Starting Inclusion

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by LishaGisha, Jun 7, 2016.

  1. LishaGisha

    LishaGisha Rookie

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    Jun 7, 2016

    I am a Para going to school for my license. I work for a small charter school and up until now the whole SPED department has been either self-contained or pull-outs to the resource room. I've fought and fought for inclusion. Yesterday, my principal gave me a bit of hope and asked me where to start.

    A little background: We've had THREE SPED teachers since I began here. I've been here 18 months (spanning over 2 school years and going into my 3rd). The original teacher was very old fashioned and couldn't comply with new laws. He didn't like using IEP Pro, which is not cheap, so I think that had a lot to do with why he left. The second teacher just had no clue what she was doing. She said she did and was certified, but she didn't. Then the Title 1 Director took over SPED, while still being in charge of Title 1. They called her position Director of Special Services. She was so unbelievably overwhelmed and was also very old fashioned and wanted NO part of inclusion. They've outsourced the SPED teacher position for the upcoming year and I won't meet her for another month or so.

    So, what I want is resources, ideas, anything that will help my case in at least pursuing inclusion, even if it's training this year and implementing in the 17-18 school year. Has anyone had experience implementing inclusion for the first time?

    Thank you so much in advance!
     
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  3. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Jun 8, 2016

    What grades: elementary, middle or high school? I have experience creating a very successful high school program, but the info would not be helpful at all in elementary.
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jun 9, 2016

    Generally, I am not a fan of inclusion for elementary students who are more than one year behind their peers. It frustrates the teacher trying to bring them up to speed, it frustrates the SPED student who can't keep up, and it frustrates the other students in the room who have to move at a slower pace while the teacher tries to catch up the SPED students.

    That being said, if your idea of inclusion is to have a full time SPED teacher co-teaching with the gen ed teacher in each classroom where the inclusion students are located, there is more of a possibility of positive things happening. Maybe you could give us more details of your inclusion plans?
     
  5. LishaGisha

    LishaGisha Rookie

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    Jun 9, 2016

    Our school is K-8. We only have 3 students that are extremely behind (more than a year) and they will be pulled to the Resource Room for sure. Excluding those three, our case load looks like this: 5 2nd graders (ADHD and LD), 4 3rd graders (ADHD and LD), 3 4th (LD), 3 5th (LD), 2 6th (LD) and 4 8th (LD).

    I really don't have "plans". I just want to gather information, more than anything, on how different inclusion programs run and how they were started. :)
     
  6. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jun 9, 2016

    Your student make-up is almost exactly what I will be teaching next year in my self contained class! This year I will be sending 6 of my students to mainstream classes for two subjects.

    Most inclusion programs I have worked in require the teacher to work all day with the SPED students and the Sped teacher offers push in service. However, those hours are very often not met because of other SPED responsibilities. The most successful inclusion classes have a teacher who has certifications in both SPED and Gen ed. Those programs are also more successful if the students have no behavior difficulties.

    If your classes are not large, the inclusion teacher will also have a better opportunity to meet the needs of all the students. I think if administration is on board to offer all the assistance the teacher needs, it could work well.
     
  7. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    Jun 15, 2016

    Good luck! I'm following this post eagerly, as I find myself in a similar situation, as the Intervention Specialist. We are a K-5 public school. Principal is totally on-board with full inclusion. Others, including myself, are reserved but hopeful.
    I know we need a change, but completely overwhelmed with where to begin.
    Kerry
     
  8. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jun 15, 2016

    I think that a big pitfall of inclusion is that often times, the sped teacher becomes an aide in the gen ed room. The gen ed teacher teaches while the sped teacher walks around the room and keeps kids on task/manages behavior and helps kids who raise their hands. You need to be very proactive (with gen ed teachers and students) to make sure this doesn't happen. The sped teacher needs to be introduced to the kids as a teacher and not a "helper." For example, "We will have two teachers this year. I am Miss waterfall and this is Miss Lisha" vs. "This is Miss Lisha, she's here to help us out during reading block." Before school starts, establish what your procedures will be like for managing behavior and answering questions. For example, you don't want to get stuck saying, "Ask Miss gen ed teacher" if a kid wants to go to the bathroom or something; this is another thing that will make it clear to the kids that you're not the "real" teacher. Also, make sure you and the other sped teachers are starting in the classrooms on day 1, at least for your inclusion services. A lot of sped programs don't start providing services right away at the beginning of the year, which makes sense for pull out, but for push in services you want to make sure you're there and establishing your role right away.

