Loren has utilised her leadership skills to successfully transform whole-school systemic practices for students with disabilities by designing and managing an inclusive schooling model from what was once a segregated, self-contained program.
Leading Teaching and Learning
Loren Swancutt is an experienced Classroom Teacher and Head of Special Education Services (known locally as Head of Inclusive Schooling), working in Queensland State Schools for the past 10 years. She has also undertaken the role of Deputy Principal, and is now part of a Regional School Improvement Support team.
Loren has utilised her leadership skills to successfully transform whole-school systemic practices for students with disabilities by designing and managing an inclusive schooling model from what was once a segregated, self-contained program within a regular high school. She facilitated a collaborative community that engaged in deep cycles of inquiry to thoroughly plan the shift, resulting in authentic preparation and investment.
Throughout the process of whole-school transformation, Loren led a significant culture shift from what was once a medical model and fixed mindset approach, to a social model application which now values the abilities and contributions of all learners. She modelled collaborative leadership to engage with other school leaders, teachers, and support staff to share and improve practices that encourage and sustain high-quality inclusive principles and pedagogy.
Loren’s commitment and leadership abilities have seen the outcomes of students with disabilities maximised through the identification and reduction of barriers to learning. All students are seamlessly supported in general education classrooms to access rigorous curriculum and learning experiences via full engagement and belonging alongside their peers. As a result of the high expectations and quality teaching practices led by Loren; students with disabilities have directly experienced improved Levels of Achievement, improved access to Senior School Certificates, and improved post school employment and community engagement opportunities.
Developing Self and Others
Loren has completed her Masters of Inclusive Education. She has also undertaken training as a Quality Teaching & Learning Instructional Coach, and as a Classroom Profiling Profiler – both roles of which she actively engages with on an ongoing basis to improve the teaching and learning quality of inclusive classrooms by building staff capability.
Loren delivers up-to-date professional learning that is underpinned by extensive research and evidence-based practice. She demonstrates a unique ability to consolidate and contextualise theory, policy and legislation, into accessible and supportive formats to inform and drive improvement.
Loren was successfully appointed as a Quality Schools Inclusive Leaders School Mentor which saw her leading an Action Research Project centred on Co-teaching and Differentiation. To facilitate the Action Research, Loren developed and led a Professional Learning Community that engaged key staff in weekly professional development around the associated topics. This resulted in the development of skills among staff which were further strengthened through monitoring and feedback processes, and the collection and analysis of data. Teachers experienced greater clarity and capability around the implementation of Co-teaching and Differentiation, which resulted in improved student academic achievement, engagement and behaviour.
Loren exhibits her accomplished teaching status by demonstrating exemplary planning and delivery of inclusive learning experiences within her own general education classroom environments which are innovative, engaging, research-based and centred on maximising student outcomes. Her classroom practices are utilised as a ‘light house’ observation opportunity for teachers to seek guidance and ideas around the improvement of their own practice. Loren continuously engages in reflection, professional reading, and professional learning; and is always looking for ways to support and improve her own practice, and the practice of others.
Leading Improvement and Innovation
Loren is well-regarded amongst her Department of Eduction peers. She engages with networks and collaborative groups across the state and is regularly approached to mentor and guide other school personnel in the area of inclusive education.
Loren has developed a unique curriculum alignment process for students accessing modified and highly individualised curriculum. It allows for curriculum goals at alternate junctures to be seamlessly enacted alongside Year level units of work, allowing students with disabilities to experience inclusive learning that is commensurate with their peers, whilst accessing the supports and modifications that they require. The curriculum alignment process has been adopted by a growing number of schools across Queensland.
In her current Regional role, Loren engages schools in inclusive education cycles of inquiry to identify problems of practice and collaboratively drive solutions. She supports them to develop action plans which centre on establishing inclusive culture, multi-tiered systems of support and progression toward whole-school reform. She focuses on building leadership capability and staff capacity to embed sustainable and scalable inclusive practices.
SINE National Convenor – All Means All
In addition, Loren is the National Convenor of the School Inclusion Network for Educators (SINE). SINE is a national initiative that strives to fill a much needed space around professional support and collaboration for educators seeking to initiate, develop, and strengthen inclusive education practices within their school communities and broader education systems in an effort to improve the long-term outcomes of students with disabilities. Loren guides the focus of the Network, facilitates the provisions of quality information and resources, and encourages constructive engagement.