November 19

Chapter 2-Supporting Inclusion Schoolwide

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?


Posted November 19, 2018 by tiebcmembers in category Inclusion in Action

13 thoughts on “Chapter 2-Supporting Inclusion Schoolwide

  1. Vanessa

    I enjoyed reading this chapter and I like the way the author described how administrators and school staff all work together to support an inclusive school. Again inclusion isn’t something that one teacher ‘does’ on their own in the confines of their own class. My question is ‘what about parents? where do parents fit in?’ The chapter never mentioned parents supporting the inclusive culture of the school. For example, you mentioned that you have involved the school bus driver on the IEP goal. For example, one student’s IEP goal is to greet the teacher and two peers in the morning, the parent is the last person to see the child so it makes sense that the parent reminds the child as she drops him off for the day.
    In terms of our school’s culture and mission statement, our school just went from a K-Gr 7 school to a K- Gr 12 school. Trying to align practices for special needs from a kindergarten student with autism to a Grade 12 student with dyslexia looks very different. We are having great conversations right now about supporting inclusion school wide. I am looking forward to more insight on how to facilitate this…

    Reply
    1. tiebcmembers (Post author)

      Parents are huge members of the school community as well. I would be hard pressed to believe that they are not integral in supporting an inclusive school- from the PAC to the parents of the students with needs and those that have typical children, it is so important that they support the school’s culture. I also have parents who are included in the responsibilities for the IEP goals. I also have parents who definitely try to sabatoge the inclusiveness of our school by refusing to allow their children to partake in any extra supports, even technology, to help improve their learning. I really think there is no easy way facilitate parental involvement in a school’s inclusiveness, but I do think it is necessary to try.

      One school in our district has wholeheartedly adopted the Zones of Regulation. They have had parent nights, sent home information about the zones, and have a zones thermometer displayed in the school office. It has become such a part of their language in talking with the children and their parents that it is even transfering into the homes of the students. I am sure it is not in every house, but definitely a large part of the culture of the school that is being embraced by students, teachers and the parents.

      Reply
  2. Vanessa

    So I have been thinking about this chapter a lot and how it takes the entire school staff for a truly inclusive classroom. How do you work with teachers who are not on board? Last week I found out that a student with autism has not been included in his music class because he can’t play an instrument. I asked if he could clap or ring a bell or play the triangle but the music teacher said it would be too disruptive because he can’t keep a beat. I am not sure what to do…how do I get ‘buy in’ for inclusion?

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    1. Rae

      I have similar issues but it goes well beyond the classroom… from school admin to the superintendent. My plan is to start with my neediest classroom and go from there.

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    2. Carla Lowther

      Thanks for asking this question, Vanessa. I had written in my book, “What about those who not only won’t get “on the bus” (Shelley Moore) but also try to stop or sabotage the bus”? B/c sadly, there are those in the education system today that are not in favour of inclusive education, despite all of the proven benefits of it. I wish there was an easy answer to it. I am very interested in the responses from others on this. I hope we will learn more about it in the remainder of the books.

      Reply
  3. Heather

    I’ve been spending time thinking about how it takes the entire school staff for a truly inclusive school. throughout the year, I’ve discovered that admin, office staff, and custodial staff are on board with inclusion. There are many other staff members who are on board with inclusion as well. However, I have found that teachers are the most difficult to “get on board” with inclusion. This is quite worrying to me as teachers should be the ones who lead the charge for inclusion. How do we get those who affect the education of students the most on board with inclusion?

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  4. Debra Swain

    Our school mission is clear and includes all learner’s. The challenges I see are often related to resources. Students who need adaptations to their day in order to receive equitable educational experiences need additional support. Without the support the whole school can be impacted. I think the example of the music class is an example. If the music teacher had time to research adaptations, EA support during the class and specific equipment inclusion might be possible. However, I believe we need to respect the student and if the stimulus of music class is overwhelming there are other ways to teach music.
    Involving parents is very important. They can teach us so much about their child.

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  5. LeAnn

    While reading through Chapter 2, I realized that inclusion cannot happen without the support of the leadership in the school, as they are the role models that set the stage for teachers and support staff. I concur with Eredics, in that “ school leaders are particularly instrumental in establishing inclusive values and practices.” These school leaders often work with committees to create timetables that allow ALL students to participate and be included in classes that enable them to be successful in. The administration, in consultation with the school special education specialists, allocate the funds to ensure inclusivity happens, when and where it is appropriate.
    “Yes, we will educate every child,” is the fundamental vision for schools. Of course, how we educate, and to what extent varies for each child, but all learners in our buildings have access points to begin the process. I have worked with many teachers who are not comfortable determining the access point (or starting point) for some of the more complex learners in their classrooms, but through collaboration and discussion, they do see how they can “educate” these students. It takes time, perseverance, and flexibility to work with teachers in this, at times, but small steps are better than no steps at all!
    Every child deserves to feel like a valued school community member. In fact, this week, all our students created ugly sweaters to wear, and feel proud of being like all the other students! A great team spirit, which helps to create a great school spirit and culture!
    – LeAnn

    Reply
    1. tiebcmembers (Post author)

      The admin team at my school includes the former principal of special services (of which we no longer have in our district) and a former LART, so I know that they both believe in inclusion. They both work very hard to support this in our school. There are a number of staff members however who do not understand inclusion and seemingly do not believe that students who are not “at grade level” should be in their classes. In the 10 years I have been at this school, I have yet to break this 🙁 Although I agree that our admin are integral to inclusion, sometimes that is not enough.

      Reply
  6. Carla Lowther

    My BIG questions comes from page 14 and the last paragraph on administrators. “Administrators are responsible for managing the resources allocated to theirs schools.” “Having scheduled staff support or collaboration time is an essential resource needed by inclusive schools…” Where exactly does the funding come from for these things? When there is not enough funding for resources, admin cannot allocate anything. And I would love to know ho collaborating amongst staff members can be organized. At the school I was at for the last 4 years, it did occur. But what that meant was that the ASSW, 2 EAs, and Principal were responsible for supervising 180 – 240 students for the two hour period, depending on which year it was. And the Principal was often in the collaboration period with the staff. Luckily protocols were established with the students early in the year before the teachers began taking their prep time for the 2 hour collaboration period. But as you can imagine, it certainly was not ideal. Funding is SO crucial to inclusion.

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  7. Ida

    Time to collaborate with all staff members seems to be a big issue in my school as well. Ideally, I would have time set aside to meet and plan with other teachers or EAs but it most often happens on the fly. I feel that inclusion is valued at my school and that diversity in our student population needs in areas of behavioural challenges for example are being better understood by most staff members. I think that we have to remember that as educators we also come from diverse backgrounds and it takes time to understand differing perspectives. Another thing that is effecting how well a staff can create community is the constant turnover in school staff from year to year. It takes time to build school community.

    Reply
    1. tiebcmembers (Post author)

      School community is huge! Thankfully we have had a fairly consistent school staff, with some turnover, but typically the staff that comes to us have worked in our school before. Right now, we are dealing with a student take-over in our school. There are a handful of students, lacking in prosocial skills, who are wreaking havoc on the school community. They refuse to listen to all but 2 or 3 staff members, often stating “what are you going to do about it?” which is frustrating the staff members. Some days, it feels like a never-ending battle, one in which we do not have the upper hand.

      Reply

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