• Creating a Unified System
  • Integrating General and Special Education for the Benefit of All Students
  • item #: 11

Creatingunified video
  • ©2004
  • 56 Min.

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Narrated by Dr. Wayne


This video illustrates how White Church Elementary School in Kansas City, Kansas created a unified system to support the learning needs of all students regardless of label or severity of need. Their implementation of the six principles of the School-wide Application Model (SAM), created by Wayne Sailor from the University of Kansas and Blair Roger of Oakland, California, has allowed them to create a learning environment where all students are honored and their parents engaged. All students receive the learning support they need; all staff subscribe to a data-driven, standards-based educational program; and, as a result, all students are successful. They are proud to report that they have met their schoolwide AYP for the past three years, but not only that, in 2004 90% of the students achieved proficiency in math and literacy, well above the state average!


At White Church Elementary School you will see the following SAM Principles in action and how they are making a difference for the entire school community in terms of student achievement, policy, practice, and the professional development needed to continually improve:


The SAM principles frame the program. They are:

1. All Instruction is Guided by General Education
2. All School Resources are Configured to Benefit All Students
3. Schools are Team Driven, Data-Driven, Problem Solving Organizations
4. Schools Proactively Address Student Social Development & Citizenship
5. Schools Have Open Boundaries in Relation to Their Family & Community
6. Each School has District Support for Undertaking the Extensive Systems Change Activities


The producers wish to thank Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools for their hospitality, and assistance in making the second edition, particularly the good people at White Church Elementary.


Praise for Creating a Unified System:


"I must say that it is most heartening to see truly inclusive practices at work and effective, and by inclusive, I do not mean as the term only relates to "special education" students, rather as it relates to ensuring the inclusion of all students as part of a school community for whom all school staff truly hold themselves accountable. I found it very refreshing that general education teachers who are valued for their content expertise came to take ownership of all students, essentially eliminating the segregating and separating that so often comes with special education. I also appreciated the focus on literacy and the fact that the speech and language teachers are supporting the general education teacher in the development of literacy and comprehension of language.


"I also think the school leadership team, which provides guidelines for the entire school, truly does provide leadership by giving the staff guidance and the opportunity to collaborate and share best practices in what appears to be a non-judgmental and supportive environment. Clearly, this not only serves the staff development needs of teachers, but it obviously leads to team-building, which can't help but redound to the benefit of the students. That teachers stay after to help their students and also work to develop positive two-way relationships with parents has to be very empowering for all participants. It is as if all the Education Code provisions that are designed to set out the goals of education, including high standards and parental participation, have actually been put into practice!


“The six major sections (puzzle pieces) capture the essential areas necessary for whole-school transformation in support of all learners. Well profiled! Well done!”

--Deborah Blair Porter, Parent


"The fact that 90% of the students have achieved proficiency in math and literacy is pretty darn fabulous. Shows what it means to leave no child behind."

Prof. Elise Frattura, University of Wisconsin @ Milwaukee