Focusing on inclusion, using data, and forming partnerships are among the practices that can help make special education programs successful in schools, according to a new report.
“Meeting the Needs of Every Student Through Inclusion,” from the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), details the special education program philosophy behind 10 California charter public schools, how they implement best practices on their campuses, and what policy arrangements have allowed them to succeed.
The qualitative study offers new insights into the best ways to serve students with disabilities in all schools, in particular the benefits of inclusive education. These practices have have also yielded incredible results for the schools, with boosts in enrollment and performance in both ELA and math.
California’s students with disabilities often have faced significant disparities in the quality of their education–a problem exacerbated by a focus on compliance over results, lack of autonomy, and a failure to truly individualize student supports.
“Charters school leaders recognize students learn better together, and they belong together in the classroom, regardless of their ability,” said Jed Wallace, president and CEO, CCSA. “Creating communities where everyone feels valued and accepted begins in our schools. Charter schools do not have a history of segregating students by ability, and have long modeled effective classroom practices. I am thrilled by the way charter schools are embracing student differences and offering inclusive education that is shown to benefit all students.”
(Next page: The 7 elements that contribute to successful special education programs)