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Inclusive Practices in LAUSD

What is Inclusion?

Inclusion is when students with disabilities are educated in the general education environment to the maximum extent appropriate, participating with general education peers in the classroom, and taking part in the extracurricular life of the school.

Inclusion is more than sitting in a general education class; it only is true inclusion when a child is learning and meeting IEP goals with their typical peers. Inclusion is not the same as mainstreaming.


What are the benefits of increasing inclusion practices?

Research on the benefits of inclusive education, in which SWDs are taught alongside their nondisabled peers, is clear and unequivocal. Nearly 50 years of research and experience has demonstrated that the education of children with disabilities is most effective by having high expectations and ensuring access to the general education curriculum in a general education classroom. Research studies have also analyzed the relationship between class placement and educational outcomes and found increased positive effects for students the greater the time they learn in a general education setting. 

To view research that supports inclusive education, go to the Inclusion Resources & Support section and click on the first tab. 

How do students benefit from the increase of inclusive practices?

Decades of research studies have analyzed the relationship between class placement and educational outcomes and found increased positive effects for students the greater the time they learn in a general education setting. The benefits for students with and without disabilities being educated together are as follows: 

Benefits of inclusive practices for students with disabilities 

  • Higher rate of academic performance
  • More satisfying and diverse friendships
  • Higher student engagement
  • Improved communication
  • Less disruptive behaviors
  • Peer role models for academics, social, and behavior skills
  • Greater access to general education curriculum
  • Increased inclusion in postsecondary life
  • More successful postsecondary outcomes

Benefits of inclusive practices for students without disabilities include greater gains in math and reading. It reduces fear of differences and increases social cognition. Students gain better ethical principles and improved self concept.

SIP Logo
For more information, please visit one of our partners, Supporting Inclusive Practices (SIP), website at https://www.sipinclusion.org/whyinclusion/ 


Schools’ Efforts to Increase Inclusive Practices

Schools plan inclusive practices for students with disabilities (SWDs) by facilitating  access to grade-level content to meet their academic and socio-emotional needs in the least restrictive environment possible. They design master schedules that promote student support, including providing opportunities for teachers to collaborate and co-plan for the academic, behavioral, and social needs of all students.  They conduct ongoing and annual data-driven progress monitoring with participation of all stakeholders to continue to improve. 

Schools interested in increasing inclusive practices are encouraged to submit a plan using the Division of Special Education’s LRE Action Plan document. Contact your regional Special Education Specialist for more information on deadlines for this. 

Inclusive practices work best when general education and special education teachers regularly co-plan instructional strategies to ensure access to rigorous content. Some of the most successful of these instructional strategies are Universal Design for Learning, Mastery Learning and Grading, and English Language Development strategies for emergent bilingual students. Through greater collaboration of all our educators and educational support staff, we can achieve greater equity and access for all LAUSD learners. 

The goal is for all students to be educated in the least restrictive environment as determined by the IEP team, with equitable access to the grade-level instruction, support services, and enrichment activities that promote their short-term and long-term outcomes. The means of getting there are flexible. IEP teams are tasked with determining what supports and services are needed for each student. Common supports include general education classes co-taught by a special educator and a general educator; learning center instruction and/or accommodations.

PDF icon Position Paper: Equity and Access for Students with Disabilities  (2022) 

Which LAUSD school sites are committed to increasing inclusive practices?




  • Video Highlights from Schools
    (Click on any of the four images below to view the video.)

    Inclusion Graduation Video Student Testimonial Video Krystabel Video Full Inclusion Video

Inclusive Practices Resources & Support

PDF icon Research Support for Inclusive Education

What are the benefits of inclusive schools?

♦There are academic benefits for both students with disabilities and students without
disabilities when they are taught in an inclusive educational setting
Choi, J. H., Meisenheimer, J. M., McCart, A. B., & Sailor, W. (2016). Improving learning for all students through equity-based inclusive reform practices: Effectiveness of a fully integrated schoolwide model on student reading and math achievement. Remedial and Special Education, online. doi: 10.1177/0741932516644054.
Cole, C. M., Waldron, N., & Majd, M. (2004). Academic progress of students across inclusive and traditional settings. Mental Retardation, 42(2), 136-144.

♦There are behavioral and social benefits for students with disabilities when they are
academically and socially included at school
Woodman, A. C., Smith, L. E., Greenberg, J. S., & Mailick, M. R. (2016). Contextual factors predict patterns ofchange in functioning over 10 years among adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(1), 176-189. doi:10.1007/s10803-015-2561-z. Wehmeyer, M. L. (2006). Beyond access: Ensuring progress in the general curriculum for students with severe disabilities. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 31(4), 322–326. doi:

♦Students with disabilities taught in inclusive settings have more successful postsecondary
Haber, M. G., Mazzotti, V. L., Mustian, A. L., Rowe, D. A., Bartholomew, A. L., Test, D. W., & Fowler, C. H.(2016). What works, when, for whom, and with whom: A meta-analytic review of predictors of postsecondary success for students with disabilities. Review of Educational Research, 86(1), 123-162. doi:
10.3102/0034654315583135. Rojewski, J. W., Lee, I. H., & Gregg, N. (2013). Causal effects of inclusion on postsecondary education outcomes of individuals with high-incidence disabilities. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 25(4), 210-219. Test, D. W., Mazzotti, V. L., Mustian, A. L., Fowler, C. H., Kortering, L., & Kohler, P. (2009). Evidence-based secondary transition predictors for improving postschool outcomes for students with disabilities. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 32(3), 160-181. 10.1177/0885728809346960.

♦ALL students attending effective inclusive schools benefitted from a greater sense of belonging at school
Lyon, K. J., Blue-Banning, M., & McCart, A. B. (2014). Lessons from the field. Lawrence, KS: National Center on Schoolwide Inclusive School Reform: The SWIFT Center.
Shogren, K. A., Gross, J. M. S., Forber-Pratt, A. J., Francis, G. L., Satter, A. L., BlueBanning, M., & Hill, C. (2015). The perspectives of students with and without disabilities on inclusive schools. Research & Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 40(4), 243-260. doi: 10.1177/1540796915583493.

♦The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2018 found that in the future job market, the skills of “creativity, originality and initiative, critical thinking, persuasion and negotiation will…retain or increase their value, as will attention to detail, resilience, flexibility and complex problem-solving. Emotional intelligence, leadership and social influence as well as service orientation also see an outsized increase in demand relative to their current prominence.” We are capacitating all our students for a brighter future when we teach them to work together. 

PDF icon Benefits of Inclusive Schools

Video icon Advice From Those We Serve: Why Inclusion Matters

Video iconThe Evolution of Inclusion: The past and future of education



PDF icon "We are committed to providing resources and guidance in LAUSD's implemenation of increased inclusion"   - University of California, Los Angeles

PDF icon "We put our full support behind LAUSD's effort" Loyola Marymount University

PDF icon "We highly support these efforts to design & deliver inclusive environments" 
California State University Northridge

PDF icon "We have an ethical obligation to provide students with disabilities with equiable access" - University of La Verne 

PDF icon "Inclusive practices ensure that all students are successful"   - California University of Dominguez Hills

  • Common Terms

    Common Terms First Page Image
    To access special education commonly used terms, click on the document image.
    Or, click on this link. 


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