Appoquinimink School District

Dr. Josette McCullough, Director of Educational Resources in Appoquinimink School District, shared her district’s efforts to improve inclusion across the school system.

Statement of the Challenge

Getting away from the belief that in order to receive specially designed instruction and/or accommodations, it has to occur in a “place.” Instead, “Special education is a service, not a place.”

Plans to Address the Challenge

Instructional coaches at every school to assist in rolling our inclusive schools initiative. This assists in transforming the mission from the perception that this is district office mandated and directed, to empowering teacher leaders at the building, where the work is truly being moved. The coaches are involved in bi-monthly coaches’ clinics and target training from coaching experts from Stetson & Associates. The team also follows the work of Jim Knight and his impact cycles. The coaches will provide modeling and targeted PD based on building and individual teacher needs. They will also lead the work, and they connect their own PD, to usable, and targeted PD at the building levels.  They will conduct walkthroughs, otherwise known as “Support strolls’ with an emphasis on moving from the one teach-one observe/assist model of collaborative teaching.

Spotlight Practice

Utilizing Inclusion Instructional Coaches to implement best practices in teaching and learning The ultimate goal is to elevate the quality of special education programs and delivery of services in the district, with a focus on teacher quality.  If we increase teacher quality, we increase student achievement.

Spotlight on Systems Issues

Working under the frameworks of Covey, Dr. McCullough has worked in conjunction with the teaching and learning team, and district leaders to align systems, clarify purpose and unleash talent.  

We have created a Goggle walkthrough tool that will assist us in identifying instruction trends and professional development needs.

Spreading the Message

Add Icing to Enhance flavor!

Even Betty Crocker knew that no matter how moist, sweet or fluffy a cake was, it could always be enhanced with icing. Cake is our CCS, TSI2, MTSS, LFS, etc… In Appo, we are adding icing, not baking another cake; Icing to increase student achievement for all students. If you clean the bowl students that receive services, you clean it for everyone.  

We are not just adding the icing, we need to spread it by also evaluating our ingredients “step by step”. Our ingredients include: Common vocabulary, accommodations & modifications, standards-based IEP’s, specially designed instruction (SDI), scheduling, planning, and the continuum of supports and services for all our students. Our work with Stetson & Associates, our instructional coaches, and Teaching and Learning teams have allowed us to “whisk our icing” until it is smooth and ready to spread on our cake! 

Looking forward to eating cake with you!