August 2015 • Issue 24 View & Print

SWIFT Feature Introduction Guide

We are excited about the official launch of SWIFT Feature Introduction Guide (SWIFT-FIG), a collection of tools and resources designed to support implementation of SWIFT features.

About a year ago, we set out on a journey to create an online tool with information about SWIFT features for a diverse group of users. We wanted this tool to serve two purposes: (1) provide an overview of each feature, and (2) provide guidance on how to implement each feature. Additionally, we wanted a single location for you—the SWIFT community—to easily access helpful resources such as websites, articles, and tools.

Our first destination in the journey was a collaboration with SWIFT filmmaker Dan Habib to develop "SWIFT in 60," a 10-part film series designed to give a quick description of each SWIFT feature and show examples of the feature in practice at inclusive schools.

Our next stop was to create ways for viewers to actively engage with the film contents, so we created three Discussion Guides to accompany each film—"Before You Watch," "While You Watch," and "After You Watch." These Guides include examples of questions school staff or leadership teams may have in conversations about shared values and how to practice SWIFT features in their own school communities.

We did not stop with just learning about SWIFT, but went farther by creating introductory PowerPoints that anyone can use to teach others about the steps involved in implementing each of the SWIFT features. And beyond that, we suggest "Steps to Get You Started." These steps help break down the complexity of each feature into actionable tasks that a school or district leadership team can choose to plan and implement. Each action step also includes links to resources that support completion of the tasks.

We hope SWIFT-FIG is a helpful tool as you continue the important work of ensuring all students are valued and supported in their school communities.


Has your academic schedule been revised to reflect more inclusive practices?


SWIFT Community Learning and Sharing

Just in time for back to school adventures, check out the resources available in SWIFT-FIG. Our goal is to continuously update this online tool with the "best of the best" resources for inclusive education. So if you have ideas and suggestions, we would like to hear them. What tools or resources did you find valuable when implementing a SWIFT feature? Have you created any of your own tools or resources that may help others in the SWIFT community? How did you engage families in your school's inclusive efforts? What policy changes did your district implement as a result of SWIFT? The possibilities to share with the SWIFT community are endless. If you have an idea or resource to share, please email your suggestions through the SWIFT-FIG email link or to And you may soon find a link to your resource in SWIFT-FIG.

Upcoming SWIFT Conference Appearances

RtI Innovations; Salt Lake City, UT, October

TASH; Portland, OR, December

Another way to join with the SWIFT community is by attending the 2015 TASH Conference, December 2-4, 2015 in Portland, OR. This year’s theme, “Celebrating 40 Years of Progressive Leadership,” acknowledges TASH’s 40 years of generating change for a brighter, more inclusive future for people with disabilities in all aspects of life. Early bird registration rates end September 3rd. To register and save, click HERE.



In SWIFT's ongoing efforts to stay current, grow inclusive communities, and celebrate the message of All Means All, we are using the feedback gathered through last month's SWIFT Poll to soon begin offering SWIFT Talk Live for our podcast listening SWIFT community members. Stay tuned!

ALT TEXT State Spotlight:

This summer, Vermont's SWIFT Professional Learning Institute occurred in conjunction with the State's BEST/MTSS Summer Institute in Killington, VT from June 22nd to 25th. Among the more than 400 educators gathered to explore the theme "School Climate Matters! Positive Approaches for Building Safe, Caring and Supportive Environments for All" were approximately 60 educators representing 11 SWIFT partner schools. They participated in several strands, including:

  • Creating a Positive School Culture Through an Integrated Educational Framework
  • Universal Design for Learning
  • Positive Approaches to Classroom Learning
  • “Ready….Set….Learn!”
  • Enhancing Learning Through Membership and Participation for ALL Students
  • Using Positive, Strength-Based Principles and Techniques to Understand and Respond to Students Struggling

In addition, many school teams attended Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) strands for Universal, Targeted, and Intensive interventions and supports, or a "PBIS Refresher."

Three morning keynote addresses were delivered by Dr. Catherine Bradshaw, Charlie Appelstein, and Dr. George Sugai, and one morning was devoted to a 90-minute workshop. School teams attended learning strands and worked together to develop action plans to bring back to their schools. Dr. Sugai brought it all together in a wonderful summary of the week’s work around school climate, social skills, and culture. He emphasized the following:

  • Effective organizations are the result of common vision/values, common language, and common experiences
  • Build capacity by using key core concepts to build a framework using evidence-based practices and interventions to achieve academic and behavioral outcomes for ALL students
  • Implement practices and interventions with fidelity

In addition, establish a positive school climate by:

  • Actively supervising students and recognizing good behaviors
  • Maximizing academic success for all students
  • Directly teaching social skills throughout the day and every day—not just during social skill time
  • Encouraging good behavior; adults need to model good behavior with each other and with their students.

George Sugai's conference PowerPoint can be viewed HERE.

Below: Educators from SWIFT partner schools enjoying Vermont's SWIFT PLI

Schoolyard Quotes


Swift Talk
Community of Practice

Above: Kimber's kids enjoy the final days of summer

Do families need to make a choice between special and regular education to experience summertime fun and ongoing learning? Kimber R's provocative post provides a family perspective on getting the most out of summer. Read it here and tell us what you think. How does your school support family-friendly goals and community experiences?

Tips, lists, and "dos and don'ts" guide Allyson Palmer's latest blog post on the best way to promote SWIFT Feature Introduction Guide. Read her blog here, check out SWIFT-FIG, and tell us what you think! And by the way, after reading Allyson's post, perhaps you are inspired to write for SWIFT Talk. We are always looking for new perspectives, ideas, and resources on transforming schools to include all students. If you would like to blog for SWIFT, send us a note at

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: SWIFT Center. (2015). SWIFT News, Issue 24, August 2015. Lawrence, KS: SWIFT Center.

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