The aptly named SWIFT Center (Schoolwide Integrated Framework for Transformation), funded by the largest grant in KU history of $24 million, is rapidly hitting its goals in the first nine months of its existence since October 2012. Directed by Wayne Sailor, and Amy McCart, SWIFT director of technical assistance, the center will assist schools across the country to implement KU’s successful model for educating general and special education students together while improving academic outcomes for all students.
SWIFT named five states—Maryland, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oregon and Vermont—where the K-8 initiative will be implemented in 64 schools beginning in the fall of 2013. The Center will provide each district with a highly skilled technical assistance team with targeted expertise based on the schools’ initial assessments.
“Many educational researchers around the country have taken on the problem of inclusion, bringing special education and general education more closely together in a cohesive framework, but KU’s success has garnered the most national attention,” said Sailor.
Earlier, SWIFT selected six schools to act as Knowledge Development Sites. These schools will be the basis of a comprehensive field study to add to the knowledge accumulated over ten years by Sailor, McCart and colleagues in several low-income urban schools in California, Kansas City, New Orleans and Washington, D.C.
SWIFT also convened two National Leadership Consortium meetings in Kansas City that brought together its national partners including the University of Oregon, the University of New Hampshire, the University of North Carolina, the University of South Florida, Arizona State University, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Association of State Directors of Special Education, TASH, the Institute for Educational Leadership and the Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education.
The first Professional Learning Institute in Washington, D.C., July 23-26, brought together the representatives of the selected state and local education agencies, schools and family support groups.
The Beach Center on Disability, Department of Special Education, the Center for Research on Learning and the Life Span Institute are the SWIFT KU partners.
You can follow SWIFT’s progress at swiftschools.org.