What's New in 2011?
Garbage Duty & Life Skills - Vancouver High School criticized for program.
Sun Reporter Kim Pemberton reveals one of the less glamorous realities of "life skills" programs. She suggests "real inclusion" as an alternative to the "life skills" approach, which she says rarely result in communication between special needs students and typical students. Read her commentary.
Specht Facilitates Inclusion Group
A network of university based faculty to discuss research related to inclusive education policy and practices in New Brunswick and throughout Canada. The members form a “virtual” research team and focus on common interests and themes. While in Fredericton for Congress 2011 – they took the opportunity to meet. New Brunswick’s Minister of Education Hon. Jody Carr met with the group and shared his thoughts on inclusive education in his province. He agreed to collaborate where possible with the network members.
Dr. Jacqueline Specht, University of Western Ontario, is the chair of the group. She shares the following:
“We can, whenever and wherever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us. We already know more than we need in order to do this. Whether we do it must finally depend on how we feel about the fact that we haven’t done it so far” (Edmonds, 1979)
Many Canadian students with exceptionalities are educated in general education classrooms but may not be included in academic and social activities to the same extent as their peers without exceptionalities. Given that children who are educated in inclusive settings are in better health, enjoy going to school, progress well in school, and interact well with peers (Timmons & Wagner, 2010), it is paramount that inclusion is given priority in the education community. Research in the area of inclusion is urgently needed in order to provide answers to questions such as: What are the critical elements required to support inclusive education? What barriers exist in this regard? Why are some children in some provinces included more than others? And, how can we best support administrators and teachers as they endeavour to include students with a wide range of exceptionalities in general education classrooms?
Although many Canadian scholars are involved in research that is di-rectly related to inclusion, there is no national voice for research in this area at the present time. This Centre will allow researchers from coast to coast to form collaborative partnerships with local schools and community groups in order to develop a Canadian understanding of inclusion. This understanding is vitally important in a country in which education policies and practices are established and enacted provincially. By re-searching and disseminating our findings across Canada and around the world, we aim to empower teachers and others with the knowledge they need to be effective with all students, including those with exceptional needs.
Academics Focused on Inclusive Education Gather
Professors from 10 Canadian universities met for a full day of discussion on how to work together to advance research into inclusive education in Canada. They were attending the social sciences conference Congress 2011 in Fredericton. For further information on their work as a group – contact Jacqui Specht at the University of Western Ontario.
West to East: A National Interest in Inclusive Education
When university staff met recently to discuss inclusive education, one of the things that was clear is that the interest exists across Canada. This is a relatively new development and holds much promise for the future. The four faculty members shown below with NB Minister Jody Carr illustrates that fact. They come from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Inclusion Advocates Protest the Bias for Segregation in the United Kingdom.
Click for the link to a video
Newfoundland School for the Deaf Closed!
At the Atlantic Inclusion Conference held in St. John’s in August, Dan Goodyear, Director of Student Services for the Department of Education discussed the closing of the Newfoundland School for the Deaf. He explained that no new students were enrolled for the coming year and there were no new students projected in coming years. The minister of Education, Hon. Darren King made the announcement on August 2, 2010. The minister said that while generations of students had been served in the school, times change. He commented on the new cochlear implant technology developed in the last decade and the desire of students and families to keep their youngster at home. The Minister said that – “This change is consistent with our inclusive education approach and is in the best interest of students’ academic and social development." Michael Bach, the Executive Vice President of CACL commended the Newfoundland and Labrador government for their forward looking policy.
For the full Department of Education Press Release link - www.releases.gov.nl.ca/releases/2010/edu/0802n10.htm
Education Minister in New Brunswick Makes Inclusive Education a Priority
New Brunswick’s new Minister of Education, Hon. Jody Carr (standing in photo) told a group of more than 30 school principals in November that inclusive education is one of the priorities for his department. Carr was speaking to the principals in a day long session sponsored by NBACL through the Community Inclusion Program. The Minister said that inclusion was one of the 3 key mandates given to him by NB’s Premier Davis Alward when he invited him to take the job. Mr. Carr said that many recommendations in the McKay Report of 2006 still need to be pursued and the focus in the next several years will be to enhance and strengthen the provinces support for inclusion in schools and classrooms.
What's New in 2010?
Canadian Disability Policy Alliance – Learning Collaborative and Equity Coalition (2009-2014)
CACL/Inclusive Education Canada – A Partner
The Canadian Disability Policy Alliance is a national collaboration of disability researchers, community organizations, and federal and provincial policy-makers, all aimed at creating and mobilizing knowledge to enhance disability policy in Canada, with the ultimate aim of promoting equity and opportunity of disabled Canadians. The Alliance is funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council for a period of 5 years, during which time the members will address four policy areas: employment, education, citizenship and health services. The project lead is Mary Ann McColl, PhD,, MTS, Queen’s University.
