Inclusion – What Is It and Why Is It So Important?
Inclusion is a way of thinking, a mindset, where teachers and staff take responsibility for all our students – including those with special needs. Schools and families work together to determine how all students can be supported in their pursuit to gain a high quality education in the general education classroom.
Federal law explicitly requires that special education students be served in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). This means our special education students should receive supports and services to succeed alongside their peers in a general education classroom whenever possible. This is crucial because the data is clear that students in inclusive settings have better educational and social outcomes.
For these reasons, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) has issued a statewide policy on inclusion. DCPS supports this policy and is continuously working to transform our schools into inclusive learning environments for all our students.
However, DCPS has no intention of arbitrarily placing students in environments that can’t properly support them. We will not be moving students into classrooms that do not provide the necessary supports for their success. As the name suggests, special education is not a one size fits all approach; each student’s plan will be individualized to his/her needs.
We look forward to your support and involvement as we seek to provide inclusive opportunities that broaden the horizons for all DCPS students.