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EDAI Glossary

“refers to a broad set of knowledge, skills, work habits, and character traits that are believed—by educators, school reformers, college professors, employers, and others—to be critically important to success in today’s world, particularly in collegiate programs and contemporary careers and workplaces. Generally speaking, 21st century skills can be applied in all academic subject areas, and in all educational, career, and civic settings throughout a student’s life” (The Glossary of Education Reform). Includes Learning and Innovation Skills (critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity), information media and technology skills, life and career skills key subjects (e.g., global awareness, environmental, civic and health literacy) (Partnership for 21st Century Learning).

A Section 504 team typically consists of the Section 504 coordinator, a school administrator (like the principal), the parent/guardian of the child, and a guidance counselor. This team comes together to address the learning and social needs as well as other concerns that would affect some part of the student’s school day/experience.

This refers to either individual or institutional actions and language that disadvantage or disempower people with disabilities, people experiencing disabilities, or disabled people. Ableism includes mental, physical, and emotional disabilities. (The Avarna Group (2020). Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Vocabulary, retrieved from

The practice of grouping children together according to their talents in the classroom. This is also known as tracking.

The extent to which people are excluded or not from an activity, program, or experience on the basis of experiencing a disability. In an accessible activity, program, or experience, people with disabilities are able to do what they need to do in a similar amount of time and with similar effort as someone that does not have a disability. The concept of accessible design ensures both direct (i.e., unassisted) access and indirect access, meaning the activity, program, or experience is compatible with a person's assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (Henry, S. L., Abou-Zahra, S., and Brewer, J. (2014). The role of accessibility in a universal web. In Proceedings of the 11th Web for All Conference (W4A '14). ACM: New York. doi#10.1145/2596695.2596719). See also universal design learning.

This refers to a detailed evaluation done by accessibility professionals who have expertise and experience using assistive technologies in various settings and environments. This type of evaluation provides a thorough review of the current status of accessibility of a site or environment Various audits include risk, accessibility (website, documentation, mobile, etc.), legal compliance (ADA legal requirements), and assistive technology. This is also referred to as an accessibility audit.

Accommodations are adjustments to how things are normally done. They are legally-mandated modifications, adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services that give a student with a disability an equal opportunity to benefit from the educational process. There are generally four types of accommodations: presentation(referring to the way information is presented), response (referring to the way students are asked to respond), setting (referring to the characteristics of a location), and timing and scheduling (referring to when a task is planned and how long it takes to complete).

A person of one social identity group who is actively working against oppression that is impacting member(s) of a targeted group, besides and for this group. A person who is working to eliminate the oppressive attitudes and beliefs in themselves and their communities, and to interrogate and understand their privilege. Not an identity one can claim for themselves. Requires continuous action –the choice to exhibit allyship. Even when fighting against systems of oppression, allies benefit from them.

The ADA is a 1990 civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability; it also requires reasonable accommodations be put into place when needed and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations. (42 U.S.C. 12112(b)(5), 12182–84)

"Anti-racism is the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably." - NAC International Perspectives: Women and Global  Solidarity (

This approach to education focuses on the strengths of learners and embraces  diversity in thought and cultural traits. It focuses on “what is right” with a learner and centers that position when approaching any problems. Learners are valued for what they bring to the classroom rather than being characterized by what they may lack. With an asset-based approach, “every community is valuable; every community has strengths and potential.” (NYU Steinhardt. (2018, October 29). An asset-based approach to education: What it is and why it matters. ). This is sometimes known as an asset-based approach.

The process through which one cultural group adapts to the attitudes, belief systems and ways of life of another culture. Degrees of assimilation range widely. In some cases, a group will, over time, lose its cultural distinctiveness and adopt the attitudes, beliefs, systems and ways of life of a dominant culture. In other cases, a cultural group will become part of a new culture, while maintaining important aspects of its traditions and cultural distinctiveness.

Refers to any item, software, or piece of equipment that allows people with disabilities to increase, maintain, or improve their functional capabilities. This allows them to learn, communication and overall function better in a world that isn’t yet designed for them to succeed. Assistive Technology is different for different disabilities and can be low-tech (such as written instructions) or high-tech (such as specialized computers). AT helps people who have difficulty speaking, typing, writing, remembering, pointing, seeing, hearing, learning, walking, and many other things. (Assistive Technology Industry Association. What is AT?

This refers to a community resource that works similarly to a book library with the goal of eliminating barriers that prevent people from safely accessing the outdoors. These libraries can have lesson plans, activities, and outdoor and adventure gear to name a few items. These are also known as gear libraries or lending libraries.

A written course of action—a plan for what to do to prevent challenging behavior and what to do when it occurs. A behavior plan should also specify any reinforcement system in place as well as who is in  charge of making revisions, and when the Special Education Team will meet to discuss updates to the plan.

A positive or negative inclination toward a person, group, or community. This can lead to stereotyping. (Thiederman, S. “Making diversity work: Seven steps for defeating Bias in the workplace”). See also Explicit Bias and Implicit Bias.

