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Swigert Inclusion Policy

Updated May 2019 – Inclusion Policy Committee:  Principal (Shelby Dennis), IB Coordinator (Jamie Phillips), GT Coordinator (Robin Bresnahan), Psychologist (Kim Irk), Special Education Teachers (Kira Corral and Leslie Raynor), Equity and Diversity Coordinator (Alicia Biggs)


We believe that all learners have unique needs to consider when helping them to meet and exceed their full potential. To provide access to the IB Primary Years Program at Swigert International School, we apply approaches and support systems that build on individual strengths and address needs and varied learning styles, including those identified with special needs (ELA, special education and gifted and talented). By recognizing the diversity of our collective learning community, we support the development of internationally-minded people. 


Purpose of the policy: 

Our Inclusion Policy guides our practice: 

  • To maintain open access to the Primary Years Program for all students 
  • To validate and enhance the efforts of our learning community to meet the educational needs of all students 
  • To define the roles and shared responsibility and build capacity of each stakeholder 
  • To define the structures and systems needed to support all students 


Differentiation At Swigert International:

All students receive instruction that enables them to succeed within the range of their abilities and interests. Differentiation is seen as the process of identifying with each learner the most effective strategies for achieving agreed goals. This is achieved through: 

  • the use of pre-assessments and formative assessments to determine students’ strengths and areas to focus targeted instruction 
  • utilizing dynamic groupings within classrooms 
  • providing open-ended learning engagements 
  • providing student choice 
  • utilizing a range of resources


The MTSS Process:

The MTSS Process A Multi-Tiered System of Supports is a whole-school, data driven, prevention-based framework for improving learning outcomes for every student through a layered continuum of evidence-based practices and systems. Our MTSS  membership includes representatives from leadership, social emotional support staff, classroom teachers, special education teachers and intervention teachers. This in-depth process is fully committed to supporting every child through layered supports for academics as well as social emotional needs, research based intervention and progress monitoring tools; with the ultimate goal of meeting student need and providing necessary supports. 


Special Education Philosophy: 

We believe that students with disabilities and other unique needs are an asset to the Swigert International Community. We strive to empower students to understand, grow in, and advocate for their unique strengths and needs. Our students are included in all aspects of the general education environment and enrichment activities. We believe that every member of the Swigert community is a stakeholder in the success of ALL of our students. By recognizing the diversity of our collective learning community, we support the development of internationally-minded people. 


The Swigert community places high importance in classroom culture as a means to foster inclusive practices and a feeling of belongingness for our students. Consistency across all grade levels with Morning Meetings, No Nonsense Nurturing, and Restorative Justice processes shapes warm classroom cultures. It is the main focus of these practices to foster a sense of belonging, connectivity, and the ability to resolve conflicts among peers with disabilities and non-disabled peers to create a safe learning environment for all. Professional development and resources are devoted to supporting these warm classroom environments.The Swigert community values the needs of the whole child as fundamental to student success. 


The Swigert community values the use of technology, differentiation, student-led inquiry, research-based interventions, and leadership opportunities to support our unique learners. The PYP lines of inquiry provide for the opportunity of all learners to bring their unique backgrounds and experiences to enhance the classroom community. Collaboration between general education and special education team members support best practices being put into place. To the maximum extent possible, students are supported in the least restrictive environment with the supports they need to thrive. 


In addition, Swigert recognizes and values the importance of all stakeholders including student, families, teachers, special service providers, and administrators. Collaboration between professional teams lead to increased support and success for all students. 


Providing support for students identified as Gifted and Talented (GT): 

Gifted children are defined by Denver Public Schools as those persons between the ages of five and twenty-one whose abilities, talents, and potential for accomplishment are so outstanding that they require special provisions to meet their educational needs. Gifted students include students with disabilities (i.e. twice exceptional) and students with exceptional abilities or potential from all socio-economic and ethnic, cultural populations. In order to ensure equitable identification, universal Gifted and Talented screening occurs at the Kindergarten and Second grade throughout the district at the each DPS school. Gifted and Talented programming at Swigert International School includes a combination of enrichment, differentiation strategies, push-in, pull-out, and small group instruction, professional development, and a Gifted and Talented coordinator to serve as a resource and support to teachers and parents.

At Swigert the GT Coordinator works with the equity team and staff to ensure that GT identified students and students in the talent pool are demographically representative of the school demographics. This process has been replicated when looking at discipline referrals and suspensions, as well as other areas. The GT Coordinator also meets with talent pool students to set unique and meaningful goals. 

