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  1. CO-TEACHING FOR INCLUSION IN A SUBURBAN MIDDLE SCHOOL:
  2. A SOCIO-TECHNICAL PERSPECTIVE
  3. by
  4. Monique Mawhinney
  5. B.S. in Education, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 1993
  6. M.Ed., University of Pittsburgh, 1999
  7. Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of
  8. Education in partial fulfillment
  9. of the requirements for the degree of
  10. Doctor of Education
  11. University of Pittsburgh
  12. 2010
  13. ii
  14. UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH
  15. SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
  16. This dissertation was presented
  17. by
  18. Monique Mawhinney
  19. It was defended on
  20. December 7, 2010
  21. and approved by
  22. Dr. Sue Goodwin, Professor, Administrative and Policy Studies
  23. Dr. Otto Graf, Professor, Administrative and Policy Studies
  24. Dr. Michael Gunzenhauser, Associate Professor, Administrative and Policy Studies
  25. Dr. Robert Isherwood, Assistant Professor, Special Education
  26. Dissertation Advisor: Dr. Sean Hughes, Associate Professor, Administrative and Policy
  27. Studies
  28. iii
  29. Copyright © by Monique Mawhinney
  30. 2010
  31. iv
  32. CO-TEACHING FOR INCLUSION IN A SUBURBAN MIDDLE SCHOOL: A
  33. SOCIO-TECHNICAL PERSPECTIVE
  34. Monique Mawhinney, Ed.D.
  35. University of Pittsburgh, 2010
  36. A study occurred of the implementation of a regular education and special education co-teaching
  37. model in a suburban middle school to determine the changes in the school system’s
  38. sociotechnical subsystems. The Socio-Technical Theory describes the complex relationships
  39. between people, tasks and technology (Cooper, Gencturk & Lindley, 1996). The subsystems
  40. within this theory consist of a human, technical, structural and a task subsystem. A three-year
  41. study took place to examine the subsystem variables that affected the implementation of coteaching. The study happened during the refining/restructuring stage of implementation. I used
  42. case study methodology including semi-structured interviews, classroom observations,
  43. observations and document analysis.
  44. The results of the study discovered that implementing co-teaching in a school district
  45. created changes in all four subsystems. A change in the human subsystem was the need for a
  46. shared philosophy of co-teaching between the co-teaching pairs. A change in the technical
  47. subsystem included the need for special education teachers to increase their knowledge in the
  48. subject area. The need for common plan time was a change identified in the structural subsystem.
  49. Finally, a change that occurred in the task subsystem included relative advantage, which Roger
  50. (2003) defines as the degree to which the innovation is perceived as better than the idea it
  51. supersedes.
  52. v
  53. School administrators would benefit from understanding that implementation of coteaching can be a complex series of stages and proper planning must occur for implementation to
  54. be successful. Meaningful professional development should be provided to administrators and
  55. teachers. A master schedule must be designed to reflect common plan time and consistent coteachers each year. Teachers should share a common philosophy regarding co-teaching in order
  56. to provide a solid experience. Analysis of data revealed that these factors related to the findings
  57. of several researchers and were the same factors identified from the four socio-technical
  58. subsystems.
  59. School administrators would benefit from using The Socio-Technical Theory when
  60. implementing an initiative. They should pay particular attention to specific factors from each of
  61. the subsystems that could have an affect on the overall success of the initiative prior to
  62. implementation.
  63. vi
  64. TABLE OF CONTENTS
  65. DEDICATION..........................................................................................................................XIII
  66. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT.......................................................................................................XIV
  67. 1.0 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................ 1
  68. 1.1 BACKGROUND.................................................................................................. 1
  69. 1.2 THE STORY OF THE STUDY.......................................................................... 4
  70. 1.3 THE FORMAT OF THE STUDY...................................................................... 6
  71. 1.4 SUMMARY OF CHAPTER I ............................................................................ 7
  72. 2.0 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK ............................................................................... 9
  73. 2.1 FEDERAL LEGISLATION ............................................................................. 10
  74. 2.1.1 The Rehabilitation Act of 1973..................................................................... 10
  75. 2.1.2 The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 .............................................. 12
  76. 2.1.3 The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) .......................... 13
  77. 2.1.4 The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001(NCLB)........................................... 14
  78. 2.1.5 The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004........................... 17
  79. 2.2 LANDMARK COURT CASES........................................................................ 20
  80. 2.2.1 Brown vs. Board of Education ..................................................................... 20
  81. 2.2.2 Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Citizens (PARC) v. Pennsylvania..
  82. ......................................................................................................................... 21
  83. vii
  84. 2.2.3 Roncker v. Walter.......................................................................................... 21
  85. 2.2.4 Daniel R.R. v. State Board of Education..................................................... 22
  86. 2.2.5 Oberti vs. Board of Education of the Borough of Clementon School
  87. District......................................................................................................................... 23
  88. 2.2.6 Sacramento City Unified School District v. Holland.................................. 25
  89. 2.2.7 Gaskin v. Pennsylvania ................................................................................. 26
  90. 2.3 OVERVIEW OF INCLUSION ........................................................................ 32
  91. 2.3.1 Advantages of Inclusive Classrooms............................................................ 35
  92. 2.3.2 Disadvantages of Inclusive Classrooms....................................................... 38
  93. 2.3.3 Successful Inclusion....................................................................................... 40
  94. 2.4 TEACHER IMPACT ON INCLUSION PROGRAMS ................................. 44
  95. 2.4.1 Individual Change ......................................................................................... 45
  96. 2.4.2 Teacher Perception........................................................................................ 46
  97. 2.4.3 Teacher Attitude............................................................................................ 47
  98. 2.5 OVERVIEW OF CO-TEACHING.................................................................. 50
  99. 2.5.1 Models of Co-teaching................................................................................... 52
  100. 2.5.2 Benefits of Co-Teaching ................................................................................ 54
  101. 2.5.3 Barriers to Co-Teaching ............................................................................... 55
  102. 2.5.4 Components of a Successful Co-teaching Model ........................................ 57
  103. 2.6 SUMMARY OF CHAPTER II......................................................................... 61
  104. 3.0 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY.............................................................................. 63
  105. 3.1 PURPOSE........................................................................................................... 63
  106. 3.2 BACKGROUND................................................................................................ 63
  107. viii
  108. 3.3 AUDIENCE........................................................................................................ 64
  109. 3.4 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM............................................................... 64
  110. 3.5 RESEARCH DESIGN....................................................................................... 65
  111. 3.6 CASE................................................................................................................... 66
  112. 3.7 SUBJECTS ......................................................................................................... 67
  113. 3.8 QUALITATIVE DATA COLLECTION ........................................................ 67
  114. 3.9 QUALITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS ............................................................... 69
  115. 3.10 VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY OF RESULTS .......................................... 71
  116. 3.11 REPORTING THE RESULTS ........................................................................ 72
  117. 4.0 IN THE TRENCHES ................................................................................................. 74
  118. 4.1 SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAM DESCRIPTION................................ 74
  119. 4.2 INITIATION...................................................................................................... 75
  120. 4.3 PART I: THE INVESTIGATION ................................................................... 76
  121. 4.3.1 Agenda Setting ............................................................................................... 76
  122. 4.3.2 Matching......................................................................................................... 77
  123. 4.3.3 Interpretation of Agenda Setting ................................................................. 79
  124. 4.3.4 Interpretation of Matching........................................................................... 83
  125. 4.4 PART II: PREPARATION............................................................................... 86
  126. 4.4.1 Redefining/Restructuring ............................................................................. 86
  127. 4.5 PART III: PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT........................................... 98
  128. 4.5.1 Day One: February 2006............................................................................... 98
  129. 4.5.2 Day Two: April 2006 ................................................................................... 103
  130. 4.5.3 Day Three- June 2006.................................................................................. 107
  131. ix
  132. 4.6 IMPLEMENTATION OF CO-TEACHING ................................................ 111
  133. 4.6.1 Year One: 2006-2007 School Year ............................................................. 111
  134. 4.6.2 Year Two: 2007-2008 School Year............................................................. 122
  135. 4.6.3 Year Three: 2008-2009 School Year .......................................................... 133
  136. 4.6.4 Summary of Chapter IV ............................................................................. 139
  137. 5.0 DISCOVERIES, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS................... 145
  138. 5.1 DISCOVERIES AND CONCLUSIONS........................................................ 146
  139. 5.2 HUMAN SUBSYSTEM................................................................................... 147
  140. 5.2.1 Common Philosophy ................................................................................... 147
  141. 5.2.2 Maintaining Co-teaching Pairs .................................................................. 148
  142. 5.2.3 Hire One Additional Special Education Teacher ..................................... 149
  143. 5.3 TECHNICAL SUBSYSTEM.......................................................................... 150
  144. 5.3.1 Special Education Teachers Lack Content Knowledge ........................... 150
  145. 5.3.2 Professional Development and Differentiated Instruction ...................... 151
  146. 5.3.3 Use of Co-teaching Models.......................................................................... 151
  147. 5.4 STRUCTURAL SUBSYSTEM....................................................................... 153
  148. 5.5 TASK SUBSYSTEM ....................................................................................... 156
  149. 5.5.1 Relative Advantage...................................................................................... 156
  150. 5.5.2 Clerical and Day-to-Day Responsibilities.................................................. 158
  151. 5.6 RECOMMENDATIONS ................................................................................ 159
  152. 5.6.1 Theory........................................................................................................... 159
  153. 5.6.2 Practice ......................................................................................................... 161
  154. APPENDIX A............................................................................................................................ 164
  155. x
  156. APPENDIX B ............................................................................................................................ 166
  157. APPENDIX C............................................................................................................................ 168
  158. APPENDIX D............................................................................................................................ 170
  159. BIBLIOGRAPHY..................................................................................................................... 171
  160. xi
  161. LIST OF TABLES
  162. Table 1 End of Year One- Common Themes Identified............................................................. 121
  163. Table 2 End of Year Two- Common Themes Identified ............................................................ 128
  164. Table 3 End of Year Three- Common Themes Identified .......................................................... 139
  165. xii
  166. LIST OF FIGURES
  167. Figure 1 A framework for understanding the Least Restrictive Environment levels for IEP team
  168. placement decisions for students with disabilities (Champagne, 1993). ...................................... 31
  169. Figure 2 A framework for summarizing various researchers’ literature review on successful
  170. components of an inclusion program............................................................................................ 44
  171. Figure 3 A framework for summarizing the common factors that relate to an effective coteaching model according to the literature review of several researchers.................................... 61
  172. Figure 4 A framework for depicting centralized diffusion system............................................... 85
  173. Figure 5: A visual representation of the special education teachers’ co-taught class schedules.. 94
  174. Figure 6: A summary of factors from the socio-technical subsystems and those discovered by
  175. various researchers that result in a successful co-teaching model.............................................. 161
  176. xiii
  177. DEDICATION
  178. To my parents for their unconditional love and support throughout my entire life and for
  179. instilling in me a solid work ethic, which is what made me who I am today
  180. To my husband Mike, for his love, patience and faith in me throughout my entire educational
  181. journey
  182. To the love of my life, my son Maddox, who put things into perspective and made me realize
  183. what matters most
  184. xiv
  185. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
  186. There are many people that I wish to acknowledge that helped make the completion of
  187. this dissertation possible. Most importantly, I wish to thank Dr. Sean Hughes for accompanying
  188. me on my journey through the Masters and Doctoral program. It was his wisdom and guidance
  189. that led me to the end of my journey and helped me accomplish all of my goals along the way.
