Inclusive Education Roadmap- Part 2- Dr.Deborah Taub
5:05PM Oct 17, 2023
specially designed instruction
Oh, I would love to see by 2033 the expectation that Gen Ed is the place to start, just like Ida says, you don't start outside of Gen Ed and earn your way in, which is ridiculous. You start in Gen Ed. And then you try support to try services, you keep trying that you keep brainstorming that, and then you might start to pull out. So I would love to see that become the norm, really changing our systems perspective of people with disabilities, and I think that's happening.
Welcome to inclusive occupations, sharing stories of not just being invited to the party, but dancing. I'm your host Savitha Sundar, I'm a school based occupational therapist. This podcast is a space for OTs and others, who work with children and youth and education to be informed, inspired, and empowered to create an inclusive community for the students they serve.
Welcome to the second part of the two-part series on the Inclusive Education roadmap. In this episode, we will be listening to Dr. Debbie Taub who will delve a little deeper into the Inclusive Education roadmap that Dr. Diane Ryndak introduced us to In our previous episode. As a long term educator, Administrator, business owner, parent of neurodivergent, children, research scholar and change leader, Dr. Taub's insights and reflections means something I had such a rich and fun conversation listening to her story, her perspectives and dreams, which I am eager to share with you all. I hope you will enjoy and learn from this interview as much as I did. So welcome Dr. Taub, I am so happy to have you on inclusive occupations podcast,
I'm so excited to be here. Thank you for inviting me.
So I want to start this episode by hearing about an experience that shaped your life's journey, the why behind what you do now.
So I don't know that it's just one experience I I really grew up truly truly, truly believing that all people are created equal. And so then I saw things that were not equal it. It made me nuts, like it really bothered me. And so I had started as a special education teacher because I'd been working with some kids with autism when I was doing my anthropology degree in my undergrad. And I was really thrown because the little girl I was working with was nothing like what I had seen in the media about autism. And so I started really digging into autism. And I knew I wanted to do something with kids who are autistic. But I wasn't sure what. And then I decided I'd go back and get my Master's in early childhood special ed. And at that point, I was in New York for you know, my, my undergrad, undergraduate and for my masters. And everywhere that I had worked was inclusive. So I just assumed that's what everybody did, because that's what's right. And so it wasn't until I moved to I moved to Maryland to teach. And I had kids, you know, on my caseload, and I just started doing inclusion. And I got told by somebody later in that first year, that they'd only taken one of my students because she knew he'd never be there because he'd always be pulled out. And I remember thinking, I'm sorry, that's not how it works. What. So that's kind of what started it. And then as I gained more and more experience with different populations and different people it it just truly made me realize that this was no longer a isn't it nice if we do it, but more of a we have to do this.
Wow. So you started off having that experience of seeing it work, and just that being the norm and the natural thing? Yes. And realizing that that wasn't so and then having to advocate for it.
It was very bizarre. It was very bizarre. And I was really lucky in my life because I you know, I worked as a education researcher in schools in DC helping to do a turnaround school. And part of that work was working with their special ed teachers and and how to do standards based instruction. And as we were doing it, they were saying well Wait, if they can do this, why don't they just in the gen ed class with support? And I was like, Yeah, what a great idea. Let's do that. And so from there, I went to University of Kentucky and Elsa, and they were all strong, strong inclusion lists. And they introduced me to TASH, and it just kind of kept rolling from there. So I was really lucky in the people I met and the people I worked with,
you were meant to be doing this and things just fell in place for you. Something like that? Yeah, yeah. So when the three of us met to discuss about having y'all in the podcast, it's your first meaning Dr. InDeck, who was in the previous episode, my sole venue, we wanted to have like a two part series where Part One doctor and Doc would introduce us to the Thais inclusive education roadmap, and then you will kind of follow through with it. So you both work at the Thai center as technical assistance specialists supporting state department of education in schools and school districts to build capacity for sustainable systemic change, especially for multiple Fisher, for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. So before we go ahead and talk about the work you do at the Thai Center, I'd like to hear a little bit more about your journey you have taught in so many universities, published and presented extensively in the space of inclusive education. And you even have your own company oto Education Solutions, and I see that in the background, and you're
up to yours with the changing perspectives in the background. So
that's right. So how did you make it to the Thai center?
