The Story of the SF Inclusion Networks Pilot Sites

Photo of kids from the pilot sites

The Story of the Inclusion Pilot Sites is the story of the three early childhood education programs that participated as pilot sites in the SF Inclusion Networks professional development project funded by First 5 San Francisco. The story is based on interviews, surveys, and the journeys of children and their families at our pilot sites.  From 2013-2015, the SF Inclusion Networks team, pilot site teachers, and administrators worked together to support early childhood inclusion.

We hope this story inspires you—and provides you with information and ideas— as you seek to provide high quality services for young children with disabilities and their families.

The Story of the Inclusion Pilot Sites - read here


Pilot Sites

San Francisco Inclusion Networks was providing intensive training, coaching, and specialized services to support three early childhood programs in San Francisco as they included young children with special needs and disabilities. The three programs were piloting various approaches to show how an intentional focus on inclusive practices results in program staff who feel competent and confident in including children with disabilities.

The pilot sites were:


Compass Children's Center

Mission Neighborhood Centers

Wu Yee New Generation


Self-Assessment Process


SF Inclusion Networks facilitated a thorough self-assessment process, using a tool called the Community Perceptions of Inclusive Practices (CPIP), developed by Napa County Office of Education SpecialQuest Birth – Five. The tool helps programs identify how they are growing their capacity to support sustainable and systematic improvements in four areas: including children birth to five with disabilities, involving families of young children with disabilities, providing integrated services to young children with disabilities, and supporting implementation and sustainability.  Families, teachers, site administrators, mental health consultants, Preschool for All coaches, family advocates, and others discussed research-based promising practices in each of the four areas and came to a consensus about their program strengths and areas needing improvement. 


Professional Development


Each of the pilot sites was provided with ongoing professional development for their entire team. SF Inclusion Networks introduced the elements of high quality inclusive classrooms and works with each classroom teaching team to identify two to five inclusive practice actions on which to focus. For example, they may have choosen to focus on developing strong partnerships between professionals and parents of children with disabilities; supporting children with disabilities in their language development; or adapting space, materials, and equipment to accommodate the needs of children. The inclusive practice actions were incorporated into the sites’ Preschool for All Quality Improvement Plans


Inclusion Team


The SF Inclusion Networks inclusion team is anchored by the early childhood inclusion specialist and includes an occupational therapist and speech/language pathologist. The goal of the inclusion team is to support pilot sites’ staff in implementing strategies that promote the successful inclusion of children with disabilities in their classrooms. Team members provide coaching and technical assistance to assist teachers to gain the knowledge and skills related to inclusive practices during frequent site visits and convene regular meetings with the teaching teams to reflect on their practices and progress. The team works closely with individual children who may not qualify for special education services or are in the process of being evaluated. For children who have Individualized Family Service Plans or Individualized Education Programs, the inclusion team works closely with the teachers to embed children’s goals into their daily learning experiences.

The inclusion team builds evidence-based interventions and instructional supports to effectively integrate services at the sites. This is achieved through a collaborative effort among the inclusion team, existing teams of teachers, administrators, and other support professionals already at the site. Changes are made in the classroom that lead to growth and learning for all children by supporting individual children with disabilities

A photo of the team


Inclusion Tools from the Pilot Sites


These resources were developed by the SF Inclusion Networks team together with the pilot site teams. They represent a variety of tools to support high quality, evidence-based inclusive practices and are designed to be shared with all early childhood educators and administrators. Click on a blue resource download it.

    The Mission Neighborhood Center (MNC) Head Start Program Behavior Policy was revised by the MNC staff, with support from the SF Inclusion Networks team, to clarify policies, procedures and interventions regarding how the organization supports children’s social-emotional development and pro-social behavior. The revised policy was developed to ensure that the program staff and families work together to proactively address children’s behavior and support them to be successful and thrive in the program.

    The child support plan was designed by the SF Inclusion Networks inclusion team and adapted for use at each of the pilot sites. The plan guides early educators in their efforts to identify a child’s strengths/interests, areas in need of development, possible strategies for implementation and a mechanism for assessing and monitoring progress.
    The Map to Early Start was created by SF Inclusion Networks staff in collaboration with Golden Gate Regional Center (GGRC). It describes the Early Start process with tips designed to help parents and professionals navigate this referral system. This document provides a visual map of the referral process that includes the timeline and the key GGRC agency contacts.
    This document was developed by SF Inclusion Networks to build teaming and collaboration efforts with MNC Capp St. It was used to clarify agreements, roles, and responsibilities between the site staff and the SF Inclusion Networks team members.
    This is an example of how the Inclusive Classroom Profile results were shared with teachers. Inclusive Classroom Profile observation narratives were used to share data qualitatively, to celebrate the classroom’s strengths, and encourage ongoing reflection in areas needing further development.
    The Inclusive Practices Indicators, developed by the SF Inclusion Networks team, is a program self-assessment tool that guides, supports and promotes inclusive practices. The tool includes promising inclusive practices to help program staff identify their current stage and/or level of implementation for each practice.
    The Parent Meet and Greet was developed by the SF Inclusion Networks team as a strategy to encourage families to meet with the SF Inclusion Networks team members, mental health consultants, and family advocates. The Parent Meet and Greet offers families an opportunity to ask questions, discuss ways to support their child’s development, and learn how to advocate for their child.
    The tip sheets were created by the SF Inclusion Networks specialists to provide information about speech and language and sensory-motor development. The tip sheets also include strategies for promoting development and address issues such as stuttering, selective mutism, and sensory sensitivities.
    The cycle of inquiry provides program staff with an ongoing process of how to observe a child, gather information and plan supports for a child from a strength-based perspective. After receiving professional development on the cycle of inquiry, many classrooms adopted the process and the materials to guide their observations, documentation, and planning for individual children.
    This document helps teachers plan specific responses to aggressive or otherwise harmful behaviors in the moment. The safety net procedure is shared with all adults who are in the classroom so children may receive consistent, positive supports when experiencing difficult moments.
    An Inclusion Tool Box was created for each of the eight pilot site classrooms. Each box includes visual supports, handouts and other resources to support all areas of including children with disabilities and their families.

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