What is Inclusion ?
Inclusive Education is, first and foremost, an attitude, a value and a belief system. It has been defined as a shared value that promotes a single system of education dedicated to ensuring that all students are empowered to become competent and contributing citizens in an integrated, changing and diverse society. (Steve Kukic, Former Director of At-Risk and Special Services, Utah State Department of Education). Since 1992, The Office of Inclusive Education, part of New York City’s District 75, has been supporting students with significant disabilities in their Least Restrictive Environment in accordance with Public Law 94-142 (The Education of All Handicapped Children Act, 1975) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, Reauthorized 1997 and 2004).
“Special Education is a Service Not a Place"
The mission of the Office of Inclusive Education is to support all students with diverse abilities and needs in general education classes and throughout the community school’s environment.
Inclusive education for students supported by District 75 is a method of providing special education services in the least restrictive environment (i.e. the general education classroom) and is defined as follows:
- the student ideally attends his/her home-zoned school (the school he/she would attend if he/she were not disabled) and has the same options for school attendance as typical neighborhood peers;
- the student has membership in an age-appropriate general education class, and receives all the special education services and supports needed to participate and succeed within the context of general education;
- the curriculum, activities, materials, and/or schedule are adapted and/ or modified to address the student's individual goals and objectives as specified on the IEP;
- the student with disabilities participates in activities and classes in numbers which reflect the natural proportions of individuals with disabilities within the community at large; and
- the student's classification remains the same; only the location and method of delivery of special education services change.