Intolerant prejudice that glorifies one's own group and denigrates members of other groups. (Racial Equity Tools)

The acronym stands for "Black, Indigenous, and People of Color" and is pronounced as "by-pock," rather than saying each letter individually. This updates the term “People of Color” and its acronym “POC”, which has been criticized as erasing Black and Indigenous lives and experiences. The “B” in BIPOC stands for “Black” and refers to people who have African or Caribbean ancestry. Its addition highlights the specific forms of racism and oppression that Black Americans face. The “I” in the acronym stands for “Indigenous” and refers to groups native to the Americas who were here before  colonization by Europeans. Its addition refers to the discrimination and mistreatment that Indigenous people have endured and continue to endure from official policies and practices as well as erasure of their culture and identity. The “POC” in the acronym stands for “People of Color” and is used as an umbrella term to refer to non-White individuals, including but not limited to those who hold Asian, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Pacific Island heritage, who often face discrimination. (Garcia, S. E. (2020, June 17). Where did BIPOC come from? New York Times., (Ansari, M. (2020, February 18). What is BIPOC and why you should use it. Her Campus.

process of focusing on one or a select group of person(s), idea(s) or experience(s).

An educational approach wherein educators utilize groups to facilitate and enhance learning in their students. Within the groups learners work together to solve problems, learn new concepts, come to understandings about the concepts and/or content they’re dealing with. They create meaning and synthesize information.

Culture refers to the ways of living; shared behaviors, beliefs, customs, values, and ways of knowing that guide groups of people in their daily life and are transmitted from one generation to the next. It affects how people learn, remember, reason, solve problems, and communicate; thus, culture is part and parcel of students’ intellectual and social development. Understanding how aspects of culture can vary sheds light on variation in how students learn.

Theft of cultural elements for one’s own use, commodification, or profit — including symbols, art, language, customs, etc. — often without understanding, acknowledgement, or respect for its value in the original culture. Results from the assumption of a dominant (i.e. white) culture’s right to take other cultural elements. (Colors of Resistance Archive)

An ability to successfully negotiate cross-cultural differences in order to accomplish practical goals. It includes the ability to tailor delivery of services to meet the audiences’ social, cultural, and linguistic needs in the planning, implementing, and evaluating of programs, interventions, and education. Four major components to cultural competency are awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills. (Betancourt, J. R., Green, A. R., and Carrillo, J. E. (2001). Cultural competence in health care: Emerging frameworks and practical approaches. Public Health Rep. 118(4): 293-302)

Awareness: It is important to examine diversity-related values and beliefs in order to recognize any deep-seated prejudices and stereotypes that can create barriers for learning and personal development. Many of us have blind spots when it comes to our beliefs and values; diversity education can be useful for uncovering them.

- Attitude: Values and beliefs impact cross-cultural effectiveness because they convey the extent to which we are open to differing views and opinions. The stronger we feel about our beliefs and values, the more likely we will react emotionally when they collide with cultural differences. For example, people of color and white Americans tend to have different values and beliefs about diversity and equity; the differences are, in part, the result of uniquely different exposure to oppression and discrimination.

- Knowledge: The more knowledge we have about people of different cultures, the more likely we are able to avoid stepping on cross-cultural toes. Knowing how culture impacts problem solving, managing people, asking for help, etc. can keep us connected in cross-cultural interactions.

- Skills: One can have the “right” attitude, considerable self-awareness, and a lot of knowledge about cultural differences, yet still lack the ability to effectively manage differences. If we have not learned skills or have had little opportunity to practice, our knowledge and awareness are insufficient to avoid and manage cross-cultural land mines.

Effectively reaching and engaging communities and their youth in a manner that is consistent with the cultural context and values of that community, while effectively addressing the disparities for diversity and inclusion within an organization’s entire structure. (Youth Outside Definitions (2020) retrieved from:

Culturally responsive education (closely related to the terms “culturally relevant” and “culturally sustaining” education) refers to the combination of teaching, pedagogy, curriculum, theories, attitudes, practices, and instructional materials that center students’ culture, identities, and contexts throughout educational systems. Gloria Ladson-Billings’s and Geneva Gay’s scholarship are foundational to culturally responsive education. Some key principles of culturally responsive education (CRE) include (1) validating students’ experiences and values, (2) disrupting power dynamics that privilege dominant groups, and (3) empowering students. (New York University: Steinhardt. (2019). Culturally responsive scorecard. Available at

all of the instructional resources (including those with and without explicit learning objectives) combined to make a cohesive outdoor school program.

The active resistance against colonial powers, and a shifting of power towards political, economic, educational, cultural, psychic independence and power that originate from a colonized nations’ own indigenous culture. This process occurs politically and also applies to personal and societal psychic, cultural, political, agricultural, and educational deconstruction of colonial oppression. (Racial Equity Tools)

Per Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang: “Decolonization doesn’t have a synonym”; it is not a substitute for ‘human rights’ or ‘social justice’, though undoubtedly, they are connected in various ways. Decolonization demands an Indigenous framework and a centering of Indigenous land, Indigenous sovereignty, and Indigenous ways of thinking.

This term is used to characterize individuals or groups of people primarily or solely in terms of their perceived deficiencies, problems, needs, and limitations. This line of thinking focuses on what people cannot do or do not know and leads to devaluing their humanity. In education, the teacher focuses on correcting the deficit instead of drawing on the learner’s tacit knowledge and understanding. (Dinishak, J. (2016). The deficit view and its critics. Disability Studies Quarterly. 36(4)), (Harry, B. and Klingner, J. (2007). Discarding the deficit model. Educational Leadership, 64(5), 16-21). This is sometimes also known as a deficit-based approach.

This framework outlines what effective teaching looks like when teachers adjust their curriculum and instruction to center students and their abilities. Specifically, it may involve teaching the same material by using a variety of instructional strategies or teaching at varying levels of difficulty based on each student. Examples of differentiated instruction includes grouping students by shared interest, topic, or ability and designing lessons based on students’ learning styles. (Weselby, C. (2020, July 2). What is differentiated instruction? Examples of how to differentiate instruction in the classroom. Resilient Educator. While Differentiated Instruction is similar to Universal Design for Learning (UDL), these frameworks differ in when and how changes are made to address student needs. DI occurs during instruction as a teacher becomes aware of students’ needs whereas UDL happens when the curriculum is designed. This is also known as differentiated learning.

