Inclusionary Practices Professional Development Project
The body of research consistently supports the positive link between access to core instruction in general education settings and improved outcomes for students with disabilities. Inclusion is the belief and practice that all students have the right to meaningfully access academic and social opportunities in general education settings. In Washington State, only 56 percent of students with disabilities are included in general education settings for 80-100% of the school day. During the 2019 Washington Legislative session, Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1109 (ESHB 1109) passed, which provided $25,000,000 to OSPI over fiscal years 2020 ($10M) and 2021 ($15M) to implement professional development in support of inclusionary practices, with an emphasis on coaching and mentoring.
OSPI Special Education is excited to partner with our Inclusionary Practices Project Lead, Nasue Nishida, Executive Director for the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession (CSTP). CSTP is an independent nonprofit that competitively bid on the RFQQ and was selected to assist OSPI in planning and coordinating the Inclusionary Practices Professional Development Project. CSTP has worked at the state level for over 15 years and assisted other divisions of OSPI in moving initiatives and bodies of work forward. Educator and stakeholder engagement is an important tenet of CSTP’s mission and organizational work and a key component of the expertise they bring to the project. You can find out more about CSTP on their website or by contacting their Executive Director, Nasue Nishida, for additional information.
- Students first, always
- Respect all perspectives and viewpoints
- Provide the most opportunities for input to those groups most impacted
Statewide Placement and Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) Data
According to the National Council on Disability 2018 report, The Segregation of Students with Disabilities, Washington State “falls in the most restrictive quartile” with respect to placement in general education settings. For the Inclusionary Practices Professional Development (PD) Project, statewide building-level placement data were analyzed, along with additional factors including student outcomes, student success indicators, designated building supports identified under the Washington School Improvement Framework (WSIF), and district feeder patterns.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) data are a measure of the percent of a school day a student with a disability spends in general education settings. While there are multiple measures included in LRE calculation, for the purposes of the Inclusive Practices PD Project, data analysis focused on:
- LRE 1: Placed in general education for 80-100% of the school day
- LRE 2: Placed in general education for 40-79% of the school day
- LRE 3: Placed in general education for 0-39% of the school day
The most current statewide placement data show that LRE 1 is 56%; LRE 2 is 29%; and LRE 3 is 13%.
To assist with identification of potential pilot sites, the logic rule applied for the initial data analysis focused on the following data logic:
LRE 2 data > LRE 1 data OR LRE 1 < 50% AND LRE 2 > 40%
Over 150 buildings have been identified as potential pilot sites, encompassing a student population of 97,000, of which over 12,000 are students with disabilities. The LRE data for the entire group of pilot schools is as follows: LRE 1 is 33%; LRE 2 is 54%; and LRE 3 is 13%. OSPI has also disaggregated three years of LRE data, by grade level and district trends.
The data analysis process identified several cohort groups, based on 2018 building-level LRE data.
- Cohort A: 130 schools that met the data logic and their feeder schools
- Cohort B: 23 alternative schools that met the data logic
- Cohort C: 8 small n-size schools (n<20) that met the data logic
- Cohort D: 19 schools with higher rates of LRE 3 (potential partnerships with TIES Center)
Research on Inclusive Practices
Inclusion is realized when all students, regardless of their designation to receive special education services, are provided with targeted interventions and accommodations; allowing them to learn in the general education classroom and engage the core curriculum. Inclusion is the belief that all students have a right to meaningfully participate in the general education setting, both academically and socially. Inclusive instruction rebukes the problematic perspective that students receiving special education services need to ‘fit in’ or ‘earn their way’ into general education classes. The belief that general education instruction is not malleable and that students should be making adaptations to be included in the general education setting has contributed to the continuation of two parallel systems of education in which students receiving special education services are marginalized and devalued as a result of their environmental segregation.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires students with disabilities be educated in the LRE. For nearly all students the LRE mandate means that students receiving special education services be educated in the general education classroom to the maximum extent possible. Regarding LRE, IDEA states, “The placement of children in special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular education environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily–34 C.F.R. § 300.114(a)(2).”
Extensive research on the efficacy of inclusion shows that inclusive instruction yields significant improvements in the academic performance of students receiving special education services–in all subjects–and improvements in social and emotional outcomes as compared to teaching in separate settings. Students who received special education services, who spend 80-100% of their time in the regular classroom, develop better working habits, improved self-esteem, are more attentive, have improved social competencies, and have more diverse friendship networks. Students who do not have an identified disability or an individual education program (IEP) also see improved academic outcomes as the high-leverage teaching techniques used in inclusive classrooms [e.g., multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS), universal design for learning (UDL), specially designed instruction (SDI), and culturally responsive teaching (CRT)] help all students learn in ways that work best for their individual styles and needs. These students also see improved social outcomes as they learn to see beyond people’s disabilities and develop a greater appreciation for diversity.
The Washington State Standards for Mentoring “are designed to help both new and veteran mentors in various job settings to assess their current level of understanding and abilities, and to create actionable steps to improve.” The Standards for Mentoring include Learning-Focused Relationships; Reflective Practices; Adult Learning; Equitable Practices; Curriculum; and Connection to Systems and Learning Communities. Lipton and Wellman (2009) considered coaching along a continuum of interactive supports or stances, including coaching, collaborating, consulting, and calibrating.
