The Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is committed to ensuring that every student in Arkansas has equitable access to core instruction that leads to greater opportunities for students to reach college, career, and life goals. DESE is ALL IN through the promotion of

inclusive learning,

full access,

and better outcomes. 

Welcome to information pertaining to inclusive education provided by the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education's Office of Special Education (DESE-OSE).  In alignment with the Arkansas State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP), DESE supports the implementation of inclusive education to improve outcomes for all students, including students with disabilities.

Inclusive Education Toolkit.pdf

Inclusive Education Toolkit

The purpose of this TOOLKIT is to provide parents and educators with the knowledge and resources to support local efforts to make progress in the shift to inclusive education and improve the outcomes for students with disabilities.


DESE is providing a great new technology suite to ALL Arkansas students in grades three through twelve.  This suite includes supports for students in ELA, mathematics, science, and all other content areas.  To learn more about this suite that is free of charge, go to the Arkansas Texthelp Landing Page.

Text-to-Speech for ATLAS Summative Reading Passages 

Follow the decision tree to see if a student might qualify for this accommodation. (Additional information coming soon for students who are blind/visually impaired or deaf.) 

Decision-Making Document

Explanatory Video

November 16, 2023 Video (new)

What is Inclusion?

Inclusive education is a schoolwide culture and practice of valuing each student as a learner across general education classrooms, rather than a particular program or place. Inclusion provides students with disabilities equitable access and opportunity in the general education curriculum and ensures that each student receives the educational resources and rigor they need at the right moment in their education. In inclusive schools, educators’ roles are restructured for shared accountability and responsibility. Learners who need differentiated support and additional intervention receive it. And school leaders use schedules, teacher teams, and data to ensure the academic progress and success of each student.

Supporting Inclusive Schools for the Success of Each Child: A Guide for States on Principal Leadership

Does Inclusion Work?

Read Inclusive Education Research and Practice to find out.

This document describes the vast body of research demonstrating the positive impact of inclusion in general education classrooms. It uses quantitative and qualitative research findings to explain the positive outcomes of inclusion on both students with and without disabilities, and describes effective tools for making inclusion work. 

Additional Research:

Arkansas Ideas Course (1.5 hours)

All In: Everyone's Unique, Everyone Belongs - Special Education Inclusive Practices

"In this course, Jessica Saum, the 2022 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, will lead discussions about one of her passions - inclusive education. These discussions will focus specifically on changes in classrooms throughout Arkansas and how to meet the needs of all students. Panelists will present evidence on the benefits of inclusion, discuss what an inclusive classroom setting looks like, and review laws concerning the provision of special education services. The goal is to offer background information, techniques, teaching strategies, and tips to help families and teachers as they navigate through the many transitions of their students' educational journeys."

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) states its purpose as, “...[T]o provide all children significant opportunity to receive a fair, equitable, and high quality education, and to close educational achievement gaps.”

A Summary of the Evidence on Inclusive Education

"There is clear and consistent evidence that inclusive educational settings can confer substantial short- and long-term benefits for students with and without disabilities."

High School Students with Disabilities Achieve Better Outcomes in Inclusive Academic Settings

"Indiana high school students with disabilities who spent 80% of their educational time in general education classrooms scored higher on state reading and math assessments and were better prepared for postsecondary education and employment opportunities than their peers in less inclusive settings, according to a new study by Indiana University researchers."

Additional Resources

For additional information on the Arkansas direction, please see the resources below. 

This video was updated on 9.1.2022 to include the Inclusive Education Implementation Timeline.

Frequently Asked Questions

(New questions added on 4.13.2023)

Additional Information on the State's Direction

The Arkansas Direction

This document was updated on 8.28.2022 to include the Inclusive Education Implementation Timeline. 

Professional Development Opportunities

The DESE Office of Special Education is pleased to announce second cohorts of the two Inclusive Education projects that have been offered during the 2023-2024 school year.  Click on the links below to read details of each project. 

If you would like to receive an email when registration opens for either or both of these projects, please enter your contact information on this Google form.

Summer and Fall 2023 Professional Development

All In: Inclusive Education  (Winter 2024)

Executive Function Supports - Please reach out if additional sessions are needed.

Office of Special Education Dispute Resolution 

Website Updates 

For more information, please contact

Robin Stripling

DESE Special Education Unit