Refers to a physical, mental or cognitive impairment or the perception of such an impairment that impacts a person’s ability to perform day-to-day activities due to the way society is structured. In these cases, special accommodations are necessary to ensure an individual’s engagement. The adoption of the ADA makes it illegal to discriminate against people based on their disabilities. (ADA National Network. (n.d.). What is the definition of disability under the ADA? Retrieved from

The differences among us based on which we experience systemic advantages or encounter systemic barriers in access to opportunities and resources. A diverse group, community, or organization is one in which a variety of social and cultural characteristics exist. (National Multicultural Institute. “Diversity Terms”. (2003) Available at: Race and ethnicity are only two facets of diversity, but there are countless other visible and invisible facets of diversity. Furthermore, a person cannot be “diverse” (as in “diverse candidate”).

In a diverse society, the culture that has social, economic, and political power. (Oregon State University Social Justice Education Initiative (2017).

A method of instruction characterized by the systematic repetition of concepts, examples, and practice problems. Learners are given the same materials and activities to practice repeatedly until mastery is achieved. In each iteration, students are given similar questions to answer or activities to perform, with a certain percentage of correct responses or actions moving the student to the next level of difficulty.

The safety that a person achieves while in an emotional state due to the relationships they have cultivated with others wherein they feel comfortable and safe to be open and vulnerable. In an emotionally safe relationship, people trust each other, can speak their mind (and not fear retaliation), and can have uncomfortable conversations. If this safety is lost, then there is distrust between people and miscommunication which could lead to threats. 

A process that helps individuals, communities, and organizations learn more about the environment and develop skills and understanding about how to address global challenges. (The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE). Education has also been used as an umbrella term that encompasses outdoor education and natural resources education.

The guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations and that providing equal or identical treatment to all does not improve the fairness of these unbalanced conditions.
(UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity. “Glossary of Terms.” (2011))

Erasure is violence. It is the act of ignoring, removing, and/or falsifying evidence and aspects of identity or complete identities in all facets of society including, but not limited to media, history, and academia. It tends to happen gradually over a long period of time as Dominant Identities and Cultures shift the narratives where what is being erased is viewed as rare.

A term used to describe language learning programs in the United States for individuals for whom English is not their first or native language (The National Multicultural Institute).

“An essential question frames a unit of study as a problem to be solved. It should connect students’ lived experiences and interests (their only resources for learning something new) to disciplinary problems in the world. And it should connect what they learn back to the real world, where they can put their new understandings to work” (Jeffrey Wilhelm, Scholastic).

A dynamic set of historically derived and institutionalized ideas and practices that (1) allows people to identify or to be identified with groupings of people based on presumed (and usually claimed) commonalities including language, history, nation or region of origin, customs, ways of being, religion, names, physical appearance and/or genealogy or ancestry; (2) can be a source of meaning, action and identity; and (3) confers a sense of belonging, pride and motivation. (Markus, H. R. (2008). Pride, prejudice, and ambivalence: Toward a unified theory of race and ethnicity. American Psychologist, 63(8), 651-70). Like “race”, ethnicity is socially constructed and can be difficult to define because of the ‘truths’ societies attach to the terms. Generally speaking however, race is defined as how we perceive someone’s skin color. The power that race holds is that it is a characterization or label that someone else can place on another human being. On the other hand, “ethnicity” usually refers to the ways in which someone self-identifies learned aspects of themselves such as language, culture, or traditions. (Bryce, E. (2009, February 8). What’s the difference between race and ethnicity? Live Science., (Jean-Philippe, M. (2019, August 26). So, what’s the difference between race and ethnicity? The Oprah Magazine.

This term is used to describe students who are gifted as well as those with disabilities. A gifted student is characterized as a child with above average intellect and who is capable of high performance. Within the Special Education community this term describes students with learning difficulties, physical or sensory impairments, and/or behavior problems who require specialized services, modifications, and/or physical accommodations to their education in order to help them learn and engage in school. (Heward, W. L. (2012). Exceptional Children: An Introduction to Special Education, ed. 10. New York, Pearson.)

A conscious tendency to favor one person, group, thing, or point of view over another. (Oregon State University Social Justice Education Initiative (2017).

The survey determines whether or not a facility is accessible, and identifies what needs fixing if the facility is not. An accessibility evaluation survey compares each portion of the structure to the accessibility standards. (

A Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. Any school that receives funding from the U.S. Department of Education is held accountable to this law. There are two key functions of the law. First, it provides parents/guardians or eligible students to control who has access to a student’s educational records. Second, it prohibits educational institutions from revealing personal and identifiable information to anyone without the written consent of an eligible student or their parents/guardians. The FERPA statute is found at 20 U.S.C. § 1232g and the FERPA regulations are found at 34 CFR Part 99.

(U.S. Department of Education (n.d.). Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

The sanctioned curriculum officially approved by state and local school boards that represents the dominant culture’s interests. This includes courses, lessons, and learning activities students participate in, as well as the knowledge and skills educators intentionally teach to students.
(UKEssays. (November 2018). Differentiate among the formal, informal and hidden curriculum. Retrieved from, (Wilson, L. O. (2005). Curriculum: Different types.).
Also referred to as the stated, overt, written, or explicit curriculum.

