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Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
This book is designed to be a practical, hands-on resource for use by teams of general and special educators who share responsibility for educating elementary, middle, and high school students with and without disabilities in inclusive classrooms. The book has three main purposes: 1) to describe flexible, accommodating teaching practices that make the general education suitable for students with a wide range of abilities and learning needs, 2) to provide a process for making decisions about modifying instructional activities for particular students when necessary, and 3) to give concrete examples of planning formats and instructional materials that have been developed by teachers to design and monitor modifications for individuals students.
Most of the student-specific tools and strategies illustrated in this book were contributed by teachers in several school districts who have put inclusive education practices into action. Although these contributors are master teachers who have years of experience in inclusive practices and who have the support of their school and school-division administrators, they are nonetheless teachers who face the challenges and demands as their colleagues around the country. These challenges include the demands for curriculum coverage and academic achievement that are so pressing for educators in today's era of high stakes tasting and public accountability systems. Therefore, even though the principles and approaches described in this book are presented as ideals, they come from real teachers in real classrooms. Some strategies have been adapted from the published work of other educators (e.g., Davern, Ford, Erwin, Schnorr, & Rogan, 1993; Ford et al., 1995; Giangreco, Cloninger, & Iverson, 1998; Jorgensen, 1998; Sailor, Gee, & Karasoff, 1993; Udvari-Solner, 1994; Villa & Thousand, 2000). Strategies continue to evolve as various teams of teachers working with various students apply these strategies creatively.
Although it takes great effort — on the part of many people across many years — to prepare a school system and its schools to provide effective inclusive education, the primary focus of this book is on classroom strategies rather than on the process of making school systems more inclusive. We do not extensively address the systemic change efforts that go into moving students from segregated or self-contained classrooms to integrated or inclusive classrooms. However, we do provide some helpful references (see Appendix B) and, in the final section of this chapter, suggest a general process, as well as some specific strategies, for moving forward with systems change efforts.
We also do not focus on the development of individualized education programs (IEPs), although we do provide some general information about IEPs for students in inclusive settings. The suggestions given about IEPs are consistent with the federal legislation contained in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Amendments of 1997 (PL-105-17), but readers should, of course, consult with their local and state specialists concerning informal norms and formal regulations to which they should adhere. References that detail the process of developing IEPs for inclusive programs are provided in Appendix B.
Instead, this book focuses on the processes of designing instruction that accommodates as wide a range of student learning characteristics as possible and making adaptations for individual students with IEPs. It is assumed that these students are starting the school year in an inclusive classroom with a classroom teacher who 1) considers the student