Ruby Bridges Elementary, Leading the Way: Model Site for Inclusionary Practices

Ruby Bridges Elementary, Leading the Way: Model Site for Inclusionary Practices

On Thursday, February 8, 2024 Ruby Bridges Elementary hosted special guests Glenna Wright-Gallo, the Assistant Secretary in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the United States Department of Education and David Cantrell, Deputy Director of Special Education Services. Gallo and Cantrell were also joined by Dr. Cassie Martin, Executive Director of Special Education for the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Since its inception, Ruby Bridges has been of keen interest to state and federal policymakers and leadership for its fully inclusive model of teaching and learning for each and every student. Ruby Bridges is one of 16 demonstration sites for OSPI and the University of Washington Haring Center’s Inclusionary Practices Project, which launched in 2020. The recent site visit by Wright-Gallo and Cantrell provided an opportunity to share the staff and students' experiences, highlight the inclusionary practices in place at Ruby Bridges and make connections to federal policy to better support students with disabilities. 

Wright-Gallo and Cantrell were especially interested in inclusionary practices, assistive technology and instructional leadership at Ruby Bridges. Principal Cathi Davis shared leadership practices underway at the school including: 

  • Staff development centered on building collective efficacy of all staff to implement inclusionary practices
  • Intentional focus on universally designed instruction and general education settings that engage each learner with the tools they need to succeed; 
  • Cultivating risk-taking and collaboration among staff to grow and expand their instructional practices;
  • Consistent partnership and presence of administrators in classrooms and finally;
  • Implementing robust assistive and adaptive technology tools school-wide so all staff and students can communicate and learn together without barriers.

Ruby Bridges continues to inspire and lead the way here at home, across our region, and nationally. We are hopeful that Northshore’s Ruby Bridges Elementary K-5 inclusive school model and research from the other demonstration sites will lead to transformational improvement for all students.

An adult from the Dept. of Education observes students at Ruby Bridges Elementary working on the floor


Adults observe students and staff from Ruby Bridges Elem working together


Adults from Northshore, Ruby Bridges Elementary, and the Dept of Education pose for a photo at the elementary




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