Leadership, in part, is the ability to understand staff capacity for change and challenge. At Whitman, one grade level team led the way in moving to the math workshop model as a result of their interest in better differentiation for their students. This interest allowed us to practice and experiment with an inclusion model that would best meet student learning needs. Success is extremely motivational! As the successes of this model became apparent, other grade levels were anxious to adopt the model.
Leadership at its best is a team endeavor. At Whitman there is an abundance of leadership ability among our teaching staff. This has allowed significant changes in practice to become deeply embedded in our culture.
The Whitman math workshop model began with a grade-level team. Teachers were eager to implement this proven teaching and learning model and willing to make a commitment to highly engaged collaboration as part of their weekly schedule.
A school’s readiness for full inclusion depends on the answer to four pivotal questions:
- In sharing students across a grade level, do the members of the teaching team trust each other?
- Does school staff, or at a minimum the grade-level team, have a consistent student management system?
- Will special education staff support the model?
- Are teachers able to commit to regular, high quality collaboration?