Members of the Education Team are:
Dr. Vianne Timmons, Education Team Lead, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Regina;
Dr. Scott Thompson Academic Co-Lead (Education), Faculty of Education, Educational Psychology, Inclusive Education, University of Regina;
Dr. Gordon Porter, Lead Community Partner (Education), Director of Inclusive Education Canada
The education team will use its national network of educators and policy makers to examine the standard of inclusive education across Canada and develop standards for measuring consensus in best practices and areas for growth in each province. The Team met at the University of Regina on November 3, 2010.
Other Team members include Zana Lutfiyya, Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Programs) and Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba, and Noella Piquette-Tomei, Associate Professor, Educational Psychology, University of Lethbridge. They are shown in the photo with Scott Thompson.
For more information on this CURA Project use the LINK:
Click here to download the PDF version of this article.
August Conference in St. John’s Features Speakers from Newfoundland and Eastern Canada
A conference focused on effective leadership for schools and communities was held at Memorial University from August 1-3. The event was organized by Inclusive Education Canada with the Newfoundland and Labrador Association for Community Living. More than 200 participants took part with teachers and educators from the host province predominating.
Participants suggested the following strategies to move Inclusive Education forward in NL:
1. Continuation of the Department of Education’s provincial program for Inclusive Education.
2. Enabling schools that have had positive experiences with Inclusive Education within NL to present to those schools that are starting the program.
3. Educating a school as a unit thus enabling them to work together with the same knowledge and understanding of the expectations to move Inclusive Education forward.
4. Workshops for teachers that provide opportunity for breakouts, learning from one another and strategies to implement Inclusive Education practices in the classroom.
5. Workshops on differentiated instruction.
6. Provide teachers with more human resource support in the classroom as depicted by the diversity of the needs within that particular classroom.
7. Information sessions for parents to explain and enable them to understand the changes that are occurring within their child’s school and why.
8. Provide parents and educators with statistical data from other provinces on Inclusive Education.
Inclusion in Post-Secondary Education Project – Ontario Group
Pathways to Independence supports people with developmental challenges, acquired brain injury and those who may be dually-diagnosed with residential options and day and vocational programs in many communities throughout south-eastern Ontario. They are competing for a major grant to support their work. Find out more about it. Click here.
Community Living Association Leaders Meet with Ontario Deputy Minster of Education
Kevin Costante, the Ontario Deputy Minister of Education met with several representatives of Community Living Ontario and CACL recently. The discussion was focused on ways the association and the Ministry of Education could work together on areas of common interest. Salvatore (Sal) Amenta, the Chair of CLO’s Education Committee and Michael Bach, Executive Vice President of the Canadian Association for Community Living expressed an urgency to resolve the differences parents and families feel with local schools and school boards over access to regular classes in community schools for their sons/daughter with intellectual disabilities. The ministry policies are supportive but the implementation is not what parents want. Too many children are excluded from regular classes and sent to special education, some full-time and others for part of the day.
Grant Clarke, the Assistant Deputy Minister for The Learning & Curriculum Division of the ministry was part of the discussion. Also attending the meeting were Kimberley Gavan and Gordon Kyle from Community living Ontario and Gordon Porter, Director of Inclusive Education Canada.
Efforts to support successful inclusion for students and parents will continue.
Principal & Teachers from P. J. Gillen School in Saskatchewan share experience with inclusive education at CDSS and inclusive Education Canada Event in Regina.
School Principal Reg Leidl of the P.J. Gillen School in Esterhazy, SK shared their experiences with inclusive education with participants at a pre-conference seminar in Regina sponsored by the Canadian Down Syndrome Society and Inclusive Education Canada.
The seminar was attended by more than 120 people including teachers, parents and delegates to the CDSS National Conference. The seminar organizer was Dr. Gordon L. Porter, Director of Inclusive Education Canada.
Dr. Wanda Lyons of the University of Regina facilitated the P.J. Gillen staff to attend the seminar and review what they have learned about making inclusion work. They called their presentation – “Navigating the Path” and discussed their 15-year journey in building an inclusive school. The presentation focused on the process of inclusion; the issues and challenges that have surfaced; and how the principal, teachers, parents, and students have worked together to respond to concerns and resolve issues. The teachers shared their successes and disappointments and how they have learned from their mistakes along the way. The session will concluded with the team’s collective thoughts on what it takes to make inclusion work.
Ron Leidl and his staff at P.J. Gillen School are part of the growing network of educators in Canada working to make inclusion a reality.
Changes in store for special needs children in Catholic schools
CTV Edmonton Updated: Mon Apr. 12 2010 17:32:11
The Edmonton Catholic School Board has decided make changes to some of its special needs programming.
The district is eliminating some of its segregated classrooms for children with disabilities and will move them into mainstream programming.
The changes would see all students classified with mild or moderate disabilities be integrated into a regular classroom. Currently, there are 65 segregated classes for children with mild or moderate special needs at Edmonton Catholic Schools.
"They will have a differentiated program, a personal program developed for them but it will be the regular program setting," said Lori Nagy, spokesperson for Edmonton Catholic Schools.