So let me start with the tie center was a federally funded Technical Assistance Center. And at the moment, they are no longer federally funded, we're going to go back up for the grant when it comes around again. But we're doing work through individual contracts with state departments, districts, etc. In addition, we're clearly taking everything we built there and using it in the work we're doing. So Diane and I are doing some work in one of the states with a district that really wants to do systems change. And we're, of course, using a lot of what we have from there. So there's that. But then, how did I get there? So I've had a lot of ups, I've had a lot of jobs. And they have, they've been great, because I get bored very easily. I can tell
I was looking at your bio, oh, my goodness, she has done so many things. And it just parallely do many things do.
I tend to take on multiple jobs at once, right. So it's been great though. So it all kind of has fit together. I never would have thought that growing up. But like I learned to Sign started to learn to sign when I was in third grade, because my friend's mom was an interpreter. And that was how we could get around the teachers. Right. Like we weren't talking. We were signing stupid. And so through that, you know, as I went through college, I'm like, I want to learn more about this. This is great. I went to Gallaudet when I moved to Maryland because I wanted to take classes there. And then a job opportunity came up while I was working for Kentucky. And they were like, Hey, listen, we're doing this work with Gallaudet. Gallaudet's Clair Center, which is their K 12. Schools. Would you like to help? And I was like, Oh, yeah. And I've had the best bosses who are like, oh, yeah, that we can work something out. Let's go go do that. That sounds great. Yeah. So I've been super, super lucky. It's been a very winding path. I started an anthropology as I said, and then I went and got my master's in early childhood special ed, with the idea that I wanted to do my doctorate in anthropology, because my special ed background had been good. But it wasn't delving into I think the complex issues that I saw really going on in systems. And I really wanted to have that holistic approach. And so I taught for a couple years, and then I went back to American University, and I got my degree in anthropology, but I studied kids with autism. And so I followed these five kids for seven years, I worked with their families, I worked with the schools, I worked with the teachers. I went on vacation with some of them I like babysat so that the parents could have nights out like I just immersed myself in their lives. They were very kind about it. And in doing that, it really made me start to think through some things I hadn't before like the like the medical model, right like the socio cultural versus medical model. with disability. And so while I was doing that work, I was also working for a small nonprofit that was specifically working with DC teachers to bring more arts and social emotional learning into the classroom. That then morphed into a full time job, which morphed into no longer doing that as much but more doing a systems change project, which then led me to doing alternate assessments, because that was the piece that was the lever that was making a difference in that school. You know, I talked about the special ed teachers, the only reason they were doing standards based instruction was because the alternate assessment told them they had to. And until then, I will never forget, like we had this one student. And the teacher was lovely, but had done no formative assessments, walked into the classroom, the sixth grader is putting green triangles into puzzles, he's identifying triangles, he's circling triangles. He's doing all these things with triangles. And I kept saying you have to teach something that sixth grade. And so we did a lot of work on what that could be. And we talked about multiplication is just repeated addition, he could totally do that. Well, she comes up to me two days later, and she's like, did you know he has knows how to multiply? And I thought to myself, Oh, my God, he's been in your class for like four months? How did you not know he knew how to multiply like. So I saw it really shifting. And it wasn't just her. I mean, it was lots of teachers. And it's not that they weren't doing great work. It's just that their work was so focused on this old model of protecting kids with disabilities, not having high expectations. You know, the principal really thought if they were quiet, then the teachers were doing great. So I went from that to working on alternate assessments. And then I started doing some of the work around validity around alternate assessments. And then I was doing professional development systems change. And you know, it's just been interesting. So how did I get into ties? I'm Diane WINTAC, probably pulled me in. She did pull me in. They were working on the the rise before it was called the rise. And she asked me to come and do some work with them on that. And while I was there, I was talking with Terry Vander Kolk. Who was the what do they call it prime pro principal investigator? I think they call it a very bad titles. And she was like, hey, it sounds like you could do X, Y, and Z. And I was like, Yeah, I totally can. She's like, Alright, let's go. So she hired me to do so it was kind of that and then I just became part of ties. It was great. It's great. Well, okay, so it's a very strange,
so many things to articulated. Well, listeners refer to her bio. That's what I say. link that up here? Sure. So the interest of education roadmap of the Thai center is there to bridge the research to practice gap. A lot of things that you talked about sounds like it happened in like the 90s or early 2000s.