  190. Ten years ago I knew Sean as my advisor and professor, but today he has become so much more;
  191. a very dear friend and colleague who has made a huge impact on my educational career and I
  192. often find myself asking, “what would Sean do?” when I am faced with difficult challenges or
  193. decisions. Next, I extend my gratitude to Dr. Sue Goodwin who has always been a positive role
  194. model; she so graciously agreed to sit on my dissertation committee even after she was retired.
  195. Her knowledge and expertise in guiding me through this process was priceless and greatly
  196. appreciated. I wish to extend a sincere thank you to Dr. Mike Gunzenhauser, who joined my
  197. dissertation committee late in the game, and provided me with rich and meaningful feedback and
  198. many words of encouragement.
  199. I am so grateful to Dr. Robert Isherwood, a dear colleague and friend, who volunteered
  200. his time to serve as a committee member because of his dedication to the profession. His
  201. knowledge and expertise in the area of education is valuable and helped me develop a better
  202. understanding of the topic I was studying. His friendship is priceless and I will always be
  203. xv
  204. appreciative of his support and encouragement throughout this process. I want to extend a
  205. sincere thank you to Dr. Jo Welter, a very dear colleague and friend, who took time away from
  206. her own family to read and edit this dissertation over and over. In addition, she was my own
  207. personal cheerleader who never allowed me to give up and encouraged me to see this process
  208. through to the end.
  209. I wish to thank my husband Mike for his constant encouragement and support over the
  210. past nine years. No matter how frustrated or defeated I became, he never let me give up and I am
  211. so grateful for his love and support. I can now give back family time that he allowed me to
  212. sacrifice so that I could accomplish this life-long goal. Finally, I want to thank the love of my
  213. life, my son Maddox, for just being him and making me realize that family always comes before
  214. work, and in the end, it is what matters most in life. I promise to spend every extra minute of my
  215. free time with him to make up for all of the hours lost in order to complete this accomplishment.
  216. 1
  217. 1.0 INTRODUCTION
  218. 1.1 BACKGROUND
  219. Although co-teaching has been around for many years, it is becoming one of the fastest-growing
  220. inclusive practices in school (Sands, Kozleski & French, 2000). Also referred to as collaborative
  221. teaching, the general concept of co-teaching is that it occurs when two or more educators jointly
  222. deliver substantial instruction to a diverse or blended group of students in a single physical space
  223. (Walsh, 2004). Sands, Kozleski, and French (2000) identify collaboration as one of the most
  224. important characteristics in schools because it has become a defining characteristic of society in
  225. the 21st century.
  226. The implementation of co-teaching in public school settings is primarily a result of the
  227. recent trends and legislation promoting inclusive instruction and access to the general education
  228. curriculum for students with disabilities (Villa, Thousand, & Niven, 2004). The historical outline
  229. of educating students with disabilities has progressed from neglect, placement in institutions, and
  230. residential schooling or other isolated classes, to pullout programs within the public school
  231. setting.
  232. In the 1950’s and 1960’s the Federal government, with the strong support and advocacy
  233. of family associations, such as The Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC), began to develop
  234. and validate practices for children with disabilities and their families. These practices, in turn,
  235. 2
  236. laid the foundation for implementing effective programs and services of early intervention and
  237. special education in states and localities across the country (The Arc, 2006). Recently, educating
  238. students with disabilities was often done through mainstreaming and is now continuing in the
  239. direction of inclusion for all students with disabilities so that they may have access to the general
  240. curriculum (Bradley, King-Sears, & Tessier-Switlick, 1997). As the Director of Pupil Services
  241. for a school district of approximately 3,100 students, I have been charged with the task of
  242. providing a more inclusive setting for students with disabilities. I have chosen co-teaching as the
  243. method in which to accomplish this task. Specifically, the middle school is the first building in
  244. the district to implement a co-teaching model.
  245. According to Walther-Thomas (1997) and Isherwood and Barger-Anderson (2008), a
  246. need exists to further investigate what can be done to improve current co-teaching systems and
  247. practices. The authors identify a number of challenges and barriers that influence the success of
  248. co-teaching in schools, including planning time, human resources, scheduling, caseloads, clarity
  249. in teacher roles and responsibilities, teacher attitudes, administrative support, and staff
  250. development. These challenges are examples of factors related to the socio-technical theory.
  251. The Socio-Technical Theory describes the complex relationships between people, tasks,
  252. and technology, and helps determine how these can be used to advantage (Cooper, Gencturk &
  253. Lindley, 1996). Furthermore, Owens and Steinhoff (1976) refer to the school as a socio-technical
  254. organization and explain that there are four subsystems within the school system: human,
  255. technical, structural and task. The human subsystem is comprised of superintendents, teachers,
  256. administrators and support staff who are typically engaged in tasks such as delivery of
  257. instruction, development of curriculum, and evaluation of student progress. If schools are going
  258. to perform these types of tasks, according to Owens and Steinhoff, they require structure.
  259. 3
  260. Structure gives school systems order and helps to define the roles for members by establishing
  261. patterns of authority and collegiality; structure dictates the patterns and channels of
  262. communication networks that are basic to information flow and decision-making (Owens &
  263. Steinhoff, 1976).
  264. Finally, the organization must have technical resources to complete tasks and achieve
  265. goals. For a school system, these may include hardware, software, textbooks or program
  266. inventions like systemic procedures, the sequencing of activities, or other procedural inventions
  267. designed to solve problems that interfere with organizational task achievement (Owens &
  268. Steinhoff, 1976). These four subsystems are variables that differ from time to time and from one
  269. organization to the next. The four subsystems interrelate, with each tending to shape and mold
  270. the others. Owens and Steinhoff (1976) believe that these four subsystems are critical elements
  271. to be dealt with when initiating change or implementing an innovation in an organization.
  272. Because these subsystems are dependent upon one another, a change in one will result in some
  273. adaptation on the part of the others.
  274. I have chosen to use the socio-technical theory as a lens through which to view the
  275. implementation of co-teaching; because I believe that a school is made up of the two components
  276. that Owens and Steinhoff (1976) identify as the fundamental concepts of the term sociotechnical: a social system and a technical system. Not only will I examine technical factors that
  277. affect the implementation, but also the social and human interaction amongst the co-teachers.
  278. More importantly, I want to focus my study on the human, task, structural and technical
  279. subsystem variables that may affect the implementation of co-teaching.
  280. 4
  281. 1.2 THE STORY OF THE STUDY
  282. In this section I explain the purpose of my study through the who, what, when, where, why and
  283. how questioning process of storytelling. I start with explaining the why of my study first. The
  284. purpose of this study is two-fold; as a doctoral student from the University of Pittsburgh
  285. continuing my journey as a scholar, I need to fulfill the final requirement of the program, which
  286. is completing the dissertation process. Finding a topic of interest was a challenge because I
  287. wanted to focus on a subject that I was passionate about, but also something that would benefit
  288. me and other administrators in the field of education. Hence, as a practitioner, I wanted my study
  289. to relate to something that I would be working on in my daily practice as a school administrator.
  290. This leads me to the what of my story.
  291. As the Director of Pupil Services for a suburban school district, I was given the task of
  292. creating a more inclusive environment for students with disabilities. We did some preliminary
  293. research on the concept of co-teaching and based on the research findings (which will be
  294. discussed in detail in the next chapter), the district decided it might be a successful method to use
  295. for including students with disabilities in the regular education setting. After several meetings
  296. with other central office administrators and building-level principals, we decided to move
  297. forward with the what, or co-teaching initiative. This leads me to the where of the study.
  298. The district knew we couldn’t implement such a huge initiative across all levels at one
  299. time, so we had to decide where to begin. After much consideration and debate (this part of the
  300. story will be told in detail in the Chapter: In the Trenches), along with the support of the middle
  301. school principal and assistant principal, we decided to implement the co-teaching model at the
  302. middle school. There were two reasons for our decision. First, the middle school consists of
  303. students in grades 6, 7 and 8 and students in grades 6 and 7 are placed on teams. Each grade
  304. 5
  305. consists of two teams comprised of math, English, science, social studies, and reading teachers,
  306. along with a special education teacher. We thought this would be a logical place to start since
  307. there was a master schedule that already fit the design of the co-teaching model. Secondly, the
  308. middle school special education program currently modeled a pull-out program where the
  309. students with disabilities went to the special education classroom for instruction in English, math
  310. and reading. The middle school was the building in the district that needed a more inclusive
  311. setting the most and, as a result, we decided to start here.
