The mission of the Include Me Program is to provide on-site, intensive training and technical assistance to school districts, teachers, and families to increase their capacity to educate students with significant disabilities in general education classes and typical preschool settings.
Include Me is an initiative that was part of the agreement on final terms between the plaintiffs and the Pennsylvania Department of Education in the Gaskin Settlement Agreement. We were initially assigned to districts with the lowest inclusion rates but after the initial success we have grown in reputation among school districts. We now operate on a volunteer basis and serve districts that volunteer for our services.
Include Me initially started as a school age program but we have since expanded into preschool and now we are excited to begin offering our transition age services to help find a path to customized employment.
Why we do it
Including children with significant impact of disability in general education classrooms is not just about doing the right thing. Children with significant disabilities have a right to be educated in their neighborhood schools and regular classrooms with supplementary aids and services. Placement in a general education classroom is not something that should have to be earned.