  • Gifted students are capable of high performance, exceptional production, or exceptional learning behavior by virtue of any or a combination of these areas of giftedness: 
  • General intellectual ability 
  • Specific academic aptitude 
  • Creative/productive thinking 
  • Leadership and human relations skills 
  • Visual and performing arts identification 
  • Students can be identified in multiple academic areas or areas of giftedness. To be identified as gifted, a student needs at least three qualifying indicators: 
  • Quantitative Achievement demonstrated over 2 consecutive years (PARCC test results) 
  • Quantitative Intellectual (CogAt results) 
  • Qualitative Behavior Characteristics (SIGS or GATES results)* 
  • Qualitative Demonstrative Performance Tasks* * Qualitative indicators are only used if the student has at least one qualifying indicator (score 95% or above) and one borderline indicator (score 90%-94%) from the quantitative categories 
  • Once a student is identified as GT: 

parents are notified an Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) is created with targeted goals to meet the students’ specific academic and affective needs in a collaborative process between students, parents, and teachers 

  • the ALP is reviewed annually 


Support for ESL students

All parents complete a home language questionnaire and if a language other than English is spoken in the home, a parent permission form is submitted. The form gives parents the option to choose to opt their students into the English Language Acquisition (ELA) support services their child will receive or to waive services. We offer English Language instruction in a small group taught only in English. 


Students whose mother tongue is not English receive a minimum of 45 minutes of English Language Development (ELD) daily per a court-ordered mandate. The English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher uses a variety of methods to meet the needs of all English Language Learners (ELLs) which incorporate the four language domains; listening, speaking, reading and writing. In addition, all teachers school-wide are trained in Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) and ELA best practices. Students are pulled out by an ESL teacher to work in small groups.The ESL teacher uses IB units of inquiry to guide language instruction when possible. Annually, students’ levels of speaking, listening, reading and writing are assessed via the ACCESS test. Many pedagogical approaches are incorporated by the ESL teacher including; ELAchieve, sheltered vocabulary instruction, and WIDA Standards with students.  In addition, the ESL teacher incorporates the students native cultures into class discussions, readings, and celebrations. Swigert utilizes Imagine Learning, which is an online language app to assist student language development.  ESL data is monitored very closely through our Instructional Services Advisory (ISA) team.  The team reflects on data for literacy, math, science, and social studies. Students continue to be reflected on by the ISA team for two years after exiting the ESL program, to ensure adequate progress.  This team, also determines when students are ready to exit the program based on classroom data and ACCESS scores. 

There is an intake survey to get to know the family, their cultural background, needs, and strengths of their child. The ESL teacher hosts a quarterly Parent Advisory Committee Meeting (PAC).  Interpreters are hired for each meeting, to keep parents informed on student progress in English, achievement in the classroom, important announcements, or events at the school. The PAC meeting is an opportunity for the parents to ask questions and clarify information given from the school or teachers.Talking Points is an app utilized to communicate on a regular basis with families. A parent survey is given at PAC meetings to ensure the families are receiving information, support, and are not left with unanswered questions.  Parents are invited at the PAC meetings to share how they would like their culture included in school-wide celebrations. As a result of this, we have developed several celebrations with the help of ESL families including; Dia De Los Muertos, Native American Heritage Month, Diwali, and Lunar New Year, just to name a few.  



At Swigert, we are committed to equity, meaning that each child gets what they need to thrive at school. 

  • We seek to have all students and families feel welcome at school. We want students to feel that they are seen, known and that they belong. 
  • We celebrate our diversity, work to understand and respect cultural differences through international mindedness and believe that different beliefs and perspectives make us a stronger community.
  • Swigert staff and students work to ensure that all students have a voice and contribute to the learning environment.

The Swigert community works to understand and disrupt systems of oppression, to develop staff and students who can create positive change in the community, now and in the future. As the IB Mission statement states, we are striving to encourage compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.


Communication and Evaluation of Policy:

Our Inclusion policy is posted on the school website and in the PYP folder in the Swigert Shared Folder on the Google Drive. It will be reviewed every two years by the entire staff. When formal revisions to the policy are being considered, feedback will be obtained from the staff, IB Committee, Multi-Tiered System of Support, and Specialist support staff, (including the Special Education teacher(s), GT coordinator, Social Worker, Psychologist, ESL teacher).