But research the
your experiences that your teacher is not doing formative. Oh,
yeah. So that probably was 2000 2006 was when I was doing the work of DC. Because I think that's when I got married, right? 2006 I think, okay. My husband's in charge of dates. I'm in charge of like everything else. So, um, but yeah, so I was doing that work with them around 2000 2006. And then I went to the alternate assessments. So
yeah, well, the research has been around for a really long time. And then there are moments where things are aptly applied to practice and things happen, and they just don't continue after that. So yeah, be like the trend, I guess, and then tides, for doing that. The i the inclusive, inclusive education roadmap is there to just bridge that gap and make it more sustainable change, right, especially specifically on students with the most significant disabilities, cognitive disabilities, can you make a few more facts about this population of students, they often get buried under the umbrella of their diagnoses. So we talk about autism, we're talking about autism, the whole spectrum, but then there's one population that has the diagnosis of autism, but have extensive needs, and they're, they're never included. They'll say, Oh, we include kids with autism, but we don't talk about this group. Right. So tell us more about this community. Students will extremes of support needs.
So it's a hard language is so hard, right? Because we started using the terms extensive and persuasive, pervasive support needs because of the work at a IDD. And it sounds it's, it's great because it gets us away from this label.
What's a ID?
It is the I knew you were gonna ask hold on American Association of intellectual and developmental disabilities, okay. And they, they really wanted to push away from the labeling, right? Like, it's cuz I mean, when I was working in DC, you can tell me whatever you want to tell me about those kids labels half the time, they were mislabeled, especially if it was something around EDI. I mean, they just they were mislabeled. And so I'm looking at what are the characteristics? What are the learner needs is so much more helpful and powerful? I think autism is a great example of that. Right? I have two kids with autism. And they are very, very different from each other. And they're very, very different from the stereotypical person most people get in their heads when they think autism. So it's, it's a definite need to go beyond those labels. The problem is, we have neurodiversity, which then becomes, okay, so we're all on this neurodiverse spectrum. What does that mean that when it comes to supports and services, you know, the only way you get supports and services is by having a disability? Yeah. And so we have these these conceptual issues that we're trying to figure out. extensive support needs, is now being it used to be for students with significant cognitive, or complex bodies, or both. But now, it's been kind of hijacked by some people in learning disabilities, because those students have extensive support needs in certain situations. Right. So that becomes an issue then when it comes to what is the government fund, what don't they fund, you know what I mean? So it's, it's language is so hard. And it's difficult to say, this is exactly what we mean. But I can tell you what I usually mean, when I'm talking about this population, and that's the 1% of students who are eligible for the alternate assessment. They tend to have labels such as autism, but of course, not always intellectual disability, but not always, you know, multiple handicap or multiple disabilities, depending on which state you're in and what language they use, developmental delay, and other health impaired tend to be the labels. They tend to need extra practice and support, to access information and to make sense of information. So it's not a perfect definition. But that's usually who I'm thinking about when I think about these students. And
what we do in my research, you
So, but what we know about that population of students is they do better and inclusive classes. I mean, end of story, they do better and inclusive classrooms. And there's more research out there every year about the type of instruction they get in Gen Ed versus Special Ed and what that means for their outcomes. In in special ed, we know that most of the time is spent in most classrooms that we've done research in most of their time is spent on very separate skills. And this is a population who needs help generalizing so why would we break those skills into little tiny pieces as a way to teach them. And I can give you another example, my daughter, who is not part of that 1%, but still has some pretty extensive needs in certain situations in school. They, for years have tried to convince me to put her into a small social skills group. And I said to them, it doesn't work. You can you can she can sit in a room and tell you what she's supposed to say to people. Not going to do it unless she has the practice in the real world. And, you know, when I tried to show them the research, the response was, Well, we have our own research base. And I'm just like, it doesn't work that way. No, no. So even
research is still unreliable. You one can say that.
