October 2011






Inclusion Basics:

A Foundation for Excellence


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 "inclusion."  The lack of a common understanding of the 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 nondisabled 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.READ MORE... 


 Important Basics! 

  • Inclusive education decisions must be based solely on the needs of the student.
  • Labels, available space, and administrative convenience are not relevant to decisions regarding a student's appropriate educational setting.
  • Schools or districts cannot make top-down decisions either to eliminate services in a setting, such as the general education classroom or in a traditional resource or self-contained setting.  This is inappropriate and illegal practice as individual student needs are ignored in favor of an organizational decision
  • An appropriate IEP that is collaboratively developed by educators, parents, and if possible, the student, provides the blueprint for supplementary aids and services needed to provide an appropriate placement
  • In our planning, we are expected to use our expertise and our commitment to student-based decisions to identify the specific services and supports that will result in success in the general education classroom whenever appropriate.
  • Every day, educators, parents and administrators are gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to increase the impact of inclusive education services and the in-school and post-school success of students with disabilities.

The Inclusive Schools Network is providing the following FREE tools and strategies related to inclusive basics for your use.  Please let us know if they are helpful to you in your efforts to improve inclusive education for all!


Tools Available Online:

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The Inclusive Schools Network  is a web-based resource for families, schools, and communities interested in the topic of inclusive education. 

In This Issue
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Awareness to Action: Moving Forward
International Inclusive Education





 ISN Website 

Awareness to Action: Moving Forward

Inclusive Schools Week

December 5-9, 2011


new sticker

The Inclusive Schools Network is pleased to announce the 11th Annual Inclusive Schools Week will be celebrated December 5-9, 2011, in classrooms, schools, and communities throughout the world. Inclusive Schools Week (ISW) highlights and celebrates the progress schools have made in providing a supportive and quality education to all students, including those who are marginalized due to disability, gender, ethnicity, geography and language. It also provides an important opportunity for educators, students, and families to discuss what else needs to be done to ensure that schools continue to improve their ability to successfully educate all children. ISW is sponsored by the Inclusive Schools Network.


This year's theme "Awareness to Action: Moving Forward" continues the dialogue started during the 2010 celebration about how schools can make progress on their journey toward excellence by following a path of reflection, planning and action.  This year's Celebration Kit contains updated resources to plan a successful Inclusive Schools Week celebration and includes new tools aimed at supporting schools in the process of becoming more inclusive.


Inclusiveschools.org is the home of the Inclusive Schools Network and the place to find updated information about Inclusive Schools Week 2011, resources about inclusive education and to order new ISW products.  Leading up to the ISW 2011 Celebration there will be weekly postings of ideas, events, and resources to support schools in planning their ISW Celebration.


For more information about the Inclusive Schools Network and Inclusive Schools Week, please visit www.inclusiveschools.org or email support@inclusiveschools.org . Be sure to sign up for Inclusive Schools Network News for regular updates as well as other news and information related to building schools and communities that are welcoming of all children and youth. 

Story Boardworld

"Story Board" is a new feature that will be coming soon to Inclusive Schools Network News and www.inclusiveschools.org .


Story Board gives

all people who are involved in inclusive education the opportunity to record, share, and document ideas, resources and success stories about how inclusive schools have made an impact on their family, school or community.


The purpose of Story Board is to build connections between people who are on a similar journey toward realizing a more inclusive society, starting with our local schools and communities.  The Inclusive Schools Network will also create an invaluable archive of ideas, resources and inspirational anecdotes for future generations.


Story Board seeks the following types of contributions:

  • Stories about how inclusive education made an impact on an individual student, family, school or community.
  • Accounts of successful classroom, school or district initiatives that contributed to making the environment and program more inclusive.
  • Narratives about inclusive schools "heroes" or individuals/groups that have made a positive difference in education community. 
  • Specific classroom, school, district or community activities and/or events that have contributed to a more inclusive society in your community.
  • Digital photos and videos (5 minutes maximum) can be submitted along with a narrative following the guidelines below.

To contribute to Story Board, please follow the guidelines below:

  • Submissions must be sent as Word documents or PDF files to support@inclusiveschools.org with Story Board in the subject line.
  • In the body of the email, please include a contact name, title, name of school, email address and phone number. Personal information will not be shared on the website or in any publications. 
  • Each story should be a maximum of 500 words.
  • Any photos or video clip must include a photo release form signed by anyone shown in the picture. A parent or guardian must sign this release for minors under 18 years. Click here to download the photo release form. 

All submissions will be reviewed. Not all submissions can be included in Inclusive Schools Network News and inclusiveschools.org. If your submission is chosen for publication in our newsletter or online, you will be contacted prior to posting. 


International Inclusive Education
 Education for All Fast Track Initiative (FTI)  
Video: "Getting Every Child Educated, Everywhere" 


The Education for All Fast-track Initiative (EFA FTI) was created as the first ever global compact on education, to help low-income countries achieve a free, universal basic education. It was launched in 2002 as a global partnership between donor and developing country partners to ensure accelerated progress towards the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by 2015.


On the new FTI website homepage you will find the

FTI movie 'Getting Every Child Educated, Everywhere' . This short video presents evidence on the ground of progress in universal primary education in FTI-supported countries.


Focusing on Mozambique, this video demonstrates how, by bringing together the major players in a country's education sector, FTI is uniquely positioned to ensure that all children receive quality basic education.  

 Visit FTIs website at www.educationfasttrack.org to view the video and find out more about the Education for All: Fast Track Initiative.



"Hear Our Voices"

A Conference for Self-Advocates


Inclusion International and Inclusion Europe are co-sponsoring an international conference for self-advocates.  "Hear our Voices!" will be held in Peniche, Portugal from September 30-October 3, 2011.



Self-advocates from all over Europe will come together to talk about their lives, their rights and the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.


All workshops will have self-advocates as speakers. 


Visit http://www.self-advocacy.eu/ or email self-advocacy@inclusion-europe.org to find out more information about the conference and registration details.