The end of the school year is an exciting time for students and teachers who are looking forward to some time off! It is also a time for reflection and thinking about what worked, what could be better (with a bit of reconstruction), and what could be new for the next school year.
It is not simply turning the page and starting over again. It is truly a time to plan for continuing the good work that has been started and searching for new ideas and strategies for the new year.
Take some time to rejuvenate, and do not forget to come back refreshed with new ideas and dreams for you and your students in the Fall. Have a great summer!
Chinese proverb says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” (Lao Tzu, 6th Century BC). Where are you in your journey to inclusive practices and partnerships between career technical education (CTE) and special education? Are you at the beginning: preparing, laying the strategy, increasing buy-in and ownership, developing your plan and ready to take the first step?
Perhaps you are still relatively early in the journey yet seeing progress, making some mid-course adjustments, and beginning to see benefits. Or maybe you have been involved in this work for a while and are refining and expanding as you monitor and adjust. Each step takes you closer to greater collaboration, enhancing capacity of staff and the community, removing barriers, and opening more doors to improve outcomes for all students.
The steps you are taking daily, in your schools and across your districts, are making a difference. This January, OSPI reported that the Inclusionary Practices Project goals for increasing inclusion rates had already been met (six months shy of the projected end date of June 2021)!
- Statewide 60% of students with disabilities are in general education settings 80-100% of their school day, up from 55.6% reported in 2018 (3.4% gain).
- Gains in the Pilot schools moved from 44.2% to 55.5%, a remarkable gain of 11.3%, exceeding the goal of 50%.
Over the past 18 months it has been our privilege to walk with you on this journey toward inclusive practices through the collaboration between CTE and special education. A key component of our work was connecting you with districts and schools who are deeply engaged in secondary inclusion through CTE and special education partnerships. As they shared their experiences, strategies, successes, and challenges, we learned along with you. For many, this was the most valuable information! We are indebted to these schools/districts for their time, professionalism, and honesty in sharing their stories:
- Clover Park School District
- Evergreen High School and Evergreen School District
- Hidden River Middle School, Monroe School District
- Shoreline Public Schools
- Ridgefield High School, Ridgefield School District
- Toppenish High School, Toppenish School District
We enjoyed hearing your stories, your questions, and listening as you engaged with our invited guests. Some of the themes that have emerged include:
- Data are powerful: Use data to develop the “why”, enlist support for your initiative, identify best practice, and monitor progress. Use your baseline data to engage, and understand what this research says about the impact of CTE courses and post school outcomes in order to design a strategy (Theobald, 2017).
- Collaborate: Collaborate with partners within your district and look for opportunities to collaborate with others who are engaged in the work. The conversation and reflection generated is renewing, reinforcing, and builds capacity to address the challenges.
- Have a plan: Plans do not need to be complex, nor do they need to be long, but they must be specific enough to provide direction, set deadlines and assign responsibility. They should be reviewed, monitored, and adjusted regularly to determine progress.
- Take advantage of opportunities: When an opportunity affords itself – grab it and run!
As the year ends, we want to assure you that the articles, tools, exemplars, and recordings of the various Seminars, Workshops, and Third Thursday Conversations continue to be available through the Inclusionary Practices Resources page on the CCTS website.
Have a restful and rejuvenating summer and come back prepared to continue the good work! We look forward to continuing this journey with you to improve inclusionary practices in your schools.
Don't miss the latest CCTS IPP updates!