Inclusive Practice: An educational leader integrates principles of cultural competency and equitable practice and promotes the success of every student by collaborating with faculty and community members, responding to diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources in order to demonstrate and promote ethical standards of democracy, equity, diversity, and excellence, and to promote communication among diverse groups.
To me, Inclusive Practice means...
- Traditional school structures need to be broken down to create unique opportunities to meet the diverse needs of students.
- Every student deserves an educational experience that is challenging, empowering, and leads to success.
- Educators who exercise empathy and desire to continually learn, find pathways for all students.
- Equity is not optional. Equity demands a plethora of options.
- Sometimes choice is relevant and appropriate. Sometimes choice is an excuse for exclusion.
- It takes more resources than a typical school has within its walls to provide a rich education for all students. The school should be a hub, not a fortress.
Experience Artifacts: Gifted Early Identification
Research has shown us that the earlier gifted children start to experience education tailored to meet their needs, including mind-alike time with other gifted peers, the less likely they are to become disenfranchised with school or underachieve. This is even more true for children who are culturally different from their peers, as the pressure to assimilate often leads to the masking of their giftedness. The dilemma is that with standardized intelligence tests, the younger the subject the less valid the results. Therefore, as my district's gifted coordinator, I began searching for a non-standardized assessment of giftedness to use with our primary students. We had been using the Cognitive Abilities Test as a gifted screener for all 2nd grade students, but found that some students needed gifted services before the end of second grade. As part of a grant partnership with Pacific University, we piloted Bertie Kingore's Recognizing Gifted Potential observation inventory and planned experiences with our first-grade students. As part of this process, I developed the teacher training and other resources below. Feedback from the pilot teachers is also included. The first-grade gifted potential screening process is now a district-wide practice. This work was presented at the 2013 & 2014 NAGC conferences (see Socio-Political Context). I am currently writing about the training elements to be included in Bertie Kingore's upcoming book.
Experience Artifacts: Comprehensive Gifted Identification Plan
Developing a new practice for gifted screening in first grade led to a comprehensive examination of our K-12 gifted identification plan. With the new first grade assessment, we decided to shift the administration of the Cognitive Abilities Test from second to third grade. Below is the initial communication draft, the agenda from Elementary Principals meetings where the changes were discussed, and the official communication. In addition to plan development and communication, I was responsible for budgeting and ordering all test materials.
Experience Artifacts: TAG You're It Event Support
An opportunity we offered to gifted students were quarterly Saturday enrichment events, called TAG You're It. Each of the four high schools hosted one for 6th-9th graders. I helped an on-site staff member plan and run the event. Four elementary events were added during the 2012-2013 school year and coordinated by one staff member as part of her admin practicum. I helped her develop her initial ideas, plan a budget, advertise, etc, gradually releasing all responsibility to her. Below are sample flyers for the April events, and pre-planning notes I developed for the high school event coordinators.
Experience Artifacts: Gifted Site-Coordinator Support
As the district gifted coordinator I supported the building coordinators in 33 schools. I checked in with site coordinators at least monthly about expected identification, communication, school budgets, and program services. In addition, I often met with them one-on-one as specific issues surfaced. Below is a sample agenda from a large coordinator meeting, and the year-long planning template I created to help coordinators begin the planning process each year.
Experience Artifact: Gifted Plan for the Oregon Dept. of Education
The 2012-2013 school year was the first year the Talented and Gifted department of the Oregon Department of Education required school districts to submit a formal gifted education plan for approval. I reviewed the plan requirements, synthesized all the district information, policies, procedures, programs and services as they applied to gifted education, and created the plan below. It was approved and used as a model for other districts.
Experience Artifact: Best Practices Framework
As part of the Teaching & Learning team, I worked with elementary and English Language Learner specialists to brainstorm the Best Practices Framework below. This came from a request of building principals for the district office to reevaluate and revise a district Literacy Plan which was seen as antiquated and ineffective. As a Teaching & Learning team, we felt it would be a disservice to continue to separate literacy from all the other elements of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Instead of developing a revision, we offered this initial brainstorm as a starting point for a discussion about literacy as part of the bigger picture of what experiences we offer students and how we meet student needs.
Experience Artifacts: Migrant Extended-Day Grant
I worked with the Secondary Migrant Education specialist to help a middle school develop its proposal to access Migrant Extended Day grant funds from the district Migrant department. I reviewed grant proposals from the previous year, analyzed their current migrant students' data, created graphs to represent this data, facilitated a data review process as part of the grant proposal brainstorm, and helped craft the proposal by asking probing questions.