It's estimated that 25 positions will eliminated, but the school board is confident those employees will fill other positions.
The district acknowledges the move is partly about money as it needs to make up about $800,000 to cover employee raises anticipated for this fall.
The board also stresses the decision is based on Alberta Education's plan to promote more inclusion.
It's been about a year since the initiative was first unveiled. The education minister believes it will take careful planning to implement the changes.
"It's not something you flip a switch on and it's different tomorrow," said Education Minister Dave Hancock.
Mother-of-two Andrea North hopes the changes are right for all the students involved.
"As long as the child that has the special needs has an aide with them and the teachers aren't spread too thin," she said.
The programming will not change for students with severe disabilities. The changes take form in September.
With files from Laura Tupper
The New York Times
Thursday, April 29, 2010 Last Update: 12:09 PM ET
April 28, 2010
City Pushes Shift for Special Education
By JENNIFER MEDINA
The Bloomberg administration, struggling to address the needs of a growing number of students with learning disabilities, is overhauling special education by asking every principal to take in more of the students and giving them greater flexibility in deciding how to teach them.
This fall, more than 250 schools will be asked to accept more students with disabilities rather than send them to schools that have specific programs for special education, as has been the case for decades. By September 2011, principals at each of the system’s 1,500 schools will be expected to enroll all but the most severely disabled students; those students will continue to be served by schools tailored exclusively to them.
The shift echoes one of the central philosophies of the administration, giving principals more responsibility and control over their schools. It is also an effort to bring New York more in line with the nationwide trend of allowing special education students to benefit from regular classroom settings.
But some special education advocates and principals worry that the changes could be too difficult for principals with little knowledge of special education, who are already strained by day-to-day issues and impending budget cuts.
“This is fundamentally looking to change the way kids with special needs are treated in the city — they’re talking about changing the culture of all the schools in the city so that they can serve students that many of them were previously shipping out,” said Kim Sweet, the executive director of Advocates for Children of New York, which helps parents navigate the special education system. “This could easily fall flat if it’s not done right.
“If kids are stuck in schools that don’t have the capacity to serve them and are denied requests to move elsewhere, that would be falling worse than flat.”
Like other large cities, New York has had difficulty figuring out how to provide appropriate services for disabled students without isolating them, and how to manage large spending increases on special education.
Enrollment in special education programs has climbed to some 177,000 students, or more than 17 percent of the system, up from roughly 13 percent in 2003. Experts in special education say it is difficult to know what has caused the increase. Theories include better identification of students with learning disabilities, particularly autism; parents being less reluctant to see their children identified as disabled; and the possibility that more children might actually have difficulties than in years past.
The city now spends $4.8 billion annually on special education, up from $3.8 billion five years ago. That includes $1.2 billion to send students to private schools. Recent state and United States Supreme Court rulings strengthened the rights of parents of special education students to receive private schooling at taxpayer expense if public schools cannot give them the services they need.
Education Department officials said that they did not believe they would save money and that costs did not factor in their decision to make the change. Rather, they said, it was an effort to improve results for special education students.
While graduation rates have risen over all, for example, the rates for special education students have remained stubbornly low — fewer than 25 percent received a regular diploma last year, compared with more than double that for traditional students.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the city schools chancellor, Joel I. Klein, first pushed to move more disabled students into mainstream classes in 2003. The effort never took hold. Making matters worse, many student files were misplaced or lost, and some students received no services for months at a time. Since then, the department has spent more than $40 million to computerize records.
Laura Rodriguez, the deputy chancellor for special education and students still learning English, who was appointed last year to oversee the changes, said she was confident they would stick this time because so many educators were frustrated with the system.
“There has never been a golden age of special education,” Ms. Rodriguez said. “For the vast majority of students, there’s no reason they cannot be in a regular classroom setting if they get what they need.”
Some schools have no special education students. Others, particularly in black and Hispanic neighborhoods, have as much as one-third of the student body receiving services. Ms. Rodriguez said there was a narrow divide between some students classified as special education and those who simply struggled in math and reading.
Exactly how the new policies will be carried out remains uncertain. The department could not say how it would enforce the requirement that principals accept more special education students. Officials did say there would be no quota for each school. Selective schools like Stuyvesant High School would continue to grant students with disabilities extra time to complete admissions tests and would not be expected to soften their entry requirements. Officials also said they did not expect to make changes in District 75, which serves 23,000 special education students in schools dedicated to them.
Principals are also wary of violating myriad complicated special education laws. Many of the city’s services for students with disabilities are governed by court-ordered consent agreements, the result of lawsuits brought by parents demanding appropriate services for their children. But Ms. Rodriguez said the law allowed principals more flexibility than most of them realized.
“On the one hand, this is incredibly exciting to have more freedom to do what we think is the best for students,” said Allison Gaines Pell, the principal of the Urban Assembly Academy of Arts and Letters middle school in Brooklyn, which is involved in the changes next year. “But it’s also scary. I need to know that all my teachers have enough training. I need to know what all the right services are.”