Well, you know, I think what it is, is the curricula that are out there and the one that they're using have on their webpage. This is a research based piece. Look, we hired these people to do research on this curriculum. So now it's a research base piece. And yeah, so yeah,
easily we need to do when you say research based, right. Wow, okay. Yeah.
True. What are your teaching all these skills for is the big question, right? What is the real world? If the real world is the one that you're going to construct for them in the future, then I guess the skills would work. But if the real world is the one that everybody lives in, then you got to immerse them in that everybody world from day one. Exactly. Exactly. And then make it work in that everybody world.
Right. And that may mean they need some direct instruction. Absolutely. But I'm not going to pull them out for 90% of their day, and then expect them to graduate and, and go get a job. Because in competitive employment, that's not how it works. Yeah. And if you look at the research around transition, one of the number one indicators of jobs outside of school, are one having a job while you're in school. And two inclusive practices. Yeah.
That's right. Yeah. Okay, so our podcast, inclusive occupations podcast has a special interest for school based occupational therapists. Okay, we're all about activity engagement, hands on, right. Any interesting thoughts, you have to share on your experiences with occupational therapists supporting inclusive education that traditionally school OTS are associated with handwriting, fine motor or sensory regulation? Top three, right. Now, our education, ot education is so much more comprehensive and holistic than that, then what we get to do in the schools, right? So if you are an admin, how would you use OTPs? How would you put them to best use in the schools?
So I truly think one of the things I learned from my OTs when I was doing my student teaching, when I was working in those preschools was how you can adapt anything. Right? Give me a noodle and some duct tape. And they could make them something for you throw in some cardboard, and they had like, amazing things. So..
you hit the nail on the head right there. When you said that's, that's exactly our training adaptation. environments.
If I were an administrator, that's what I do is I'd have a day session or have opportunities for the OT to work with classroom teachers on. Okay, so this kids struggling with that, let me show you how you can adapt something or make this easier or make this more accessible or, you know, a pencil grip is, it's great. It's great for handwriting, but there's so much more to it than that. So I would definitely have more collaboration between ot PT and, and teachers. And I was really lucky when I was teaching my ot was phenomenal. And so she would come in, and she'd be like, Oh, why don't we do this on a board with with with paint brushes? And I'd be like, Yeah, let's do it. All right. Um, so I've been really lucky with the OTs and PTs I've met and worked with. And I'm telling you, there's nothing you can adapt.
Yeah, yeah, Dr. Ryndak spoke so much about context. She was like, context, context context. So using these skill sets in in a segregated setting, versus using the skill set in an inclusive setting, so you change the context. And then all of a sudden, the OTS role changes completely right? For working on adapting an older the specialized classroom, or, you know, then then just completely shifts our role, right. So if you're going to looking if you're looking into getting these kids in into a gen ed classroom, the kids who have historically been in special ed classrooms, agenda classrooms, suddenly the intensity of OT supports change down. Oftentimes we justify taking a kid off services saying like the classroom is able to meet all their needs, right? Then you ask the question, which Classroom? And then like, Oh, if it's Ged Ed classroom, then of course, it's not meeting all the kids needs. So you know. Yeah.
I love that question. Yeah, for I am totally going to use that question from now on which classroom? I love that question.
And then the same when they get older, we're justifying dropping services, because they're no longer working on developmental skills, they plateaued on their skills. Handwriting is no longer important. They're working on typing. They're all good. But then as an OT, how are you enabling participation and lesser restrictive environments and that completely changes our role?
It does. That absolutely. does. And I think I think you're absolutely right. What is what is it you're preparing the student for? Is it to grow up and live in segregated housing without workshop kind of less than minimum wage job, then you're probably doing what's right when you're in a separate classroom, doing your pieces. But if it's for them to go and be an active part of their community, and active part of the workforce, whatever that looks like for them, then we have to rethink, is the environment setting up? The student for success? Or this person for success? And if not, how do we change that? Yeah.
