School within a School (SWS) is an inclusive education program at St Andrew’s School that launched August 2015 with its first class being called Stepping Stones. The vision of this program is to educate and equip students within the primary range with mild to moderate academic, social, behavioral, communicative and independent functioning challenges with the goal of full integration into the general school curriculum.
Students who would have met the requirements for the program are then accepted and are provided with a personalized learning experience and outside providers offer holistic support (Positive Behavioral Support, Speech and Language Services, Occupational Services) independent of the school.
Within this program, an individualized curriculum is developed through an Individual Education Plan in which goals and objectives are set in the areas of academics, independent functioning skills, social/emotional skills and communication skills within the classroom along with inclusion opportunities throughout the day. The students’ functioning abilities and needs determines how much inclusive opportunities they will have. A continuum of support is provided to students once they have been assigned to a general education class and those students also follow their homeroom schedule that encompasses specials at their respective grade levels and any therapeutic service they may need throughout the school day. Students have full access to the school’s campus, and take part in school productions and activities with accommodations to fully integrate into the school’s community.
SWS has had success stories where students have been fully mainstreamed into the general education classroom within the first year of the program. Since then the program has grown and progress continues.
In August 2017, School Within a School launched its second class being called Pathways which is geared toward students in upper primary and middle school. This class is an inclusive support system for students to access varying levels of inclusive opportunities throughout their grade levels. Therefore, students will spend the majority of the day with their grade levels with some level of support but receive direct instruction for various subjects in Pathways. This program continues to thrive at St Andrew’s School.
“Inclusion is not simply about physical proximity. It is about intentionally planning for the success of all students.” –www.thinkinclusive.us