Center for Educational Transformation

Sustainable Inclusive Reform: A University-School District Partnership for Equitable and Effective Schooling

Danielle Cowley

Danielle Cowley

Deborah Gallagher

Deborah Gallagher

Amy Peterson

Amy Peterson

RESEARCHERS:

DISTRICT PARTNER(S): Mount Pleasant

PROJECT DURATION: 2015-17

ABSTRACT: A team of UNI faculty and 35 educators from the Mount Pleasant Community School District have taken up the urgent and critical task of becoming a more inclusive school district in order to ensure access and progress in the general education curriculum for all students. The faculty team has established an innovative Inclusive Education Teacher Preparation program at UNI for this cohort and will now begin a collaborative, participatory research project to examine the process and results of partnering for inclusive school reform.

Using an action-research framework and mixed methods from both qualitative and quantitative traditions, we will examine research questions related to:

  • building capacity in educators as they work toward inclusive change;
  • planning for systematic, inclusive restructuring; and
  • the impact of inclusive policies and practices on educational outcomes for all students.

The proposed project addresses needs related to innovative research, policy, and practice. Anticipated outcomes include:

  • improving the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of inclusive educators;
  • addressing the shortage of special education teachers in Iowa;
  • improved Iowa compliance with LRE;
  • narrowing the significant achievement gap experienced by Iowa's students with disabilities; and
  • creating and evaluating a sustainable process for inclusive change.

 

Watch a short video about inclusion in Mount Pleasant, featuring some Mount Pleasant elementary students. Their teacher showed it at this project's presentation at the AERA conference in Washington, DC: https://mpvanallen.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/student-voices-heard-in-washington-dc/