And these are not very clean, easy questions to answer at all. So but is it right for us to presume that they're going to be working in sheltered workshops and prepare them for that? That's ethically.. is that right? No, probably not. Yeah. Okay, Dr. Ryndak talked about the Inclusive Education roadmap, specifically about the second step, which is the RISE which is Reflecting on Inclusive Systems of Education. And that's where you both work collaboratively. And she talked about the extensive work that's gone into this project, to update our age old education system, to speed them up to evidence based practices, and also to make that sustainable. So she talked about the four areas, the settings, the educational curriculum, general education, curriculum, and access to it, the instructional practices and the student outcomes, and the tools that are available to schools to reflect on these, not their inclusive practices. So I want to delve a little bit more into this conversation, can you share with us the frame of reference upon which the rice is built those core tenets of what makes the system truly inclusive?
Absolutely. So, you know, when Diane talked about the rise, I'm sure she told you that part of it was kind of reading through statements and then having conversations about it. And as we were building it, you know, Diane and Patricia McDade and myself, we were thinking through, do we always have to say that when we mean, when we say students, we mean all students, including these students? Do we always have to say, when they're in a classroom, we mean, the general ed grade appropriate education class? And so we sat down and thought about what are the assumptions? What are the underlying pillars that make this possible and make this true, and so there's five of them. One is all means all. And that means we're explicitly and specifically thinking about kids with significant cognitive disabilities. One is when we talk about placement, we are talking about placement in the same grade level general education classes, and other inclusive settings in neighborhood schools. When we talk about student centered, we mean strengths based approaches for Inclusive Education occur within general ed curriculum, the classes, the lessons, the activities and return routines. So we know that student centered planning makes a huge difference in how people navigate through the system and and what happens after they graduate. So we didn't want that to get lost within the four areas. So we said we have to put it up front, everything has to be student centered, strengths based. The other piece that we talked about, and that we put in the framework was that specially designed instruction occurs within General Education, instruction, classes, routines, activities. Yes. There may be times when there's a pullout here or there, right? But let's start with what we can do in the natural context, in the gen ed room in the activities, thinking about my daughter with those social Oh skills. I Yeah. So what I did was I talked with the counselor and I talked with one of the teachers, and I said, Listen, absolutely, she needs to learn social skills. She needs to learn how to work collaboratively. You do a lot of that in your science class. Could we just make sure that when they're in science class, they call each other by name, because she may do well in your class, like, she knows the content. But she cannot tell us anybody's name when she gets home. I don't know how much of that is teenager, and how much of that is autistic. But she just nobody's seen. And the counselor was like, Well, of course, we could do that. That's so easy. And I was like, yep, social skills check. Like, here we go. We're working on it. So specially designed instruction. It's vital, but it doesn't have to be pull out. trial based over and over, same thing, you know, we, there's a video, I saw once of this young man who was learning an AAC system, a communication system. And the teacher was doing the trials, like he had to have five trials where he got three out of five, right in order to, you know, and, and she says, Is your name David? And he'd like, look at Yes, or hit yes. And she goes, your name, David. And it kind of like, look at her and be like, yes. And then he was like, she's like, Is your name David? They'd be like, no. That's not my name anymore. This? I've done like, gosh, because how many times do you do that into as your name? Is your name? Your name?
Whatever? Right? Yeah, yeah, we do that so much to our kiddos ....without thinking otherwise?
Yes, yeah. And then the last piece is really based on Universal Design for Learning. And it's that the barriers to inclusive education exist within systems and environments, not within the students or staff. The staff may need some support, they may need some background knowledge, they may need some pieces. But really, if we shift the way we're, we're using our systems, if we shift the role and responsibilities of those staff that will help shift and create sustainable, inclusive practices. But if we sit there and say, Oh, well, Miss Smith, she's never gonna allow inclusion to happen in her class. Well, that's no, like, no, no, we're all here. Because we love kids, we want what's best for them. We may have different ideas of what that is. But if we all come to the table, and have honest conversations about it, and set up our systems to support inclusive practices, then that means that Miss Smith either understands and starts to get on board. Or maybe Miss Smith needs to find a different job.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Every teacher wants what's best for their students? Absolutely. And they just not always know what's best. And we need to have those conversations to understand what's best for the kiddos. And I love this, you know, just using the same analogy as your daughter, you know, learning social skills in the real environment. Sometimes teachers also need that experience, right? We all know about inclusion, that inclusion works. Inclusion is great, and you know, all that stuff, right? Then you have to actually do inclusion. To learn what you don't know, I suppose sometimes, like, how do I solve this problem? How do I address this, then like, did you ask the OT? Did you pull in the speech therapists to support you on this? Then you have to hire more therapists, and then you will feel more justified about hiring more therapists in the school system. For that, that'd be writing, then you're like, Oh, the OTS are going to dismiss them left and right. Like you don't need ot for like, Oh, we're seeing the students have started typing. Now. We need fewer OTS now, like, exactly. You can have OTS to help you include this kid in right. In less restricted environment. You can write curriculums with the help of the OT together, you can work and do these cool things. So
So what happens? So can you share an example of a school's journey in the Inclusive Education roadmap?
