Full Inclusion Program (TK-5)

Inclusion, or full inclusion, is a model of educating students with moderate to severe disabilities in the general classroom. Sylvia Mendez’s Inclusion Program is supervised by Principal Valerio and our full inclusion teacher, with support as needed from designated instructional service (DIS) providers such as: occupational therapists, speech therapists, school psychologist, adaptive PE teacher, and instructional assistants. The goal of inclusion is educate students with moderate to severe disabilities in the general education class and for teachers to work collaboratively to meet the learning needs of all students. This is accomplished by differentiating instruction and building communities of learners who understand and accept that everyone is unique.
Inclusion has existed at Sylvia Mendez for over 15 years —we were one of the first schools in BUSD to support students within general education classes rather than in segregated or self-contained special education classes. We support a number of students in grades TK-5 with the goal of maximizing the time they are learning together with their same-age peers. Other elementary schools in BUSD have begun serving students with models similar to Sylvia Mendez’s Full Inclusion Program.  The inclusion program creates a truly unique learning environment with benefits for all. 

Berkeley Special Education Parents Network

The Berkeley Unified School District has 1,024 students with special educational needs, across every school site.

BSPED is an organization of parents that advocate for those students.  BSPED sends out a (mostly) digest e-tree called BSPED NEWS to those who have written BSPED to sign up to receive it.  If you would like to sign up, send an email to

a) your name
b) your email
c) your affiliation