Anti-discrimination policy that allows students with disabilities to be provided equal access to an education. It requires that public schools evaluate students with disabilities to determine what kinds of specialized services they need to authentically engage in school. Some examples of what schools are required to provide include services that meet the unique needs of students with disabilities, services at no charge, and accommodations and modifications.

As any county with six or fewer people per square mile. ORH has identified 10 of Oregon’s 36 counties as frontier. (Oregon Office of Rural Health. (n.d.). About Rural and Frontier Data.

Socially constructed ideas about behavior, actions, and roles a particular sex performs (The National Multicultural Institute).

This socially constructed term refers to the roles, behaviors, activities and other characteristics a given society deems appropriate for their gender categories (in the United States, these have traditionally been identified as “boys and men” or “girls and women”). It is important to note that while biological sex is similar across cultures, gender isn’t. A personal conception of one’s own gender; often in relation to a gender opposition between masculinity and femininity. Gender expression is how people externally communicate or perform their gender identity to others. (National Multicultural Institute. “Diversity Terms”. (2003) Available at:, (American Psychological Association. (2011). Answers to your questions about transgender people, gender identity, and gender expression. Retrieved from

self-perception or “self-theory” that people hold about themselves where they “believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point... creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment” (Carol Dweck (2016) Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, New York: Ballantine Books) “Students who embrace growth mindsets—the belief that they can learn more or become smarter if they work hard and persevere—may learn more, learn it more quickly, and view challenges and failures as opportunities to improve their learning and skills” (The Glossary of Education Reform). 

The unwritten, unofficial, unspoken, and often unintended lessons, values, and perspectives that students learn in school or through social and cultural messaging. This type of education happens through exposure of living and includes both positive and negative messages. Also referred to as the covert and unofficial curriculum. (Longstreet, W. S. and Shane, H. G. (1993) Curriculum for a new millennium. Boston: Allyn and Bacon)

This is an umbrella term that refers to a spectrum of disabilities that are not immediately apparent, including chronic illnesses such as renal failure, diabetes, and sleep disorders, if those diseases significantly impair normal activities of daily living. People with invisible disabilities are often accused of faking or imagining their disabilities.

When marginalized people and/or groups believe, act on, or enforce dominant systems of oppression against other marginalized groups and/or individuals.

Implicit bias occurs when an individual consciously rejects stereotypes while simultaneously holding negative associations unconsciously. The theory of implicit bias rests on the idea that much of our social behavior is driven by learned stereotypes that operate automatically—and therefore unconsciously—when we interact with other people. Implicit bias means that racial prejudices (and other areas of diversity) affect individuals’ decisions as well as their behavior toward people of other races, whether or not they are aware of it. Also known as unconscious or hidden bias. (Staats, C. (2013). State of the science implicit bias review (PDF). Retrieved from, (American Values Institute (2009). Retrieved from, (Open Society Foundations (2011) Retrieved from

The act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people.
(UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity. “Glossary of Terms.” (2011))

Words or phrases that include all potential audiences from any identity group. Inclusive language does not assume or connote the absence of any group. An example of gender inclusive language is using “friends” instead of “ladies and gentlemen”. (National Multicultural Institute. “Diversity Terms”. (2003) Available at:

“complex set of technologies and sustained by Indigenous civilizations. Often oral and symbolic, it is transmitted through the structure of Indigenous languages and passed on to the next generation through modeling, practice, and animation, rather than through the written word” (Battiste, M. (2002) Indigenous Knowledge and Pedagogy in First Nations Education: A Literature Review with Recommendations, pg. 2).

A written document that maps out the specific kinds of special education instruction, supports, and services a child would need or receive in order to authentically engage in schooling. IEPs are part of the public education system, but are not a part of the college system.

The IEP team generally consists of the student, their parent(s) or legal guardian(s), a Special Education teacher, a General Education teacher, and a representative of the school or school district who is knowledgeable about the availability of school resources, and an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of the results of the student's evaluation (such as the school psychologist). (U.S. Government Printing Office. 2007-07-01. Code of federal regulations: Title 34-Education. Retrieved (2020, August 12).

First passed in 1975, the United States of America’s Special Education Law provides rights and protections to children with disabilities and to their parents or legal guardians. There are two primary goals of IDEA: to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to children with disabilities, and provide parents or legal guardians with a voice in their child’s education. IDEA covers children from birth through high school graduation or age 21 (whichever comes first). This was first known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act. (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Individual components (e.g., lesson plans, activities) that describe what you are engaging students in doing and how you are engaging them in doing it.

Intent is what a person meant to do and impact is the effect it had on someone else. Regardless of intent, it is imperative to recognize how behaviors, language, actions, etc. affect or influence other people. An examination of what was said or done and how it was received is the focus, not necessarily what was intended.
(Workforce Diversity Network. “Professional Resources”. (2013)).
This distinction is an integral part of inclusive environments.

Earning which provides students with “peer interaction, a division of work, and opportunities to communicate and share ideas with a supportive learning environment...encourage[s] students to work together as they collaboratively manage the process of learning” (DeBraak, L. (2008) Independent and Interdependent Remedial/Developmental Student Learners, NADE Digest 4(1), pg. 13). 

The ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another.
(African American Policy Forum. “A Primer on Intersectionality”. Available at:
Exposing one’s multiple identities can help clarify the ways in which a person can simultaneously experience privilege and oppression.

Learners are dependent on each other to co-create a learning experience/environment. A jigsaw activity, where each learner is responsible for researching a unique piece of the assignment and then teaching the others, is an example of an intra-dependent learning method because everyone needs to pay attention to their part in order to teach the whole.

Simply put, this is about what’s right. It’s about ensuring that people are treated fairly and have access to the same opportunities regardless of where they were born, what skin they were born in, or what they look like. Justice is a product of creating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable society.

