The PICS Process
The Planning Inclusive Cultures in Schools Process includes 4 stages:
1. “Analysis:” Gathering of quantitative and qualitative data to generate a profile of the school inclusive culture;
2. “Understanding:” Strategic planning based upon observations and results of the profiling process;
3. “Action:” Implementation of the strategic plan;
4. “Reflection:” Reviewing the results of the strategic plan and updating the profile of the school’s inclusive culture.
The PICS inclusive culture profiling tool provides an active group process for meeting a school’s needs to be more inclusive. It takes school community members through ratings of current school characteristics while fostering conversations about what inclusion means and looks like. School community members gain a better understanding of inclusion by making judgments about their own school. The profiling tool is organized in eight domains with a total of 33 indicators, each with several items to be rated on Likert-like scales.
This process enhances inclusive cultures in Kindergarten to Grade 12 schools. It helps key ‘stakeholders’ to better understand inclusion, make improvements, and celebrate successes. The process guides stakeholders to:
- Develop a profile of the school’s current inclusive culture and practices;
- Identify strengths and areas that can be improved; and
- Build a manageable plan to ensure that everyone feels that they belong and can fully participate in the life of the school.
Some schools may choose to undertake a full review of their school’s inclusive practices while others may focus on a specific domain or two. Whatever the case, the indicators and data gathering stimulate reflection, discussion and learning about inclusion.
Who are the Participants in the Process?
The philosophy of inclusion is founded on principles of democracy, and as many stakeholders as possible should participate in the process. However, the process allows for flexibility and recognizes that cultures and resources vary from school to school. At a minimum, the participant groups should include the school’s administrators and teachers, supported by divisional student services ‘staff’. Others (e.g.; support staff, students, ‘parents or guardians’) might be involved in the whole process or in selected components.
We are here to help
The PICS development team has experience in group facilitation, implementation of the survey process, data evaluation and reporting back to the school leadership and the school community at large. If you are interested in engaging one of more of us as your school community proceeds with PICS, please contact us through the links on this website.
We can help guide you in how the project can roll out in your school, and can be as involved as needed. Past experience has shown that this tool can be used in many different ways over many different time lines. We would be happy to discuss options for you to consider at your convenience.
Overview of the Steps
The Planning Inclusive Cultures in Schools process involves eight steps that complement a school’s strategic planning process. There is flexibility in how a particular school or school division might implement the process but it is important to complete each step.
The steps are:
1. Develop a work plan
2. Gather data
3. Generate a profile of Inclusive Culture in the school
4. Analyze the profile
5. Identify goals
6. Develop an action plan
7. Implement and monitor the action plan
8. Reflect, review, celebrate
Who Leads the Process?
There are three levels of leadership in this process – project manager, project lead and advisory committee.
The project manager is the individual (or group) with the organizational authority to philosophically and materially support the process. Specifically, the project manager must:
- Endorse the Planning Inclusive Cultures in Schools process,
- Motivate stakeholders,
- Assign resources,
- Integrate the resulting action plan within the broader school plan, and
- Take responsibility for implementation.
Typically, this is the school principal/administrator or school leadership team. Experience shows that any systematic improvement process requires clear commitment from school leaders if it is to succeed.
A critical task for the project manager is identification of a competent project lead. The project lead is a person with the knowledge and facilitation skills to
ensure that the process is completed with integrity and efficiency. Key responsibilities for the project lead include:
- Knowing the Planning Inclusive Cultures in Schools process,
- Clarifying the purpose, objectives and guiding principles for other participants,
- Coordinating the steps in the process in an effective and efficient way,
- Supervising project tasks (e.g., participant recruitment, meeting organization, data entry),
- Analyzing and interpreting raw data, and
- Facilitating discussions at both management and participant levels.
In most school divisions, the project lead will be one of the Student Services staff who is allocated time to focus on this project. This reflects a commitment from the division and provides additional expertise to support the school’s journey toward improved inclusion.
The advisory committee is a small group of interested stakeholders who advises the project manager and lead. Having an advisory committee helps to ensure that a range of perspectives is considered throughout the process. It also provides an informed cadre for analyzing and making meaning from the information collected during the data-gathering step.