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“Rightful Presence is our struggle to make present students made missing in schooling.”

adapted from Calabrese Barton & Tan (2020)

Our Purpose

We assist with implementation of practices that move school systems toward rightful presence for students who are too often kept at the margins.


We embrace the full humanity and culture of students with intensive cognitive needs, and provide them high-quality academic instruction aligned with general education standards, delivered among grade-level peers.

Our Approach

Teacher show a book to students while they sit at a table.

We strengthen capacity to support K-12 schools to implement and sustain systems, policies, and practices that foster rightful presence for dynamic learners in the six key ways listed below.


Extending Inclusion Toward Rightful Presence

Schools seek to create environments conducive to student learning and growth by building a culture of true belonging, where students bring their culture and whole selves into the school.


Multi-Framework: Equity, MTSS, Universal Design for Learning, and Stage-based Implementation

United rather than siloed initiatives and foundational components make sense of system (re)design for rightful presence and reduce initiative-overload burden on educators.


Justice-driven School Leadership and Teaming

Leaders ensure educational policies and practices are equitable and just by shifting systemic power dynamics and ensuring that general education curriculum and classrooms have the resources and support they need to realize students’ learning potential.

Equity Educators

Instructionally Focused, Equity-based Grade-level Team Instructional Planning

The rightful presence of students with disabilities is advanced when general and special educators make instructional decisions as equal partners on grade-level teams.

Innovative Teaching and Learning

Tiers, Time, Connections, Curriculum, and Cognition

Grade-level instructional teams organize lessons, activities, and assessments around grade-level content standards, at various depth, breadth and complexity, within a systems-level multi-tiered framework that leverages the best available instructional resources.


Expanded Understanding of Thinking and Learning

Educators seek deeper ways of knowing and understanding who their students are, what they hope to achieve, and many ways to show what they know and can do.

Two students work at desks, with two different ways that they demonstrate their learning.

Our Partnerships

4 State Partners

multi-year partnering with selected state education agencies, local education agencies, and schools to demonstrate how to center the needs of students, families, and communities who have been kept on the margins

15 State & District Partners

providing targeted technical assistance to advance the process of ending segregated settings in schools


1000s of Educators

gaining access to free resources on this website to move toward rightful presence in their spheres of influence

Intensive Model Demonstration Site Partners

Selected state education agencies are joining with us over four years to demonstrate how to move from inclusion toward rightful presence for students who are left out or kept at the margins of school. 

A teacher looks at a map with several students.

Targeted Technical Assistance

No cost, targeted technical assistance is available to state and local education agencies who are ready to move toward rightful presence and end systems of segregation in their schools.

Targeted technical assistance includes a wide range of short-term interactions, such as:

        • Group facilitation to explore your current practices
        • Data reviews of disproportionate student outcomes
        • Presentations on moving toward rightful presence
        • Policy scans and discussions
        • Confidential consultation on issues of segregation

        Interested in learning more about targeted technical assistance?

        Email us at swift@ku.edu to learn more!

National  Resources

Open-access resources are available to educators everywhere who want to create movement toward rightful presence in their communities.

IDEAs that Work | U.S. Office of Special Education Programs Logo

The National Center on Inclusion Toward Rightful Presence is a technical assistance center sponsored by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, #H326Y220003.  Materials on this website were developed under this grant.  However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Project Officer, Carlene Reid.