What is Inclusion in Boston Public Schools?

Vision for an Inclusive District (p. 7-8)

Inclusion is fully delivered when all students are educated in the least restrictive environment and are provided access to a full continuum of services that meet their individualized and special needs. Inclusion is not a place or a program. All classrooms in the Boston Public Schools must be inclusive.

Inclusive practice refers to the instructional and behavioral strategies that improve academic and social-emotional outcomes for all students, with and without disabilities, in general education settings. The parties are committed to increasing inclusive practices and opportunities for all students regardless of their level of need. 

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that students with disabilities are educated in the least restrictive environment with specially designed instruction, given appropriate supports necessary to implement their IEP and make effective progress on their IEP goals, in light of their circumstances. It is our belief that all students should be full and accepted members of the school community and students with disabilities placement should first consider the right to be educated in the general education setting alongside their typically developing peers. Effective inclusive education requires a high level of collaboration among general education, special education, related service providers and support staff to implement and model an inclusive community. Every student in BPS is a general education student first. We also share a common belief that the achievement and opportunities of our students is our collective responsibility. We also agree that we will follow all federal and state statutes, regulations, and guidelines with regard to special education.

Inclusion and Racial Equity Report 2020

Inclusion is a term which expresses commitment to educate each child, to the maximum extent appropriate, in the school and classroom he or she would otherwise attend. It involves bringing the support services to the child (rather than moving the child to the services) and requires only that the child will benefit from being in the class (rather than having to keep up with the other students).

Why are we doing this?

State and National Trends in Special Education:

  • Boston Public Schools has a rate of students in substantially separate classrooms that is over twice as high as state and national rates.
    Source: Enrollment as reported to MA DESE (district and state); US DOE (national). Data as of 2020-2021 school year. Includes students with disabilities ages 6-21 only. 
  • BPS is over three times as likely to place Black male students in emotional impairment, substantially separate classrooms than other student groups.
    Source: Enrollment as reported in Aspen, October of each school year. Excludes students in grades K0-K1. Data is suppressed for groups < 10.
  • BPS is over two and a half times as likely to place English Learners with an identified communication disability in substantially separate placements than other student groups.
    Source: Enrollment as reported to MA DESE, October of each school year. Data excludes students in Horace Mann charter schools and includes students in out of district placements. Includes SWD ages 6-21 only. 

How are we doing this?

All schools need to form an inclusion Planning Team (IPT) as soon as possible. Once you have elected the BTU members for the IPT, please notify the Inclusive Education Liaison (Katie DeLaRosa, kdelarosa@btu.org) and provide their names and contact information.
There are resources available to help you throughout this process that are also stored in this Inclusive Education Shared Folder that you can bookmark and will be updated regularly. The folder currently contains documents with helpful information about:

Where can I find resources and support?



Inclusion Form

Sign up to get involved with our Inclusion Planning Committees. For more info, email Natalia at ncuadrasaez@btu.org.

"*" indicates required fields