Include. Belong. Learn
Schools of Promise is a partnership between the School of Education and local school districts. This partnership aims to improve elementary schools for all students, especially students who have traditionally not been successful in schools, including students with disabilities, students learning English, students of color, and students from low-income families.
The focus of this effort is on developing a greater sense of belonging and connection to the school community for all students and staff- creating deeply inclusive schools. Deeply inclusive schools are places where students, regardless of ability/disability, race, language, and income, are integral members of elementary classrooms, feel a connection to their peers and school, have access to a rigorous and meaningful general education curriculum, and the collaborative support to be successful. In these schools, the theme of belonging pervades the very fabric of a school, encompassing scheduling, the playground, relations among students, school climate, staff organization, classroom life, and school leadership. This means all students are placed and taught in the general education classroom in heterogeneous groups by teams of adults working effectively.
Research on children and schooling is clear that there is a strong connection between belonging and how students feel and perform when they are at school. A compelling body of research also has shown that students with and without disabilities as well as students learning English benefit both socially and academically from inclusive services. This important research demonstrates the essential need for schools to provide each student, regardless of ability or background, with a positive and inclusive classroom and school climate. This has powerful implications for all students.
The Schools of Promise approach has helped raise student achievement significantly in previous schools where we have worked. For example, one school we worked with improved from having 50% of their students reading at grade level to 86%. This included significant gains for all students, but in particular for students that previously had struggled. For example, African-American students improved from 33% at grade-level to 78%, students with disabilities improved from 13% at grade level to 60%, students living in poverty improved from 40% at grade level to 78%, and students learning English from 18% to 100% at grade level.