Access and Inclusion Policy

Ellis Elementary School Access and Inclusion Policy

IB Standards

Culture 2.1: The school implements and reviews an inclusion policy that meets IB guidelines. (0301-02-0100)

Culture 2.2: The school identifies in its inclusion policy all of its legal requirements and outlines the school's structures and processes for compliance. (0301-02-0200)

Culture 2.3: The school describes in its inclusion policy the rights and responsibilities of all members of the school community and clearly states the school's vision for implementing inclusive programmes. (0301-02-0300)


At Ellis Elementary, we believe that all students are entitled to have access to an education that is equitable, inclusive, and adaptable to their individual learning styles and needs. We share ownership of our students by collaboratively planning and teaching with our specialists to provide differentiated and multi-modal instruction that services our students in the least restrictive environment. We apply approaches and support systems that address the individual needs and varied learning styles of students, including those identified with special needs (special education and gifted and talented), English Language Learners, and students with special medical needs.


At Ellis Elementary, all students receive instruction that allows them to succeed based on their individual learning styles. Differentiation is seen as the process of identifying, with each learner, the most effective strategies for achieving agreed goals. Examples include:

  • dynamic groupings within classrooms
  • tiered lessons
  • use of pre-assessments
  • formative assessments to discover students' strengths and areas on which to focus targeted instruction
  • ·open-ended learning engagements
  • provision of materials (ex. leveled reading and math materials)
  • extension and enrichment activities
  • choice menus
  • ·online reading/math programs designed to address students' level of readiness
  • Opportunities for content mastery through remediation and reassessment

Collaboration and Co-teaching

Teachers at Ellis Elementary co-plan and co-teach to meet the needs of all students including students with special education services as well as students who are English Language Learners. All teachers have a forty-five-minute planning session each day to collaborate for co-teaching/inclusion models. Teachers have received training on the different co-teaching practices and are required to include these practices in their daily lesson plans. The special education staff and ESOL staff collaborate with classroom teachers and specialists.


Our school supports an inclusion model, as determined by the IEP team. The special education staff collaborates with classroom teachers to help provide accommodations and/or modifications in the classroom to facilitate participation in the general curriculum. Learning is scaffolded to make new information accessible for all learners.


Based on some students' needs, a pull-out model of special education services may be implemented, in which students focus on specific IEP goals in a small group or one-on-one setting. Services are aligned with the grade level units of inquiry. Speech services are delivered to students using the pull-out model.

Self-Contained (Students with autism)

At Ellis Elementary some of our students with autism are in a self-contained setting and some are served in the general education setting. The students who participate in the general education setting attend regular education classes (with an autism teacher assistant if necessary) and/or go to Encore and lunch with the students in their assigned regular education class. Those who are in a self-contained classroom participate in inquiry-based learning as appropriate to their ability level.

Support for students through the Intervention Team and special education services

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) outlines rights and regulations for students with disabilities in the United States who require special education. Under the IDEA, all children with disabilities are entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least-Restrictive Environment (LRE), and some are entitled to Early Intervention (EI) and Extended School Year (ESY). The law specifies how schools determine the provision or denial of services, as well as steps for mediation, if needed.

We are required to use the Response to Intervention model as the starting point to identify and serve students who need additional academic or behavioral support to make satisfactory progress towards meeting grade level expectations. The first step of the Response to Intervention model is to discuss classroom interventions based on recommendations provided by the school Intervention Team are implemented and data collected weekly to determine student progress. If a student does not show growth after several interventions have been tried, he/she is referred for a special needs evaluation. An evaluation always includes cognitive and academic testing. Testing for speech, behavior, and physical/motor skills are also conducted if determined to be appropriate. Students who qualify for special education services receive support from the school special education resource staff who collaborates and teach with our classroom teachers.

Student academic deficits are addressed with research-based interventions in reading, math, and writing using an inclusion model and/or pull-out model based upon individual student needs. The IEP team convenes annually, unless requested at a different time by the parent or teacher, to assess student progress and create new goals as needed. The IEP team consists of all required personnel and parents in the students' educational process. Partnership with parents plays a key role in creating a successful learning experience for all students. The school recognizes that parents hold critical information and have knowledge to share about their students.

In addition, Ellis offers time for teachers to discuss the needs of students at Student Support Team meetings.

Support for English Language Learners

Ellis Elementary students are identified to receive ESOL services via the county-wide home language survey. If parents indicate that another language is spoken in the home, the student's English language proficiency is evaluated. After testing, students receive a score leveled 1-6, where level 1 is considered minimal English language proficiency and level 6 is proficient in English. Based on their proficiency level and their grade level, students are serviced in different ways to meet their language needs. Some students receive daily pull-out language instruction from a certified ESOL teacher with supplemental instruction in class from their classroom teacher who has been trained in Sheltered Instruction. Other students receive daily push-in instruction in which the ESOL teacher and classroom teacher co-teach to instruct, and the remaining students receive a combination of the two. The ESOL and Special Education team work cohesively to address the language needs of students who are dually identified.

Support for students identified as gifted

Gifted children are defined by the state of Virginia as "those students in public elementary, middle, and secondary schools beginning with Kindergarten through twelfth grade who demonstrate high levels of accomplishment or who show the potential for higher levels of accomplishment when compared to others of the same age, experience, or environment. Their aptitudes and potential for accomplishment are so outstanding that they require special programs to meet their educational needs."

At Ellis Elementary, our gifted population includes students with disabilities (twice exceptional) and students who are also English Language Learners. The Gifted Education Program at Ellis Elementary embraces the philosophy of constructivist, inquiry-based learning. Students participating in the START (K-3) and SIGNET (4-5) programs receive a combination of differentiated classroom services and direct services with a gifted education resource teacher. Instruction is based on the four areas on which students are assessed: critical and creative thinking and interactive and independent learning. The curriculum model ties in conceptually to the Primary Years Programme units of study, and/or enriches and extends the Primary Years Programme units of study. A Differentiated Services Plan (DSP) is created to meet the needs of each gifted student's specific academic and educational needs in a collaborative process between the classroom teacher, gifted education teacher, and the student's parents.

Access to Policy and Complaint Procedures

This policy is accessible to the school community by a physical copy of the policy being posted in the front office of Ellis Elementary School, and it is posted on the Ellis Elementary School Website under the International Baccalaureate tab on the site. This policy is available in English and Spanish in the front office and on the website.

The complaint procedures are also available to the school community by a physical copy of the document being posted in the front office of the school and on the school website. This documentation is also available in English and Spanish.

Revised 2022