  312. Most people would think identifying the who, or characters, of a story, would be the easy
  313. part. Although the who of my study certainly aren’t characters, identifying the participants was
  314. not easy. I knew that the subjects for my study had to be special and regular education teachers
  315. who were going to be co-teaching. The difficult part was knowing that the participants were also
  316. the teachers who were being forced to implement an initiative in the district that they really were
  317. not excited about. It was difficult for me because I was going to be both the author and the
  318. director of the story, so to speak. I was concerned that because I was the central office
  319. administrator overseeing the co-teaching initiative in the district, the participants, or who, of my
  320. study wouldn’t be as honest as I needed them to be in order to collect accurate data as the
  321. researcher conducting the study. How I attempted to solve this dilemma is explained in more
  322. detail in the Chapter: In the Trenches.
  323. Deciding the when of the study was frustrating for me; not because I didn’t know when I
  324. wanted to begin the implementation of co-teaching, but because the process was delayed due to
  325. reasons beyond my control. Not only did this delay the dissertation process for me, but it also
  326. delayed the implementation of the co-teaching initiative for the district. The reason for the delay
  327. was due to personnel changes at the district and middle school levels. I foresee this study taking
  328. 6
  329. place over a one-year period. Specifically, I will collect data during this time by conducting
  330. classroom observations and interviewing the participants of the study using a semi-structured
  331. interview guide. The classroom observations and interview questions will focus on finding
  332. patterns and themes related to the socio-technical subsystem variables. In order to assure validity
  333. and reliability, I will use data collected from formal and informal conversations with school
  334. personnel, consultants, meetings, emails, and memos over a three year time span and compare
  335. them to the results I gathered through the classroom observations and interviews. This approach
  336. addresses my concern that the participants may not be as honest during the interview process.
  337. Much of the data have already been collected through the pre-planning stages of implementation;
  338. now I need to move forward with the study by conducting the classroom observations and
  339. interviews with the participants.
  340. Finally, we get to the how of the study. Basically, the how of the study will be discussed
  341. in the Methodology Chapter. This chapter will be more traditional in nature and explain in detail
  342. the process for the study. In this chapter the statement of the problem, along with the research
  343. questions will be identified. Also, the research design will be identified as well as explanation of
  344. how the data will be collected and analyzed. Finally, the chapter ends with an overview of the
  345. approaches I used to guarantee the reliability and validity of the results.
  346. 1.3 THE FORMAT OF THE STUDY
  347. The format of this study is somewhat unique in nature as it supports the concept that I see myself
  348. as both a scholar and practitioner. The reader will find that Chapter 2: Conceptual Framework is
  349. 7
  350. written in a more traditional vein. I am the researcher looking for insights from the literature to
  351. help me as a practitioner. The reader will realize my transformation from scholar to practitioner
  352. as he or she begins to read Chapter 4: In the Trenches and Chapter 5: Discoveries, Conclusions
  353. and Recommendations. These chapters are written in story-like form in an attempt to bring to life
  354. the details of the study.
  355. Throughout these chapters, I move from the role of researcher to one of investigator and
  356. practitioner. In Chapter 4, I start out as the investigator by providing a description of how I got to
  357. the implementation stage. As the story of co-teaching unfolds, I become an active player, and as
  358. such, my role becomes more interpretive in nature. I continue the story through the eyes of the
  359. practitioner in Chapter 5 by summarizing the outcomes of the study and what I came to
  360. understand about the phenomenon. Finally, I resort back to the investigator in the end of Chapter
  361. 5 by interpreting my findings, drawing overall conclusions and expressing my thoughts of the
  362. study.
  363. 1.4 SUMMARY OF CHAPTER I
  364. The background information provided in this Chapter helps the reader understand the philosophy
  365. behind co-teaching and why school districts are using this method to provide a more inclusive
  366. school setting for students with disabilities. Many researchers in special education and coteaching identify a number of challenges and barriers to co-teaching and have indicated that for it
  367. to be successful various factors must be considered. The factors identified are variables that
  368. relate to the socio-technical subsystems: human, task, technical and structural, all of which can
  369. be found in a school system.
  370. 8
  371. The Story of the Study and Format of the Study were written in an attempt to help the
  372. reader understand my perspective on co-teaching from both a scholar and practitioner’s
  373. viewpoint. It is critical that the reader recognizes the passion I have for the topic as a scholar and
  374. the benefit of the topic to me as a practitioner. I believe this study will provide other school
  375. administrators and educators insight on how to proceed with such an important and meaningful
  376. initiative by understanding a solid framework for implementing a successful co-teaching model
  377. from a socio-technical perspective.
  378. 9
  379. 2.0 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
  380. Specifically, this chapter will focus on the historical outcomes of special education that impacted
  381. the adoption of co-teaching in public school systems. For the purpose of this review, the term coteaching refers to the pairing of one regular education teacher and one special education teacher.
  382. The first part will review Federal legislation, such as the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the
  383. Education of All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, which was reauthorized in 1990 and is now
  384. known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the No Child Left Behind
  385. Act of 2001(NCLB) that forced public school systems to redesign the educational system for
  386. children with disabilities.
  387. IDEA and NCLB have established solid requirements regarding teacher certification and
  388. the idea that all teachers, both regular and special education, must become “highly qualified” in
  389. their field within a specified timeframe (PSBA, 2005). Co-teaching is one method for meeting
  390. these strict requirements, and as a result, districts are embracing co-teaching and using it as a
  391. highly regarded best practice (PSBA, 2005).
  392. The second part of this chapter provides a historical outline of landmark court decisions
  393. that increased educational opportunities for children with disabilities (Osborne and Russo, 2003).
  394. Cases such as Brown v. Board of Education (1954), Pennsylvania Association for Retarded
  395. Citizens (PARC) v. Commonwealth (1971), Oberti v. Board of Education of the Borough of
  396. Clementon School District (1993), along with several other court precedents specific to children
  397. 10
  398. with disabilities will be discussed in detail, in order to describe why public school settings are
  399. adopting co-teaching as a teaching method in order to continue to meet state and federal
  400. mandates.
  401. Next, the chapter focuses on an in-depth examination of inclusion and provides a further
  402. understanding of how co-teaching fosters this concept. The advantages and disadvantages of
  403. inclusion are discussed, along with viewpoints from proponents and opponents. Particularly,
  404. teacher’s perceptions and attitudes are examined in order to explain how they can affect an
  405. inclusive setting. A compilation of various researchers is reviewed and a list of common
  406. components of a successful inclusion program is discussed.
  407. The last section of the chapter provides an overview of the history of co-teaching. The
  408. five models of co-teaching are reviewed in-depth so as to explain the correlation between the use
  409. of the models and how they are implemented to maximize the relationship between the paired
  410. teachers.
  411. 2.1 FEDERAL LEGISLATION
  412. 2.1.1 The Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  413. In 1973 when The Rehabilitation Act was passed, the federal government was doing very little to
  414. promote participation and equal access to federally funded programs by people with disabilities
  415. (Keefe-Martin, 2001). The spirit of the act was to provide job opportunities and training to adults
  416. with disabilities, but also address the failure of public schools to educate students with
  417. 11
  418. disabilities. The single paragraph we now refer to as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
  419. provided that:
  420. No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States, as defined in
  421. section 706 (20) of this title, shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded
  422. from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination
  423. under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance or under any
  424. program or activity conducted by any Executive agency or by the United States Postal
  425. Service. The head of each such agency shall promulgate such regulations as may be
  426. necessary to carry out the amendments to this section made by the Rehabilitation,
  427. Comprehensive Services, and Development Disabilities Act of 1978. [29 U.S.C §794 (a)
  428. (1973)]
  429. Particularly for schools, the language in Section 504 focuses on discrimination and
  430. broadly prohibits the denial of public education participation or extracurricular activities offered
  431. by the public school programs because of the student’s disability (Fetter-Harrott, Steketee &
  432. Dare, 2008). Congress did not create an additional source of federal funding, but instead, based
  433. the receipt of the federal funds on a district’s compliance with the new requirements.
  434. The failure of Section 504 to solve the problem of educating students with disabilities
  435. resulted in the need for a more forceful law (Keefe-Martin, 2001). Congress, through an
  436. unfunded mandate, expected schools to create special programs and individualized educational
  437. placements for children with disabilities. In addition, the broad anti-discrimination language of
  438. Section 504 made it unclear as to how the schools should provide these services. Almost twenty
  439. years later, The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was established in an attempt to
  440. strengthen the regulations set forth by The Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
  441. 12
  442. 2.1.2 The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
  443. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 and seemed to pick up where The
  444. Rehabilitation Act left off. Borrowing from the Section 504 definition of disabled person and
  445. using the three-pronged approach to eligibility (has a physical or mental disability, a record of a
  446. disability, or is regarding as having a disability), ADA states:
  447. No covered entity shall discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability
  448. because of the disability of such individual in regard to job application procedures, the
  449. hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training,
  450. and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. [42 U.S.C. §12112 (a) (1990)]
  451. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 applied those standards to most private
  452. sector businesses, and sought to dissolve the barriers, thus allowing people with disabilities
  453. access to buildings, transportation and communication. The passage of ADA succeeds the
  454. employment provisions of Section 504 and adds more specific regulations to the accessibility
  455. requirements of Section 504, but it does little to change a school district’s obligation to provide
  456. educational services to students with disabilities.
  457. Two years after the passage of The Rehabilitation Act (1973), more comprehensive
  458. legislation that specifically related to schools and inclusive education was introduced. This
  459. legislation was known as Public Law 94-142, The Education of All Handicapped Children Act
  460. which is known today as The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In this
  461. legislation two important principles were introduced that would have an impact on inclusive
  462. education throughout the world. Yell and Katsiyannis (2004) indicate the first principle of the
  463. least restrictive environment (LRE) states that students with disabilities should be educated
  464. beside their non-disabled peers to the maximum extent possible. The second principle insists that
  465. 13
  466. a free appropriate public education (FAPE) should be available to students with disabilities that
  467. include special education and related services and be provided at public expense to meet the
  468. same standards as the state education agency (Yell & Katsiyannis, 2004).