Research on how schools can successfully implement inclusionary practices continually cite professional development for educators as an essential component. Providing an inclusive environment for students means that educators collaborate frequently and have a strong grasp on how to differentiate general education lessons to accommodate all students learning styles and needs. This means that inclusionary professional development must focus on building collaboration skills and how to utilize high-leverage practices [i.e., MTSS, UDL/SDI, CRT]. When professional development is done correctly and administrative leadership is dedicated to a culture of inclusion, educators are shown to have positive feelings about inclusion and feel confident in their ability to teach all students.
Resources on Inclusive Practices
LRE Self-Assessment (adapted from WestEd)
Inclusionary Theory of Action (Draft)
Data analysis and problems of practice laid the foundation for development of a theory of action toward meaningful inclusion for all students. This theory of action identifies the needed inputs to support inclusive activities, focused on positive outputs and outcomes—across settings, content areas, and stakeholder partnerships—for sustainable systems change.
A culturally responsive approach centers the experiences of students with disabilities and their families, particularly students of color and groups who have traditionally been denied a voice in decision making.
The Inclusionary Practices Theory of Action focuses on resources needed by stakeholder partners in support of direct actions for implementing inclusive learning environments.
Inclusionary Logic Model and Driver Diagram (Draft)
If we provide statewide support to target audiences that is consistent in the areas of:
State and local capacity to demonstrate positive peer relationships
State and local capacity to utilize the expertise of WA public education faculty, staff and leaders
Strengthen and align existing professional development and support activities
Engaging parents and families
Building student independence
Educators will be able to increase access to grade level core instruction through the inclusion of students eligible for special education services in general education classrooms.
Resulting in improved LRE data, graduation rates, English Language Arts and math proficiency growth, and schools quality or student success indicators for students statewide.
By Spring 2021, we aim to increase access to grade level core instruction through the inclusion of students eligible for special education services in general education classrooms, and result in LRE data, as defined by Indicator 5 in the Annual Performance Report (APR) from LRE1 56.6% to LRE1 60%, and improved outcomes as measured by the Washington School Improvement Framework (WSIF), specifically in graduation rates, English Language Arts and math proficiency and growth, and school quality or student success indicators (SQSS).
The primary inclusionary drivers identified and mapped onto the Inclusionary Logic Model and Driver Diagram include:
Pilot District Cohorts
Statewide Professional Development
TIES Center Support (pending selection and acceptance)
Local Professional Development
Engaging Parents and Families
Project Implementation Work Plan/Timeline
Analysis of statewide placement data and draft list of potential demonstration and pilot sites.
Recruitment of Project Lead and team members; project work plan drafted for 2019-20 and 2020-21.
Ongoing development of internal and external stakeholder directory.
Resource mapping of agency & partner initiatives in support of inclusionary practices.
Review of the research on inclusionary practices, evidence-based interventions & outcomes.
Initial reviews of statewide placement data for students with disabilities.
Request for Proposals (RFP) for statewide coaching/professional development support, closes 9/27/19.
Develop project press release and pilot invitation materials (including notice of potential impact to MOE)
Launch project funding application form package for selected pilots.
Schedule webinars and/or in-person opportunities for input statewide.
Selection/adaptation of inclusionary practices local self-assessments.
Submission of TIES Center (University of Minnesota) application for intensive support for inclusive policies and practices for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
Official launch of inclusionary demonstration sites, including visitation schedules.
Schedule webinars and/or in-person opportunities for updates and input statewide.
Series of regional pilot site check-ins, including fiscal and program updates.
Release of any additional form package funds for voluntary project sites.
Migrant and Bilingual Education
Office of Native Education
Office of System and School Improvement (OSSI)
Arc of Washington and King County
Association of ESDs (AESD)
Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP)
Autistic Self-Advocates Network (ASAN)
Black Education Strategy Roundtable (BESR)
Center for Change in Transition Services (CCTS)
Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR)
Data Improvement Network (DIN)
Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF)
Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)
Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA)
Developmental Disabilities Council (DDC)
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)
Educational Opportunity Gap and Oversight Committee (EOGOAC)
Educational Service Districts (ESDs)
Inclusion for ALL
Institutes of Higher Education (IHE) Educator and Leader Preparation Programs
State Legislature: Education and Budget Committee leadership, committee staff, and partisan staff
National Center for Pyramid Innovations (NCPMI)
National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI)
National Center on Intensive Intervention (NCII)
Office of the Education Ombuds (OEO)
Open Doors for Multicultural Families
Partnerships for Action, Voices for Empowerment (PAVE)
Roots of Inclusion
Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE)
Self-Advocates in Leadership (SAIL)
Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC)
State Board of Education
State Ethnic Commissions
State Needs Projects (funded by OSPI with special education funds)
State Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) Inclusion Committee
TASH Disability Advocacy (TASH)
Washington Assistive Technology Act Program (WATAP)
Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA)
Washington Education Association (WEA)
Washington Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
Washington School Counselor Association (WSCA)
Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA)
Washington State Special Education Technology Center (SETC)
Washington State Teacher Leader Fellows
We envision this section of our webpage will reflect information, input, and feedback from our valued stakeholder partners. With permission, we will include letters of support, items of concern, and suggestions for next steps and future initiatives.