The learning edge is a term some experts have assigned to one of the mental states an individual goes through when learning a new skill. In most prevailing theories, the learning process can be described as one's movement along a continuum. When learning, one begins in a state of comfort with one's existing knowledge. As new information is presented to the individual, he or she becomes less comfortable as the new knowledge challenges them. The individual will eventually learn this new information and become competent with this knowledge, but only after pushing the boundaries of one's previous knowledge. The state of mind one enters when pushing one's previous knowledge is what some call the learning edge. The learning edge is meant to be outside of one's comfort zone, and is believed to cause the distress that enables one to adapt to and overcome a challenging situation.

Describe what students are expected to learn by the end of an activity, lesson, unit or experience. Sometimes used interchangeably with “learning outcomes,” but objectives are often narrow in scope and focused on a particular activity/task. For example, a learning objective for an activity about water pollution might be: “By the end of this activity, students can give examples of behaviors that reduce water pollution.” This objective would support the outcome that students perform environmental stewardship behaviors after outdoor school. 

Preferred modalities for learning, may include visual, auditory, reading/writing and kinesthetic (V.A.R.K. model).

Refers to students’ educational placement and a vital component of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The premise of IDEA is that students with disabilities will receive the most impactful education for them (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment possible, meaning these students are taught in the same educational environments as their peers without disabilities unless the nature of their disability requires a special class. LRE as policy influences placement, where and how services are provided to exceptional students while at school. (Center for Parent Information & Resources. (2017, September 15). Considering LRE in Placement Decisions.

"Personal knowledge about the world gained through direct, first-hand involvement in everyday events rather than through representations constructed by other people. It may also refer to knowledge of people gained from direct face-to-face interaction rather than through a technological medium” (Oxford Reference).

Programs or schools within the public education system that offer specialized courses or curricula. Magnet signifies that there are special topics or services that will draw a group of learners to the program or school.

Within the federal mandate of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), mainstreaming refers to balancing the amount of time children with disabilities spend in both the General Education classroom and a classroom where they receive specialized education. (Applied Behavior Analysis Education. What is meant by mainstreaming? It is important to note that mainstreaming does not mean that all students are automatically placed in a general education setting, rather students' placement shall be determined by the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) to determine how they may receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

Groups of people who face systemic disadvantages, exclusion, and barriers to opportunities, resources, and power based on their identities, including but not limited to black, indigenous, and people of color, immigrants, refugees, undocumented Americans, people with disabilities, women, anybody who identifies outside or beyond the gender binary or not as cisgender, anybody who is not heterosexual, anyone who is poor and/or from low-income communities. (The Avarna Group (2020). Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Vocabulary, retrieved from

The term generally refers to students who require complex health procedures, special therapy or specialized medical equipment/supplies to enhance or sustain their lives during the school day. (American Federation of Teachers (2020) retrieved from:

 Everyday, subtle, intentional — and oftentimes unintentional — interactions or behaviors that communicate some sort of bias toward historically marginalized groups (Kevin Nadal on NPR).

Emphasis on commonalities in the basic needs of humans and universal values and principles. This focus on commonalities can de-emphasize the deeper understandings of diversity and differences. This means diverse populations feel unheard since differences are not fully valued. Associated with the notion of being “colorblind”. (Future Learn)

Unlike an accommodation, which changes the way a learner receives information or is tested without changing the learning goal or standard, a modification changes the learning goal or objective. This could mean changing the instruction level, content, performance criteria, or the assessment.

A teaching approach that utilizes various strategies— including visual, auditory, and kinesthetic—to better support students as they learn. By engaging more than one sense, students are better able to work with content and process it. Examples include using art, videos, music (or sound), bodily movements (jumping or arm movements), puzzles, and tactile manipulatives to engage multiple sensory systems.

(Massaro D.W. (2012) Multimodal Learning. In: Seel N.M. (eds) Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. Springer, Boston, MA.

"Learning theory describing the different ways students learn and acquire information. These multiple intelligences range from the use of words, numbers, pictures and music, to the importance of social interactions, introspection, physical movement and being in tune with nature." Originally differentiated into eight modalities: visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, musical-rhythmic, logical-mathematical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic and bodily-kinesthetic. (Top Hat glossary and Howard Gardner)

The diversity of differences of human minds. Examples of these differences include, but are not limited to, Dyspraxia (a neurological disorder where individuals have language  problems usually related to thought and perception); Dyslexia (a learning disorder where an individual has problems identifying speech sounds. It is often referred to as a reading disability.); Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a disorder where an individual has issues with attention and impulse control; Dyscalculia (a learning disorder related to math); and the Autistic Spectrum, a group of developmental disabilities that can cause communication, social, and behavior issues. Neurodiversity is not a trait that any one individual possesses, but is something that can be assessed within a group. Neurodiversity is a biological fact, not a perspective, approach, belief, or paradigm.

An ideal standard binding upon the members of a group and serving to guide, control, or regulate power and acceptable behavior (Effective Philanthropy).

That which is not taught. Content that is sometimes ignored deliberately or unknowingly. An educator may be intentionally overlooking or avoiding content that they don’t value or understand. Also referred to as the absent or excluded curriculum. (Eisner, E. W. (1994). The educational imagination: On the design and evaluation of school programs. New York: MacMillan College Publishing Company)

See learning objectives.

