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The Way to Inclusion: How Leaders Create Schools Where Every Student Belongs

$52.68  Paperback
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Julie Causton, Kate MacLeod, Kristie Pretti-Frontczak, Jenna Mancini Rufo, Paul Gordon

  • The Way to Inclusion
  • The Way to Inclusion
    Step-by-step guide to the inclusivity change process with 7 milestones that will enable leaders to create a more inclusive school system

137 pages
ISBN: 9781416631804

The research is clear: Including students with disabilities in general education classrooms is the most effective way for all students to learn.

If you are working toward greater inclusivity in your school or system, this book from educators and inclusion experts Julie Causton, Kate MacLeod, Kristie Pretti-Frontczak, Jenna Mancini Rufo, and Paul Gordon is an invaluable guide for you and your leadership team.

Chock-full of research, resources, and seasoned advice, The Way to Inclusion walks you step-by-step through the inclusivity change process, from envisioning your path to reimagining the roles of existing staff and everything in between. The book outlines seven clearly defined milestones tied to an Action Plan that will help you stay the course with so vital an initiative. In addition to milestones and leadership questions, you'll find

  • Instructions for conducting an equity review of your system with a focus on special education.
  • Guidance for creating and analysing service-delivery maps, including before-and-after examples from systems that have successfully shifted to greater inclusivity.
  • Classroom observation and staff survey tools.
  • First-person accounts from educators who have undergone the change process.
  • Best practices for developing an inclusivity-focused vision statement.
  • Downloadable forms and templates to help you move forward with implementation.

There is no excuse for segregating our students with disabilities from the rest of the student body. This indispensable guide will help you make certain that all students in your system not only learn but also thrive in the least restrictive environment possible.

Table of Contents

Praise for The Way to Inclusion



  1. Understand Why Inclusive Education Is the Way Forward
  2. See the System
  3. Develop Your Inclusive Vision
  4. Realign School Structures to Inclusive Ones
  5. Reimagine the Schedule and Collaborative Staff Roles
  6. Use Powerful Inclusive Classroom Practices
  7. Provide Ongoing Support


  • Appendix A. Your Action Plan
  • Appendix B. Equity Review Data Collection Guide
  • Appendix C. Inclusive Classroom Observation Tool
  • Appendix D. Inclusive System Focus Group Survey
  • Appendix E. Inclusive System Scheduling Process
  • Appendix F. Co-Teaching Models
  • Appendix G. Inclusive Classroom Practices Resources


"The Way to Inclusion provides a powerful intersection of values-driven leadership, visioning for equity, strategic support and learning, data-driven decision making, and, most important, understanding and believing in the strengths and possibilities of both your staff and your students. Leaders now have a roadmap to assist them in providing a welcoming, rigorous, and compassionate school for all learners."
- Heather Greicius, Executive Director of Special Populations, Adams 12 Five Star Schools, Colorado

"The Way to Inclusion is essential for district and school building leaders as they engage in the complexities of systems change. The pages should be read, highlighted, dog-eared, and riddled with handwritten comments in the margins as leaders roll up their sleeves and get to work applying what is written to change hearts and minds and create equitable, inclusive systems of education for each and every student."
- Jennifer Sommerness, EdS, TIES Center, University of Minnesota

"The Way to Inclusion provides a practical, adaptable, and inclusive approach to creating more inclusive schools and systems and promotes and embraces an abundance of strategies and resources that can be used to fit any educational setting, no matter its size, culture and climate, or other perceived barriers. The Inclusive System Change Path presented in this book, with accompanying recommendations and real-life examples of implementation, is a top-tier resource contributing to the urgent work that must be done toward supporting inclusive education. The Way to Inclusion is a must-read for anyone learning about, leading, or participating in systems change toward highly inclusive and effective schools."
- Jaylee Swanson, Director of Special Education, East Moline School District, Illinois

"This is a book that every leader should read. Inclusive education focuses on transforming the system to include every student in the learning community where all learners grow and thrive. Special education is not a place, but a system of supports wrapped around students where every school staff member has a role. The Way to Inclusion offers leaders a path to success with powerful strategies to develop vision, reimagine school structures, and promote effective collaboration among educators."
- Marcia Blum, Preschool Special Education Specialist, Exceptional Student Services, Colorado Department of Education

"The Way to Inclusion is a much-needed call to action. But more than that, this engaging, accessible book provides a path to progress—a systematic, practical approach to help educators build inclusive schools, overcome obstacles, and reach the results that the law, research, and conscience demand for all learners. A wonderful gift for anyone committed to or curious about achieving better outcomes and creating truly inclusive learning communities."
- Patrick G. Radel, attorney, advocate, and parent

"The authors of The Way to Inclusion have developed a comprehensive and practical guide for leadership teams working toward systems-level inclusive change. This book provides research to address the why of inclusion alongside steps and strategies that explain how."
- Danielle Nahorney, Director of Academic Services and Accountability, Baldwinsville Central School District, New York

"If you are an educational leader looking to deliver a more inclusive education to students while supporting staff in this work, this is the book for you. The Way to Inclusion includes advice from those who were the "boots on the ground" and made meaningful progress in educating all children in integrated settings. This book provides the knowledge and tools needed to develop and implement an inclusive plan while giving guidance to avoid common missteps. It's a must-read roadmap for current and future educators, leaders, and change makers."
- Dr. Joyce A. Carr, Supervisor of Special Education, upstate New York

"This is a brilliant tool for all school leaders who want to improve service delivery for all students who have been historically marginalized in our schools while simultaneously meeting the standard of IDEA. The authors have constructed a roadmap with milestones to guide schools and districts toward providing a liberated education for all of their stakeholders."
- Deborah Hoffman, PhD, Associate Superintendent, Madison Metropolitan School District, Wisconsin