This chapter goes through the roles and responsibilities of all of the key players in an inclusive school. From administrators to custodians and bus drivers, we all have important roles in our schools.
Administrators have probably the most important job within an inclusive school. Obviously they are in charge of the every day functioning of the school, but they are also in charge of supporting the teachers and students through the inclusion model. Administrators need to ensure that everyone in the school are providing students with educational experiences that are equal and diverse in nature. These experiences need to be engaging for all students and ensure that all students are learning what they need to learn. Administrators also need to ensure that teachers and support staff have opportunities to collaborate with each other in order to provide the very best programs for all.
Specialized Support Staff, including speech and language pathologist, occupational therapists, counsellors, and others (I would put the Learning Support Teachers, Resource Teachers and Integration Support Teachers in this category as well), also have important jobs within the inclusive schools. They must work very closely with the classroom teachers to help create and provide the supports necessay to ensure all students have access to the curriculum in a meaningful way. These specialized support staff also work closely with the paraprofessionals in guiding them on how to work with and supportthe students with higher needs.
The remaining staff members, the custodians, bus drivers, maintenance staff and those who do not have an active “teaching-type” role are alos important in the inclusive school. This year, I have one of our bus drivers as a partner on an IEP goal-she is to help remind one of our students about her daily agenda, ensure that it goes home at the end of the day and comes back in the mornings. Since the bus driver is the last person who sees my student in the evenings and the first person to see her in the morning, what better way to make sure that this small piece of information is brought everyday?
All of these people are serve the improtant roles of making the school community one of safety, full of caring individuals who all care about student learning. We all must ensure that our language is clear, that our schedules are supportive of all students and that we have regular events, which again, include all students.
Mission statements discuss the school’s values and beliefs. They should be very clear and embody the school culture within them. One thing I know about our school’s mission statement is that it is very long and, although it embodies our values and beliefs, I wonder if there is abetter way to say the same thing?
What is the culture of your school? Do you have a mission statement? Does it fit with your school?