This strand focuses on ways to promote positive school climate through the use of tools and creation of school specific action steps to assist in creating an actively engaging general education instruction so that students truly belong to a social and academic learning community. This strand will also focus on the specific indicators of membership, participation and learning within the general education setting for ALL students, including those with the most complex learning needs. Team members will evaluate their own practices in each of these areas and use the results to inform action steps. Instructional routines will provide the context for learning a systematic process for instruction to support each student’s membership, participation and learning.
Team members may come together, or as individuals. Part of the action development process will include creating action steps for sharing the strand content with others on the team and in the school.
Participants will be supported by knowledgeable educational consultants during their small group work to ensure their work products reflect the principles being taught. Self-assessment tools reflect observable and measureable indicators to help improve the accuracy of implementation. Vermont I-Team members are able to support the implementation process for the teams of 175+ referred students across the state as well.
Teams will be provided with examples of school/classroom/student/family application through the involvement of educators and family members in the training. Actual student/team situations will also be integrated into the strand to demonstrate examples and non-examples. I-Team consultants and presenters can offer current, connected examples that relate to the target practices.
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Cheryl Jorgensen is an inclusive education consultant in private practice, after being a project director with the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire, and assistant research professor UNH’s Education Department from 1985 until 2011. During her tenure with the IOD, she was the director or coordinator of state and federally funded research, personnel preparation, model demonstration, alternate assessment, and in-service training grants totaling over $12 million. She was a founder of the National Center for Inclusive Education http://iod.unh.edu/inclusiveed.aspx and collaborates with the SWIFT project http://www.swiftschools.org.
Dr. Jorgensen works with parents, teachers, and administrators to increase their commitment to and capacity for including students with significant disabilities in general education classes and to implement and sustain broad-based inclusive school reform.
Dr. Jorgensen has authored several books (including The Inclusion Facilitator’s Guide and The Beyond Access Model) and research articles; presents at state, national, and international conferences; and provides technical assistance in New Hampshire and many other states in the U.S. She recently authored a manual for the National Education Association on teaching students with autism in general education classrooms.In 2008, Dr. Jorgensen received an award from the National Down Syndrome Congress for her contributions to inclusive education research.