SWIFT Center Update

Karen Salisbury Henry

During the 2014-15 academic year, the SWIFT Center supported 25,644 students and their schools, districts, families and communities across five states. In May the Schoolwide Integrated Framework for Transformation (SWIFT) Center kicked off its third year with its annual National Leadership Consortium conference that, for the first time, drew its state partners. Other SWIFT news includes the following:

Marginalized students
SWIFT is forming two national task forces to explore and develop strategies for reaching two traditionally marginalized student groups: students with the most extensive support needs and boys and young men of color.

The Better Together task force will explore how to support families, schools, districts and states to ensure that all students have access to the general education curriculum, as well as college and career-ready standards in their own neighborhood schools. This work is intended to prevent institutionalized segregation and out-of-district placements of students with the most extensive support needs.

The task force also will examine SWIFT’s intersection with the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative to break down barriers to success and promote opportunity for all students. The goal is to end racial discrimination in schools and build a deeper appreciation of boys and young men of color and preventing their disproportionate identification for special education and out-of-school or alternative school placements.

Family engagement 
SWIFT released an issue summary on “Policies that Support SWIFT Trusting Family Partnerships,” which highlights federal policies for family engagement and describes how these policies can be implemented in local schools.

On the road
At recent conference of the American Educational Research Association in Chicago, Wayne Sailor (SWIFT) and Jim Schuerich (University of Indiana and Purdue University) were discussants for a symposium on "Unpacking Systems Capacity Through SWIFT Schools: Building Coherence." They also offered comments on papers presented by SWIFT team members.

SWIFT representatives also presented at state and regional conferences in Illinois, Maine and Iowa and at the annual conference of the American Association on Intellectual and Development Disabilities.