  469. 2.1.3 The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  470. In 1975, Congress passed Public Law 94-142, The Education of All Handicapped Children Act,
  471. which today is referred to as The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Public Law
  472. 94-142 and IDEA have been regularly reviewed by Congress (1990, 1997 and 2004) to reflect
  473. interpretations from the courts and, according to Keeffe-Martin (2001) IDEA is now regarded as
  474. the most important statute that promotes the least restrictive environment and provides protection
  475. for students with disabilities in the educational setting.
  476. IDEA is a federal law enacted in 1990 and reauthorized in 1997 and in 2004. It is
  477. designed to protect the rights of students with disabilities by ensuring that everyone receives
  478. FAPE, regardless of ability. Furthermore, IDEA strives not only to grant equal access to students
  479. with disabilities, but also to provide additional special education services and procedural
  480. safeguards (The Arc, 2006).
  481. Specifically, the 1997 Amendments of IDEA, P.L. 105-17 guarantees that students with
  482. disabilities are provided a “free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education
  483. and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for employment and
  484. independent living” [20 U.S.C. §1412(c)(1)(A): 34 C.F.R. 300.1(a)]. Wright and Wright (2006)
  485. indicate special education services are individualized to meet the unique needs of students with
  486. disabilities and are provided in the least restrictive environment. Particularly, IDEA 1997
  487. requires each public agency to ensure:
  488. 14
  489. (1) that to a maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in
  490. public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are
  491. not disabled; and (2) that special classes, separate schooling or removal of children with
  492. disabilities from the regular education environment occurs only when the nature or
  493. severity of the child is such that education in regular classes with the use of
  494. supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. [20 U.S.C. §1412(a)
  495. (5); 34 C.F.R. 300.550(b)(1)-(2)]
  496. Shortly after the 1997 Amendments of IDEA, Congress enacted Public Law 107-110,
  497. better known as The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. This law, coupled with IDEA,
  498. increased the level of accountability for school districts to meet the needs of all children,
  499. including those with disabilities (PSBA, 2005).
  500. 2.1.4 The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001(NCLB)
  501. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 signed into law on January 8, 2002, which reauthorizes
  502. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, incorporates the principles and
  503. strategies proposed by President Bush. These include increased accountability for States, school
  504. districts, and schools. In addition, public school systems are held accountable for providing a
  505. rigorous education to all students, including those with disabilities. Under the NCLB, students
  506. are required to meet a level of proficiency in accordance with the state standards and
  507. assessments. Specifically the NCLB states:
  508. The purpose of this title is to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant
  509. opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on
  510. challenging state academic achievement standards and state academic assessments.
  511. 15
  512. [20 U.S.C. 6301 §1001]
  513. NCLB provides greater choice for parents and students, particularly those attending lowperforming schools. Elliot (2003) notes it also provides more flexibility for States and local
  514. education agencies (LEAs) in the use of Federal education dollars, and it places a stronger
  515. emphasis on reading, especially for our youngest children. NCLB requires that students with
  516. special needs have access to the same standards as students in the general education programs. In
  517. order for the state to receive grant funding, they must submit a plan to the Secretary that
  518. demonstrates compliance with NCLB. The NCLB Act specifies the plan must be in alignment
  519. with several other federal laws:
  520. (1) IN GENERAL.—For any State desiring to receive a grant under this part, the
  521. State educational agency shall submit to the Secretary a plan, developed by the
  522. State educational agency, in consultation with local educational agencies,
  523. teachers, principals, pupil services personnel, administrators (including
  524. administrators of programs described in other parts of this title), other staff, and
  525. parents, that satisfies the requirements of this section and that is coordinated with
  526. other programs under this Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,
  527. the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act of 1998, the Head
  528. Start Act, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, and the McKinney-Vento
  529. Homeless Assistance Act. [20 U.S.C. 6311§1111(a)(1)]
  530. One of the most prominent requirements of NCLB that affected school districts was in
  531. the area of teacher qualifications and measurable objectives (Elliot, 2003). In addition to
  532. obtaining a bachelor’s degree and certification in special education, new special education
  533. teachers must also pass a state test of subject knowledge in order to teach the core subjects.
  534. 16
  535. Teachers holding special education positions prior to the passing of the NCLB are expected to
  536. apply for “highly qualified” status by meeting certain criteria based on their college course
  537. history and teaching experience. Specifically, NCLB states:
  538. (1) IN GENERAL. -- Beginning with the first day of the first school year after the date of
  539. enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, each local educational agency
  540. receiving assistance under this part shall ensure that all teachers hired after such day and
  541. teaching in a program supported with funds under this part are highly qualified. (2)
  542. STATE PLAN.—As part of the plan described in section 1111, each State educational
  543. agency receiving assistance under this part shall develop a plan to ensure that all teachers
  544. teaching in core academic subjects within the State are highly qualified not later than the
  545. end of the 2005–2006 school year. Such plan shall establish annual measurable objectives
  546. for each local educational agency and school that, at a minimum—
  547. (A) shall include an annual increase in the percentage of highly qualified teachers
  548. at each local educational agency and school, to ensure that all teachers teaching in
  549. core academic subjects in each public elementary school and secondary school are
  550. highly qualified not later than the end of the 2005–2006 school year; (B) shall
  551. include an annual increase in the percentage of teachers who are receiving highquality professional development to enable such teachers to become highly
  552. qualified and successful classroom teachers; and (C) may include such other
  553. measures as the State educational agency determines to be appropriate to increase
  554. teacher qualifications. [20 U.S.C. 6319 §1119(a)(1)(2)(A)(B)(C)]
  555. In order to comply with the highly qualified requirements NCLB has placed on special
  556. education teachers, districts are creating “co-teaching” classrooms in which the special education
  557. 17
  558. teacher instructs along with the regular education teacher in the regular education classroom
  559. (Villa, Thousand & Niven, 2004). This philosophy of teaching satisfies NCLB legislation
  560. because the regular education teacher serves as the “highly qualified” teacher. Co-teaching helps
  561. meet LRE requirements set forth by IDEA.
  562. Shortly after the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, IDEA 1997 was
  563. reauthorized as The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004). IDEA
  564. 2004 aligns with NCLB and reaffirms Congress’s commitment to educating all children,
  565. including those with disabilities. Wright (2005) notes that when Congress enacted IDEA 2004, it
  566. made many significant changes to the law.
  567. 2.1.5 The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004
  568. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 sent a clear message that students with
  569. special needs are no longer the responsibility of the special education teacher alone, but that
  570. everyone in the school system is accountable for every student (Lipsky & Gartner, 1998). One of
  571. the more prominent changes was the added definition of “highly qualified teachers” that stated:
  572. (B) REQUIREMENTS FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS- When used with
  573. respect to any public elementary school or secondary school special education teacher
  574. teaching in a State, such term means that—
  575. (i) the teacher has obtained full State certification as a special education teacher
  576. (including certification obtained through alternative routes to certification), or
  577. passed the State special education teacher licensing examination, and holds a
  578. license to teach in the State as a special education teacher, except that when used
  579. with respect to any teacher teaching in a public charter school, the term means
  580. 18
  581. that the teacher meets the requirements set forth in the state’s public charter
  582. school law; (ii) the teacher has not had special education certification or licensure
  583. requirements waived on an emergency, temporary, or provisional basis; and (iii)
  584. the teacher holds at least a bachelor’s degree. [20 U.S.C. §1401(10)(B)(i)(ii)(iii)]
  585. (C) SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS TEACHING TO ALTERNATE
  586. ACHIEVEMENT STANDARDS-When used with respect to a special education teacher
  587. who teaches core academic subjects exclusively to children who are assessed against
  588. alternate achievement standards established under the regulations promulgated under
  589. section 1111(b)(1) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, such term
  590. means the teacher, whether new or not new to the profession, may either—
  591. (i) meet the applicable requirements of section 9101 of such Act for any
  592. elementary, middle or secondary school teacher who is new or not new to the
  593. profession, or (ii) meet the requirements of subparagraph (B) or (C) of section
  594. 9101(23) of such Act as applied to elementary school teacher, or, in the case of
  595. instruction above the elementary level, has subject matter knowledge appropriate
  596. to the level of instruction being provided, as determined by the State, needed to
  597. effectively teach to those standards. [20 U.S.C. §1401(10)(C)(i)(ii)]
  598. (D) SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS TEACHING MULTIPLE SUBJECTS- When
  599. used with respect to a special education teacher who teaches 2 or more core academic
  600. subjects exclusively to children with disabilities, such term means that the teacher may
  601. either—
  602. (i) meet the applicable requirement of section 9101 of the Elementary and
  603. Secondary Education Act of 1965 for any elementary, middle, or secondary
  604. 19
  605. school teacher who is new or not new to the profession; (ii) in the case of a
  606. teacher who is not new to the profession, demonstrate competence in all the core
  607. academic subjects in which the teacher teaches in the same manner as is required
  608. for an elementary, middle, or secondary school teacher who is not new to the
  609. profession under section 9101(23)(C)(ii) of such Act, which may include a single,
  610. high objective State standard for evaluation covering multiple subjects; or (iii)
  611. in the case of a new special education teacher who teaches multiple subjects and
  612. who is highly qualified in mathematics, language arts, or science, demonstrates
  613. competence in the other core academic subjects in which the teacher teaches in
  614. the same manner as is required for an elementary, middle, or secondary school
  615. teacher under section 9101(23)(C)(ii) of such Act, which may include a single,
  616. high objective State standard for evaluation covering multiple subjects, not later
  617. than 2 years after the date of employment. [20 U.S.C. §1401(10)(D)(i)(ii)(iii)]
  618. As a result of the new “highly qualified” requirements under IDEA 2004, school districts
  619. were forced to restructure their special education programs. Special education teachers who
  620. always taught the core academic subjects via a pull-out model, where students left the regular
  621. education classroom to receive direct instruction in a special education program with a special
  622. education teacher, was no longer permissible under the law. This new requirement has required
  623. public school systems to rethink the way they provide educational services to children with
  624. disabilities. Hence, co-teaching has become a mechanism for meeting the mandates federal
  625. legislation has placed on our school systems (Snell & Janney, 2005).
