Virginia’s Statewide Inclusion Action Plan (Virginia Department of Education, Superintendent's Memo #311-17)
Background and Purpose
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires states to report state-level and division-level data on the performance of students with disabilities on several indicators. The IDEA also requires reports on progress toward meeting state targets, as described in the state’s Special Education State Performance Plan. Virginia did not meet the targets set for Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) placement. Review of school divisions’ LRE data reflected varying levels of participation in the general education setting by students with disabilities. Although placement decisions are made by the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team, parents have expressed concerns about inclusion opportunities for students with significant disabilities and learning needs to the State Special Education Advisory Committee (SSEAC), and as part of an inclusive practice workgroup with stakeholders (June 2016). As a result, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is implementing a Statewide Inclusion Action Plan PreK-12 to assist school divisions with effective inclusive practices.
The Statewide Inclusion Action Plan aims to increase:
- the quality of the instructional practices for students with disabilities in general education settings;
- access for students with disabilities, preschool through graduation, who need significant supports to be engaged in instruction and socialization in settings with typically developing peers;
- the capacity of parents and school leadership to work together in building and maintaining inclusive schools; and
- the capacity in school divisions to provide ongoing professional development and support to schools’ for maintaining an inclusive philosophy and implementing effective practices.