In New York City schools, special education students are generally taught in one of three ways — in a traditional class but with an extra teacher, an approach known as collaborative team teaching; in small classrooms with 6 to 12 students; or by being pulled out of a traditional classroom to receive extra services like speech or physical therapy.
Charlene Carroll-Hall, whose son Traé is a high school freshman, said she thought the goal of integrating special education students with their peers was laudable but worried that students could slip through the cracks.
“My son had to fail at a regular zoned school first before I could get him the help he needed — they just put him in there and didn’t expect much and didn’t care,” Ms. Carroll-Hall said of one school her son attended.
In schools more focused on special education, she added, “he could finally catch up; they expected him to actually learn something and they knew how to teach it.” He now attends Queens High School of Teaching, a regular school, where he has a part-time aide.
Some principals say they are particularly nervous about having more demands on them at a time of budget cuts, though public money is provided to cover special education students’ services. For example, Ms. Gaines Pell said, if she decided midyear that a student should have a dedicated aide for reading, she wondered whether the school could secure the money for it. Others are concerned that they may overlook a nuance in the educational plan that states which services a student should receive.
“The fundamental question is, How much special education expertise am I expected to have, and how much special education services am I supposed to provide?” said Randi Herman, a vice president of the principals’ union, who has been involved in the department’s efforts. “They want to do right by the parents and the child, but right now, there’s a real sense of uncertainty around that.”
Dr. Chris Spence speaks out in support of inclusive education - ‘Learning for all’ needs to be top priority, says Toronto District School Board’s director of education
TORONTO - Including all students in the education system needs to be the top priority for school boards everywhere, says Dr. Chris Spence, director of education for the Toronto District School Board.
This was Spence’s message to attendees at a recent Community Living Ontario conference, where he detailed to parents, educators and Community Living representatives the progress being made towards inclusive education. He also offered suggestions to stakeholders about how to enhance inclusive education.
Spence underscored the notion that “learning for all” needs to be the top priority within a school board, adding that this principle is the foundation at the Toronto District School Board, the largest school board in Canada, representing nearly 600 schools and 250,000 students.
“Learning for all means ‘all’ — not some of the students some of the time, but all of the students all of the time,” Spence told attendees at a Feb. 25 presentation during From Rhetoric to Reality: A Conference on Inclusive Education.
Spence, who spoke highly of the importance of inclusive education, also underscored the value of working together to continue the push for enhanced inclusive education through the social justice movement.
To make this work, Spence says everyone involved with educational systems must have passion for making schools more inclusive and stopping the “cycles of oppression” that come from not having fully inclusive schools.
“We do that through pressure and support,” he said.
“The pressure is raising the bar, in terms of expectations that we are going to work with parents. The support is making sure that all staff and all leaders feel that they’re wrapped in support, so that they can bring some of this vision to fruition.”
At the Toronto District School Board, Spence told attendees that to continue to foster inclusive education there is a focus on building capacity to make the system as inclusive as possible and by having “courageous conversations” with teachers and school administrators to promote inclusive education, as well as by reaching out to parents and the community.
"Reprinted from Community Living Leaders, an online news service of Community Living Ontario. www.communitylivingontario.ca."
Click here for the PDF version.
What's New in 2009?
CACL recognizes No-Excuses Team
The No-Excuses campaign focusing on inclusive education has been a great success. CACL held a reception to thank the people who created the concept and produced the materials on June 8 in Toronto. CACL President Bendina Miller expressed the appreciation of parents and kids who face excuses in schools in many parts of Canada. The campaign continues. In the photo Jessica and her classmate are sharing the hospitality at the reception.
CACL info@ features news about inclusive education.
Click on the graphic above to download the PDF document.
Youth Shares View on Inclusive Education
Claire Hitchens is a parent in Ontario. She shares this with us.
In January my daughter and her friend had the opportunity to attend the Re: Action4Inclusion conference sponsored by Community Living Ontario and the Youth Action Network. My daughter's friend Shanyce Robinson is a new member of the youth editorial board at our local paper, The Waterloo Region Record, and this morning they published this article written by her. She is a sixteen-year-old student in the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. The child she refers to in the article with the "indomitable spirit" is my son Russell. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Click Here for PDF of the article or use this link.
CBC Radio Podcast on Inclusive Education
Listen to CBC Radio Podcast on Inclusive Education from Saskatchewan. Features Laurie Larson, VP of CACL and Michael Bach EVP of CACL. Click Here.
CACL Launches No Excuses Awareness Campaign
As part of National Inclusive Education Week, CACL is Launching a national Inclusive Education - 'No Excuses' Campaign to help raise public awareness and support for inclusive education. According to a national survey, only 33% of Canadians support inclusive education. We have a lot of work to do to build public support. With the pro bono support of Partners + Edell and Wildmouse Productions, along with an anonymous donor committed to our cause, we have created a campaign to challenge Canadians to question their usual assumptions about students with intellectual disabilities in the regular classroom.