The flip side of privilege, oppression constitutes mistreatment we experience or barriers and disadvantages we encounter by virtue of one or more of our identities, called “marginalized” or “disadvantaged” identities. Systems of oppression refer to systems of power in society that advantage certain groups over others, and include ideologies such as racism, sexism, cissexism (referring to discrimination against transgender people), heterosexism (referring to discrimination against homosexuals based on the assumption that heterosexuality is normal and the standard), elitism, classism, ableism, nativism, colonialism, ageism, and sizeism. (collectively “the isms”). (The Avarna Group (2020). Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Vocabulary, retrieved from

Describe what students will be able to do as a result of a learning experience. Sometimes used interchangeably with “learning objectives,” but outcomes are often broader in scope (though still measurable) or measured over a longer time period. For example, a learning objective for an activity about water pollution might be: “By the end of this activity, students can give examples of behaviors that reduce water pollution.” This objective would support the outcome that students perform environmental stewardship behaviors after outdoor school.

Experiential learning in, for, or about the outdoors. Sometimes used broadly to refer to a range of organized activities that take place in a variety of ways in predominantly outdoor environments. (Ford, P. M., ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools., & United States. (1986). Outdoor education: Definition and philosophy. Las Cruces, NM: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools)

A teacher assistant who is not licensed to teach, but can perform teaching related tasks that support certified educational professionals. A paraprofessional can work alongside licensed teachers or on their own, and while they can work in a variety of educational environments, they’re mostly found in elementary schools. Also known as a teacher aide or paraeducator.

This is an umbrella term used to identify those who do not identify as only White or Caucasian, emphasizing common experiences of racism. The term is primarily used in the United States.
(The Avarna Group (2020). Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Vocabulary, retrieved from
The pushback against this term is that it centers whiteness as it seeks to affirm non-white people. It alludes to the belief that whiteness and white people are the default. When race is only used to identify non-white people, it becomes about color and non-white people exist only in relation to whiteness.
See also BIPOC.

Affirms non-white people’s inherent power as the majority of the world’s population. 

An event that can be observed.

The range of available educational environments in a district to support a student’s IEP as well as the overall amount of time said student will spend in a general education setting. (Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. (n.d.). The IEP Team decides which placement(s) are appropriate for the learner based on their specific strengths and needs. This is also known as educational placement. (Center for Autism Research (CAR). Placement options for school-age students receiving special education services.

Power is a nuanced concept and is generally differentiated into three different categories: (1) power over, (2) power with, and (3) power within. (Stuart, G. (2019, February 1). 4 types of power: What are power over; power with; power to and power within?. Sustaining Community. Power is fluid, changing, and most importantly it is relational. (Berry, A. [@thecollectress]. Instagram story. Retrieved September 28, 2020)
  • Power over: This is the most well known and commonly understood type of power. It is the ability or authority to decide what is best for others. The ability to decide access to resources and the capacity to exercise control over others. Wealth, Whiteness, Ableism, citizenship, patriarchy, heterosexism, and education are a few key social mechanisms through which power operates.
  • Power with: This type of power is shared collaboratively and grows out of intentional relationships between individuals or groups. Power with emphasizes respect and support and works towards collective action. 
  • Power within: This type of power comes from a person’s “sense of self-worth and self-knowledge; it includes an ability to recognize individual differences while respecting others”. (VeneKlasen, L., & Miller, V. (2007). A new weave of power, people & politics: The action guide for advocacy and citizen participation. Warwickshire: Practical Action Publishing. Chapter 3 on Power and Empowerment is available from A person can get everything they need from themselves. It has also been referred to as empowerment.

Emphasizes that no identity (e.g., gender, race, class, etc.) operates neutrally. In order to see where one has power and privilege one needs to situate themselves in relation to others. Positionality allows one to think about how one’s own identity impacts how one works with others from different backgrounds than one’s own.

An approach consisting of schoolwide strategies and/or procedures designed to provide intensive individualized interventions to individual students with challenging behaviors. Once identified, students are organized into one of three categories in order to receive support. The first category includes support for all students and emphasizes expectations of appropriate student behavior and social skills. The second category provides extra support for students who aren’t successful in just the first category. Within this category students are focused on working on their social skills and self-management on top of their academic skills. The third and final category provides more intensive and individual support for students who have not been successful in just the first two categories (though, they still have access to these supports). The number of students serviced in this category is much smaller and is limited to those behaviors that are deemed highly disruptive. Students that have been identified within this category include those on the autism spectrum, and those with emotional and behavior disorders. This was previously known as Positive Behavior Support (PBS).

(Carr, E. G., Dunlap, G., Horner, R. H., Koegel, R. L., Turnbull, A. P., Sailor, W., et al. (2002). Positive behavior support: Evolution of an applied science. Journal of Positive Behavioral Interventions 4(1), 4–16, 20.)

A pre-judgment or unjustifiable, and usually negative, attitude of one type of individual or groups toward another group and its members. Such negative attitudes are typically based on unsupported generalizations (or stereotypes) that deny the right of individual members of certain groups to be recognized and treated as individuals with individual characteristics.

