Inclusion/Special

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Inclusion/Special

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The purpose of this policy is to describe the principles and practices for achieving the educational goals regarding all aspects of Inclusive/Special Needs Education for the Newcastle International Baccalaureate Diploma Program and to ensure that procedures and provisions remain consistent. 

 

1. Philosophy

 

The mission of Newcastle School  is to provide exemplary learning experiences in order to ensure that each student has the skills to compete in our global society.  We envision preparing each student to become noble leaders.  As an IB World School, our IB Diploma Program is a portion of the larger entity, Newcastle School and the IB World community. The faculty and staff of the Newcastle School International Baccalaureate Diploma Program believe that inclusive education is a matter of human rights and social justice; we recognize that all of us experience dependence upon others at certain times in our lives. All students may experience barriers to learning at some point in their school career. Learner variability and diversity is valued in our IB classrooms. Therefore, we strive to build a community that is supportive and inclusive of all persons who choose to participate in the IB DP.  Working together, we strive to identify and remove those barriers such that access and engagement in learning are increased for all students, and a sense of belonging, safety and self-worth are promoted. We will make reasonable adjustments for students who have learning support requirements.

 

The IBO and we also believe “all candidates must be allowed to take their examinations under conditions that are as fair as possible.  Where normal examination conditions and assessment procedures would put candidates at a disadvantage and prevent them from being able to demonstrate their skills and knowledge adequately, reasonable forms of accommodation may be authorized” (Handbook of Procedures for the Diploma Programme, 2017).  These individual needs may include but are not limited to learning disabilities; autism spectrum disorders; and/or physical, sensory, medical or mental health issues.  In support of and in cooperation with Newcastle School policies, The Newcastle IB Diploma Program does not “discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or age in admission to, treatment in its program and activities. We believe in supporting all of our students, including those with learning support requirements, so that conditions for the program are as fair and equitable as possible, thereby empowering all IB students to have meaningful access to the IB curriculum and its assessments.

 

 

 

 

Mission :

 

The mission of Newcastle School is to recruit, inform and admit new, qualified students in a professional and forthright manner, while maintaining the integrity of the school, the students and their families.

 

 

IB Requirements:

As stated in the Programme standards and practices, the following practices require schools to demonstrate their support for learning diversity.

  • A9. The school supports access for students to the IB programme and philosophy.
  • B1:5. The school develops and implements policies and procedures that support the programmes.
  • B2:8. The school provides support for its students with learning and/or special educational needs and support for their teachers.
  • C1:6. Collaborative planning and reflection incorporates differentiation for students’ learning needs and styles.
  • C2:8. The written curriculum provides opportunities for reflection on human commonality, diversity, and multiple perspectives.
  • C3:6. Teaching and learning addresses human commonality, diversity, and multiple perspectives.
  • C3:10. Teaching and learning differentiates instruction to meet students’ learning needs and styles.
  • C3:14. Teaching and learning fosters a stimulating learning environment based on understanding and respect.
  • C3:15. Teaching and learning encourages students to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.

(from the IB Website The IB guide to inclusive education: a resource for whole school development).

 

2. Practices

 

Identification:

When students begin their junior year of the IB program, the IB Coordinator generates a roster of students and submits it to the Administrator in the building.  The Administrator reviews the list and informs the IB Coordinator of any students who have learning support in place at the school.  Teachers of IB students who have inclusion students are given a copy of those plans and are required to make the reasonable adjustments listed therein.  Additionally, the IB Coordinator uses the school’s student information database (PowerSchool) to see if a student has learning support in place.  If the database indicates that a student has learning support, then the IB Coordinator contacts the Special Education Administrator to confirm that the student’s information has been shared with the teachers of the IB student, and all involved collaborate to assist the student with his or her learning support requirements and to engage in problem-solving strategies when needed.  It is important that parents are forthcoming concerning a student’s learning support requirements and cooperative concerning professional documentation.  In selecting courses for students, the guidance counselors, parents, students, and coordinators work together to choose subjects which will allow them to demonstrate their strengths and empower them as learners. 