Sure. Um, you know, one of the things that we really don't necessarily think about when you're getting started is how do you decide that you're going to do this? And it's really about finding Adding a team of people who have the power to make changes and want to make those changes. And when you do that, then you can actually make things happen. I've seen lots of teachers who do great things in their classrooms, but they don't have necessarily the power to shift the whole school, certainly the district, the state. So if we want change to last beyond one teacher, you need to pull together a team of people who have varying roles, who have power to make decisions power to have conversations and thinking about what is it that we think we want to see what's our vision? Really. The they talked about in the rise the the inclusive, instructional leadership team. And when we do it for ties, we have a state level, a district level and a school level team. And the idea is that you have people from the state level team on the district team, people on the district team on the state, on the school team, people on both those teams on the state team. So there's constantly communication across the three levels. So that when so for instance, when a school teacher says, Well, I understood that we couldn't, we couldn't do specially designed instruction in the school, because then how are we going to quantify that? How do we document that? Then you can go back to the state and say, Okay, well, what do you want to see from your teachers in terms of documentation, because if you only want to see pull out documentation, then this is not going to work. And having those conversations, shifting the way that information is shared from level to level, is a big part of it. So once you have your team of kind of great people that you've recruited, and that you've got on board, and the IAR, on the ties website goes through, like who should be on the team? What's the diversity representation needed? What are the knowledge and skills to have a champion, all of those pieces. A lot of it is very similar to any kind of leadership, you do, right? Like you don't want your team to be so big that it's unwieldy, but it needs to have diversity, we recommend at the state level, having organizations or people who work with the families at the district level having same at the school level, having families, you know, so there's always going to be some key roles that you have in there. But it may differ from state to state, district to district. So once you've built those teams, you go back through you look at your school's mission, you look at the vision, you think about, are we really doing this? What does our data say? When we look at LRE data? How many of our students are actually in classes for 80% or more of the time? And then when I disaggregate that data, and I look, by race, by gender, by ethnicity, by disability label, by assessment type? What does it look like? And for a lot of places, they've not delved into the data that that deeply, right, because they are doing a ton of stuff. And that's not what the Feds requires. So it takes a real concerted effort to think through that. You then want to kind of build your commitment, why we want to do this what we want this to look like, then you do the rise, which I'm sure Diane talked all about, and how to do it. And then from there, you do something from it's called, it's from the national national impact Implementation Research Network. And they have done a lot of research on implementation science, implementation science is the study of how do you make systems change? What has worked, and it goes across multiple fields. So it's not just what's worked in schools, but what's worked in medicine, what's worked in organizations. And one of the things that they've built is a tool called the initiative inventory, which I think is really key for schools, because often at schools, we have a lot of great people who want to help out who want to do things. We have volunteers, we have all kinds of amazing things happening. But are they all working for the same goal? And so the initiative inventory helps you look at do all of our pieces fit together? Or do we have some that are kind of conflicting with each other? And where can we weave together some pieces so we've got a new science initiative going on right now, let's make sure we have special ed people there who can help make sure the science is accessible. So the initiative inventory, I think is a really key way to start to get a handle on what's happening in our system. What do we already have? What can we weave together to make it stronger? Because the last thing we want to do is layer on more things on teachers. I mean, they're tired. They've got a lot.
