Moving from the Vision to the Reality of Inclusive Schools

This presentation will highlight a framework that was developed by the Schoolwide Integrated Framework for Transformation (SWIFT) Center to assist schools to ensure equity and excellence for ALL.  Information presented will help participants understand how to move from envisioning inclusive schools to developing practices that will transform schools and support the full inclusion of students with disabilities as we move into an age of ensuring that students are read.  This presentation will highlight the work of the SWIFT Center in developing inclusive school practices.  To participate in college and careers, we have to make certain that ALL students are a part of these efforts.  To do this, schools must develop a vision that becomes the cornerstone for educating ALL students, including students with significant support needs, as well as the blueprint for ways educators, parents and communities can support that work.  In this session, participants will learn about a framework, developed by the SWIFT Center to assist schools as they work to achieve the vision they have set forth.  This framework includes strengthening administrative leadership, implementing a multi-tiered system of support, developing an integrated educational framework, ensuring trusting family and community partnerships, and supporting inclusive policy structure and practice.  In the SWIFT Technical Assistance Brief, authors suggest that “in a time of high stakes, high stress, and high conflict, our vision of what we want for our schools and our children must be compelling enough to draw all stakeholders together in imagining, designing, and implementing new approaches for student success (Burrello et al., 2013).  To support a vision for ALL, schools must ensure that they have a vision that supports Inclusion. Renzaglia et al. (2003) suggests that “Inclusion is a philosophy that urges schools, neighborhoods, and communities to welcome and value everyone, regardless of differences. Central to the philosophy of inclusion are the beliefs that everyone belongs, diversity is valued, and we can all learn from each other.”  As a result of this presentation, participants gain an understanding of truly inclusive schools and how the SWIFT Center proposes to move schools from a vision of inclusion to a reality of equity and excellence for all.

Karmen Mills, Carol Quirk