  626. In the United States, Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act, The Education of All
  627. Handicapped Children Act and The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are the most
  628. 20
  629. important statutes that are used to challenge procedural issues or resolve claims of discrimination
  630. on the grounds of disability (Osborne & Russo, 2003). There are several landmark court cases
  631. that provide a historical perspective of the way law has shaped educational decision making
  632. toward inclusion. These court cases, coupled with Federal legislation, laid the groundwork for
  633. how school systems address special education programming.
  634. 2.2 LANDMARK COURT CASES
  635. Landmark court decisions further advanced increased educational opportunities for children with
  636. disabilities (Osborne & Russo, 2003). Several significant cases determined in courts in the
  637. United States will be discussed in this section. All of the cases demonstrate how the courts have
  638. increasingly interpreted the legislation as new and diverse issues arise that relate to the inclusion
  639. of students with disabilities in regular school settings.
  640. 2.2.1 Brown vs. Board of Education
  641. In Brown vs. Board of Education (1954), the Supreme Court struck down state-sanctioned racial
  642. segregation because it violated the students’ rights to equal protection under the 14th amendment.
  643. Osborne and Russo (2003) indicate the decision of Brown v. Board of Education (1954) did not
  644. relate to a case about disability, instead it established the right to access regular schools rather
  645. than segregated settings for students from racial minority groups. Brown v. Board of Education
  646. 21
  647. set the stage for later developments, including those leading to the protection of the rights of
  648. students with disabilities (Osborne & Russo, 2003).
  649. 2.2.2 Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Citizens (PARC) v. Pennsylvania
  650. In the landmark case, the Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Citizens (PARC) v.
  651. Pennsylvania, 334 F. Supp. 1257 (E.D. PA 1972) 13 children with mental retardation and PARC
  652. filed suit against the state of Pennsylvania on behalf of all children with mental retardation in the
  653. state (Osborne & Russo, 2003). The courts ruled that states have an obligation to place each child
  654. with mental retardation in a free public education program that is appropriate to the child’s
  655. needs.
  656. 2.2.3 Roncker v. Walter
  657. Roncker v. Walter, 700 F.2d 1058 (6th Cir. 1983) addressed the issue of "bringing educational
  658. services to the child" versus "bringing the child to the services." Yell and Katsiyannis (2004)
  659. explain this is the first case in which a federal court interpreted the LRE provisions of the Act.
  660. This case involved a parents’ request for a continued placement in the neighborhood school for
  661. their son with a disability. The school district argued that the student had not succeeded at the
  662. neighborhood school and he needed the special services available at the segregated county
  663. school. The case was resolved in favor of integrated versus segregated placement and
  664. established a principle of portability; that is, " if a desirable service currently provided in a
  665. segregated setting can feasibly be delivered in an integrated setting, it would be inappropriate
  666. 22
  667. under PL 94-142 to provide the service in a segregated environment” [Roncker v. Walter, 700
  668. F.2d 1058 (6th Cir. 1983)]. The court found that:
  669. (1) placement decisions must be individually made and that placing children in a
  670. predetermined type of school based only on their classification was a violation of the
  671. law; (2) classification decisions themselves cannot be based on a sole criteria
  672. classification such as an IQ score. [Roncker v. Walter, 700 F.2d 1058 (6th Cir. 1983)]
  673. 2.2.4 Daniel R.R. v. State Board of Education
  674. Daniel R.R. v. State Board of Education, 874 F.2d 1036 (5th Cir. 1989) was a case brought on
  675. behalf of a kindergarten student with mental retardation. The parents appealed the school
  676. district’s recommendation that the student be removed from his half-day kindergarten class and
  677. receive all of his instruction in a segregated classroom (Yell & Katsiyannis, 2004). Although the
  678. Court ultimately found for the school district, it enunciated a test for determining whether a
  679. recommended educational placement met the LRE requirements of the Act. The Court posed the
  680. question:
  681. Whether education in the regular classroom, with the use of supplementary aids and
  682. services, can be achieved satisfactorily for a given child. If it cannot and the school
  683. intends to provide special education or to remove the child from regular education, we
  684. ask, second, whether the school has included the child to the maximum extent
  685. appropriate. [Daniel R.R. v. State Board of Education, 874 F.2d 1036 (5th Cir. 1989)]
  686. To apply the test, the court used three factors to analyze the educational placement:
  687. 1. Whether the school system has made attempts to accommodate the student in regular
  688. education and if so, whether its efforts were sufficient;
  689. 23
  690. 2. Whether the student can receive some academic or non-academic benefit from
  691. placement in the regular education environment;
  692. 3. Whether there are negative or adverse effects to either the student with a disability or
  693. to typical classmates. [Daniel R.R. v. State Board of Education, 874 F.2d 1036 (5th
  694. Cir. 1989)]
  695. 2.2.5 Oberti vs. Board of Education of the Borough of Clementon School District
  696. Oberti vs. Board of Education of the Borough of Clementon School District (1993) was
  697. another landmark case that established the Least Restrictive Environment for children with
  698. disabilities. This is the case that begins the change from The IDEA’s mainstreaming approach to
  699. the concept of inclusion. Clearly, inclusion is judge-made law, not legislative action (Osborne &
  700. Russo, 2003). This case upheld the right of Rafeal Oberti, a boy with Down syndrome, to receive
  701. his education in his neighborhood regular school with adequate and necessary supports. The
  702. court held that inclusion is a right, not a privilege for a select few. This placed the burden of
  703. proof for compliance with IDEA’s least restrictive environment requirements on the school
  704. district and the state rather than on the family.
  705. Oberti v. Board of Education of the Borough of Clementon School District, 995 F.2d
  706. 1204 (3rd Cir. 1993) found that there are other factors to consider besides educational benefits
  707. when considering mainstreaming. Specifically the court held that:
  708. As IDEA’s Least Restrictive Environment is clear, Congress understood that a
  709. fundamental value of the right to public education for children with disabilities is the
  710. right to associate with nondisabled peers. In determining whether a child with disabilities
  711. can be educated satisfactorily in a regular class with supplemental aids and services (the
  712. 24
  713. first prong of the two-part inclusion test we adopt today), the court should consider
  714. several factors, including (1) whether the school district has made reasonable efforts to
  715. accommodate the child in a regular classroom; (2) the educational benefits available to
  716. the child in a regular class, with appropriate supplementary aids and services, as
  717. compared to the benefits provided in a special education class; and (3) the possible
  718. negative effects of inclusion of the child on the education of the other students in the
  719. class. Even if the child with disabilities cannot be educated satisfactorily in a regular
  720. classroom, that child must still be included in school programs with nondisabled peers
  721. wherever possible. [Oberti v. Board of Education of the Borough of Clementon School
  722. District, 995 F.2d 1204 (3rd Cir. 1993)]
  723. Furthermore, the Oberti Court stated:
  724. That education law requires school systems to supplement and realign their resources to
  725. move beyond those systems, structures and practices which tend to result in unnecessary
  726. segregation of children with disabilities. We emphasize that the Act does not require
  727. states to offer the same educational experience to a child with disabilities as is generally
  728. provided for nondisabled children…To the contrary, states must address the unique needs
  729. of a disabled child, recognizing that that child may benefit differently from education in
  730. the regular classroom than other students…In short, the fact that a child with disabilities
  731. will learn differently from his or her education within a regular classroom does not justify
  732. exclusion from that environment. Indeed the Act’s strong presumption in favor of
  733. mainstreaming…would be turned on its head if parents had to prove that their child was
  734. worthy of being included, rather than the school district having to justify a decision to
  735. 25
  736. exclude the child from the regular classroom. [Oberti vs. Board of Education of the
  737. Borough of Clementon School District (1993)]
  738. 2.2.6 Sacramento City Unified School District v. Holland
  739. Sacramento City Unified School District v. Holland, 14 F.3d 1398 (9th Cir. 1994) upheld the
  740. district court decision in which Judge David S. Levi indicated that when school districts place
  741. students with disabilities, the presumption and starting point is the regular education classroom.
  742. Rachel Holland, an 11 year old with mental retardation, was tested with an I.Q. of 44. The
  743. District contended Rachel was too "severely disabled" to benefit from full-time placement in a
  744. regular class. The parents challenged the district's decision to place their daughter half-time in a
  745. special education classroom and half-time in a regular education classroom. They wanted their
  746. daughter in the regular classroom full-time. The court found in favor of including the child. The
  747. 9th Circuit Court established a four-part balancing test to determine whether a school district is
  748. complying with IDEA. In considering whether the District proposed an appropriate placement
  749. for Rachel, the district court examined the following factors:
  750. (1) the educational benefits available to Rachel in a regular classroom as compared with
  751. the educational benefits of a special education classroom; (2) the non-academic benefits
  752. of integration with non-disabled children; (3) the effect of Rachel's presence on the
  753. teacher and other children in the classroom; and (4) the cost of supplementary aids and
  754. services. [Sacramento City Unified School District v. Holland, 14 F.3d 1398 (9th Cir.
  755. 1994)]
  756. 26
  757. The court concluded that the appropriate placement for Rachel Holland was the regular
  758. education classroom with supplemental aids and services. This decision was in accordance with
  759. IDEA.
  760. 2.2.7 Gaskin v. Pennsylvania
  761. Gaskin v. Pennsylvania, 389 F. Supp. 2d 628 (E.D. Pa. 2005) was the most recent court case
  762. that resulted in a formal resolution between the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE)
  763. and a group of families and advocacy organizations who filed a class-action lawsuit against PDE
  764. on behalf of a group of children with disabilities in 1994 (Swanson, 2006). The lawsuit alleged
  765. that students with disabilities had been denied their federal statutory right to a free appropriate
  766. public education in regular classrooms with necessary supplemental aids and services.