Our message is that children and youth with intellectual disabilities belong with their peers in regular, well-supported, inclusive classrooms and schools. It can be done. It should be done. It might not happen overnight across all Boards of Education in Canada. But there are No Excuses for not making it happen.
Join our campaign. Spread the word. Get engaged. - Join the network and sign the Declaration for Inclusive Education at http://www.no-excuses.ca
Check out the National Post Thursday February 19 - for a CACL 10-page Supplement and “No-Excuses” Poster.
CACL has partnered with the National Post, General Motors of Canada, the BMO Financial Group and many other contributors to produce a 10-page Supplement to appear in the National Post edition this coming Thursday. You can also see the Supplement online starting Thursday at www.nationalpost.com. The supplement includes a full-page 'No-Excuses' poster to help launch our national awareness campaign for inclusive education. Many thanks to all those who contributed their messages, stories and experiences to help Canadians understand the facts, figures, and people behind our 10-year Agenda.
An example worth following
Action plan: New Brunswick embraces policy of inclusiveness
Published: Wednesday, February 18, 2009
When it comes to proof of the benefits of inclusive education for those with intellectual disabilities, New Brunswick has assumed a leadership role. Since it began doing away with segregated, "special education" classes for grade school students in the mid-1980s, the province has slowly climbed the inclusiveness ladder.
Today, children with all forms of intellectual disability are warmly welcomed in classes from junior kindergarten through to graduation from community college. Granted, they are not held to the same academic rigours as those around them. But individual learning plans and support from tutors and teaching assistants ensure that they master the subjects and skills best suited to their individual abilities.
"Our adoption of inclusiveness has made an enormous difference to children with disabilities and to their families," says Dr. Gordon Porter, chairman of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission and, as a former head of special education in the Woodstock area, one of the driving forces for the move toward inclusiveness.
"We have done three major studies since the inclusiveness approach was adopted and all of them showed that the children's outcomes from academic to overall health improved."
Marlene Munn and her husband Doug Hughes can personally testify to the benefits of inclusiveness. Their daughter Aimee, 10, has Down Syndrome but that has not prevented her from being an active, engaged and healthy student first in pre-school and now in Grade 4 at Connaught Street Elementary School in Fredricton.
"She has an independent learning plan, which sets out her goals for the year, and teachers are held accountable to see that she achieves those goals," Ms. Munn says. "She can read, she can spell using laminated letters to form words, and she can do simple math as well."
Her involvement in the community dos not end when class does. Aimee is a devoted member of a local Girl Guide troop as well.
"Like any 10-year-old, she plays with the children she has been with since pre-school. She gets invited to all the birthday parties. I can see her having a rewarding and happy life in the mainstream of the community," Ms. Munn says. "In fact, we would never think of leaving New Brunswick, knowing attitudes toward children with intellectual disabilities are not the same in all parts of Canada."
In New Brunswick, Aimee's education need not end at high school. Since 2001, New Brunswick Community College has had its own form of inclusive policy, first as a pilot project covering just three of its six campuses and now expanded to five.
The program is, however, a work in progress, says Helene Martin, director of services for students with disabilities at NBCC. "The original idea was to provide access to the environment and not necessarily academic courses," she says. "Students could enjoy the milieu and the social life but need not attend all the classes in the courses they took, and each was given a support staffer.
"By 2006, we knew the program was a success but we also knew the model must change."
NBCC now places the focus on academic achievement and provides support only in those areas where students need it. Students each receive an individual learning plan geared to their abilities and are judged and tested by those standards.
"We had one student in the truck and transport course, for example. He was unable to do complicated tasks such as replacing valves but he could work on graduation as an oil technician," Ms. Martin says. "We were able to give him those skills and then help place him with an employer."
In fact, about 80% of NBCC's students with intellectual disabilities do indeed find employment after graduation.
One of the downsides of the program, however, is that space is limited by funding. NBCC can only accommodate about 20 students a year while applications regularly number in the 100-plus range.
In many ways it has been easier for New Brunswick, a province of small cities and even smaller rural centres, to embrace inclusiveness than those with huge urban centres, Dr. Porter says.
"We were almost starting from scratch; we didn't have any existing infrastructure, no huge investment in a segregated system," he says. "Major cities may have 1,000 teachers involved in special education and one special ed school for every seven to eight regular ones.
"The challenge is not with the teachers, however, it is in convincing politicians and those in leadership and management roles that inclusiveness is a far better way; showing that it does not cost more money, it just redirects what is now being spent.
"If we can do it in New Brunswick, there is no reason it can't be done everywhere else in Canada."
© 2008 The National Post Company. All rights reserved. Unauthorized distribution, transmission or republication strictly prohibited.
