SEPTEMBER 2015 • Issue 25 View & Print
SWIFT's new logo


As we head into our fourth year transforming schools to support all students, we are updating our appearance to reflect our development as a center. Our newly refreshed look:

  • Shifts from a style that portrayed our early, organizing years as a center to a style that implies a deeper connection to K-8 schools and student outcomes
  • Places a stronger visual emphasis on the integrated educational framework domain through the " i " in the logo
  • Uses colors and fonts that are more accessible for print and tablet viewing

SWIFT’s Communications Team is rolling out our new look in stages. The new SWIFT Field Guide was the first step, along with our social media collateral. This transition will be complete with a new website design, which we plan to reveal in early November. We hope you are as pleased as we are with the changes and that you continue to promote and share SWIFT resources to support equity and excellence for all.


It's not too late to join the online book study on Design and Deliver written by SWIFT colleague Loui Lord Nelson! Join Denise Malkovits, Ron Rodgers, and the Professional Learning Community focused on the critical elements of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and gain a thorough understanding of UDL in order to develop effective lessons, as well as select tools, resources, and strategies to teach all students.

Newberry Elementary's principal and student


More than 50% of last month's poll takers responded "yes" to the question: "Has your academic schedule been revised to reflect more inclusive practices?" If you would like to gain a deeper understanding of the importance of utilizing a Master Schedule as a tool to support All Means All, the SWIFT Starter Kit includes documents to help schools examine how resources (e.g., spaces, individuals, and teaching tools) are utilized, and to begin seeing potential for improvement. Check out resources for creating a Master Schedule in SWIFT Field Guide.

Fall leaf

Have you had a chance to utilize portions of the new SWIFT Field Guide to promote inclusive practices in your school?


A field of pumpkins with Oregon's mountains in the distance State Spotlight:

The beginning of a new school year is such an exciting time! In ongoing efforts to transform into the strongest, most effective schools and districts that truly support all learners’ social and academic needs, Oregon SWIFT partners began this school year with clear plans for continued implementation of the SWIFT features. Although each district’s priorities vary, the dedication to the work is evident in school teams around the state.

Pendleton School District’s emphasis on co-planning and co-teaching to maximize instructional resources for targeted multi-tiered instruction is visibly apparent across all elementary schools. Regular education teachers, special education teachers, Title I teachers, counselors, and principals can be found meeting in teams across the district to analyze multiple sources of screening data to inform instructional decisions for all students. In observing one data team at West Hills intermediate school, a special education teacher remarked that this teaming process truly reinforces the idea that all students in the school are “our kids.” Teaming in this fashion allows teams to make the most informed decisions regarding students’ academic and behavioral needs. The West Hills team further remarked that they no longer place a student in a “special education group” solely because of IEP goals, but rather they look at the data of all students and make informed decisions to best meet individual students’ academic needs, providing instruction in the general education classroom with small group skill support for all students, from struggling to advanced.

This teaming approach to instruction is also evident in Portland Public Schools, where teams of teachers are collaborating to make instructional decisions for all students. Principal Kathleen Elwood successfully re-allocated resources to hire an additional certified special education teacher to maximize co-teaching opportunities in Irvington K-8 School. SWIFT teams at Irvington also, very observably, strengthened their collaboration with parents as educational partners during Back to School week as the gym was transformed into a Parent Fair! Parents dropped off students at school and then wandered into the gym to be greeted by other parents sharing information. Multiple booths displayed a multitude of ways families could be connected to the school community. This emphasis on the importance of authentic parent engagement is also evident in the visioning work at Atkinson Elementary School. Their leadership team planned and prepared to engage parents and students in this process during their Back to School Night.

Atkinson signs

Above:The SWIFT Leadership team at Atkinson Elementary School in Portland, Oregon engaged families in the visioning process at their Back to School Night. Families were invited to use a sticky dot to select their favorite version of the school vision statement.

Entering their third year, schools and districts across the state are finding that the SWIFT framework serves as an excellent vehicle for aligning school, district, and state initiatives. Redmond School District, in particular, used the SWIFT framework as a format for completing their State Comprehensive Achievement Plan in Indistar. Aligning school efforts in this way allows schools and districts to maximize resources and efforts for improving instruction and academic outcomes for all students.

With the support of state partners, the Sisters School District began the school year with a complete MTSS matrix for inclusive behavior instruction. After attending training last fall—led by Kathleen Lane at the Oregon SWIFT Professional Learning Institute (PLI)—Sisters and several other SWIFT partner schools in Oregon walked away with a much deeper understanding of how to create a comprehensive Multi-Tiered System of Support for inclusive behavior instruction in their schools. Sisters’ SWIFT leadership team—like several other teams across the state—focused their energy on completing implementation of MTSS for behavior. They began the 2015-2016 school year with a system in place to provide necessary supports for students based on the screening results from their fall behavior screener. Next, they will share their work with other SWIFT partner schools at the October 6, 2015 PLI in Hood River, Oregon.

This fall, Oregon's PLI will provide an opportunity for all SWIFT districts to learn new strategies for advancing the transformation in their schools. Additionally, schools will have an opportunity to share their successes and find ways to address barriers as they network and collaborate with other SWIFT partners schools and districts across the state. Today is definitely an exciting time in Oregon education as state, districts, and schools continue their SWIFT work and build highly effective schools that support the needs of all learners.

Below left: Parents at Irvington School held an informative Parent Fair for all families in their school.

Below right: Members from the West Hills Leadership team in Pendleton, OR review screening data.

Parents at Irvington School
Reviewing screening data
Schoolyard Quotes
Back to school carved on apples


"Every child in Vermont deserves the same opportunity to be inspired, engaged, and guided to learn." – Vermont Governor, Peter Shumlin

"Without equity there can be no true excellence. Yet equity without excellence is a hollow prize indeed." – Deborah Meier

Swift Talk
Community of Practice
WISH Charter paraprofessionals

Paraprofessional perspectives are an important consideration for inclusive classrooms and, according to Janet Gnall, "change is the only constant" in her role supporting all students in a general education classroom while being assigned to support one student's IEP. Jessica Meisenheimer is passionate about inclusive school reform and that message comes through as she offers guidance on how best to support everyone—from students in an inclusive classroom to our parents and grandparents through the aging process. Visit SWIFT Talk and join our Community of Practice discussion by commenting, sharing, and suggesting new blog post topics.

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 25, September 2015. Lawrence, KS: SWIFT Center.

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SWIFT Center
1315 Wakarusa Drive, Lawrence, KS 66049