Students with disabilities spend as much time with their non-disabled peers as possible (as decided by the Individualized Education Programs team). Our goal is to help all students develop the skills they need to eventually learn in a general education classroom with their non-disabled peers. It is important to note that inclusion is not a type of classroom or a place but rather the philosophy of including students with disabilities in general education settings. The goal of inclusion is to provide students with high-quality instruction that is aligned to grade-level expectations and gives them the opportunity to succeed in all areas. One important way inclusion happens is when a student’s special education needs are met in the general education classroom.

IEP teams determine the appropriate level of services a student needs to access the curriculum. At Payne Elementary School and within DCPS, most students can be served in the general education (regular) classroom.  Additional support from a resource teacher or related service provider can also be provided in the general education classroom.  There are also times when it is more appropriate for a student with receive support outside of their general education classroom and opportunities for this level of support are also available throughout the school day.

DCPS provides a continuum of services for students ages three through 22 with disabilities who have been found eligible to receive special education services. There are different settings along the continuum where these services can be provided, and students learn in the least restrictive environment.