In the South Orangetown Central School District, special education services and supports are delivered within an integrated co-teaching (ICT) model. ICT, or inclusion, places students with special social, emotional and/or learning needs in an engaging, academic environment.
In inclusion classrooms, a small cluster of students with Individualized Education Programs (IEP) learn in the same classroom as general education peers. These classes are co-led by a general education teacher and a special education teacher. Accommodations and curriculum adaptations are made according to individual students’ IEPs. Supplemental services, such as reading support or speech therapy, are provided as required.
At the elementary level, special education students are generally provided services within inclusion classrooms. Related services may be provided to students in general education classrooms.
At the secondary level, most students with IEPs are served in inclusion classrooms. Specialized, subject-specific classes may be formed when there is a cohort of students who require more attention and support to succeed. South Orangetown students with special needs who are placed in inclusion settings may earn Local, Regents or Advanced Regents diplomas.
Beyond inclusion classes, Tappan Zee High School is also home to the Community Occupational Vocational Education (COVE) program. COVE, a collaboration with Rockland BOCES, serves students with developmental disabilities and emphasizes job and life skills development, adult services linkages and family support. COVE students are typically eligible for a Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential (SACC).
Districtwide expansion of the inclusion model began in 2011 due to increasing research evidence in support of the model and families’ advocacy for greater mainstreaming opportunities for students with special needs.
What if my child’s needs can not be met in an inclusion classroom?
If it is determined that an individual student’s needs cannot be adequately met in an inclusion setting, an appropriate placement, based on student needs, will be recommended.by the Committee on Special Education.
What’s the difference between co-teach and RTI?
Inclusion classrooms include students with and without disabilities and have two teachers, a general education teacher and a special education teacher. The teachers work together throughout the day to adapt instruction for your child and make sure the entire class has access to the general education curriculum. Students may be in an inclusion classroom all day or for a portion of the day.
Response to intervention (RTI) is a process used by educators to help students who are struggling with a skill or lesson. Every teacher will use interventions (a set of teaching procedures) with any student to help them succeed in the classroom—it’s not just for children with special needs or a learning disability. If a student is struggling, his or her teacher will use test scores and other measures of progress to choose a researched and proven intervention suited to help the child learn. If a child does not respond to the initial interventions, more focused interventions are used to help the child master the skill. RTI strategies address both learning and behavior.
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Willis, J. (2007). Brain-Friendly Strategies for the Inclusion Classroom. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). Online excerpt.
Benefits of Inclusion. (2010). From KidsTogether.org.