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Education researchers select six schools to launch national inclusion initiative

Thu, 04/25/2013

LAWRENCE — Researchers at the University of Kansas have selected six schools from across the country to serve as models of inclusive education for KU’s five-year, $24.5 million K-eighth grade national education initiative called SWIFT (School-wide Integrated Framework for Transformation) funded by U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs in October 2012.

Called knowledge development sites, the schools were selected from a list of 35 from across the nation selected through a rigorous nomination process based on the extent of their inclusionary practices and indicators of high academic achievement on the part of all students, said Wayne Sailor, professor of special education and director of the SWIFT Center.

Representing a cross-section of U.S. schools, including small town and large metropolitan districts, the six knowledge development sites are:

“These schools are all excellent examples of what the SWIFT model incorporates: commitment to inclusive education by the entire school community and support by district administration, family members and other members of their communities,” said Amy McCart, KU associate research professor and SWIFT director of technical assistance.

These six schools will partner with SWIFT Center researchers to produce a comprehensive field study of exemplary practices in inclusive education that lead to academic achievement gains for all students including those with disabilities, said Sailor. The field study will help to provide new knowledge to guide the Center technical assistance efforts over the next four years.

SWIFT is based on the School-wide Applications Model (SAM), developed and refined over 10 years by Sailor and KU colleagues, including McCart and Nikki Wolf, assistant research professor from the Beach Center on Families and Disability. SAM significantly improved academic and behavior outcomes in 23 low-income urban schools in Wyandotte County; East Palo Alto, Calif., and Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan has cited one of those schools, the Anne Beers Elementary School in Washington, D.C., for its "extraordinary job of inclusion."

SWIFT, an expanded version of SAM, brings together special and general education in a comprehensive continuum of supports and services for all students.

The SWIFT center at KU will provide intensive, on-site technical assistance in new ways to schools and districts in an effort to sustain the model and implement it in 64 schools across four yet-to-be determined states. Further, SWIFT will assist state education agencies to implement statewide school reform. A national communication system will include a new generation website, an interactive e–learning knowledge bank, a SWIFT community of practice and a SWIFT national family alliance.  

Partners with KU in the SWIFT Center include the University of Oregon, the University of New Hampshire, the University of North Carolina, the University of South Florida, Arizona State University, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Association of State Directors of Special Education, TASH, the Institute for Educational Leadership and the Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education.



Travel to New York and perform on one of the greatest stages in the nation? KU's Wind Ensemble did just that. In March 2013, the University of Kansas Wind Ensemble made the trip of a lifetime to perform the world premiere of composer Mohammed Fairouz’s Symphony No. 4, In the Shadow of No Towers at Carnegie Hall. http://bit.ly/1nXMXr9 Tags: University of Kansas Wind Ensemble KU School of Music Carnegie Hall #KUdifference #music #symphony
Journey to Carnegie Hall
One of America’s most esteemed concert bands, the University of Kansas Wind Ensemble, came to Carnegie Hall to introduce a commissioned work with the potential to resonate well beyond the usual college circuit... - New York Times review

Boy with autism benefits from KU student’s undergraduate research Two-year-old Mark’s first haircut in a salon was pretty traumatic. He screamed. He cried. His dad had to restrain him – Mark has autism and a haircut wasn’t part of his routine. But there’s a happy ending. The experience led KU senior Kristin Miller to seek an Undergraduate Research Award (see http://bit.ly/1xod9VT) to develop ways for children with developmental disabilities like Mark to learn how to accept routine health care treatment, such as going to the dentist — or even getting a buzz cut. Watch the video to see why it has been especially rewarding for Miller to help children like Mark.


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
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Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
1 of 9 public universities with outstanding study abroad programs.
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46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
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Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
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$260.5 million in externally funded research expenditures
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