Our Mission

The mission of Project EVOLVE Plus is to work collaboratively with school personnel, self-advocates, families, and service providers to increase the probability that the lives of students with disabilities will be better because they were educated in our schools. We seek to accomplish this by: (1) adhering to values embedded in the Individual with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (2004) (e.g., importance of educating all children, individualization, access to supports, least restrictive environment, access to the general education curriculum, access to qualified personnel); (2) pursuing logical practices that help us operationalize those values; and (3) research to help determine if our practices have been effective and assist us in more fully understanding them.


EVOLVE Plus can provide assistance on a spectrum of topics for schools, including:

  • Meaningful Inclusion of Students with Disabilities in General Education
  • Alternatives to Overreliance on Paraprofessionals
  • Effective Utilization, Training, & Supervision of Paraprofessionals
  • Special Education Service Delivery
  • Guidelines for Making Decisions about IEP Services (e.g., related services)
  • Curriculum Planning for Students with Low Incidence Disabilities (e.g., COACH)
  • Multi-Level Curriculum/Instruction and Curriculum Overlapping

EVOLVE Plus provides services based on the needs of schools. Examples of our services include:

  • Assisting in determining locally important research questions
  • Collecting, analyze and report on school data (e.g., Numbers that Count)
  • Providing training, technical assistance, or mentoring on supported topics
  • Serving as an external "critical friend" or "coach"
  • Facilitating problem-solving and action-planning
  • Evaluating outcomes

Numbers that Count!

Numbers that Count! is a data-based way for individual schools to reflect on a variety of fundamental variables affecting their inclusive special education service delivery. The process consists of three forms of data collected by Project EVOLVE Plus staff: (a) a School Demographic Questionnaire completed by a school administrator (e.g., principal), (b) Special Educator Questionnaires completed by every special educator in the school who works 0.4 FTE or more, and (c) Student Questionnaires completed by special educators in reference to each student on an IEP who receives one-to-one paraprofessional supports. Both types of questionnaires completed by the special educators (i.e., Special Educator and Student Questionnaires) are completed on-site, at school, during a one-hour meeting attended by all of the special educators in a school and is facilitated by a Project EVOLVE Plus staff member to ensure fidelity of the process.

Once all three forms of data have been collected, the data are analyzed by the Project EVOLVE Plus staff and a written report is produced to share with the school. None of the findings identify individual special educator responses or student information. Then a two-hour debriefing meeting is scheduled at which time the Project EVOLVE Plus staff share the findings and potential meaning with school personnel designated by the school leadership. Most typically, this debriefing group includes the school principal, special education administrator, and special educators who completed the questionnaires.

The report is strictly informational and is designed to help school personnel reflect on their school's practices and consider possible actions to improve inclusive service delivery for students with disabilities. The report is not evaluative in nature -- in fact, the written report includes a blank column available for school personnel to make their own judgments about the level of concern they have about each data point. Following completion of Numbers that Count! some schools proceed on their own, while others seek additional support from Project EVOLVE on a short or long-term basis.

To date Numbers that Count! data collection, reporting, and debriefing has occurred in nearly 50 Vermont schools. A study is available describing the process and its implications for the first 19 schools that were involved in these activities. Since then, the questionnaires and process continue to be updated based on use.

Suter, J.C., & Giangreco, M. F. (2009). Numbers that count: Exploring special education and paraprofessional service delivery in inclusion-oriented schools. Journal of Special Education, 43(2), 81-93. DOI: 10.1177/0022466907313353 

Giangreco, M.F., Suter, J. S., & Hurley, S.M. (2011). Revisiting personnel utilization in inclusion-oriented schools. Journal of Special Education. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0022466911419015.

Note: All data provided by special educators is provided voluntarily and follows a protocol approved by the University of Vermont's IRB (Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects). No identifiable student information is requested.

Distance and On-Site Consultation or Technical Assistance

Project EVOLVE Plus provides a limited amount of consultation and technical assistance to schools and agencies regarding inclusive special education service delivery either on-site or via distance technologies (e.g., phone-conferencing, desktop web-based tools such as Skype or GoogleDocs, or high-end video-conferencing). These consultative services have included services such as: (a) staff development presentations or workshops, (b) conference keynote presentations, (c) consultation with individuals or small groups (e.g., school administrators. special educators, teachers, parents, agency personnel) on topics associated with the project, and (d) facilitation of ongoing discussions, planning or problem-solving sessions.