  767. Particularly the Plaintiffs claimed that the Defendants violated:
  768. (1) The Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (“IDEA”), 20 U.S.C. §§ 1400-
  769. 1485, by failing to identify disabled students, develop individual educational programs or
  770. plans (“IEPs”), and provide a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) in the least
  771. restrictive environment (“LRE”) to the maximum extent reasonably possible; (2) Section
  772. 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended by 29 U.S.C. § 794, by excluding disabled
  773. students, solely because of their disability, from participating in or from receiving the
  774. benefits of any program that received federal funding; and (3) Title II of the Americans
  775. with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, by excluding otherwise
  776. qualified students from access to public programs solely because of their disability.
  777. [Gaskin v. Pennsylvania, 389 F. Supp. 2d 628 (E.D. Pa. 2005)]
  778. 27
  779. In September of 2005 the Court approved the Gaskin Settlement Agreement, which is a
  780. formal resolution between PDE and a group of families and advocacy organizations. This
  781. settlement ends ten years of litigation over Commonwealth programs for the education of school
  782. children with disabilities. “The good thing about Gaskin is that it gives further incentive for
  783. schools to provide inclusive education,” says Jerry Tanenbaum, a partner specializing in
  784. education rights with the law firm of Schnader Harrison Segal and Lewis” (Swanson, 2006, p.1).
  785. Specifically, the Gaskin Settlement outlines the following mutual goals and principles
  786. that will guide interpretation of the Settlement Agreement:
  787. (1) The IDEA and related case law, including Oberti v. Board of Education, 995 F.2d
  788. 1204 (3d Cir. 1993), require special education students to be educated with students
  789. who do not have disabilities to the maximum extent appropriate (2) it is desirable that
  790. school districts increase their capacity to provide appropriate specially designed
  791. instruction, related services, supplementary aids and services and support to special
  792. education students placed in regular education classrooms (3) when the law requires that
  793. special education students receive supplementary aids and services in order to be
  794. educated with students who do not have disabilities to the maximum extent appropriate,
  795. such supplementary aids and services should be: (a) available to all students in need of
  796. them; (b) designed to provide meaningful educational benefits; and (c) provided in a
  797. manner sensitive to the need to avoid stigmatizing special education students who receive
  798. them (4) Pennsylvania school districts educate all children and welcome children with
  799. special needs. [Gaskin v. Pennsylvania, 389 F. Supp. 2d 628 (E.D. Pa. 2005)]
  800. Swanson (2006) reports critics worry that school districts’ main priority will be to avoid a
  801. negative rating, and as a result, will rush to include students with disabilities into the regular
  802. 28
  803. classrooms without first establishing a solid support system to assure success for the students.
  804. Tanenbaum states:
  805. Parents have to make sure their children won’t be dumped into inclusive settings
  806. without the proper support. For many children, successful inclusion is very complex and
  807. requires a great deal of trainings for teachers, significant involvement in special
  808. education instructors, and possible modifications to the curriculum and classroom,
  809. including class size. (Swanson, 2006, p.1)
  810. The goal of the proposed settlement is to ensure that Individualized Education Program
  811. (IEP) teams determine whether the goals in a student’s IEP can be implemented in the regular
  812. classroom with supplementary aids and services before considering a more restrictive placement.
  813. Gaskin v. Pennsylvania, 389 F. Supp. 2d 628 (E.D. Pa. 2005) states the agreement does not
  814. change an individual student’s program, placement or IEP. Only the IEP team can make such
  815. modifications. The IEP team consists of a team of individuals, including parents, who work
  816. together to create a child’s Individualized Education Plan.
  817. The IEP is a written document that is developed for each eligible child with a disability.
  818. As the name implies, the educational program should be tailored to the individual student to
  819. provide maximum educational benefit (Yell & Katsiyannis, 2004). The key word is individual. A
  820. program that is appropriate for one child with a disability may not be appropriate for another.
  821. The IEP is the cornerstone for the education of a child with a disability. It should identify
  822. the services a child needs so that he/she may grow and learn during the school year. It is also a
  823. legal document that outlines “(1) The child's special education plan by defining goals for the
  824. school year (2) services needed to help the child meet those goals and (3) a method of evaluating
  825. the student's progress” [Gaskin v. Pennsylvania, 389 F. Supp. 2d 628 (E.D. Pa. 2005]. The Part B
  826. 29
  827. regulations of IDEA specify, at 34 CFR §300.320-300.328, the procedures that school districts
  828. must follow to develop, review, and revise the IEP for each child.
  829. Yell and Katsiyannis (2004) emphasize the IEP goals, objectives, and selected services
  830. are not just a collection of ideas on how the school may educate a child, but rather the school
  831. district’s legal obligation to educate the child in accordance with the IEP. To develop an IEP, the
  832. LEA officials and others involved in the child's educational program meet to discuss educationrelated goals. By law, the following people must be invited to attend the IEP meeting:
  833. • One or both of the child's parents
  834. • The child's regular education teacher
  835. • The child’s special education teacher
  836. • A representative of the public agency (LEA), other than the child's teacher, who is
  837. qualified to provide or supervise the provision of special education
  838. • The child, if appropriate
  839. • Other individuals at the discretion of the parent or agency (such as a physician,
  840. advocate, or neighbor). [34 C.F.R §300.320-300.328]
  841. Federal statutes do not use the term "inclusion,” however, IDEA does require
  842. school districts to place students in the least restrictive environment (Banks & Banks, 2004). As
  843. previously stated, LRE means that:
  844. To the maximum extent appropriate, school districts must educate students with
  845. disabilities in the regular classroom with appropriate aids and supports, referred to as
  846. "supplementary aids and services," along with their nondisabled peers in the school they
  847. would attend if not disabled, unless a student's individualized education program (IEP)
  848. requires some other arrangement. [20 U.S.C. §1412(a)(5); 34 C.F.R. 300.550(b)(1)-(2)]
  849. 30
  850. This requires an individualized inquiry into the unique educational needs of each disabled
  851. student in determining the possible range of aids and supports that are needed.
  852. A framework for deciding LRE for students with disabilities has been provided (see
  853. figure 1) that summarizes the questions an IEP team must answer when determining placement
  854. (Champagne, 1993). Individualized Education Planning teams are not obligated to have the
  855. student try out each level of LRE before deciding on a more restrictive environment. Regardless
  856. of the requirements set forth as a result of the Gaskin Settlement, the IEP team makes the final
  857. decision regarding LRE for students with disabilities (Champagne, 1993).
  858. 31
  859. LRE Decision Flow Chart
  860. ← Is Student Eligible for Special Education Services?
  861.  ↓ ←
  862. ↓ ←
  863. ↓ ←
  864. ↓ ←
  865.  ↓
  866. ↓ ← ↓
  867. ↓ ↓
  868. Figure 1 A framework for understanding the Least Restrictive Environment levels for IEP team
  869. placement decisions for students with disabilities (Champagne, 1993).
  870. Note: IEP team determines LRE. A student is NOT required to “try out” each level of LRE and “fail” before the student moves to a
  871. more segregated setting (Champagne, 1993).
  872. NOT SPECIAL
  873. EDUCATION
  874. NO
  875. YES
  876. IEP Meeting to define APPROPRIATE Education
  877. 1
  878. YES 2
  879. Can Appropriate Education (determined by the IEP team) be
  880. achieved in regular class with services already there?
  881. 3
  882. YES
  883. Can Regular Class be modified by providing supplementary aids
  884. and services in order to achieve Appropriate Education?
  885. NO
  886. YES 4
  887. NO
  888. Can Appropriate Education be achieved in the next, more
  889. segregated setting with services currently there?
  890. YES 5
  891. NO
  892. Can the next, more segregated setting be modified by providing
  893. supplementary aids and services in order to achieve Appropriate
  894. Education?
  895. YES 6
  896. PRIMARY
  897. Are there additional opportunities for integration, either through
  898. extracurricular activities or while achieving some IEP goals?
  899. NO 7
  900. YES
  901. Modified or Split Placement (e.g. primary placement plus
  902. secondary placement for some part of the day/week)
  903. 32
  904. 2.3 OVERVIEW OF INCLUSION
  905. Many school districts are adopting a philosophy of "full inclusion." “Full inclusion" violates
  906. Federal law and regulations, despite some school administrators saying all students with
  907. disabilities have the "right" to full inclusion in the regular classroom (Hines & Johnston, 1996).
  908. The "right" in IDEA and the most basic legal concept and very basis of IDEA is a Free
  909. Appropriate Public Education. Each of those words has meaning. The schooling of any child
  910. with a disability is Free. That schooling shall be individually tailored to the needs of a child and
  911. must be Appropriate in meeting the needs of children with disabilities. This right is for schooling
  912. paid for with Public taxes. And IDEA's greatest emphasis is on the acquisition of knowledge and
  913. skills (Education), not on a whole variety of other subjects (Ringer & Kerr, 1988).
  914. The IDEA regulations use headlines to begin each section. The headline "LEAST
  915. RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT (LRE)" comprises seven subparts. The first is "Sec. 300.550
  916. General LRE Requirements". The second is "Sec. 300.551Continuum of Alternative Placements"
  917. and it requires under (a) that "Each public agency shall ensure that a continuum of alternative
  918. placements is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special
  919. education and related services." Specifically, this section states the continuum must:
  920. 1. Include alternative placements listed in the definition of special education under
  921. Section 300.26 (instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools,
  922. home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions) and;
  923. 2. Make provision for supplementary services (such as resource room or itinerant
  924. instruction) to be provided to support regular class placement. [34 C.F.R. 300.551
  925. (b)(1)-(2)]
  926. 33
  927. Although the term “inclusion” is not defined in Federal legislation, it is a term that is
  928. used often in public school systems. “Inclusion can be deeply disturbing because it challenges
  929. our unexamined notions of what ‘ordinary’ and ‘normal’ really mean” (Forest & Pearpoint,
  930. 1997, p. 2). Inclusion is not synonymous with mainstreaming. While mainstreaming is viewed as
  931. a benchmark where students “earn” their way back into the classroom, inclusion establishes the
  932. students “right” to be there in the first place. Services and supports are brought to the regular
  933. classroom as needed. The current inclusion movement challenges educators to look beyond
  934. mainstreaming to find inclusive strategies to meet student’s individual needs. Inclusion calls for
  935. a more complete merger of regular and special education (Hines & Johnston, 1996).
