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Preschool Inclusion in a Public School System

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    Slide 1:Preschool Inclusion in a Public School System

    A Road Less Traveled, But Worth Every Bump!

    Slide 2:Granite School District

    Set in the heart of Salt Lake City, Utah 70,000 students Pre-K through 12 Ranks as one of the nations 40 largest school districts 20.5% Hispanic 3.4% Pacific Islander 3.3% Asian 1.7% African American 1.2% American Indian 69.9% Caucasian

    Slide 3:Granite Preschool History

    Preschool happening but not together! Long standing district sponsored parent co-op preschool for 3 and 4 year olds. Hit and miss Title 1 funded preschool at some but not all Title 1 schools no standard for services/curriculum Long standing segregated preschool special education classes Once upon a time Head Start Grantee

    Slide 4:Preschool - THEN

    16 self-contained classes in 15 schools 17 Title 1 classes in 16 schools 16 Co-op classes in 14 schools Serving 1800 children Curriculum teacher made Head Start eligible children received SpEd services only in district preschools Very little collaboration, cooperation, communication between preschools even those located in the same building Preschool under separate leadership & departments All professional development done separately and sporadic

    Slide 5:Granite School District Preschool Options

    Community Education Preschool Parent Co-op Tuition based Title I Preschool Special Education Preschool Head Start Childrens Center Carmen Pingree School Utah Schools for the Deaf & Blind Even Start High School Applied Technology Child Development

    Slide 6:Timeline for Change The Early Stages

    2002 July-October gathering information about existing preschools (separate departments within district) October-December newly formed Leadership Team to discuss future Preschool Department Members: Co-op, Sp Ed, Title 1, Even Start, Applied Technology

    Slide 7:Timeline Continued

    2003 January Preschool Advisory Committee formed (included preschool representatives from different departments plus parents 25 members) February-March- 1)Advisory and Leadership groups met 2) meetings with district level administrators to intro proposed inclusion model 3)focus group meetings held with: School level Title 1 specialists, preschool teachers, related services staff, classroom teaching assistants and principals

    Slide 8:Timeline

    2003 continued March Co-op teachers started anti-inclusion campaign with parents Parent meeting was held to address concerns Question/Answer sheet developed and sent to all Co-op parents May-June Advisory Committee and Leadership Team developed proposed plan for the 2003-2004 school year Letters to the school board and newspapers caused much up-roar board questions the purpose of the Big Change

    Slide 9:2003-2004A year of compromise

    Preschool Department formed 2 schools to pilot inclusive preschools side-by-side with self-contained classes All other schools with multiple classrooms are encouraged to provide inclusive opportunities (13 schools identified) Creative Curriculum adopted district wide All professional development will be done as a department focus on literacy, numeracy and social development Development of department policy/procedure manual Continue to develop the phase in plan for inclusion

    Slide 10:Enter New Director

    2003 August-October pilot implemented at 2 schools Department struggles to come together a mix of philosophies, curriculum, education background etc November New director hiredthe pilot and phase in plan gets overhauled December parent meetings held all 3 were well attended Principal meetings held to get feedback, input, and ask/answer questions Dialogue with district superintendency parent and principal meeting outcomes shared/discussed

    Slide 11:Parent Meetings

    Brief introduction of current preschool programs (Co-op, Title 1 and Special Ed) Brief introduction of laws, regulations, and state rules that govern preschools Brief introduction to proposed plan Open dialogue without judgmentall responses from parents are recorded the good, the bad and the VERY ugly

    Slide 12:School Board Presentation

    January 2004 Closed session with the school board and upper administration. Presentation centered around IDEA statute, regs and state rules regarding LRE and placement. Open meeting with School Board attended by numerous parents and staff members February Board unanimously supports full inclusion for preschool to begin August 2004

    Slide 13:Fast Track to Inclusion District-wide

    Multiple meetings with staff to prepare for 2004-05 school year colorful dialogue with staff many threats to leave program, fears were revealed, but mostly anticipation and excitement Coordinators worked all summer to ensure that professional development was ready to meet the needs of staff New pay scale was approved all staff received a raise Work with transportation to get children from 14 schools to 34 schools

    Slide 14: Preschool - NOW

    Preschool at 38 elementary schools 64 classrooms 180+ sessions of preschool each week 250 staff members 2500 children served 18 children per session 3-5 children with disabilities All lead teachers have minimum of CDA- Many with BS or higher Teacher Assistants number per class dictated by childrens needs Secured increased $$ support from Title 1, Special Education and tuition increase approved

    Slide 15:Special Education teachers/consultants assigned to each classroom Related services provided based on childrens needs Head Start eligible children receive all services at Head Start Professional Development each month + special education staff meetings/trainings Teacher resource library Department Coordinators have gelled work together toward a common end network support Great new department location together + evaluation centervery visible

    Slide 16:1 year under our belt

    Effective communication continues to be a struggle within the department Monthly Professional Development was successful Share Fair was very popular Those who were the loudest doubters have become die hard supportersand very vocal about it! Year end Celebration of Our Successes was very emotional so many stories to share

    Slide 17:Questions still surround roles of each staff team member a bit of the turf wars Zero parent complaints received by Board of Education a first for preschool! District support is more evident transportation, upper administration, human resources, buildings/boundaries Word is getting aroundwe have had the largest number of high quality applicants in preschool history!

    Slide 18:Whats Next?

    Continue to improve communication within the department Continue monthly professional development staff have now identified areas of needed training/information Look forward to preschool classrooms in each elementary all children would then attend their neighborhood school CELEBRATE our SUCCESSES, LEARN from our CHALLENGES!

    Slide 19:Need More Information? Granite School District Preschool Services Department 2500 South State Salt Lake City, Utah 84115 801-646-4670