We hope you’re finding ways to stave off any winter blues and lean into the lessons of the season. The winter months remind us that times of quiet and reflection are essential parts of our cycles of growth and wellbeing. They provide us opportunities to ground and center ourselves in preparation for the excitement and newness of spring. Winter is an invitation to turn inward and identify what each of us, as diverse individuals, need to achieve our goals.
The work of inclusionary practices motivates us to understand the individual needs of our students so that we can provide appropriate supports that encourage their success. In their Inclusionary Practices webinar series, Dr. Shelley Moore and Dr. Katie Novak share pedagogy and personal stories to emphasize the importance of inclusion, and the impact it has on students’ learning when we embrace their individuality.
In this newsletter, we’ve highlighted some of our key takeaways from the first two sessions with Shelley and Katie and invite you to join us for the final meeting on March 27. We look forward to coming together as a state to apply the inspiration and learning from these sessions in ways that are meaningful for our students.
Zooming In & Out on Inclusionary Practices
Have you been participating in the Zooming In & Out on Inclusionary Practices webinars with Shelley Moore and Katie Novak? If not, there’s still time! Recordings of the previous sessions and a link to register for the final session are available on CSTP’s Inclusionary Practices page.
Session I (Jan. 11, 2023)
The first session was engaging and dynamic. We gathered these takeaways:
- Critical system and complex change need to be done for inclusion to be fully realized.
- Inclusion = equity. Equitable access, opportunities, and expectations.
- Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports include all the components for successful inclusionary practices:
- Team-driven shared leadership
- Data-based decision making
- Family, student, and community engagement
- Continuum of supports
- Evidence-based practices
Session II (Feb. 6, 2023)
The second webinar gave us some information about how we can provide an environment for all our students to learn. The session started with the opportunity to think about your own “seed packet” and how to create an individual learning plan for students that would fit in a seed packet. Seed packets might include information about where and what you need to survive and, even more importantly, thrive. The seed packet could include your social profile, your strengths, what supports you need and what challenges you. Seems like the best IEP possible and even better if that supportive environment provides a student with all they need to flourish.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) provides us the framework for understanding the role that context plays, and the barriers that limit, learning for individuals. UDL requires that we clearly define goals and learning standards and provide a variety of ways for students to learn and to demonstrate their knowledge. As Katie shared in their presentation,
A UDL practitioner believes:
- Variability in how students learn and how they demonstrate their knowledge is the rule, not the exception.
- All students can work toward the same firm goals and grade-level standards.
- All students will become expert learners if barriers are removed.
This requires a paradigm shift from “fixing” the student’s “problems” to working on the environment (garden).
- Place the emphasis on diagnosing the problems in the classroom or school, fixing those problems, and supporting everyone where they're at.
- Determine barriers, determine needs of the community, anticipate, and apply supports and strategies to everyone.
This seems to be a task for a master gardener. Prepare the ground for the seeds that you will plant and then nurture them so they can grow and thrive!
Up Next: Session III (March 27, 2023)
The final session in this series with Shelley and Katie addresses competency and implementation barriers to ensure that all learners and educators are inspired and supported in inclusive systems. We hope to see you there! Register for Session III
Reference: Moore and Novak, Zooming Out and Zooming In on Inclusive Practices [PPT], 2023. Retrieved from https://cstp-wa.org/inclusionarypractices/.
House Bill Updates
If you’re interested in learning more about the legislative bills that impact special education and inclusionary practices, OSPI Special Education has a public bill tracker on Google Sheets. The tracker includes short descriptions of the bills and indicates whether they are up for public hearings or executive session. If you have questions about these bills, reach out to David Green, OSPI Program Supervisor, Special Education.