Inclusion

By: Iris Vazquez-Mendez

Integral and Effective

National statistics from the U.S Department of Education suggest that more than 1 million students are denied access to general education classrooms. Inclusion is integral to effective schools, for all learners in the United States. When schools adopt an integral education model they are establishing a commitment to provide all students regardless of their abilities, race, language or socio-economic level, a meaningful education. Inclusive schools make learning accessible for everyone, no student needs to leave their classroom to learn, instead support and services are brought directly into the classroom. Thus, a sense of belonging is established which increases student engagement, motivation, and overall performance. Inclusion provides a common mission among educators to provide all students with improved core curriculum through differentiation, representation, and teach different learning modalities.

Sense of Belonging

“When inclusive education is fully embraced, we abandon the idea that children have to become ‘normal’ in order to contribute to the world. …We begin to look beyond typical ways of becoming valued members of the community, and in doing so, begin to realize the achievable goal of providing all children with an authentic sense of belonging.”- Norman Kunk

Inclusion is not a place it is a way of Thinking

Steps to inclusion

  • Committed leadership of school administrators is essential in a meaningful and lasting reform.
  • Explicit training for educators, parents and all members of the learning community.
  • Moving ALL students into a general education classroom where special education and general education teachers engage in co-teaching.
  • Give students a sense of belonging (which means no separate spaces or systems outside the classroom).
  • Universally Designed Lessons.