Excellence. Equity. And All Means All.
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Issue 10, May 2014

New from SWIFT Headquarters


Almost a year ago, the team at SWIFT Headquarters was busily preparing for our first ever Professional Learning Institute to be held in our nation’s capital. This was a time of great anticipation as we were planning to meet the teams from the SWIFT Implementation States of Maryland, Vermont, Oregon, Mississippi, and Vermont. This year, we are equally as excited to support each state as they design their own Professional Learning Institutes to embed the message of ALL Means ALL, and the supports and strategies to fulfill this promise in State Departments of Education, school districts, local schools, and institutes of higher education!

Grand Isle Elementary Adopts
New Vision Statement

Driving in the northwest corner of Vermont on the Roosevelt Highway and going west across the causeway at Sand Bar State Park, you enter the Lake Champlain Islands. A collection of five towns, this corner of Vermont is a picturesque setting sitting on a freshwater lake. The Islands are described as a place that offers “all of the fun and recreation you desire, as well as the solitude you crave.” One of the towns within this community is Grand Isle, and within that town is Grand Isle Elementary School—187 students, 22 teachers, and 27 staff all led by Principal Eric Arnzen. Grand Isle has grand expectations, and one of those expectations has been a strong commitment to their SWIFT work. This commitment helped them reach their adoption vote earlier this month.
The adoption vote—which is a survey process—allows participants to say whether or not they agree with and will uphold specific vision statements for their school. These statements come from a process of facilitated conversations allowing individuals to say what they believe about education in relation to the SWIFT Domains and Features. The adoption vote occurs when the collective body has a chance to say whether they believe these statements reflect who they are as a school.

On May 12, 2014, the Grand Isle Elementary SWIFT team brought statements connected to SWIFT Domains for the adoption vote; but before they got started, Principal Arnzen got everyone excited in the process by performing this rap:

After this rousing rap, the staff had a few days to consider the following statements and whether they believed they truly represented Grand Isle’s vision: Welcoming Atmosphere. All Students and Staff Feel Successful and Supported. Believe that All Students and Adults Can Be Successful with the Right Supports. All Students and Staff Feel Successful and Supported. Equal Opportunity for All Students. Positive and Collaborative Teaming and Teaching. Every Family and Staff Member Invested in Our Students.

At the end of the survey process, they discovered they had 100% agreement from their staff! The school has now crafted the following statement which is posted on their website: Grand Isle School is a welcoming community where every family and staff member is invested in our students. We recognize and celebrate the whole child. We provide an equal opportunity and the right supports so all students and adults are successful. We practice positive and collaborative teaming and teaching throughout the school. Congratulations, Grand Isle, on reaching your adoption vote!

SWIFT Talk Community of Practice

Our latest additions to the SWIFT Talk Community of Practice are very personal accounts of the impact of labeling and the importance of belonging as a prerequisite to learning and meaningful participation. We are certain these blogs will resonate with parents and teachers alike. Check out "Labels Don’t Serve Our Children" by Jenny Stonemeier and "'She Won't Get Anything Out of It' and Other Mainstreaming Blunders" by Susan Shapiro and tell us what you think!

Interested in Becoming a SWIFT-FIT Assessor?

The SWIFT Center is currently looking for individuals who would be interested in administering the SWIFT-Fidelity of Implementation Tool (FIT) in SWIFT schools located in Maryland, New Hampshire, Vermont, Mississippi, and Oregon.  
This research tool documents the extent to which a school is implementing the SWIFT framework.  Trained SWIFT-FIT assessors travel to SWIFT schools, learning more about each school’s systems through observations, interviews, and focus groups.  

Are you an educator, school psychologist, graduate student, or researcher interested in learning more about the SWIFT framework?  If so, this may be a great opportunity for you. We are seeking individuals who would be willing to dedicate a few days a semester to conduct this assessment.  Prior to conducting the SWIFT-FIT, all assessors will participate in an online training program.  After completion of the online training, new SWIFT-FIT assessors will go on-site with an experienced assessor to complete the training process.  Travel and per diem expenses will be reimbursed. 

If you are interested in learning more about how you can become a SWIFT-FIT assessor, please email us at swift@ku.edu.

SWIFT-FIT Assessor Recruitment PDF

The SWIFT Center produced this document under U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs Grant No. H325Y120005. OSEP Project Officers Grace Zamora Durán and Tina Diamond served as the project officers. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the positions or policies of the Department of Education. No official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any product, commodity, service or enterprise mentioned in this publication is intended or should be inferred. This product is public domain. Authorization to reproduce it in whole or in part is granted. While permission to reprint this publication is not necessary, the citation should be: National Center for Schoolwide Inclusive School Reform: The SWIFT Center. (2014). SWIFT News, Issue 10, May 2014. Lawrence, KS: SWIFT Center.
SWIFT Center
1315 Wakarusa Drive, Lawrence, KS 66049