Inclusive Education Canada Launched
CACL is launching a new initiative to further inclusive education in Canada. “Inclusive Education Canada” (IEC) will bring together a network of individuals who can provide training, consultation, research and information sharing will b e available to both teachers and parents on how to move our schools toward inclusive practice. The members of the IEC network of associates have the knowledge and experience to provide the help support sometimes needed to bring about changes in how schools serve students – and assure that every student is included and every student learns.
You can find out more about Inclusion Education Canada and download a copy of the information flyer by Clicking Here
Sask. Appeals Court Hears Education Case from Year 2000 - dispute between school authorities and family.
-Check out the details
Toronto Star article focuses on Inclusive Education Forum in Toronto February 13 at OISE
-Check out the details
Community Living Ontario – Discussion of Philip Burge Article on Public Perception on Inclusive Education in Ontario.
Web posted article - Community Living Ontario Website
New study on inclusive education focuses on public perceptions Author says study highlights areas that can be improved upon Wednesday, February 04, 2009 --
Philip Burge says knowing how your community thinks is an important step towards addressing areas where improvements can be made.
That reasoning led him to co-author a new study entitled, A Quarter Century of Inclusive Education for Children with Intellectual Disabilities in Ontario: Public Perceptions, which surveyed 680 adults from across Ontario to find out their opinions on inclusive education.
Despite increasing movement towards inclusive education, which he says gathered steam in the 1980s with the introduction of Bill 82, the public's opinion of its utility remains divergent.
When asked what type of school is best for children who have an intellectual disability, 52 per cent of the public viewed some degree of inclusive education in schools as best while 42 per cent believed that education in a segregated setting was best.
Burge, who is an associate professor of psychiatry at Queen's University, says that despite conducting the survey in southeastern Ontario, which provides greater opportunities for inclusive education, these results were unanticipated.
"We know that certain Ontario school boards, especially in the Toronto and Ottawa areas, have a long and ongoing history of favouring segregated schools than do most other Ontario jurisdictions," says Burge.
"Given the norm of greater opportunities for most children with intellectual disabilities in southeastern Ontario (where the survey was conducted) to receive part of most of their schooling in integrated classrooms it was surprising to uncover such a high proportion of respondents who believed (segregated) schools was best for children who have an intellectual disability."
Reasons for the public's opinion may be explained in a follow-up question of the survey. When participants were asked what they perceived as obstacles to inclusion 79 per cent said schools lacked the resources needed and 69 per cent of the respondents believed teachers were unprepared to teach students who have an intellectual disability.
Burge says due to the limitations of the survey he is unable to comment on whether the perceived barriers are real or only perceptions but the study's outcomes should be used to dig deeper into the issues.
"What appears clear is that these perceptions are likely held by a significant proportion of the adult public and these views likely impact their support level for efforts to expand inclusion in schools," he says.
From the findings the authors conclude that it is imperative for school boards to further explore and ultimately address the lack of preparedness perception held by the public.
The authors further suggest that the public may be unaware of recent policy developments to enhance inclusive education such as Education for All in 2005, meant to strengthen student's learning through greater needs identification and allocation of resources, and a proposal from the college of teachers which recommends adjustments of the content to the program of professional education that would make special education a required element.
The authors add that boards of education, educators and government ministries can play a key role in better communicating to the public recent developments in order to further strengthen support for inclusion and increase available educational resources to address the remaining challenges.
Also important to the study’s findings was the positive link between people who know someone who has a disability and their positive opinions of inclusion education. People who know someone with an intellectual disability are more than twice as likely to favour inclusive school environments.
The authors recommend disability awareness programs and personal success stories from children would be helpful to informing the public of the potential benefits of an inclusive school environment.
For a full copy of the Burge study click here.
Recent Article on Inclusion in Ontario
Philip Burge from Queen's University and his colleagues have written an interesting article on inclusive education in Ontario. Check it out.
What's New in 2008?
Bruce Rivers and Krista Carr Get Together to Share Strategies
Bruce Rivers, Executive Director of Community Living Toronto, the largest local member in the Community Living movement in Canada recently visited with Krista Carr, the Executive Director of the New Brunswick ACL. Bruce visited the NBACL offices in Fredericton and discussed several issues with staff members of NBACL. The key topic was inclusive education and the strategies that NBACL uses to promote inclusion in schools throughout the province. Ken Pike and Julie Stone, who both work on education issues were part of the discussion. In addition, NBACL arranged for Brian Kelly, the Director of Student Services for the NB Ministry of Education to discuss education issues. Part of the discussion centered on the MacKay Report on inclusion that was completed 2 years ago and is being used to guide on-going actions. The NBACL input into that strategy was discussed.
In addition, Bruce and Krista talked about the new approach to funding personal supports being developed in New Brunswick. It is a positive policy development created in large part as a consequence of lobbying and joint planning between government and NBACL.
Bruce Rivers Looks at Inclusive Education in New Brunswick
On May 29, Bruce Rivers, the Executive Director of Community Living Toronto, visited several schools and talked with teachers and education officials in New Brunswick. The visit was facilitated by Gordon Porter, CACL’s Director of Inclusive Education Initiatives who live in NB. CACL, Community Living Toronto and Community Living Ontario have a Tri-level Partnership working to promote inclusive education opportunities in Toronto schools.
