Michael Remus is an expert on inclusion. He is a parent of two children with special needs. He has been a teacher and has written several books. But most importantly (to me anyway), he took an entire school district into the world of full inclusion in 5 years. Not only that, but it is showing great results and he has the data to prove it. Michael was a super guest and told us lots of important information we can use to better the education of our children. What a resource for the rest of us!
We learned about what inclusion means. Inclusion means including EVERYONE in the main classroom. However, some children will require additional support (modifications and/or accommodations). This means that your child may need extra help in the classroom. It may also mean that your child will work from modified materials while in the classroom. It DOES NOT mean throwing a child in the classroom without the proper supports.
With the recent move towards inclusion, many of us parents have been pushing schools to include our children in the classroom. Some schools may even grant this request after being pushed by parents. However, if the proper support is not going to be provided, this will do more harm than good. We need to be clear that we are pushing for ‘inclusive practices’ that include the proper support, modifications, and accommodations necessary for success.
One of the main success strategies used by Deer Valley schools was to create resource areas (I think Michael called them ‘Learning Centers’) that were to be used by all students needing extra work in something. These rooms were used by people who needed special support for any reason including students who were advanced. This took the ‘label’ out of going to traditional ‘self containment‘ classrooms. They also kept each student at their home school – keeping each child in their community.
Lastly, he suggested ‘less revolutionary’ ways (my words, not his) that school districts can move towards inclusion in smaller steps such as doing it with only certain schools or progressing by grade level. The models are there. We just need to push for it. C’mon listeners – tell your local school boards what you want.