  936. In the relevant research and professional literature, proponents and opponents of
  937. inclusion have become more apparent. According to Skrtic (1991), both sides agree that the only
  938. justifiable, rational reason for special education is to provide instructional benefits to students
  939. with disabilities. Yet, “there is now substantial evidence that most, if not all, children with
  940. disabilities, including children with very severe disabilities, can be educated appropriately
  941. without isolation from peers who do not have disabilities” (Ringer & Kerr, 1988, p. 6). Skrtic
  942. (1991) goes on to state:
  943. Given the weak effects of special education instructional practices and the social and
  944. psychological costs of labeling, the current system of special education is, at best, no
  945. more justifiable than simply permitting most students to remain unidentified in regular
  946. classrooms and, at worst, far less justifiable than regular classrooms placement in
  947. conjunction with appropriate in-class support services. (p. 152)
  948. 34
  949. A primary implication of IDEA is the need for all educators to share in the responsibility
  950. for services provided to all students, including those with disabilities. The IDEA Amendments
  951. reflect a step beyond compliance in pursuit of quality (Williams & Katsiyannis, 1998).
  952. Today, teachers are facing increasingly greater challenges in meeting the diverse needs of
  953. students in their classrooms (Torres-Valesquez, 2000). While the number of students with
  954. English as a second language is continually increasing, IDEA promotes the inclusion of students
  955. with disabilities in the general education classroom and stresses the importance of providing the
  956. core curriculum for all students, including those with disabilities. These factors lead to the
  957. creation of a modern educational paradigm for educating children today, as well as, in the future.
  958. Classroom teachers must learn new ways to accommodate students with diverse learning needs.
  959. This involves a reformation of the entire educational system, especially the methodologies that
  960. are embedded in the entire teaching experience of the traditional teacher. Realistically, this type
  961. of restructuring can only be successful with the desire and commitment of the classroom
  962. teachers. According to Banks and Banks (2004), the goals of quality inclusive education are to
  963. teach children to appreciate and value the contributions of others, have respect for perspectives
  964. that differ from their own, and accept responsibility for the role they play as members of a larger
  965. society. Equity, justice, quality of life and full participation in a pluralistic and democratic
  966. society are concerns of special education (Park & Lian, 2001).
  967. Sapon-Shevin (2003) suggested that by seeing beyond inclusion as a special education
  968. concern, there is the potential to challenge and transform far more within our schools and
  969. society. Inclusion is not only about disability or schools, but also about social justice that can
  970. teach important lessons far beyond individual students and help to create an inclusive,
  971. democratic society.
  972. 35
  973. It is crucial to invite parents, teachers, administrators, community members and students
  974. to join together to be part of a new culture. Every person should be encouraged to participate to
  975. the fullness of his or her capacity-as partners and as members (Forest & Pearpoint, 1997). The
  976. current paradigm shift to less restrictive models for educating students with disabilities requires
  977. collaborative planning, routine modification of instructional materials, and the inclusion of
  978. parents and peers as important components of the educational process. According to Bradley and
  979. Fisher (1995), programming decisions should be based on individual student needs, attributes of
  980. the school, and the expertise of building professionals.
  981. “True inclusion exists in all facets of life” (Schleien & Heyne, 1996, p. 1). All-inclusive
  982. schools set an example for students’ other areas of life. For example, the parents of a 12-year-old
  983. boy with Down syndrome living in a small community have found the community recreation
  984. programs to be inclusive for all children in the family. Schleien and Heyne (1996) point out that
  985. in the sports programs, the parents feel their son is “treated like a team member, with only subtle
  986. differences” (p. 1). The parents see the benefits for their son as being enhanced self-esteem, the
  987. building of a habit of physical activity, and a feeling of membership with his siblings and peers.
  988. “Children look to do what everyone else is doing. Children with Down syndrome are no
  989. different” (Schleien & Heyne, 1996, p. 1).
  990. 2.3.1 Advantages of Inclusive Classrooms
  991. Inclusion advocates typically support the argument that the segregation of a child by diagnosis or
  992. handicap is not in the best interest of the child (Schleien & Heyne, 1996). Grider (1995)
  993. concluded that those who favor inclusion believe that disabled students in the regular classroom
  994. will be more accepted by their peers, have balanced relationships, and gain more academic
  995. 36
  996. knowledge through small group and teacher instruction. As a result, teacher and parent
  997. expectations will increase as their students become more successful. This in turn, will result in
  998. continued higher achievement.
  999. The stigma attached to the more popular pull-out programs common to most schools is
  1000. removed (Friend & Cook, 1992). Improvement of coordination and relevance of instruction
  1001. results as the teachers work together (Thousand & Villa, 1991). The students waste less
  1002. instructional time by not traveling back and forth between classrooms.
  1003. Baker, Wang and Walberg (1995) noted that special education students involved in
  1004. inclusionary teams made small to moderate gains in academic and social settings. Schattman and
  1005. Benay (1992) found that special education students in an inclusionary setting are exposed to
  1006. talented teachers, refine new social relationships with the same-age peer group, and experience
  1007. more quality programs in a regular education classroom. Stainback and Stainback (1990)
  1008. concluded that inclusion is an appropriate instructional model because students with disabilities
  1009. are accepted and supported by their peers and other members of the school community while
  1010. having their educational needs met.
  1011. A primary goal of inclusion should be for regular classroom teachers to better meet the
  1012. needs of all students. This should not only include students with disabilities, but also those
  1013. students who are identified as at-risk of school failure, students who are struggling both
  1014. academically and socially, students who are bored because the instruction is too easy and
  1015. students with attention problems. According to McLeskey and Waldron (1996), improved
  1016. instruction, a curriculum that is more child-centered, collaboration with other teachers to address
  1017. student problems, and a range of other features of inclusive classrooms should allow this
  1018. objective to be met.
  1019. 37
  1020. Some educators support inclusion simply because it is the law. There are more
  1021. meaningful reasons to support inclusion. All people, regardless of their ability or disability, share
  1022. a basic human need of belonging. This sense of belonging is essential to the establishment and
  1023. fostering of self-esteem that is accepted as a prerequisite to achievement (Knight & Wadsworth,
  1024. 1993). The selective segregation of children based on their disabilities damages self-esteem
  1025. because it does not focus on the children’s innate abilities. As a result, children with disabilities
  1026. start to believe that it is because of their differences they are incapable of achieving some of the
  1027. same goals as their non-disabled peers. According to Baker, Wang and Walberg (1995),
  1028. considerable evidence from the last fifteen years suggest that the segregation of special-needs
  1029. students in separate classrooms is detrimental to their academic and social development and that
  1030. students with special needs perform better in regular classrooms.
  1031. Another reason to justify inclusion is that segregation promotes dependence and limits
  1032. opportunities for interaction between disabled and non-disabled children (Hardman, Drew, Egan
  1033. & Wolf, 1993). For children with disabilities, establishing friendships is critical to their social
  1034. and affective development. Research has shown and educators have found that friendship
  1035. development is more difficult for children with mild, moderate or severe disabilities (Roberts &
  1036. Zubrick, 1993). Some educators believe that all children benefit from integrated classrooms
  1037. because they help each other based on individual needs and strengths. As a result, all children
  1038. can achieve their optimum potential within the inclusive classroom setting (Stoler, 1992).
  1039. Inclusion gives both the children with disabilities and those without the opportunity to
  1040. interact in a more natural and realistic setting. Children need to understand and accept the fact
  1041. that all individuals are different and unique and that each of us needs to be accepted for who we
  1042. are (York & Vandercook, 1991).
  1043. 38
  1044. McLeskey and Waldron (1996) explain their guiding theme for the development of
  1045. inclusive school programs is “the concept of normalization; that is, the rhythm of the day for
  1046. students with disabilities is as similar as possible to the rhythm of the day for typical students”
  1047. (p. 155). This means that schools should prepare students with disabilities to live their lives as
  1048. independently as possible, in as typical a setting as possible (McLeskey & Waldron, 1996).
  1049. 2.3.2 Disadvantages of Inclusive Classrooms
  1050. Opponents of inclusion have argued that it does not save money and probably costs more to
  1051. implement than the pullout approach (Woelfel, 1994). The two most prominent opponents of
  1052. inclusion, The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and the Learning Disabilities Association
  1053. (LDA), have urged schools to keep service options available to students (Gorman & Rose, 1994).
  1054. The LDA has also argued that inclusion is a violation of the 1990 Individuals with Disabilities
  1055. Education Act (LDA, 1993). This act mandated that FAPE in the least restrictive environment be
  1056. provided to students with disabilities based on their individual needs. Critics argue that the
  1057. regular education classroom is not appropriate for all students with disabilities, and in fact, can
  1058. be detrimental to some student’s academic and social progress (Woelfel, 1994).
  1059. Kauffman and Hallahan (1995) suggested that the drive for inclusion focuses on the
  1060. educational process rather than educational outcomes, on mainstream curricula rather than
  1061. functional, on advocacy for programs rather than for children, and on rhetoric rather than
  1062. research evidence.
  1063. Further criticism of the inclusion movement in the USA has come from BorthwickDuffy, Palmer and Lane (1996) and Little and Witek (1996), who suggest that the thinking of
  1064. inclusion proponents is based more on emotion and philosophy than empirical evidence. These
  1065. 39
  1066. authors point out that research evidence to date does not support a full inclusion model and
  1067. therefore suggest that decisions about inclusion should be made on an individual basis as is
  1068. mandated by the current legislation in the USA.
