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Joel Fosha
Indiana Institute on Disability and Community

Last modified: Monday, September 10, 2012

Partnership with IU center results in significant gains for Kokomo-Center students with disabilities

Sept. 10, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The first year of a partnership between the Center on Education and Lifelong Learning at Indiana University Bloomington and Kokomo-Center Schools has resulted in significant gains for students with special needs.

The State of Indiana has set expectations for schools to educate at least 60 percent of students with disabilities in the general education environment. Kokomo schools began the 2010-11 school year with an inclusion rate of only 14 percent. But during the 2011-12 school year, they exceeded the state target.

In addition, students with disabilities demonstrated significant growth on Indiana's ISTEP-Plus mathematics and English/language arts exams in 2011-12 when compared to the previous year, including:

  • Fourth-graders increased their passing rate by 17 percent for English/language arts.
  • Fourth-graders increased their passing rate by 21 percent for mathematics.
  • Fifth-graders increased their passing rate by 31 percent for math.
  • Seventh-graders increased their passing rates by 5 percent in math and 18 percent in English/language arts.
  • Eighth-graders increased their passing rate by 31 percent in math.

"Kokomo-Center Schools has always recognized the role that quality professional development plays in the success of our teachers and schools," Superintendent Jeff Hauswald said. "I am very proud of the achievements made, in part, from our collaborative partnership with CELL at Indiana University. Professionals at CELL have brought expertise, research and an approach to school improvement that has allowed our district to continue to grow and improve."

The partnership has been supported by a grant from the Indiana Department of Education that focuses on providing teacher professional development around best practices in assessment and instruction. Center on Education and Lifelong Learning staff have spent a year training a cadre of Kokomo teacher leaders to support their colleagues to develop skills in Universal Design for Differentiated Instruction, an instructional design framework focused on developing rigorous units of study that respect differences among learners.

In addition, all Kokomo schools have established Instructional Consultation Teams, which provide one-on-one support for teachers to design instruction that meets the needs of individual students, small groups and/or whole classes.

The Center on Education and Lifelong Learning is Indiana's only licensed IC Teams training center and has worked with more than 50 schools in six Indiana districts to implement the model. CELL is part of the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University Bloomington. For more information on the center's work, contact Sandi Cole, director, at

The Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, Indiana's University Center for Excellence on Disabilities, works to increase community capacity in disability through academic instruction, research, dissemination and training, and technical assistance.

The institute receives support from the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at Indiana University Bloomington, which is dedicated to supporting ongoing faculty research and creative activity, developing new multidisciplinary initiatives and maximizing the potential of faculty to accomplish path-breaking work.