Learning Resources

Part 1: Connections to the Common Core State Standards

Students with significant disabilities are often educated in segregated special education settings with limited opportunities to fully participate in curricula and environments that provide access to general education. This diminished opportunity results in students with significant disabilities achieving outcomes substantially lower than those of their peers without disabilities, with inclusive adult outcomes even less likely to be obtained (Carter, Austin, & Trainor, 2012; Newman, Wagner, Cameto, Knokey, & Shaver, 2010). Although access to general education is a predictor of post-school success (Test et al., 2009), students with significant disabilities typically have little access.

Developing connections to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is, thus, a critical starting point for those developing instruction and goals for students with significant disabilities (Browder et al., 2007). Further, access to CCSS raises learning expectations for students with significant disabilities while providing more opportunities to access the full range of general education content. Finally, inclusive education and teaching of CCSS is typically delivered by teachers who are highly qualified in the subject matter they teach, unlike segregated self-contained classrooms where teachers are not highly qualified in the range of subject matter and grade-level general education content they would be expected to teach. However, the use of needed supports and services (e.g., related services providers, co-teaching, curricular adaptations) may be required to provide students access and progress to CCSS.

Anchor Presentation

The central resource in the Course Enhancement Module (CEM) is a 6-hour anchor presentation about inclusive education for ALL students. The presentation is designed as part of a pre-service educator preparation class or a professional development (PD) program for teachers and leaders. The presentation includes a PowerPoint with verbatim speaker notes, links to videos and podcasts, activities for participants to complete during the presentation, follow-up application activities, and suggested readings. Resources from the presentation are also available in the resources section of the CEM. In addition to the anchor presentation, the CEM includes links to relevant websites, a comprehensive list of references, and multimedia resources.

Sample Course and Professional Development Activities

These sample activities are appropriate for a university class or for completion outside of class. They are also appropriate for PD application with practicing teachers and leaders. The activities can be used during professional learning teamwork, applied with students in the classroom, or used to guide coaching and peer conversations.

Click here to view Dan Habib’s TEDx Talk titled Disabling Segregation. After viewing the video, consider the following:

  • How does inclusive education benefit Samuel? All children? Society as a whole?
  • How does inclusive education improve school culture and climate?
  • How does inclusive education raise expectations and improve belonging?

Part 2

Part 2 begins by providing clarification of terminology that will be used throughout the remainder of the module. This part also explores a series of rationales (e.g., guiding principles, values, empirical evidence, legal foundations) that led the field to focus on inclusive education for ALL students, including those with extensive and complex support needs.

Part 3

Part 3 discusses the following components of inclusive service delivery models: school-­‐wide implementation of multi-­‐tiered system of supports (MTSS) that strive to improve the academic and behavioral outcomes for ALL students; collaborative teaming between general educators, special educators, related services personnel, paraeducators, parents, administrators, and students themselves; and supportive and visionary administrative leadership.

Part 4

Part 4 acknowledges that for ALL students, including those with disabilities, access to core/general education curriculum in inclusive school contexts and settings requires key practices in place such as ecological/contextually based assessment, person-­‐centered planning, differentiated instruction, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

Part 5

Part 5 discusses the specific roles and responsibilities of team members in relation to supporting students’ meaningful access to and participation with curriculum; the principle of partial participation; curricular, instructional and ecological adaptations to support access and participation; and finally, embedded instruction as an evidence-­‐based practice (EBP) to deliver high-­‐quality, specialized instruction in inclusive settings. The section begins with a discussion of the roles, responsibilities, and strategies employed by an effective inclusion facilitator to implement high-­‐quality, effective inclusive services for students with the most intensive and complex support needs. Inclusion facilitators are defined as credentialed teachers who develop and implement inclusive education. Inclusion facilitators are often special education teachers by trade, but can also be general education teachers or other school team members.

Part 6

Part 6 discusses ways to promote peer interactions and relationships between students with disabilities and their classmates in the general education classrooms. These are understood to play key roles in learning and quality of life (Carter, 2011; Carter, Bottema-­‐Beutel, & Brock, 2014; Carter, Cushing, & Kennedy, 2009). Within the professional literature describing the administrative, logistical, and curricular practices to achieve successful inclusion, there is a clear mandate to offer students with disabilities the same opportunities for social learning, participation, and friendship that are available to all students (Halvorsen & Neary, 2009; TASH, 2010).