Leadership Strategies for Successful Schoolwide Inclusion: The STAR Approach

Authors: Dennis D. Munk, Thomas L. Dempsey M.S.Ed.; Foreword Author: William Bursuck Ph.D.

Format: Paperback, 144 pages, 8.5 x 11.0
ISBN: 9781598570892
Price: $34.95

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Effective, schoolwide inclusion ensures the best outcomes for all students—but how can school teams knock down the barriers to inclusion and make sure it's happening across all classrooms? This concise book gives principals and other school leaders the solution they've been waiting for: a clear framework for leading inclusion efforts, monitoring their success, and facilitating consistent use of best practices.

Developed by two veteran special education experts with a combined 70 years of experience, this guidebook breaks the inclusion process into concrete, manageable goals and shows how to accomplish each one by applying the authors' four-step STAR model. Using this proven, research-based model, school leaders will collaborate with all members of the education team to

  • implement Response to Intervention to help all students make progress toward learning standards
  • align students' IEPs with the general curriculum
  • incorporate Universal Design principles into curricular materials and instructional methods
  • select appropriate accommodations and modifications
  • conduct effective screening and progress monitoring for all students
  • include parents as collaborative partners
  • prepare students to direct their own IEP processes
  • get general educators fully on board with and involved in inclusion
  • make the most of the school principal's leadership
  • maximize the benefits of peer supports

To meet each of these critical goals, school teams will refer to the book's handy STAR organizer, which lays out in chart form the specific steps needed to accomplish each task. Then they'll take action with suggested inclusion strategies and helpful photocopiable forms and tools, including a sample vision statement, an IEP meeting feedback form, a survey on professional development priorities, and self-assessment tools so schools can see how effectively they're implementing the STAR model.

The ultimate resource for education teams as they lead the way to schoolwide inclusion, this innovative guidebook is key to supporting the vision and values of inclusive education. Schools will have the practical, down-to-earth model they need to establish or improve inclusive practices, and all students will have the education they need to reach their full potential. Make your school an inclusion STAR:

  • set the tone—establish a culture based on equality, democracy, and valuing of differences
  • translate research to practice—use effective practices in blended classrooms
  • arrange for collaboration between professionals
  • reflect on process and outcomes—evaluate successes and remedy limitations


Review: The Midwest Book Review - The Bookwatch
"Offers a fine course on special education inclusion strategies for any school leader, showing how school teams can create a new framework for monitoring inclusion to ensure best practices and standards are being met."
Review: The Midwest Book Review - Library Book watch
"A strong pick for anyone whose career is representing those with disabilities and assuring they get their fair chance in life."
Review: Research & Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities
"Addresses a critical and timeless need in the field of special education, namely, leadership as it relates to successful inclusionMunk and Dempsey have developed an easy-to-use method for effective schoolwide inclusive practices using the STAR approach."
Review by: Michael L. Wehmeyer, Professor of Special Education, University of Kansas; Director, Kansas University Center on Developmental
"A timely, practical guide addressing a critical issue to the field, leadership in inclusive education. The STAR approach provides potential leaders with the tools they need to succeed."
Review by: Sheila Danaher, Assistant Principal Audubon Elementary School, co-author, From Tutor Scripts to Talking Sticks: 100 ways to Differentiate Instruction K-12 in Inclusive Classrooms
"Will provide schools and administrators with the latest evidence based practices and the tools they need to develop an inclusive setting in their school."

Table of Contents

About the Authors

Foreword: William Bursuck



  1. The Context for Inclusive Education
  2. The STAR Leadership Strategy
  3. Positive Influences on Inclusive Education: Principals, Peers, and Parents
  4. Leadership in the IEP Process: Going Beyond Procedural Compliance
  5. Current and Evolving Practices with Implications for Inclusive Education
  6. Implementing STAR Organizer Activities: Tools to Expedite Your Work


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