Inclusive Practices

imagesDuring the 2020-21 school year, Arlington Public Schools engaged in professional learning to create a universal understanding of inclusive practices. This year, the work will continue and will focus on putting inclusive concepts into practice through behavior-habit-mindset shifts.   The Office of Special Education (OSE) leadership team is excited to share the inclusive practices work with you during the school year and invites you to be part of this important work.  In addition to communicating with our model school sites, the OSE will share content with all APS staff and will post messages for families and community members on this site.

Inclusive Practices Tip: November 15, 2021

Welcome back! This third Inclusive Practices tip is focused on recognizing how the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) are being implemented to promote inclusive practices within Arlington Public Schools. UDL is a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn. APS staff members are […]

Welcome back! This third Inclusive Practices tip is focused on recognizing how the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) are being implemented to promote inclusive practices within Arlington Public Schools. UDL is a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn. APS staff members are learning about and reflecting on utilizing UDL strategies to support inclusive practices. Parents and members of the community are critical partners in the collaborative process to support all students.

Action Step 1: This month, parents are also encouraged to learn more about UDL.  Here are some informative resources to explore

Action Step 2:
This article – Three Ways I USE UDL at Home – demonstrates how a parent tried using UDL in his home setting. Read the article and consider UDL strategies you can try at home.

Prioritizing inclusive practices is a direct result of the APS Comprehensive Special Education Review conducted during the 2018-2019 school year. Below is a snapshot of the recommendation.

Recommendation 21: Inclusive Practices Planning, Guidance, and Implementation. Select and use a structured framework that will help promote and support the implementation of best practices for inclusive education including the provision of high yield co-teaching and specially designed instruction. Develop a clearly articulated district/school implementation guide for inclusive practices and determine what role schools will have in adapting it to their needs versus what will be required by APS. Create guidance around developing inclusive master school schedules (which includes common co-teacher planning time) and assist schools with implementing it. Develop supportive structures that allow effective co-teaching teams to create efficiency and partnership build investment.

Inclusive Practices: October 18, 2021

As mentioned last month, the Office of Special Education is sharing inclusive practices with several model school sites, as well as with all APS staff members and families of students receiving special education support. This month’s Inclusive Practices guidance is focused on collaboration and establishing team norms to promote inclusive practices within APS. Parents and […]

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As mentioned last month, the Office of Special Education is sharing inclusive practices with several model school sites, as well as with all APS staff members and families of students receiving special education support.

This month’s Inclusive Practices guidance is focused on collaboration and establishing team norms to promote inclusive practices within APS. Parents and members of the community are critical partners in the collaborative process to support all students. Prioritizing inclusive practices is a direct result of the APS Comprehensive Special Education Review conducted during the 2018-2019 school year.

Staff were asked to read High-Leverage Practices in Special Education Collaboration: Research Syntheses, and to consider what steps could be taken to establish effective, collaborative partnerships that reflect seven principles outlined in the literature:

  • Communication: Teachers and families communicate openly and honestly in a medium that is comfortable for the family.
  • Professional competence: Teachers are highly qualified in the area in which they work, continue to learn and grow, and have and communicate high expectations for students and families.
  • Respect: Teachers treat families with dignity, honor cultural diversity, and affirm strengths.
  • Commitment: Teachers are available, consistent, and go above and beyond what is expected of them.
  • Equality: Teachers recognize the strengths of every member of a team, share power with families, and focus on working together with families.
  • Advocacy: Teachers focus on getting to the best solution for the student in partnership with the family.
  • Trust: Teachers are reliable and act in the best interest of the student, sharing their vision and actions with the family.

Inclusive Practices: September 6, 2021

One of our most important initiatives this year will be supporting inclusive environments in our schools. We know from research that inclusive schools benefit and support all learners, and improve academic, social and emotional outcomes for students with disabilities.  We also know achieving inclusive environments requires changing mindsets. Last year, we engaged in professional learning […]

One of our most important initiatives this year will be supporting inclusive environments in our schools. We know from research that inclusive schools benefit and support all learners, and improve academic, social and emotional outcomes for students with disabilities.  We also know achieving inclusive environments requires changing mindsets. Last year, we engaged in professional learning to create a universal understanding of inclusive practices.  The work this year is focused on putting inclusive concepts into practice through behavior-habit-mindset shifts.  The Office of Special Education (OSE) leadership team is excited to share the inclusive practices work with you during the school year and invite you to be part of this important work. We have begun intensive work at several model school sites, but this year, all Arlington Public Schools (APS) staff will receive a preview of the model schools’ content as a precursor to large-scale roll-out over the coming years.

Here is an example:

Content Media Accountability Step
Week 1 Observe students in your room, at bus duty in the morning, when going to pick something up from the front office, etc. Screen Shot 2021-09-06 at 7.07.49 AM What does inclusion look like in your building?
Week 2 Please take a moment to watch this clip from Shelley Moore on inclusive practices. Under the Table – The Importance of Presuming Competence Does this align with what you observed last week? If so, how? If not, why?

Prioritizing inclusive practices is a direct result of the Arlington Public Schools Comprehensive Special Education Review conducted during the 2018-2019 school year. Below is a snapshot of the recommendation.

Recommendation 21: Inclusive Practices Planning, Guidance, and Implementation Select and use a structured framework that will help promote and support the implementation of best practices for inclusive education including the provision of high yield co-teaching and specially designed instruction. Develop a clearly articulated district/school implementation guide for inclusive practices and determine what role schools will have in adapting it to their needs versus what will be required by APS. Create guidance around developing inclusive master school schedules (which includes common co-teacher planning time) and assist schools with implementing it. Develop supportive structures that allow effective co-teaching teams to create efficiency and partnership build investment.  This on-going professional learning serves as evidence of APS Special Education leadership prioritizing high-quality programming and inclusive opportunities for students with disabilities served across the district.

Over the course of the coming months, APS will be sharing more resources on inclusion with you. Please reach out to the Parent Resource Center if you have questions or want additional information.