List of Organizations Participating in Project EVOLVE & EVOLVE Plus

2006 - present

  • Achievement Partners, (New Orleans, LA)
  • Addison Central Supervisory Union (Middlebury, VT)
  • Addison Northeast Supervisory Union (Bristol, VT)
  • American Physical Therapy Association (Alexandria, VA)
  • Association of Independent Schools New South Wales (Australia)
  • Australian Association of Special Education (ACT Chapter, Canberra, Australia)
  • Australian Association of Special Education (Northern Territory AASE(NT), Darwin , NT Australia)
  • Australian Association of Special Education (Tasmania Chapter, Hobart, Australia)
  • Avon-Maitland District School Board (Seaforth, Ontario, Canada)
  • Avon Public Schools (Avon, CT)
  • Barre Town School District (Barre, VT),
  • Blue Valley School District, (Overland Park, KS)
  • Brookline Public Schools (Brookline, MA)
  • Burlington School District (Burlington, VT)
  • Caledonia Central Supervisory Union (Danville, VT)
  • Caledonia North Supervisory Union (Lyndonville, VT)
  • California State University Fullerton (Fullerton, CA)
  • California State University at Sacramento (Sacramento, CA)
  • Chicago Public Schools: Office of Diverse Learner Supports & Services (Chicago, IL)
  • CHIME Institute: Schwarzenegger Community School (Woodland Hills, CA)
  • Chittenden East Supervisory Union (Richmond, VT)
  • Chittenden South Supervisory Union (Shelburne, VT)
  • Colchester School District (Colchester, VT)
  • Disability Rights Vermont (formerly Vermont Protection & Advocacy) (Montpelier, VT)
  • District Management Group (Boston, MA)
  • Education Development Center's Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative and Inclusive Schools Network (Newton, MA)
  • Farmington Public Schools (Farmington, CT)
  • Franklin West Supervisory Union (Georgia,VT)
  • Fort McMurray Public School District (Fort McMurray, Alberta, Candada)
  • Hartford Public Schools (Hartford, CT)
  • Harwood Union High School (Duxbury, VT)
  • National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (New York, NY)
  • Madison Metropolitan School District (Madison, WI)
  • Manchester School District (Manchester, NH)
  • Manor Lakes P-12 College (Victoria, Australia)
  • Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress (Needham, MA)
  • Massachusetts Urban Project (Brookline, MA)
  • Montpelier Public Schools (Montpelier, VT)
  • New Brunswick Department of Education (Fredericton, NB, Canada)
  • New South Wales Department of Education and Communities (Sydney, NSW, Australia)
  • New Zealand Ministry of Education (Central South Region)
  • New York City Board of Eduction, District 75 Dept. of Inclusive Education (New York, NY)
  • New York City Department of Education: Special Education Office | Division of Specialized Instruction and Student Support (Long Island City, NY)
  • Newton Public Schools, Newton, MA
  • North Country Supervisory Union (Newport, VT)
  • Olathe Public Schools (Olathe, KS)
  • Orleans Southwest Supervisory Union (Hardwick, VT)
  • PEAL (Parent Education Advocacy & Leadership) Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Puget Sound Educational Service District, (Renton, WA)
  • School Administrative Unit 9 (SAU9), Conway, NH
  • South Burlington School District (South Burlington, VT)
  • School District of South Milwaukee (South Milwaukee, WI)
  • Springfield School District (Springfield, VT)
  • Student Services Administrators’ Association of Manitoba (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)
  • Tasmania Department of Education (Hobart, Tasmania, Australia)
  • Tasmanian Principals Association (Hobart, Tasmania, Australia)
  • University of Cincinnati, Systems Development & Improvement Center (Cincinnati, OH)
  • University of Connecticut A.J. Pappanikou Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (Farmington, CT)
  • University of Dayton, School of Education and Health Sciences Grant Center (Dublin, OH)
  • University of Kansas - SWIFT Center, (Lawrence, KS)
  • University of Kentucky: National Alternate Assessment Center (Lexington, KY)
  • University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign, IL)
  • University of New Hampshire, Intitute on Disability (RENEW)
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte: National Alternate Assessment Center (Charlotte, NC)
  • University of Utah: Utah Leadership Education Project (Salt Lake City, UT)
  • Upper Arlington City Schools (Upper Arlington, OH)
  • Vermont Association of School Psychologists (South Burlington VT)
  • Vermont Council of Special Education Administrators (Montpelier,VT)
  • Vermont Family Network (Williston, VT)
  • Vermont Department of Education (Montpelier, VT)
  • Vermont Superintendent's Association (Montpelier, VT)
  • Victoria Department of Education & Training (Melbourne, VIC, Australia)
  • Washington West Supervisory Union (Waterbury, VT)
  • White Mountain Regional School District (SAU #36) (Whitefield, NH)
  • Williston School District (Williston, VT)
  • Windham Southeast Supervisory Union (Brattleboro, VT)
  • Windsor Locks Public Schools, Windsor Locks, CT
  • Winooski School District (Winooski, VT)
  • Wisconsin Council of Special Education Administrators (Madison, WI)