An examination of the process of implementing successful inclusion programs in schools

Winsome Dawn Beverly Gregory, Fordham University


Inspired by the large body of research that demonstrate the benefits of inclusion for everyone in a school community, this study was undertaken to examine the process leading to successfully implementing inclusive programs and the combination of factors that must be present for such significant and positive change to occur. Initially, a nationally acclaimed award winning school in California was studied and the following 16 variables were identified. (1) Leadership: Effective School Leadership; Articulated, clear vision; Achievable goals; Validation and recognition. (2) Teaching and Learning: Stated purpose focused on learning and student achievement; Staff development; Examination of research based practices; Mentoring of new teachers. (3) How people work together: Common planning time; Collaboration and teamwork; Communication; Ownership and buy-in. (4) Support/Accountability: Benchmarks; Alignment between district and schools endeavor; District office support; Resources. Subsequently, 4 schools that were identified by the State of Connecticut as successful or unsuccessful at implementing inclusion were studied and the degree to which the identified variables were found each setting was determined. The schools were studied individually, and then a comparative analysis was done with all the schools. Findings indicated that much of the success was based on the person in the leadership role and the culture they built in the school. Providing clear articulated vision and goals, as well as, staff development and mentoring of new teachers were the additional critical variables facilitating and sustaining implementation. The study also revealed that there appears to be many ways to make inclusion happen. However, the styles of the 3 principals from successful inclusive schools varied with the most collaborative principal seemingly building the most sustaining culture, by building capacity in the staff. This needs further examination as it may have significant implications for schools of leadership and training for principals. The most powerful finding is the need to create a climate where it is acceptable for all adults and children to be comfortable and supported in the role of learner.

Subject Area

School administration|Special education

Recommended Citation

Gregory, Winsome Dawn Beverly, "An examination of the process of implementing successful inclusion programs in schools" (2006). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3210268.