The first visit was to the Keswick Valley Memorial School in Burtt’s Corner, just north of Fredericton. The school principal, Wayne Annis, provided a school tour and an update on what the school does to support inclusion. Margie Cummings, a former teacher in the school, now working as a volunteer shared the change process the community experienced in moving from a segregated school to the inclusion model in place today.
The second visit was to the Royal Road Elementary School in Fredericton. School principal, Donald Porter provided access to a number of classrooms where children with significant disabilities are supported and Bruce spoke to classroom teachers, resource teachers, teacher assistants and, of course, the children. Mr. Rivers commented that the school visits were very informative and beneficial.
Manitoba Resource on Transition from Secondary School
A new document has been created in Manitoba to address transition protocol for students who will be completing their high school education. It is called -Bridging to Adulthood: A Protocol for Transitioning Students with Exceptional Needs from School to Community. It is intended for transition planning partners, including Manitoba Family Services and Housing, designated agencies, Child and Family Services Authorities and Agencies, Manitoba Health and Healthy Living, regional health authorities and their programs and services, Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth and educators in Manitoba.
Bridging to Adulthood:
A Protocol for Transitioning Students with Exceptional Needs from School to Community
Click here to link to the document
New Article on Inclusion in EDUCATION CANADA – the Journal of the Canadian Education Association.
The current issue of Education Canada has an article by Gordon Porter titled: Making Canadian Schools Inclusive: A Call to Action. Porter was invited to write the article to follow-up on his selection as a recipient of the CEA Whitworth Award for research in Education. Click HERE for a PDF copy of the article as it appears in the Spring 2008 issue is attached. Click HERE for a second copy that might be used for printing is also attached.
Manitoba Issues new Parent Guide
Community Living Manitoba has released a new “Parent Guide” on inclusive education. It is rich resource on the things that a parent needs to know to advocate effectively for their child. While there are aspects particular to Manitoba – most of the topics will be of interest to parents anywhere.
Manitoba “Parent Guide on Inclusive Education”
CHAPTER 1: INCLUSIVE SCHOOL PRACTICES
BEST PRACTICES IN INCLUSIVE EDUCATION; School Learning Environment; Collaborative Planning; Administration; Social Responsibility; Curriculum Planning and Implementation; Support Programs and Services; Classroom Practices; Planning for Transition; Partnerships: School, Family and Community; Innovation: System and Staff Growth; ONE FAMILY'S JOURNEY TOWARDS INCLUSION; WORKSHEET: YOUR FAMILY'S JOURNEY TOWARDS INCLUSION.
CHAPTER 2: GETTING TO KNOW YOUR SCHOOL
CHAPTER 3: LAWS AND POLICIES YOU SHOULD KNOW
CHAPTER 4: PLANNING YOUR CHILD'S INCLUSIVE EDUCATION
INTRODUCTION; WHAT SHOULD MY CHILD BE LEARNING AT SCHOOL?; DEVELOPING AN ASSESSMENT PLAN FOR YOUR CHILD;THE INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PLAN (IEP); THE IEP STEP PLAN: 1. Gathering and Sharing Information ; 2. Developing and Writing a Plan; 3. Implementing and Reviewing the IEP; 4. Setting Direction; WHAT IS AN IEP?; WRITING STUDENT-SPECIFIC OUTCOMES; Evaluating Student-Specific Outcomes; HOW TO WRITE PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES; Evaluating Performance Objectives; A PARENT'S CHECKLIST FOR INCLUSIVE EDUCATION.
CHAPTER 5: ADVOCACY (OR WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU DON'T LIKE WHAT IS HAPPENING):
SNAPSHOT ON ADVOCACY; INTRODUCTION; DEVELOPING A VISION OF ADVOCACY;
ADVOCACY SKILLS AND INFORMATION; PROCESSES FOR RESOLVING DIFFERENCES;
Resolution at the School Level; Resolution at the School Division Level;
Resolution at the Departmental Level; ADVOCACY AND THE CHALLENGING OF AUTHORITY; HOW DO I KNOW WHEN I HAVE AN ISSUE?; HOW DO I PROCEED IN THE ROLE OF AN ADVOCATE?;
EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY STRATEGIES AND SKILLS; HOW TO SOLVE PROBLEMS; DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE COLLABORATION SKILLS; THE COLLABORATIVE TEAM;
CHECKLIST FOR EFFECTIVE PARENT/PROFESSIONAL COLLABORATION; For Parents; For Professionals.
