Inclusion Basics

For over 30 years, the philosophy and practice of inclusive schools has grown from minimal awareness to a recognized bedrock component of schools around the globe that demands dual standards of excellence and equity for all students. Yet there is still confusion and widely varying definitions of the “inclusion.” The lack of a common understanding of this important practice actually impedes further progress for students, their families, and the educators who teach them.

Simply stated, inclusive education means that all students are full and accepted members of their school community, in which their educational setting is the same as their non-disabled peers, whenever appropriate.

While federal legislation regarding education for students with disabilities does not include the terms ‘inclusion’ or ‘inclusive education’, the Least Restrictive Environment requirement from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, provides the basis for our understanding, practice, and legal interpretations.

How to Move a County to Inclusion Education Talk

More than 20 years ago, Montgomery County, Virginia began the process of moving all of their schools toward full inclusion for students with disabilities. Cyndi Pitonyak was there at the inception of this process. In this talk, Cyndi explains how a county begins the process of inclusion and does so successfully. If you are an… Read More

A Common Vocabulary in Inclusive Schools

Words are powerful. Consistency in the words we use to describe services and supports for  students with disabilities must be clear and consistent across the district for all children, parents, teachers, and community members. This brief tutorial defines inclusion and provides clarity regarding commonly used terms, such as PLAAFP, Curricular Supports, Advanced Supports, Support Facilitation, and… Read More

Documenting Paraeducator Support

How do we know students who are expected to receive curricular and personal supports recommended in Individual Education Programs (IEP’s) are not only receiving them—but that these supports are actually working to improve student learning. In recent work with a talented group of paraeducators from the Lamesa Independent School District in Texas, documentation log examples… Read More

New Models of Support Tutorial and Quiz

For decades, the roles of special education personnel changed very little. They were assigned their roles on the basis of the labels of the students they served or the places they provided their services. With the shift to inclusive philosophies and integrated practices, special education personnel recognized that their roles were not static but based… Read More

Finding an Effective Inclusive School: Questions Every Parent Should Ask

There are several resources that will help you as you search for schools that have a strong commitment to effective inclusion. Every state has a Department of Education that reports on that state’s target for Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). This LRE data is also available for individual districts and schools within the state. The higher… Read More

Websites that Provide Inclusion Resources

eSchool News RtI Action Network Special Education Guide Centers for Disease Control and Prevention United States Department of Education United States Department Office of Special Education Programs United States Department Office for Civil Rights United States Department of Education What Works Clearinghouse Office for Civil Rights Section 504… Read More

Resources on Inclusive Education

Special Education Dictionary Definitions of common terms used in inclusive education. What is an Inclusive School? The term "inclusive school" can mean different things to different individuals and organizations. However, schools that successfully educate all children do share certain common philosophies, practices and characteristics that are summarized in this document.  Improving Education Promise of Inclusive Schooling This is an excellent… Read More

Q&A with Dr. Stetson on the Mary & Melissa Show

Listen to the Q&A with Dr. Stetson on the Mary & Melissa Show Enjoy the interview with Dr. Frances Stetson, President of Stetson and Associates, Inc. and The Inclusive Schools Network (ISN), global resources of professionals, families, schools and organizations focused on inclusive education around the world. The interview includes a discussion about what it means to be… Read More

The Inclusive Class Podcast

Frances Stetson on The Inclusive Schools Network – Supporting Inclusive Education Worldwide The Inclusive Schools Network (ISN) is a global resource and network of professionals, families, schools and organizations focusing on inclusive education around the world. At the heart of ISN is the mission: To encourage, embolden and empower people to design and implement effective inclusive schools, by sharing insights and best… Read More

Inclusion Basics Web Course

This online course can be accessed at no cost to members of the Inclusive Schools Network. It offers much of the information provided above in our brief article on Inclusion Basics and adds information about Necessary Conditions for Success with Inclusive Education and other links and resources. Use this new resource to develop your own… Read More