Edited By Scot Danforth
Chapter 19: Respecting and Reaching All Learners in English Language Arts Classes: A Glimpse into a New York City High School
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Respecting and Reaching All Learners in English Language Arts Classes: A Glimpse into a New York City High School
FRAN BITTMAN, SARAH BICKENS, & DAVID J. CONNOR
Introduction: Contextualizing Inclusion in New York City
I, David, began my career in the late 1980s in New York City as a high school teacher of adolescent students segregated because of labels such as learning disabilities, behavior disorders, and attention deficit disorders. My school was one of the first to pioneer collaborative team teaching to facilitate the integration of students with IEPs. During the mid-1990s I changed positions to be a professional staff developer based in the Office of the Superintendent of Manhattan High Schools. Much of my work was deliberately focused on inclusive education, and I had the task of engaging faculty from forty schools to transition youth labeled disabled into general education classes. Visiting these schools, I saw firsthand how the movement toward inclusion was being interpreted and responded to educators within each institution. In a word, it was extreme. On one hand, there were schools that genuinely respected all youth as individuals and created intricate, effective support systems that allowed students with disabilities to have the same access to high school content classes that they were not receiving in segregated environments. On the other hand, some schools used inclusion classes as a dumping ground for large numbers of students with IEPs, “at-risk” kids, and chronic...
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