TIES Center: Increasing Time, Instructional Effectiveness, Engagement, and State Support for Inclusive Practices for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities


Creates sustainable changes in school and district educational systems so that students with significant cognitive disabilities can fully engage in the same instructional and non-instructional activities as their general education peers while being instructed in a way that meets individual learning needs. Future project activities will support increased student engagement and improved learning outcomes for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

The primary outcome of the TIES Center, which is a National Technical Assistance Center on Inclusive Practices and Policies, is to improve the quality of instruction for students with significant cognitive disabilities in inclusive environments through the use of existing curriculum and instructional materials. The new center will also provide models and coaching to both general education and special education teachers to create more inclusive opportunities. In addition, the TIES Center will support changes to inclusive practices and policies within partner state and local education agencies.

The TIES Center has identified five goals to support its outcomes:

  1. Develop professional learning communities in partner state and local education agencies.
  2. Develop coaching models for implementation of resources, inclusive practices and communicative competence.
  3. Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of existing resources.
  4. Support parents to become partners in the practice of inclusion for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
  5. Support systems change within the leadership of state and local education agencies for implementation of inclusive practices.
Sheryl Lazarus
Sheryl Lazarus
Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education
Arizona Department of Education
University of Cincinnati
University of Kentucky
University of North Carolina Charlotte
University of North Carolina Greensboro


Deb Albus

Deb Albus :: Research Fellow


Kristin Dean :: Information Technology Manager

Gail S Ghere

Gail S Ghere :: Researcher 6

Debbie Hansen

Debbie Hansen :: Executive Ofc and Admin Spec

Maureen E Hawes

Maureen E Hawes :: Research Associate

David R Johnson PhD

David R Johnson PhD :: Professor

Sheryl Lazarus

Sheryl Lazarus :: Senior Research Associate

Kristin K Liu PhD

Kristin K Liu PhD :: Senior Research Associate

Tayler N Loiselle

Tayler N Loiselle :: Graduate Research Assistant

Michael L Moore

Michael L Moore :: Principal Editor/Writer

Darrell H Peterson

Darrell H Peterson :: Education Program Specialist

Chris Rogers

Chris Rogers :: Research Fellow


Amanda C Shopa :: Research Assistant

Martha L Thurlow

Martha L Thurlow :: Senior Research Associate

Terri Vandercook

Terri Vandercook :: Researcher 6

Yi-Chen Wu

Yi-Chen Wu :: Research Associate


Jessica Bowman :: Researcher 6


TIES Center Briefs: 10 Reasons to Support Inclusive School Communities for ALL Students (#1)

Educators, students, and families have found many compelling reasons to support inclusive education for students with and without disabilities. This Brief delineates ten reasons that supporting...

Published: November 2018

TIES Center Reports: How States Interpret the LRE Clause of IDEA: A Policy Analysis (#101)

The purpose of this report is to analyze how states interpret special education regulations associated with the Individuals with Disabilities (IDEA) regulations, specifically around least…Published: November 2018

Impact: Feature Issue on Inclusive Education for K-8 Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities

An issue in the  Impact  series that examines K-8 inclusive education. Historically, students with the most significant cognitive disabilities were often taught only functional skills in our K-12…Published: Winter 2018-19

MTSS for All: Including Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities

The purpose of this Brief is to provide suggestions for ways in which the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) can include students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. 

Published: 1/23/2020


  • Education practices (K12 and transition)
    • Dropout prevention and student engagement
      • Family engagement
        • Inclusive education
        • Educational accountability and assessment
          • Evaluation of education programs
            • Instruction
              • Intellectual/Cognitive Disability
                • Students with Disabilities
                • Specific life stage
                  • Children