Anwatin Middle School Inclusion and Special Education Policy

May 25, 2016

Our Mission Statement: Anwatin Middle School develops young people to become
principled, open-minded, inquiring members of a global community.

Nuestra Declaración de Misión: La Escuela Intermedia Anwatin desarrolla en los
jóvenes la integridad, una mente abierta, y su capacidad de ser miembros indagadores

Inclusion/Special Education Philosophy 

Students receiving services for special education have many abilities and are an important part of our school community. Even the most challenging student is someone’s pride and joy/child. “Special ed” does not define who a child is; it simply describes what services a child needs in order to be successful.

Special education services are provided to support students by trying to help a student be successful in a school environment. A disability category does not determine a need; a label does not address a student’s individual needs. We need to see a student as the whole child and not as a disability label.

Anwatin Middle School is committed to ensuring that all students have the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to succeed in a global community, and that they are provided with the learning opportunities and supports required to become principled, open-minded inquirers. As part of this philosophy, all students are given the opportunity to participate in the MYP to the best of their ability.

Tailoring our curriculum and teaching to meet the individual needs of our students is essential. An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is developed for each student who qualifies for special education services based upon that student’s individual needs. 

  • We believe all students can learn and have a right to a holistic and inclusive education in a caring and stimulating environment.

  • We place great emphasis on the responsibilities of our entire school community to be aware of and provide for students with special educational needs.

  • We believe all students should have the opportunity to participate in their learning to the best of their ability.

  • We view a student’s education as a partnership between the student, the parent(s)/guardian(s), and the school. 

Anwatin supports the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) vision for Inclusive Practices. In the MPS community, Inclusive Practices:

  • are grounded in a school culture that accepts and welcomes all students,
  • respond to each learner's unique needs by removing barriers to full acceptance and learning,
  • occur when educators make thoughtful and informed instructional decisions resulting in increased academic outcomes,
  • thrive through partnership with families, students, staff, and community,
  • are grounded in a belief that all MPS students deserve access to the MPS promise of an inspirational education experience in a safe, welcoming environment for all diverse learners to acquire the tools and skills necessary to confidently engage in the global community,
  • will end the social and academic segregation that many of our students experience.

Common Practices

Special Education Teachers

Special Education teachers adapt their instruction to suit individual educational needs. Federal and state laws dictate that goals and objectives of an individual’s IEP supersede the requirements of the MYP.

Teachers are committed to including all students in the general education environment to the greatest extent possible in accordance with that student’s Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). This includes students with identified and exceptional learning needs so that we are sensitive to the learning needs and styles of all students in their classroom, differentiating the delivery of the programme as required. Special education teachers collaborate with general education teachers to address individual students’ needs for success in the classroom. 

General education teachers
General education teachers work with their Special Education students’ case managers/support staff to structure supports and accommodations as identified in students’ IEPs. For example:

  • Provide a student with extra time to complete a test or to use technology to assist them in a task.
  • Students are allowed to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding in a way that is appropriate for their abilities.
  • Differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all students in the classroom.

Due to the wide range of abilities for students in the Federal Setting III programs at Anwatin Middle School, the student’s IEP team will ultimately discern which elements of the MYP will best serve their students’ needs.

Some teachers, especially those working in Federal Setting III Programs, may determine that the best way to deliver MYP instruction is to solely address the Learner Profile characteristics in their instruction. This may be especially true for those programs serving students with significant cognitive disabilities. Other teachers might determine that to best meet their students’ needs, they would ALSO incorporate the Approaches to Learning or develop modified unit plans for their settings. The diagram below (figure A.) describes the range of implementation levels that will likely be found across the MPS district. MYP implementation will vary due to the wide range of unique needs of individuals within special education programs.


These student’s programs may include, but are not limited to, the following elements of MYP: (figure A)

Teachers will strive to implement the Inquiry/Action/Reflection cycle inherent to the IB MYP philosophy while ensuring that students have opportunities to participate in service learning projects as part of their school experience.

Students

  • Work in conjunction with teachers to meet the goals of their IEP
  • Strive to participate in MYP units to the best of their ability with help from general and special education teachers
  • Use the Learner Profile attributes to achieve success in school

Parents/Guardians

  • Work with mainstream and special education teachers to reinforce learning at home o Attend parent/teacher conferences
  • Attend IEP meetings

Professional Development

Special education teachers will be included in school-wide, District-wide, and IB MYP professional development. Teachers will continue to develop their skills with strategies for supporting the needs of all students. Special Education teachers provide unique insight into breaking down Approaches to Learning skills, and can provide assistance and leadership to colleagues on building these skills.

Annual Review

The special needs/inclusion policy will be reviewed annually to ensure that the policy remains a live document that reflects the needs and desires of our school, district, state, and federal guidelines.

Communicating the Policy

The policy will be placed on the school website and shared with staff in the annual Staff Handbook. It will be available in Spanish, Hmong, Somali, as well as English. As a whole we serve many students who are learning in a language other than their mother tongue. We view this as an asset and will continue to support these students in the future as a means of maintaining access for all students.

  • First written in June of 2014 by a group of Minneapolis Public Schools Special Education teachers during an MYP Collaboration Week.
  • Revised on January 19, 2016 by special education teachers Cat Robinette, Kim Zallaps, Stephanie Grimes, Anita Johnson, and Elena QuiñonesHanson.
  • Presented to the Anwatin Site Council for review on March 16, 2016
  • Anwatin teachers (Sonja Menard, Maryann Madison, Jenny Pilon, and Jimmy Lipps) reviewed and suggested revisions on May 4, 2016.
  • Inclusion Policy was finalized with all these suggested revisions on May 25, 2016.

Resources:


Booth, T and Ainscow, M. 2011. Index for inclusion—Developing learning and participation in schools (Third edition). Bristol, UK. Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education. http://www.csie.org.uk/resources/inclusion-index-explained.shtml http://www.eenet.org.uk/resources/eenet_newsletter/eer1/page20.php


Fridley Public Schools: Inclusion Policy, http://www.fridley.k12.mn.us/page.cfm?p=2069 Inclusion Policy, Minneapolis Public Schools,
http://profdev.mpls.k12.mn.us/articulate/spec_ed/inclusive_practices_message/story.html


IBO, “Meeting student learning diversity in the classroom,” May 2013


IBO, “Learning diversity and the IB Programmes: Special educational needs within the lnternational Baccalaureate programmes,” 2010

 

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