Our Focus for October & November...
Systems-Level Inclusive Practices: Challenges and Solutions

Over the past year, the Inclusive Schools Network has selected a range of topics to serve as a spotlight for each month’s newsletter.  These topics have typically reflected school or classroom level issues, including strategies for collaborative teachers, effective use of paraeducator services, instructional strategies that support inclusive practices and the important role of the principal.  This month, we are using a larger lens to focus on district-wide challenges, and solutions for implementing inclusive practices across entire school districts. 
To address this topic, we interviewed two highly respected central office administrators who have responsibility for services for students with disabilities,  Dr. Jane Rhyne of Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District, North Carolina and Ms. Kim Wooden of the Clark County School District, Nevada.  They were also chosen on the basis of their personal contributions and their districts’ long-term commitment to inclusive practices. 
The following five questions guided our discussions: 
   1.   What are the most important actions that central office leadership can take to initiate
          inclusive practices on a district-wide level? 

   2.   What is necessary at the district level to sustain inclusive practices over time?
   3.   What qualities do effective leaders of inclusive schools need in order to be successful?
   4.   What is your greatest challenge regarding inclusive practices in your district?
   5.   Do you have a story or outcome that serves as personal validation of the efforts required to
         provide leadership for inclusive practices?

AASA Driving K-12 Reform through a College Access and Success Agenda Toolkit
This online resource funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is designed to provide strategies for administrators when communicating to school boards, teachers, families and the community about information derived from reporting on college access and success including ideas that may help increase the college-going and persistence rates of future graduating classes.

Closing the Expectations Gap
This online report by Achieve shows how all states are aligning standards with policies to send clear signals to students about what it means to be academically prepared for college and careers after high school graduation. The report also details states efforts to implement policies to improve student achievement.

Urban Excellence Framework
This online publication by New Leaders was based on over 100 visits and case studies of schools that have achieved dramatic systems gains.   
Download Printable Version
Five Ways Everyone in Your Community Can Get Involved in Your Local School District
A recent article featured on NBC News’ Education Nation Blog 

PTA: Online Advocacy Toolkit 
An interactive web resource that provides step-by-step directions and examples of how families can reach out to policy makers and the media, take a trip to capitol hill and host visits for members of congress.

Family Engagement and Children with Disabilities: A Resource Guide for Parents and Educators
This resource guide is part of the September 2012 FINE Newsletter from the Harvard Family Research Project and highlights research reports, journal articles, examples of best practices, and tools that suggest methods for developing productive collaborations.

Parent Engagement Toolkit
This online toolkit, developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance, was developed to engage parents in dropout prevention and development strategies to ensure the success of all children. 

Edutopia's Schools That Work
 This is an online series that profiles K-12 schools, districts and programs that are dramatically improving the way students learn. Educators share rubrics, lesson plans, assessments and training tools.
Share My Lesson
This is an online network where educators come together to create and share their very best teaching resources. The network has a significant resource bank for Common Core State Standards. 

The Education Nation Case Studies
This digital toolkit highlights ten examples of schools and communities that have implemented focused and innovative solutions and have achieved demonstrable success as a result. Each feature combines broadcast journalism, print reporting, photography, infographics, and interactive elements to bring these solutions, and the people behind them, to life.

Achieving Inclusion Across the Globe: National Convention and International Forum
October 25-28, 2012, Washington, D.C.

30th Annual Closing The Gap Conference
October 17-19, 2012, 
Minneapolis, MN 
Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education
This is a video series profiling policies and practices of international education systems that demonstrate high or improving performance. 

Teaching Everyone: An Introduction to Inclusive Education
This accessible and forward-thinking, this introductory text will get K–12 teachers ready to work effectively within today's educational system and meet the learning needs of a wide range of students.

Getting Started in Education Organizing: Resources and Strategies
 Schools have employed a variety of measures in an attempt to reduce this academic divide; the emergence of education organizing as a school reform tactic offers a promising alternative, outlined in AISR's Center for Education.

The District of Columbia will host an Inclusive Schools Week Summit this November 29, 2012, as the opening event of this year’s Inclusive Schools Week celebration in the District.  Learn more about it here!

Micah Fialka-Feldman is a student, national speaker, and pioneer who fights for disability-pride, justice, and inclusion. He is part of the first wave of adults with intellectual disabilities attending college and has been fully included in school and community. Learn more about him on his website: Through the Same Door
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