Exactly, exactly. And so the last thing I want to do is say, Oh, well, here's this new thing you have to do? Well, first of all, it's not new. Secondly, it really fits with everything else you're doing. It fits with your vision and mission, find me a school district that doesn't say something about equity, or equal chances, or best education for all students. It fits with what you're doing, it's just changing the look of how you're doing it. And then, once you've done that initiative inventory, it kind of gives you a place to start and think you can contemplate what fits in here, what doesn't fit in here, what are we doing that might need to shift? What kinds of things do we need to maybe bring in that aren't there now. Those are all really key pieces. And so with the information from the rise the information from your initiative inventory, then you can start action planning. And implementation science talks about different drivers, you know, there's organizational drivers, there's leadership drivers, as a driver. And the action planning really has to include all those pieces. So for instance, I can't create a system of inclusive change if I haven't found a way to make sure that I'm bringing in new new people to work there who have that theory and practice. Right. So it's recruitment. And then once they're there, how do I retain them? And for those,
you're talking about, is this something that's accessible to everyone? Absolutely, absolutely. Think that in the shownotes?
Yeah, I'll definitely send you a couple of really good links. We actually just are working on a paper on just that. I'll send it to you once we finish it. But yeah, I mean, it's really, it's about pulling your whole system together and thinking through not just the right now. But the future, when this wonderful leader leaves, how are we going to keep this going. So when you've done that, you've got your action plan, you've started to think about creating goals from that you develop an annual plan to use those those implementation drivers and to continue to check up on your action plan, you have regular meetings to make sure it's happening to get feedback, you may have to shift your action plan that happens. You know, COVID certainly threw everybody for a curve, we had to shift our action plan when we were working with ties. And that was, what it was, you know. And then the last piece is that you implement your action plan, and you conduct continuous evaluation, assessment, learning, and continue to scale up. So those are kind of the five pieces of what's included in the IR. There's a lot more detail on the webpage. That'll delve into all of it. Because really, when we built that, and, you know, Gail gear and Terry van dery and Jessica Bowman and Jessica somberness. As they built this, they really had to think about like, if ties weren't here, what can people do? Because that's part of that planning ahead. We asked them to do too. If your leader if your champion changes, do you still have the resources and tools to make this work?
How long has this been around the inclusion of education roadmap?
I'm about a year and a half. Oh, does it feel really it's very new.
Okay, so we really don't have a school that's actually gone through the whole process from beginning to end.
We have schools who have we don't have districts who have they're working on it. They're still in the process.
Okay, okay. Okay. Dr. Doug mentioned, this is a really long process to it takes like five to seven years for districts to become aware of having to change and then making those changes happen.
Interesting. Okay. So how do you imagine our education system, say in 2023, I mean, 2033 10 years from now Ha, ha, how do you how much do you think we would have changed? We'll
see you want the dream or the cynic. Um so the dream is that we as a country have realized that education is the backbone of our democracy. And if we don't have public education that equalizes the playing field for everybody and make sure that everybody has has access to and can be successful in getting that education and using that education and life after school, whether that be going to vocational school, whether that be just getting a job, whether that be going on to college, whatever that looks like. They've all come together and said, Yes, we need this. These are the core things we need, right? We need science, we need science. so badly. Social Studies, we need that. We need language arts, we need math, we need the specials, you know, we need all of those pieces together to create a real holistic human being who can experience things that they wouldn't necessarily experience and then use that information to change the world in whatever way they're going to change the world. And so with that, we have, first of all, gotten rid of or, or shifted our standards based testing so that it is not the sole driver of school instruction, and curriculum, I mean, curriculum and instruction are supposed to drive assessment, not the other way around. And that is not what's going on right now in the US. At the same time, assessments important until we did standards based assessments for all students, people had no idea about this 1% of the population. So we need to have those accountability pieces in place, but we need to do it in a way that's more balanced. Um, 2033, I think that we will be, let's see, hopefully done with this book, banning stuff. And I'm sorry. And I would love to see by 2033, the expectation that Gen Ed is the place to start, just like Ida says, you don't start outside of Gen Ed and earn your way in, which is ridiculous. You start in Gen Ed. And then you try support to try services, you keep trying that you keep brainstorming that and then you might start to pull out. So I would love to see that become the norm, really changing our systems perspective of people with disabilities. And I think that's happening, you know, you look at the way that the world is now compared to like, 1020 years ago, we went to the science, the American Air and Space Museum in DC. And my son, one of my, one of my autistic kids, my son was melting down, like I had no idea he was that close to the edge. Usually I'm better at judging that. And we walked in, and he's got tears in his eyes. And he's like, I can't, this is too much. I can't do this. And I said, let's go find a quiet corner. And we did. And then he like looks around the corner, and they have a quiet room. Specifically for people who are overloading, right like that never would have happened a while back. And I was talking with some people at the Smithsonian. They're like, yeah, we're trying to get one in every museum now. That's amazing. That expectation that people are different is such a huge shift. And that gives me a lot of hope for what our schools can be in the future. Because people now do have this expectation that there is no diversity and there are differences and abilities. And that doesn't put you on a different level of value. It just is.