 

Addressing Learning Support Requirements within the School and IB Classroom:

Teaching and Learning in the IB classroom addresses human commonality, diversity, and multiple perspectives. Reasonable adjustments for learning and assessment are made based on student needs. The school facilities are accessible to all members of the community (wheelchair ramps, elevators, assistive technology, bilingual signage, etc.) The IB Coordinator meets with the student, parents, and teachers to discuss any needed learning provisions.  Teachers are encouraged to use creativity with regard to physical spaces when needed. The teachers collaborate with the student and parents, as well as other teachers and staff, concerning how the student’s needs will best be met in their individual classrooms and to decide on the best routes of communication for monitoring the student’s progress.  Teachers are expected to inform the IB Coordinator if problems or concerns arise.

 

Principles of Teaching for Learning Diversity

“The four principles of good practice identified by the IB as promoting equal access to the curriculum for all learners are: affirming identity and building self-esteem, valuing prior knowledge, scaffolding and extending learning” (Learning diversity in the International Baccalaureate programmes, 2016).

Showing Value for Prior Knowledge

  • Assess existing knowledge, strengths, and interests
  • Recognize there may be gaps or overlaps in learning
  • Account prior learning when designing, differentiating, and planning new learning

Scaffolding learning

  • Smaller steps incorporated into the learning process
  • Students working towards mastery
  • Teachers providing constructive learning feedback at all stages
  • Teachers using tools and strategies such as re-teaching, demonstrations, experiential learning, chunking information, visual aids, templates and graphic organizers

Extending Learning for All

              Creating Optimal Learning Environments

  • Students are accepted for who they are.
  • Students are valued for their strengths.
  • Expectations for students are high but realistic.
  • Students are listened to, have their opinions sought, and are provided with opportunities to succeed.
  • Students have opportunities to develop the attributes of the Learner Profile

 

     Technology

  • Evident but seamless in the curriculum
  • Accessible to all learners, used to facilitate classroom environments that are inclusive and diverse by design, and useful in enhancing curriculum design and lesson planning
  • adaptive to many contexts: cultural, physical, and educational
  • supportive of intercultural understanding, global engagement and multilingualism
  • helps to foster collecting, creating, designing, and analyzing significant content

 

    Collaboration

  • Group research projects
  • Debates
  • Role-play
  • Collaborative planning
  • Collaborative teaching

                  

Addressing Learning Support Requirements with IB Assessments: 

For students who have assessment access requirements, the IB Coordinator informs the IBO using the appropriate forms and providing the necessary documentation of the learning support requirements of students requiring inclusive assessment arrangements that require authorization such as extended time on modified examination papers.  Consent of the parent is required before the documentation can be submitted.  Individuals who give consent need to be aware that if a student transfers to another school, the coordinator of the new school will be able to see the request and supporting documents. Once the IB Coordinator learns of the decision of the IB, the student, parents, and teachers involved will be informed.  Inclusive assessment arrangements are planned in advance to give the student time to learn to use them effectively in the classroom in preparation for IB assessments. The school is responsible for making all arrangements and for providing assistive technology if needed.

 

Current Learning Needs: 

When needs concerning inclusion arise, the aptitude of the individual student for IB coursework may place natural limitations for a particular student, and the best interest of the student must be of greatest importance.

 

Documentation and Monitoring:

The classroom teachers of IB courses and the IB Coordinator have copies of any students requiring learning support.  Teachers are expected to provide the support required.  Teachers are expected to document provisions in support they provide.  Meeting the needs of learning support requirements necessitates a collaborative team approach.  Students and their parents have a responsibility to monitor the delivery of that support. The coordinator has a responsibility to monitor the delivery of that support.  Building support personnel also monitor the delivery of and learning support requirements.  Thus all stakeholders share in the responsibility of delivery and monitoring.  

