Traits of Inclusive Schools

What does quality inclusive education look like? It is not a pilot program or a volunteer effort. It is a whole school approach, where the majority of students with disabilities are served in the general education environment with required “supplementary aids and services.”

Dorothy Kerzner Lipsky, co-author with Alan Gartner of Inclusion: A Service, Not a Place. A Whole School Approach and Inclusion and School Reform: Transforming America’s Classrooms, says the following characteristics can be found in inclusive schools:

* Programs and procedures are planned to meet the needs of all students, not a one-size-fits-all approach.

* Classrooms are differentiated and use a wide range of curricular materials and instructional strategies.

* Curricular materials are accessible to all and not retrofitted after the fact.

* Peer learning and cross-age tutoring support classroom learning.

* Instructional technology is infused into the curriculum.

* Collaboration between and among school personnel brings greater expertise to instruction and allows for professional development.

* Accommodations and modifications in testing are used to measure what students know and can do.

* Superintendents and principals assume responsibility for the planning, implementation and outcomes of the education of all their students.