DATE: October 27, 2017
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT:

Virginia’s Statewide Inclusion Action Plan


Background and Purpose

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires states to report state-level and division-level data on the performance of students with disabilities on several indicators. The IDEA also requires reports on progress toward meeting state targets, as described in the state’s Special Education State Performance Plan.  Virginia did not meet the targets set for Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) placement.  Review of school divisions’ LRE data reflected varying levels of participation in the general education setting by students with disabilities.  Although placement decisions are made by the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team, parents have expressed concerns about inclusion opportunities for students with significant disabilities and learning needs to the State Special Education Advisory Committee (SSEAC), and as part of an inclusive practice workgroup with stakeholders (June 2016).  As a result, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is implementing a Statewide Inclusion Action Plan PreK-12 to assist school divisions with effective inclusive practices. 

Goals

The Statewide Inclusion Action Plan aims to increase:

Support for Schools and Timeline

The VDOE has conducted, and is planning, activities to support the development and implementation of the Statewide Inclusion Action Plan.

Spring 2016 – Summer 2016:
2016-2017 School Year:
2017-2018 School Year:

Ongoing technical assistance activities and resource development include:

Summer 2018 and Ongoing Initiatives:

The VDOE will continue to support the following professional development and student-centered initiatives.

The VDOE continues to update online resources.  Additional resources can be found at Link: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/special_ed/index.shtml. Some of the current resources available to parents, teachers, and administrators include:

The current list of co-teaching demonstration sites is an attachment to this Superintendent’s Memo. To schedule a visit to a demonstration classroom, contact the Training Technical Assistance Center (TTAC) in your region.

Inclusion Recognition Program

The VDOE would like to recognize outstanding schools and/or educators who have developed programs that have been designed to ensure students with disabilities, especially those with more significant academic and behavior needs, have access to inclusive education with their peers in general education settings through a new initiative called the “Inclusive Practice Partnership Project.” The Inclusive Practice Partnership Project is designed as a professional development model to support inclusive education that recognizes and promotes the sharing of resources and expertise of schools and teams who have demonstrated successful inclusive practices within the school and community.

The VDOE is seeking applicants, Pre-K through high school who would be willing to share their inclusive practices initiative(s) with others through videos, implementation guidance, distance mentoring, and on-site visits. The types of inclusive practices initiatives may be academic, extracurricular, and/or social in nature such as clubs, sports, and community-based activities.

The Inclusive Practice Partnership Project participants will be selected based on the following criteria:

Each selected team or individual will receive $2,500 grant for resources for their school to support their inclusive practices initiative and a $500 stipend for each team member, up to five team members.  The selected teams will be invited to share their initiatives at a VDOE special education sponsored professional development event. In addition, to promote more inclusive practices throughout the Commonwealth, the team will be asked to develop a five to ten minute video highlighting the initiative or a “how to implement guide” for the initiative. The video and/or guide will become an online resource for others and would be developed within six months after receiving the grant award.  Also, if appropriate the individual or team may be asked to participate in distance mentoring or professional learning community or be open to on-site visitors.

For additional questions, contact Dr. Teresa Lee, Coordinator for Special Education Instructional Services at Teresa.Lee@doe.virginia.gov or at (804) 371-8283 or Ms. Deborah Johnson, Specialist for Students with Intellectual Disabilities at Deborah.Johnson@doe.virginia.gov or at (804) 371-2725. 

SRS

Attachments:

  1. Co-teaching Demonstration Sites List
  2. Inclusive Practices Partnership Project Application