    I think a good way to start is to do the centers/small group model. Plan your push-in times for when the classroom is doing centers/guided reading/daily 5 (whatever they typically do during guided reading/math). Then the kids can go to both you and the gen ed teacher for guided group instruction. That way, you're both doing "real" teaching and you're establishing an equal role, but you're not in each other's way and it's okay if you have different styles. Once you're more comfortable with each other and can figure out how your styles mesh, you can move into trying some whole group co-teaching.

    This is probably obvious and I assume you're already doing this, but I would also be looking for one gen ed teacher at each grade level that seems the most interested in and excited about trying some inclusion services. Make sure that they're still excited about it once you explain that you'll both be teaching (make sure they're not looking for an aide/"extra help.") You have small enough caseload numbers that you should be able to cluster your kids into one gen ed room per grade level so that you can spend more time with them.

    It does seem a little unusual to me that the great majority of your students aren't very far behind at all. IME this is only the case in schools with higher SES populations, which I'm assuming you aren't since you mentioned title 1. In all three (title 1) schools that I've worked in, the great majority of sped students were at least 2-3 years behind since at least half of the gen ed students weren't on grade level either. If the majority of your kids are less than a year behind, I'd say your current sped services have been highly successful and I'd be hesitant to change something that's clearly working.
     
    MrsTeaching likes this.
  9. MrsTeaching

    MrsTeaching Guest

    Jun 28, 2016

    I totally agree that your program sounds like it is currently wildly successful for a title 1 school. I would also hesitate to make a lot of big changes here.
     
  10. Alonzo

    Alonzo Rookie

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    Jul 6, 2016

    I have been a general ed teacher in an inclusion class for the last 6 years. This upcoming year I will take on the inclusion role. From my experience the problem has been as stated above. The Sped teacher generally works around managing behavior while the gen ed teacher teaches the entire class. My school/district has done numerous training on the different type of co-teach classes but the problem remains. The issue is that we get sped teacher who are not comfortable with the subject. It could be because I taught math but I have yet to have a co-teacher that was comfortable enough to teach the class. This year I will be moving to high school and becoming the co-teacher. I have always played around and said I would be a great co-teacher because of my experience as the teacher of record.

    I do think that the working relationship between the gen ed teacher and co-teacher has to be respectful and a good one. Communication has to be open and both should contribute to the classroom. It helps a lot if both teachers are presented as teachers at the beginning of the year rather than a teacher and the teacher's aide.

    When starting a program, find teachers that are interested and happy about doing inclusion. Find Sped teachers that are also certified in or at least like the subject that they are assigned to. Get the sped teacher content specific training also if needed. Inclusion is hard regardless of who or what subject is being taught. But when you find a good match of teachers try not to burn them out of over load them.
     
  11. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

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    Jul 6, 2016

    We are full inclusion at my school. I think that earlier posts have articulated some of the challenges. Currently, I have the help of an aide in some of my inclusion hours. In the past, I did work with a sped teacher, and that was difficult - not because both of us weren't willing but because it was hard to bring her up to speed on the curriculum. I loved that she brought a new perspective to the room, but I know that it was hard for her to prepare for the lessons ahead of time when she was working with many different teachers.

    As a gen ed teacher, inclusion works best when it is not overwhelming. Having a few students in each hour helps me to give them some extra support while not taking a great deal of time away from the other students.
     

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