Below is a joint release from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Haring Center for Inclusive Education at the University of Washington.
OLYMPIA, WA Sept. 23, 2020 — Today, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Haring Center for Inclusive Education at the University of Washington announced that they are expanding their Inclusionary Practice Project (IPP) to include preschools across the state. This work is part of a statewide effort to help more schools to adopt a culture of inclusion.
Katy Bateman, Demonstration Sites Senior Inclusion Specialist
Ilene Schwartz, Director of the Haring Center for Inclusive Education
“When we meaningfully include students with disabilities in general education settings with their peers, all students see improved academic and social outcomes,” said Glenna Gallo, Assistant Superintendent of Special Education at OSPI.
In Washington, 49.7% of students with disabilities are participating in early childhood classes separate from their peers. Further, Washington is currently one of the least inclusive states, ranking 44th in the nation.
To help improve our schools’ ability to be more inclusive, the State Legislature provided OSPI with $25,000,000 through the 2019–21 budget to implement professional development in support of inclusionary practices, with an emphasis on coaching and mentoring.
As part of the IPP, OSPI partnered with the Haring Center to create 16 demonstration sites, highlighting best practices in inclusive education in K–12 settings. In the second year of the IPP, OSPI and the Haring Center are expanding the demonstration site work to include four preschool demonstration sites. The educators at these sites will receive coaching and mentoring on inclusive teaching practices to increase their capacity to meet the needs of all students, regardless of ability or background.
The cohort of preschool demonstration sites include:
- Robert Lince Early Learning Center – Selah, WA (Educational Service District [ESD] 105)
- Kodiak Cubs Preschool – Leavenworth, WA (ESD 171)
- Edwin Pratt Early Learning Center – Shoreline, WA (ESD 121)
- Hood Canal School Inclusive Preschool – Skokomish, WA (ESD 113)
“We have seen tremendous progress at the K–12 demonstration sites and are thrilled to be able to expand this program to preschools,” stated, Ilene Schwartz, Director of the UW College of Education’s Haring Center for Inclusive Education. “We look forward to working with these preschools to showcase inclusionary best practices for this foundational age group across Washington.”