Love it. Love it. So they will be not ablism in society. That will be nice :)
It'll continue to lessen I don't think in 10 years, we'll get rid of it all. But I think it will continue to lessen and what it looks like changes so that it's not as as blatant as it is now. You know, we'll have to keep working with it because so many of our systems are still built on ablest constructs. But I will say that it does give me a lot of hope to see the embedded supports we have in so many different places now that you just wouldn't have thought of before you know even even something as small as different sized Water fountains. Right? That's huge. You go into grocery stores and Target and Walmart, all those places. And you see those those carts that are made for kids who are older or adults who are older right now never would have entered anybody's mind. So we're getting there.
It's always I think it's like, rolling down hills, you know, kind of going uphill is the hard part. Once they've hit that tipping point, then the change happens pretty rapidly. That's my optimistic self.
I love that. I love that.
Okay, so we'll go on to some fun questions. Asking this. So I want you to complete the sentence inclusion is
amazing and necessary.
Amazing and necessary. Yes, I agree. A book that you would recommend for us inclusion allies.
There's so many. I will say, I know it's it's an older book, but Paula Kluth's "You're gonna love this kid."
You know, Dr. Jorgensen was here. And she recommended the same book. And she said the new ones coming up this year, so Ooh. So we have to get that
It's so funny. Because the first time I saw that book, talk about shifting your mindset. The first time I saw that book, I thought, Yes, that's it. You aren't gonna love this kid. They're amazing. And I thought, Why have I not introduced it that way before? So that's, that's a great book.
So what would you have been if not an educator, I know you started off in anthropology.
I did, I actually started I was going to work with primates. I was going to, yeah, I was going to work with language and primates. And then I moved to dolphins. And then I realized that while I adore them both, I needed something that had some more immediate effect. So I think if I gave up education altogether, while I would love to be in charge of the world have and be like, in charge of all of it. I don't like politics. So that would not be a good fit for me. So I think I just become a librarian or a bookstore, a bookseller.
So what is your favorite movie?
This is so this is so like, not academic, or anything like that. But 10 Things I Hate About You. It's just the greatest movei ever.
Okay, well, I haven't seen that.
Oh, my God, I'm so old..., no!!
Well, I'm just not very savvy with movies.
So good. Okay, I'm gonna look that up. What is your most effective productivity hack? How do you do all that you do?
Um, so combine ADHD, with fear of missing out with the belief that you know, it's just going to work? And there you go.
Wow, I didn't expect that answer. But its....I'll take it!
you have to add in I will say you have to add in a very, very, very great partner, who is, is willing to kind of let you go and do these crazy things. And
I know that makes such a difference right. Yea, I have one of those too!
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, he bless he. He watched the kids when they were oh my gosh, I think my daughter was six and the boys were four. And we did have a nanny, but she wasn't live-in or anything. But he watched them for like a month while I was in Poland teaching like he's like, Oh, we can make that work.
That's, that's awesome. someone you look up to in your career.
There are several. Diane mindat. Clearly Cheryl Jorgensen. Donna Wickham, who was one of my first bosses in this field, she really she really put me on this path. There's a lot of you Paula Kluth. Of course. Michael Wheymyer. For a long time, he was my academic crush. I got to meet him. And I told him that and I guess that probably wasn't the most appropriate thing, but like, I was like, Damn girl. So. So yeah, there's a lot of people I look up to. I've been very lucky to have great role models and have amazing people to work with.
And your final takeaway for our listeners,
Um I think my final takeaway would be we can do this. Yeah, we can do it. Get your duct tape. Get your pool noodle. Let's put it together. We can do it.
Love it. Thank you so much. That was a fun interview!