Successful Inclusive Practices in Bristol Twp SD

man in wheelchair with 3 other people in front of a booth at a convention
  • Bristol Township SD

    IU22 - Bucks County Intermediate Unit
    Bristol Township SD
    6401 Mill Creek Road
    Levittown, PA 19057

  • Success Story Contact

    JoAnn Allison
    Phone: 215-943-3200
    School Website:

  • BSE/PaTTAN’s Role in Success:

    Supported with training and consultation.

Bristol Township School District has made significant improvements in inclusive education by placing an emphasis on professional development and including all staff in their efforts.Following an audit on least restrictive environment for their students in 2008, the school district ranked among the lowest 10 school districts in Pennsylvania, with 35 percent of the students spending 65 percent of their time in special education settings. They decided to take a comprehensive approach and begin by merging special and general education classes on the elementary level and developing a co-teaching model.Response to Instruction and Intervention was used in the elementary schools, with the co-teaching model being used in the secondary schools. However, FDR Middle School was approved to be one of the first secondary schools to pilot implementation of the RtII. By the end of the 2007-08 school year, less than five percent of the students were spending 65 percent of their time outside their general education classrooms.The “Power Hour” is used to provide supplemental instruction to all students who need support. In power hours all teachers, including general and special education, Title I and ESL teachers teach small groups at students’ instructional levels. The groups consist of some students with IEPs and some who do not have IEPs. They also implement continuous testing, data collection/progress monitoring to ensure student progress and to drive instructional design. Another piece of the puzzle were the youngest learners. The three- to five-year-old special education students programs are provided by Bucks County IU in their early intervention program. The school district works collaboratively with IU representatives to ensure a seamless transition to school age programming. One parent commented that the district was definitely “thinking outside the box” because teachers were learning from one another about the strategies needed for successful inclusive education. PaTTAN and Bucks County IU staff went into the daycares to work with the students and the school district hired a verbal behavior support staff member. The district has one Autistic Support class for more involved students that is implementing the Competent Learner Model. All students with autism spectrum disorder are included to the maximum extent appropriate with supplementary aids and services to support positive behaviors and transitions. Most students with autism are included with the support of district teams.Clarity Services Group provides support for a few students that require more intensive behavior supports or the implementation of a verbal behavior model. Consultants from KidsSpace provide support to include students who are responsive to the DIR methodology.

An interesting thing happened in some of the classrooms. At times some of the teachers were “afraid” of having students with special needs in their classroom and the other students in the class would actually assist, making both the teacher and the student with special needs more at ease with the change.Congratulations to Bristol Township on encompassing all schools in their inclusive practices change!