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The Power of Inclusion at Cranbrook is Changing the Lives of Students

group of students and teachers

June 14, 2024 — Cranbrook Elementary School has implemented an inclusive education model that prioritizes equity and support for all students. This approach includes a structured instructional schedule that enables students in specialized education programs to be authentically included in general education classrooms.

The special education model at Cranbrook follows a schedule that includes designated Tier 1, Tier 2 instruction, and Tier 3 intervention blocks. Each block ensures that students receive tailored instruction and intervention based on their needs, allowing students to be seen as equals with their peers.

"Outside of school, they go on with their day; they will be a part of society, and it is our job to ensure they are ready," said Allison Voelker, intervention specialist at Cranbrook. "We have high expectations for them."

Central to Cranbrook's approach is the collaborative effort of Teacher-based Teams, which include general education and intervention specialists. This collaboration extends beyond the classroom, with educators co-planning and co-teaching to ensure all students receive the best education regardless of their educational needs.

"Our staff works tirelessly to create equitable opportunities for all learners," said Maria Grossman, principal of Cranbrook Elementary. "We are enabling students with IEPs to move to the least restrictive environments. These processes also close academic gaps. Beyond the academic component, inclusion's benefits positively impact all of our students' sense of well-being and social-emotional learning."

The inclusion model is further enhanced during annual and period IEP meetings where general education teachers present student data and work samples, ensuring close monitoring and support for each child's progress.

"I am holding them to the same standard as their peers," said Christine Moore, intervention specialist at Cranbrook. "We make sure that the environment that we create is safe. They feel secure and comfortable, and then I push them. Once those basic needs are met, then they succeed academically, so we identify what those needs are and support them in that way."

Beyond the classroom, Cranbrook Elementary ensures that all students can access a wide range of extracurricular activities. Students are encouraged to participate and showcase their talents, from the talent show and spring musical to Momentum and various after-school clubs. 

This inclusive culture extends to unified arts classes, homerooms, and inclusive lunchroom seating, fostering social and emotional learning in an environment where students can learn from and support each other.

"We want to get our students ready for that next step," Voelker said. "Whether it's middle school, high school, possibly going on to college, or a job, our goal is to slowly remove that special education support and get them ready for the real world."

Every student is held to the highest standard at Cranbrook, reflecting the CCS Portrait of a Graduate. The inclusive system supports all students in reaching their full potential, ensuring they thrive and succeed in their academic journey and beyond.

Power of One

Priority 1 - Whole Child FocusedPortrait Attribute 1 - AdaptabilityPortrait Attribute 2 - CommunicationPortrait Attribute 3 - CreativityPortrait Attribute 4 - Critical ThinkingPortrait Attribute 5 - Global Empathy