Special education programs call on unique ideas and leadership when it comes to setting up students for success not only in school, but following their studies. Focusing on inclusion and creating relationships are among the practices that can help make a special education program successful.
According to a 2016 study from the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), special education programs across the country can find new ways to serve students with disabilities in schools, including creating an inclusive environment for all students. With goals of helping students feel welcomed and supported, schools that implement new insights can help to see growth in enrollment, well-being, and performance.
A major finding in the study shows that the dedication of teachers and administrators to provide inclusive practices at their schools has proven to help programs grow and students with disabilities succeed in their studies. The practice of inclusion sets these programs up for success while helping to grow a sense of togetherness among all students.
According to the research, nearly all students with disabilities can find success in general education classes for most of their day, only needing more detail-oriented and specific learning based on their individual disabilities and needs.
Schools should also be celebrating differences and work toward a positive and supportive culture for students with special needs. Having well-established values and behavior norms throughout the school and inside classrooms can help to boost awareness around being supportive and provide teachable moments for all students.
Schools should also have family and community partnerships in place to help build strong bonds with families and organizations. These help to develop support networks around their students. From student teaching and mentorship programs to family training on support topics, such as transition services, students can find the inclusion and resources they need to succeed.
Taking these steps and opening up opportunities for students with disabilities to grow and learn can yield positive results in a number of ways. Recent data shows that schools that promote inclusion and make an effort to provide support and resources in a multi-tiered way have higher performances on standardized tests in math and English. These schools were able to create a unique special education program and set in successful practices because of the autonomy they have over special education programs.
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