 

3. Links to Inclusive Education, Language, Academic Honesty, and Admissions Policies

 

Inclusion and Assessment

Students participating in the IBDP of Newcastle School who receive classroom adjustments will receive those same learning provisions within the IB coursework and assessments as authorized by the IBO.  Students, their parents, and their inclusive education teachers are responsible for informing the IB classroom teachers and coordinator of all reasonable adjustments required.  Teachers differentiate their instruction and assessments to accommodate students with particular inclusive education needs. All students should be allowed to demonstrate their understanding under assessment conditions that are as fair as possible. Assessment is accessible and offers equal opportunity while safeguarding the integrity of assessment.

 

All teachers will utilize a variety of formative assessments to determine the individual student needs and abilities and to tailor subsequent instruction.  Whenever possible, teachers will develop summative assessments that are differentiated to provide necessary modification, challenges and student choice.  Students who appear to have special education needs and abilities and who have then been identified and will have all their modifications addressed not only in the classroom but also will meet with the IB coordinator to ensure that their accommodations can also be provided on any IB internal or external assessments.

 

Classroom support for all students with special education need and abilities may include curriculum modification, enrichment activities, classroom accommodations, small group instruction, or one-on-one support, depending on what all stakeholders agree upon  When it is determined that a student would benefit from additional support outside of the classroom, pull out services are provided to meet academic, social or behavioral needs. Additionally, co-teachers may provide further support to some students.  When possible, co-teaching will be used as a strategy to meet special education needs and teachers will be encouraged to take advantage of co-teaching training.

 

Inclusion and Second/Additional Language Learners

The link between inclusion and Additional Language Learners is inherent to being “inclusive.”  Students identified as second/additional language learners of English in our school are encouraged to participate in our IBDP. Students, their parents, and second language support teachers are responsible for informing the IB classroom teachers and coordinator of the enrollment of second language learners in the DP. Teachers differentiate their assessments to provide learning support for students with second language learner needs.  

 

Inclusion and Academic Honesty

Students with learning support requirements shall not receive support that would give them advantage over other students.  The provision of learning support requirements shall be limited to those changes that serve to equalize opportunity. Expectations regarding academic integrity are clearly communicated and authentic student work is highly regarded. Consequences for misconduct are clearly communicated.   

 

 

Inclusion and Admissions

While our Admissions Policy stipulates that students must have no grade lower than “70” for any prerequisite course, circumstances will be taken into consideration where a students’ performance showed improvement over time even if the final mark for the course does not reflect this growth. It is the assessment of the student’s readiness, willingness, and work ethic which eclipse past academic performance. In such cases, the IB teacher of the given course will conduct an interview with the student to determine his or her understanding of the whole course in question.  Significant consideration will be given to a student’s aptitude in making a final decision.    

 

4. The Implementation, Evaluation, and Review of the Assessment Policy

 

Training Teachers new to the IB Program

The IB Coordinator, any course veteran(s), and new teacher(s) will meet within the first two weeks of the start of the school year in a small group or one-on-one training session following the sharing of the policy.  Additionally, teachers new to teaching in our IB program will receive training on the IBO document.

 

Communication and Review of the Assessment Policy

Annually, the IB Faculty and administration will receive the latest draft of the policy from the IB Coordinator for their review.  They may email their questions and concerns to the coordinator for discussion at an IB Faculty meeting in the school year.  Changes will be made by consensus of those present at that meeting. The IB guide to inclusive education: a resource for whole school development is a tool that may be used in the review process.

 

Annually, IB Students and their parents will receive written copies of the policy within the IB student handbook within the first month of the school year.  Students and their parents will be solicited for their input for any revision(s) that may be needed.

 

Other IB stakeholders may view the policy any time online on the school’s IB website.  Questions, comments, or concerns may be emailed to the IB coordinator.

 

References

 

  1. International Baccalaureate Organization Learning Diversity and Inclusion in IB Programmes. (2016)

 

  1. International Baccalaureate Organization Programme Standards and Practices (2020).

 

  1.  International Baccalaureate Organization Access and Inclusion Policy (2021).