(A Community Builder’s Toolkit)

The flip side of oppression, privilege constitutes advantages we receive, consciously or unconsciously, by virtue of one or more of our identities, called “dominant identities”. These advantages are upheld by systems of power that advantage certain groups over others, and include ideologies such as racism, sexism, cissexism (transphobia), heterosexism (homophobia), elitism, classism, ableism, nativism, colonialism, ageism, and sizeism (collectively “the isms”). Privilege includes the freedom from stress, anxiety, and fear of harm related to your identity. (The Avarna Group (2020). Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Vocabulary, retrieved from

A grouping of people based on skin color and/or ancestry that is based on societal, not biological, differences. Race is a false social construct that conflates skin color and ancestry with behavior, intelligence, and culture, with very real consequences for all people. (The Avarna Group (2020). Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Vocabulary, retrieved from

A system of advantage based on race.  A system of oppression based on race. A way of organizing society based on dominance and subordination based on race. Penetrates every aspect of personal, cultural, and institutional life. Includes prejudice against people of color, as well as exclusion, discrimination against, suspicion of, and fear and hatred of people of color. Racism = Prejudice + the POWER to implement that prejudice. (Exchange Project of the Peace & Development Fund) 

Institutional racism refers to the policies and practices within and across institutions that, intentionally or not, produce outcomes that chronically favor, or put a racial group at a disadvantage. Poignant examples of institutional racism can be found in school disciplinary policies in which students of color are punished at much higher rates that their white counterparts, in the criminal justice system, and within many employment sectors in which day-to-day operations, as well as hiring and firing practices can significantly disadvantage workers of color.

(The Aspen Institute (n.d.). 11 Terms You Should Know to Better Understand Structural Racism.

The systems and structures and procedures and processes that disadvantage communities of color and that have created disparities in many "success indicators" including, but not limited to, wealth, the criminal justice system, employment, housing, health care, politics, and education. This overarching form of racism is harder to discern than individual racism because it is subtle, embedded, and baked into the very fabric of society. It is the process of White Supremacy. Also known as structural or institutional racism. (Yancey-Bragg, N/dea (2020, June 15). What is systemic racism? Here's what it means and how you can help dismantle it. USA Today., (Powell, J. A. (2008). Structural racism: Building upon the insights of John Calmore. North Carolina Law Review, 86(3), 791–816)

Generally, any person outside their country of nationality who is unable or unwilling to return to that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based on the person’s race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group or political opinion. (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (2015). Glossary: refugee. Retrieved from

A theory of justice that emphasizes repairing the harm caused by crime and conflict. It places decisions in the hands of those who have been most affected by a wrongdoing, and gives equal concern to the victim, the offender, and the surrounding community. Restorative responses are meant to repair harm, heal broken relationships, and address the underlying reasons for the offense. Restorative Justice emphasizes individual and collective accountability. Crime and conflict generate opportunities to build community and increase grassroots power when restorative practices are employed. (The Movement for Black Lives)

Any geographic areas in Oregon ten or more miles from the centroid of a population center of 40,000 people or more. (Oregon Office of Rural Health. (n.d.). About Rural and Frontier Data.

Breaking up learning activities into achievable chunks and providing supports around those chunks for learners. 

Involves the behaviors and emotions resulting from knowing about a traumatic event experienced by a significant other or by supporting an individual who has experienced by a significant other or by supporting an individual who has experienced trauma.

Established in 1973, this civil rights law lays out the non-discrimination requirements for Federal, State, and Local agencies and programs receiving federal assistance. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of disabling conditions by programs and activities receiving or benefiting from federal financial assistance. A school that is found by the Office of Civil Rights to be out of compliance with Section 504 may lose its federal support if it does not provide children who have been identified as having special needs with reasonable accommodations comparable to those provided to their peers. (Council for Expectational Children. (2002). Understanding the difference between IDEA and Section 504: Teaching exceptional children. Learning Disabilities Online.

"Conceptual process in which a learner actively engages with the natural or designed world, wonders about it, and then develops, tests, and refines ideas" (Hogan, M. (2019) Sense-Making is the Core of NGSS, Illuminate Education).

Sensory processing refers to the process by which one’s body organizes and recognizes sensation in one’s body and in the environments one is in in order to effectively behave within those environments. Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is when people, generally youth, have trouble receiving or processing all of the information that they get from their senses about the environments that they’re in. This is also known as Integration.

"A form of colonization in which outsiders come to land inhabited by Indigenous peoples and claim it as their own new home" (Tuck, McKenzie, McCoy (2014) Land education: Indigenous, post-colonial, and decolonizing perspectives on place and environmental education research, Environmental Education Research, 20(1), pg. 6). “Settler colonialism normalizes the continuous settler occupation, exploiting lands and resources to which Indigenous peoples have genealogical relationships. Settler colonialism includes interlocking forms of oppression, including racism, white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, and capitalism” (Oxford Bibliographies).

The type of attraction one feels for others, often described based on the gender relationship between a person and the people they are sexually attracted to. (The Avarna Group (2020). Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Vocabulary, retrieved from

An idea that appears to be natural and obvious to people who accept it, but may or may not represent reality.

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process of developing the personal and interpersonal skills necessary to thrive as an individual and as a member of society, and to cope with challenges. Social-emotional learning includes developing skills to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, demonstrate care and concern for others, develop positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. (CASEL and OSU Extension Service Outdoor School)

The process of improving the lives and participation of individuals who have been disadvantaged or historically excluded from participating in society on the basis of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, or economic or other social identity or status. Improvements include increased access to resources, agency, voice, and their rights. 

A vision of society in which the distribution of resources is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure. Social justice involves social actors who have a sense of their own agency as well as a sense of social responsibility toward and with others and the society as a whole.

(Adams, M., Bell, L. A., & Griffin, P. (2007). Teaching for diversity and social justice. New York: Routledge.)

A measure of an individual’s or a group’s combined economic and social status as perceived through education, income, and occupation. (Baker, E. H. (2014). Socioeconomic status, definition. In W. C. Cockerham, R. Dingwall, & S. R. Quah (Eds.), The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of health, illness, behavior, and society (pp. 2210–2214). Chichester: Wiley). SES identifies the social standing of that individual or group and can reveal where there are inequities in access to resources and power.