CHAPTER 6: COMMUNICATING THROUGH BEHAVIOUR
APPENDIX 1: ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES IN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM
APPENDIX 2: THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITY
APPENDIX 3: STUDENT-SPECIFIC OUTCOME TEMPLATE AND SUGGESTED LANGUAGE
APPENDIX 4: INCLUSIVE EDUCATION ADAPTATION CHECKLIST APPENDIX 5: PLANNING ALTERNATIVE TOMORROWS WITH HOPE (PATH)
Manitoba's Parent Guide to Inclusive Education is now available on Community Living - Manitoba's website at www.aclmb.ca/Early_Childhood_Education/Parent_Guide_to_Inclusive_Education.pdf
New Inclusive Education Brochures in the Works
CACL and Provincial/Territorial Members are working to produce two new brochures setting out the vision and mandate for inclusive education.
The work is scheduled to be completed by June 2008.
One will be directed to teachers and other school staff. Julie Stone, a Past President of CACL and a distinguished teacher and educator will lead the team taking on this task. Julie now works with NBACL and is from Nackawic, NB.
The other will be developed with the interests of parents and family members in mind. Anne Kresta, a parent and skilled advocate from Winnipeg, Manitoba will lead this team.
Community Living Toronto – Kids Exposed to Inclusion Concepts Through Spinclusion Game
Click here for details.
LEARN & ENGAGE
The Canadian Education Association has presented Gordon L. Porter the Whitworth Award for Educational Research. Porter is the Director of Inclusive Education Initiatives for CACL. He has had a long career in education and has promoted knowledge and practice in inclusive education during the last 25 years.
Gordon Porter worked in public education in New Brunswick as a teacher, principal and district leader. He helped establish inclusive education in the schools of Woodstock NB and has supported inclusion across Canada and internationally. Porter is currently the Chair of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission.
Click here to read the CEA press release and CEA citation.
CACL Inclusive Education Brochure
The ACL Federation has developed a new brochure describing our association vision for inclusive education in Canada. The publication is a clear statement of what we think is needed in schools across Canada to prepare young people with intellectual disabilities for a full life in the community. The brochure is designed for easy printing and we encourage you to access it on our inclusive education website. It can be shared by parents, teachers and other interested parties. Check it out!
What's New in 2007?
The Canadian Association for Community Living is striving to keep you up to date on all of the latest developments within the field of Inclusive Education across the country.
Sharing our Success – Mapping our Future
The Newfoundland and Labrador Association for Community Living held a Forum on inclusive education on April 19 & 20, 2007. Discussions focused on issues and possibilities. - Click here for more
Manitoba Up-date on Inclusive Education
Anne Kresta writes about progress toward inclusive education in Manitoba in 2006. Included are several activities of note including activities related to Bill 13. - Click here for more
National Inclusive Education Achievement Awards
NB Association for Community Living Announces Winners
(Fredericton) The Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL), a Canada-wide association of family members and others, which works on behalf of persons of all ages who have an intellectual disability, announced the New Brunswick recipients of the National Inclusive Education Achievement Awards at a ceremony held earlier this week at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Fredericton. - Click here for more
Quebec Website – provides resources and information for inclusion.
I-LRN is one of five resource centers of the Quebec Inclusive Education Service (IES).*
I-LRN is designed to help English School Boards develop effective service frameworks for students with learning difficulties. Emphasis is placed on inclusive (developmental) approaches — those that promote high teaching/learning standards for all students in inclusive schools. A key I-LRN premise is that ALL learners benefit from enrichment. - Click here for more
ASCD Resources on Inclusion
Excellent resources on inclusive education are available from ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), one of the most highly regarded professional associations in education. Their journal, Educational Leadership, is a great source of information for teachers. Issues are archived and available on-line. - Click here for more
Yukon Program Supports Inclusion and More
A program called the “Whole Child Program” was referred to us by Patrice Berrel, CACL Board member and a school principal in Whitehorse, Yukon. The program is coordinated by Crystal Pearl-Hodgins, the Community Coordinator. - Click here for more
Keynote Speech at Inclusion Event
Dr. Michael Bach, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Association for Community Living was the keynote speaker at a major inclusion event held in New Brunswick November 26-28, 2006. Dr. Bach opened the session by addressing over 300 teachers and educational leaders in attendance. He spoke about the context in which the demand for inclusive education occurs in Canada and analyzed critical factors that require discussion and reflection. For a full copy of the speech check the link in our LEARN Section.
Nova Scotia lawyer Wayne MacKay has completed a review of the New Brunswick education system, placing a focus on policies of Inclusion. The New Brunswick Association for Community Living is pleased with MacKay's findings, citing them as "consistent with NBACL's submissions" to the provincial government. - Click here for more
The Marsha Forest Centre has recently issued it's report: Finding a Way Through the Maze: Crucial Terms Used in Education Provision for Canadians with Disabilities. CACL has made this document of recommended definitions and supporting grounded findings available for you online. - Click here for more
This summer, CACL will be launching two new projects to "Engage" participants across Canada. First watch for the Inclusive Education Web Calendar to help you keep track of events happening nation-wide. Then join us online for an exchange of ideas like never before with the Inclusive Education Discussion Forum.
Here is a story sent to us from Manitoba. It appeared recently in the Winnipeg Free Press. - Click here for more