffing units under the Delaware Department of
Education’s Guidelines.
• The district holds allocation meetings with building level
administrators in an open forum.
• The Educational Diagnostician’s (ED) role is no longer split
with the IST role. The primary function of the ED’s role is to
serve special education programs.
• Professional development continues to be an area that the
district is seeking to address systematically.
An Atmosphere of Collegiality and a
Focus on Effective Collaboration
• The implementation of the Professional Learning
Communities (PLCs) have created more opportunities for
teachers to plan collaboratively. However, the district
continues to challenge itself to provide more opportunities.
• The district has committed additional support to the
buildings with the hiring of the two additional coordinators.
• District and building level administrative staff consistently
meet on a monthly basis. Currently, I meet with our
identified building level “special education experts” on a
monthly basis. At the these meetings, the emphasis is on
special education topics.
• The district is striving to send the message to our buildings
and families that we are here to serve them.
Respectful and Productive
Parent-School Partnerships
• The district continues to strive for parent/family partnerships. We are
presently working on relationship building through our Brandywine Special
Needs PTA. We have engaged in a number of conversations thus far.
• The district is going to strive for increased avenues for parent/family
participation in our goals moving forward.
• The district has been partnering with the Parent Information Center (PIC)
and our internal family engagement teams.
• We are increasing opportunities for parents and educators to receive
training relevant to special education. For example, we are going to hold a
webinar on February 20th, 2013 from 3:30 to 5:00pm at Claymont
Elementary- 2nd Floor Conference Room. The topic will be, “Creating
Inclusive IEPS.” The webinar is open to families and staff.
• The buildings continue to work on building relationships with families and
sending an inclusive message. In December, we celebrated Inclusive
Schools Education Week. The message was “Its not just a seat!”
• The district continues to work at developing “genuine “ relationships with
our families. We truly want families to feel comfortable that they can
reach out to schools and district office for support.
Current Initiatives
• The reorganization of the district and it’s commitment to additional
support to help facilitate improvements.
• Evaluating current programs and services.
• Identifying the needs in those programs and services and working
to build systems that will serve our students more effectively and
• The Special Education Council has been established and has met
two times thus far. From the staff perspective, these themes were
identified as areas of need:
1. Roles and responsibilities
2. IEP Writing
3. Specialized Instruction
4. Professional Development
5. Programs and Services
6. Communication
Current Initiatives-continued
• Created a Professional Learning Community (PLC) for
building level administrators that will become “Special
Education Experts.” We hold monthly professional
development on special education topics.
• Evaluating practices in the related services area (i.e. Speech
and Language and School Psychology).
• Identifying current practices in Inclusion and designing
improvements. Utilizing coordinators to support efforts in
helping teachers better understand and implement
inclusive practices.
• Build consistency within our inclusive models and the
language we use to define them and evaluate their
Special Education Council’s Vision
• The special education council’s vision is that
students with disabilities will reach their full
potential as members of society. We embrace
parents/guardians as collaborative partners in
a process that promotes trust and respect.
Each student shall be treated as a unique
individual and shall receive appropriate
inclusive education through the use of best
practices based on scientific research.