A continuum of services used to provide students with disabilities specialized instruction to meet their individual learning needs. In the United States, this is offered free of charge through the public education system because of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This continuum of services supports students with accommodations and modifications when general education is no longer adequate. (Oregon Department of Education. (n.d.). Special Education.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires public schools to provide specialized instruction to eligible students. But not every child who struggles in school qualifies. To be covered, a child’s school performance must be “adversely affected” by a disability in one of the 13 categories below. (


1. Specific learning disability (SLD)

The umbrella term “SLD” covers a specific group of learning challenges. These conditions affect a child’s ability to read, write, listen, speak, reason, or do math. Here’s what could fall in this category:

SLD is the most common category under IDEA. In 2018, 34 percent of students who qualified did so under this category.

2. Other health impairment

The umbrella term “other health impairment” covers conditions that limit a child’s strength, energy, or alertness. One example is ADHD, which impacts attention and executive function.

3. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

ASD is a developmental disability. It covers a wide range of symptoms, but it mainly affects a child’s social and communication skills. It can also impact behavior.

4. Emotional disturbance

Various mental health issues can fall under the “emotional disturbance” category. They may include anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression. (Some of these may also be covered under “other health impairment.”)

5. Speech or language impairment

This category covers difficulties with speech or language. A common example is stuttering. Other examples are trouble pronouncing words or making sounds with the voice. It also covers language problems that make it hard for kids to understand words or express themselves.

6. Visual impairment, including blindness

A child who has eyesight problems is considered to have a visual impairment. This category includes both partial sight and blindness. If eyewear can correct a vision problem, then it doesn’t qualify.

7. Deafness

Kids with a diagnosis of deafness fall under this category. These are kids who can’t hear most or all sounds, even with a hearing aid.

8. Hearing impairment

The term “hearing impairment” refers to a hearing loss not covered by the definition of deafness. This type of loss can change over time. Being hard of hearing is not the same thing as having trouble with auditory or language processing.

9. Deaf-blindness

Kids with a diagnosis of deaf-blindness have both severe hearing and vision loss. Their communication and other needs are so unique that programs for just the deaf or blind can’t meet them.

10. Orthopedic impairment

An orthopedic impairment is one where kids lack function or physical ability in their bodies. An example is cerebral palsy.

11. Intellectual disability

Kids with this type of disability have below-average intellectual ability. They may also have poor communication, self-care, and social skills. Down syndrome is one example of an intellectual disability.

12. Traumatic brain injury

This is a brain injury caused by an accident or some kind of physical force.

13. Multiple disabilities

A child with multiple disabilities has more than one condition covered by IDEA. Having multiple issues creates educational needs that can’t be met in a program designed for any one disability.

Learn how to find out if a child is eligible for special education. When kids are determined to be eligible, the next step will be to create an Individualized Education Program (IEP). For kids who are in preschool or younger, you may want to learn about early intervention.

A broad collection of specialists who support students with disabilities within a school system; may include Speech Pathologist, Special Education Teacher, Occupational Therapist, School Administrators (e.g., Principal), Counselor, Autism Specialist, Behavior Specialist and Teacher on Special Assignment.

A disorder that impacts an individual’s ability to understand language (spoken or written). This might look like having difficulty listening, speaking, reading, writing, or doing math. See “Special Education Eligibility Categories”.

This approach is a shift from a deficit approach, which focuses on the problems of a learner and trying to “cure” them. A strengths-based approach refers to policies, practice methods, and strategies that educators use to identify and incorporate the strengths of learners and their communities.

An overwhelming event or events that contribute to a person becoming helpless, powerless and creating a threat of harm and/or loss. “Traumatization occurs when both internal and external resources are inadequate to cope with external threats” (Van der Kolk, 1989).

Incorporates three key elements: (1) realizing the prevalence of trauma; (2) recognizing how trauma affects all individuals involved with the program, organization, or system, including its own workforce; and (3) responding by putting this knowledge into practice by implementing services that are trauma-informed, training staff and responding to participants with a trauma-sensitive approach.

A framework used to improve and optimize teaching and learning. UDL is used to design instructional goals, assessments, and materials to help engage not only students with disabilities but all students in a class. There are three guiding principles of UDL, Engagement (referring to the “why” of learning), Representation (referring to the “what” of learning), and Action & Expression (referring to the “how” of learning). (CAST. (n.d.). About Universal Design for Learning.

A term coined by Robin DiAngelo that refers to the discomfort many white people feel when faced with even a minimum amount of racial stress. This discomfort triggers a range of defensive moves including the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium.

(DiAngelo, R. (2018). White fragility: Why it's so hard for white people to talk about racism. Beacon Press.)

Whiteness itself refers to the specific dimensions of racism that serve to elevate white people over people of color. This definition counters the dominant representation of racism in mainstream education as isolated in discrete behaviors that some individuals may or may not demonstrate, and goes beyond naming specific privileges (McIntosh, 1988). Whiteness is dynamic, relational, and operating at all times and on myriad levels. These processes and practices include basic rights, values, beliefs, perspectives, and experiences purported to be commonly shared by all but which are actually only consistently afforded to white people.
(DiAngelo, R. “White Fragility” (International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, 2011).)

In short, the creation of ‘whiteness’ meant giving privileges to some, while denying them to others with the justification of biological and social inferiority.
(PBS, “Race: The Power of an Illusion” (2018–2019 relaunch of 2003 series))

The unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, Benefits, and choices bestowed on people solely because they are White. White people who experience such privilege may or may not be conscious of it.
(McIntosh, P. (1988). White privilege and male privilege: A personal account of coming to see correspondences through work in women studies.
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