SWIFT Talk Blog

Re-imagining education.

"SWIFT in 60" Films Now Available

What does inclusive school transformation look like?  We can show you! The SWIFT Center has created 10 short SWIFT in 60 films that portray educational practices in inclusive schools.  These films can be freely viewed on the SWIFT YouTube channel or downloaded from Vimeo. We call these films SWIFT in 60 because they are about one-minute in length and serve as a quick reference for learning and teaching about the core features of the SWIFT framework.

SWIFT Center is a national K-8 technical assistance center for academic and behavioral support that promotes achievement for all students, including students with disabilities and those with the most extensive needs. The SWIFT framework is composed of five domains and 10 features. Together, the domains and features outline the building blocks of schoolwide inclusive education as follows:

* Administrative Leadership consists of Strong and Engaged Site Leadership and a Strong Educator Support System, which are essential when implementing schoolwide inclusion. 

* A Multi-Tiered System of Support ensures students receive Inclusive Academic Instruction and Inclusive Behavior Instruction specific to their support needs. 

* An Integrated Educational Framework is the braiding of resources and systems into a Fully Integrated Organizational Structure used to support all students’ participation in the general education curriculum. With a Strong and Positive School Culture, all students have equal access to learning activities and all school personnel share responsibility for student success. 

* Family and Community Engagement is cultivated through Trusting Family Partnerships and Trusting Community Partnerships that are reciprocal and benefit all stakeholders. 

* Inclusive Policy Structure and Practice must also be in place, which means a Strong Local Education Agency (LEA)/School Relationship and a well-defined LEA Policy Framework to implement SWIFT practices.   

Of course, talking about these domains and features is quite different from putting them in motion. When describing the SWIFT framework, we often get questions like, “That sounds really great, but how do we do it?” or “Where do we start?” or “What does it look like in other schools?” Fortunately, some trailblazing schools across the country have led the way.  SWIFT studied knowledge development sites—Fox Prairie Elementary, Stoughton, WI; Hawthorn Elementary, Camdenton, MO; Newberry Elementary, Newberry, FL; Willard Middle, Berkeley, CA; William Henderson Inclusion School, Dorchester, MA; and WISH Charter School in Los Angeles, CA—which are just a few of the schools that demonstrate that “ALL Means ALL” can be reality.  

SWIFT filmmaker Dan Habib (creator of Who Cares About Kelsey? and Including Samuel) and his team filmed inclusive schools in action so that others could learn more about SWIFT features. They captured excellent examples of clear classroom and school expectations, principals who empower teams to make important decisions, schools that leverage differentiation and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to individualize instruction, co-teaching models, and much more. The films let you see these practices in action while hearing/reading a detailed description of each feature. 

We anticipate SWIFT in 60 may help school leadership teams start dialoguing about areas of focus for school transformation. Perhaps all or part of SWIFT in 60 will be shared during school faculty meetings to facilitate conversations with staff on what feature elements are already in place or could be strengthened. The videos are also great for sharing with family and community members—they use simple, non-education specific language, leverage the spoken text with video examples, and inform all of what it means to be a SWIFT partner school. Some schools may even create their own SWIFT in 60-like videos to show what inclusive education looks like at their schools.  The possibilities are endless. How will you use SWIFT in 60? Watch these films on the SWIFT YouTube page or download them from Vimeo and let us know what you think!

- Mary Schuh

Dr. Mary Schuh has more than 25 years experience in inclusive schools and communities, family and consumer leadership , and educational systems change and has been with the University of New Hampshire's Institute on Disability since its inception in 1987. She directs The National Center on Inclusive Education (NCIE) at the Institute on Disability. The NCIE is a leader in the transformation of schools so that students of all abilities are successfully learning in their home schools within general education settings. Mary serves as a member of the National Leadership Consortium of The SWIFT Center. As a faculty member of the University of New Hampshire, Mary helps to prepare future teachers to welcome and engage families, and teach all students in typical school and general education environments.