  1069. After completing a 3-year research project related to the study of inclusive school
  1070. programs, Ferguson (1995) came to a troubling realization. She noted that:
  1071. Even when students with disabilities were assigned to general education classrooms full
  1072. time, their participation often fell short of the kind of social and learning membership
  1073. that most proponents of inclusion envision. Even to casual observers, some students
  1074. seemed set apart-immediately recognizable as different- not so much because of any
  1075. particular impairment or disability but because of what they were doing, with whom, and
  1076. how. (Ferguson, 1995, p. 284)
  1077. Furguson (1995) concluded that a significant factor contributing to the lack of
  1078. membership in the classroom was the assumptions made by both the regular and special
  1079. education teachers. Some of the assumptions regarding students and learning remained
  1080. unchallenged and unchanged. These included:
  1081. (1) Inclusion students were viewed as “irregular,” even though they were in regular
  1082. classes full time (2) these students needed specialized instruction that could not be
  1083. provided by the classroom teacher and (3) the special educator was the designated
  1084. provider of all things specialized
  1085. These assumptions represent a fundamental problem with many inclusive programs.
  1086. Many schools simply move special education into the regular education classrooms without
  1087. monitoring what, how and by whom the students with disabilities are taught.
  1088. 40
  1089. Finally, proponents of inclusion believe if students with disabilities are included from the
  1090. beginning in the regular classroom, they will be accepted in the learning and social communities
  1091. of the school and the classrooms will become more diverse. Although this may be true, the
  1092. challenge to make general education classes the place where a diverse range of students can
  1093. become part of the learning and social community is more difficult than many proponents of
  1094. inclusion realize (McLesky & Waldron, 2002). In order to accomplish this task, schools need to
  1095. implement meaningful change that requires educators to collaborate “to reinvent schools to be
  1096. more accommodating to all dimensions of human diversity” (Furguson, 1995, p. 285).
  1097. 2.3.3 Successful Inclusion
  1098. The goal of public education is to provide students an academic and social experience throughout
  1099. their school years in order to mold them into productive members of society. Regardless of a
  1100. child’s ability or disability, this opportunity should be available to all students. According to
  1101. King (2000), students’ success in the outside world directly relates to their understanding of their
  1102. own strengths and weaknesses.
  1103. Several research studies have been conducted over the years on the effectiveness of
  1104. inclusive programs and what specific factors are needed to ensure a successful program. For
  1105. example, Lipsky and Gartner (1998) surveyed nearly 1,000 school districts and concluded that
  1106. there are seven key factors necessary for successful inclusion. These were: visionary leadership;
  1107. collaboration between everyone involved; refocused use of assessment; support for staff and
  1108. students; appropriate funding levels; parental involvement; and effective program models,
  1109. curriculum adaptations, and instructional practices.
  1110. 41
  1111. As a result of the increase of inclusive practices in the USA, Vaughn and Schumn (1995)
  1112. conducted an action research project that focused on the implementation of inclusive approaches
  1113. in three primary schools in large urban areas. This was a two-year study in which the authors
  1114. worked with teachers, parents, administrators and governors, helping them to reorganize their
  1115. provision for students with disabilities. The authors concluded that for inclusion to be effective,
  1116. the inclusive practices needed to include nine components. These were: use the extent to which
  1117. students with disabilities make satisfactory academic and social progress in regular classes as the
  1118. major criteria for considering alternative placement; allow teachers to choose whether or not they
  1119. will be involved in teaching inclusive classes; ensure the provision of adequate resources;
  1120. encourage schools to develop inclusive practices based on various stakeholders input; maintain a
  1121. continuum of services for students with disabilities; continue to monitor and evaluate the
  1122. inclusion program; ensure ongoing professional development to all staff; encourage the
  1123. development of adaptations and modifications in the classroom; and develop an agreed
  1124. philosophy and policy on inclusion.
  1125. A major goal of today’s public schools is to find new and innovative ways to create
  1126. learning environments that are responsive to meeting the needs of students with disabilities. As a
  1127. result, schools are developing inclusion programs in an attempt to accomplish this challenging
  1128. task.
  1129. As learning standards, standardized testing, and mandates for accountability continue to
  1130. raise the bar for educators throughout our country, it is more important than ever that
  1131. teachers and administrators work together to create inclusive learning environments that
  1132. meet the needs of all learners. (Stump, 2000, p. 5)
  1133. 42
  1134. Stump identifies several key components that are necessary when establishing an
  1135. inclusion program. The first is to set the tone. This happens when districts articulate a vision, set
  1136. goals, and develop a plan of action. Administrators should work with staff to articulate the
  1137. school’s vision for the program and identify the types of desired outcomes. According to Stump
  1138. (2000), the second component is to prepare the school environment for inclusion. This will
  1139. require some significant changes in school operations. Examples of this restructuring could
  1140. include: the development of teams of teachers; changes in schedules to accommodate common
  1141. planning time for regular and special education teachers; major training for all staff on how to
  1142. work together effectively and allocate resources. More specifically, Stump (2000) identifies
  1143. teacher collaboration as the most powerful tool to ensure that all students succeed in general
  1144. education classrooms. “Creating shared planning time, creating schedules that allow special
  1145. education teachers to be present in general education classrooms on a regular basis, and
  1146. providing resources (time and materials) that support collaboration are hallmarks of successful
  1147. and sustainable inclusion programs” (Stump, 2000, p. 3).
  1148. McLesky and Waldron (1996) identify three stages in developing successful inclusive
  1149. programs.
  1150. The first stage is addressing teacher beliefs and values concerning inclusive schooling.
  1151. We have found that the beliefs of many teachers about students, about how schools
  1152. should be organized, and about the value of educating students with disabilities are
  1153. critical factors that must be examined, reflected on, and changed if inclusion programs
  1154. are to be effective. (p. 155)
  1155. 43
  1156. The second stage in developing a good inclusion program is planning. These authors
  1157. report that careful planning takes a full year and involves ongoing meetings, discussions, staff
  1158. development and visits to positive inclusion sites (McLesky & Waldron, 1996).
  1159. The third stage is the actual implementation and maintenance of the inclusive program.
  1160. According to McLesky and Waldron (1996) “this stage is the most difficult and results in the
  1161. highest levels of frustration and anxiety for school personnel” (p. 156). Those involved in
  1162. inclusion programs at this stage experience many changes in the role and function of the teacher
  1163. and classroom. This can be overwhelming for the teachers because they begin to realize that the
  1164. process of monitoring and adjusting is ongoing in order to meet the changing needs of students
  1165. and faculty members. It is during this stage that continuous planning time is available for
  1166. teachers to collaborate and “adapt their ‘work in progress’ as they carefully plan changes and
  1167. improvements” (McLesky & Waldron, 1996, p. 156).
  1168. Several researchers indicate specific components that are needed to ensure a successful
  1169. inclusion program. A framework for identifying these components has been provided (see figure
  1170. 2) with emphasis on the common factors identified by each researcher.
  1171. Researchers Identified Components
  1172. Hord (1992) Developed and communicated vision
  1173. Established plan
  1174. Appropriate resource allocation
  1175. Training and development
  1176. Monitor and check progress
  1177. Ongoing professional development
  1178. Create a culture for change
  1179. Vaughn and Schumn (1995) Documentation of academic and social
  1180. progress of students with disabilities
  1181. Voluntary participation from teachers
  1182. Adequate resources
  1183. Input from various stakeholders
  1184. Continuum of services for students with
  1185. disabilities
  1186. Monitor and evaluate inclusion
  1187. programs
  1188. Ongoing professional development
  1189. Adaptations and modifications in the
  1190. regular
  1191. 44
  1192. education classroom established and
  1193. accepted philosophy of inclusion
  1194. McLesky and Waldron (1996) Teacher beliefs and values
  1195. acknowledged
  1196. Developed plan that includes
  1197. stakeholder’s input
  1198. Ongoing staff development
  1199. Common planning time for teachers
  1200. Lipsky and Gartner (1998) Visionary leadership
  1201. Teacher collaboration
  1202. Refocused use of assessment
  1203. Support for staff and students
  1204. Appropriate funds
  1205. Parental involvement
  1206. Effective program models
  1207. Curriculum adaptations
  1208. Instructional practices
  1209. Stump (2000) Articulated vision
  1210. Establishment of goals
  1211. Collaboration amongst teachers
  1212. Common planning time for
  1213. Teacher training and resources
  1214. Figure 2 A framework for summarizing various researchers’ literature review on successful components of
  1215. an inclusion program
  1216. 2.4 TEACHER IMPACT ON INCLUSION PROGRAMS
  1217. When a school makes the decision to include students with disabilities in the general education
  1218. setting, there are several issues that educators must face. The first is to reconfigure the
  1219. distribution of staff and materials. That involves a shift in the role responsibilities for people,
  1220. resources and distribution of materials (Bradley & Fisher, 1995). Methods for coordinating
  1221. curriculum delivery under the new context of a diversified curriculum and techniques for
  1222. heterogeneous instruction are essential. When developing a plan for such changes, school
  1223. officials must explicitly address support for individuals. As their role shifts, educators need
  1224. formal and informal forums in which to share their experiences and increase personal and
  1225. professional support (Datnow & Castellano, 2001).
  1226. 45
  1227. 2.4.1 Individual Change
  1228. Change is primarily about individuals, their beliefs and their actions rather than programs,
  1229. materials, technology or equipment (Borthwick-Duffy, Palmer & Lane, 1996). To many
  1230. educators, the idea of change brings to mind thoughts of reform, restructuring of schools, new
  1231. initiatives and school improvement efforts. Change to inclusive schooling challenges traditional
  1232. education practices, which sometimes causes educators to react in very personal ways. Including
  1233. students with disabilities in the regular classes can cause teachers a great deal of anxiety. Hopes
  1234. are raised, but fears are generated, when schools transition from educating students with
  1235. disabilities in separate programs to inclusive settings. It is not unusual for educators to question
  1236. their competence and ability to meet the needs of children with disabilities (Coates, 1989). Many
  1237. feel overwhelmed by sympathy and sadness for the child. Some resent the fact that they must
  1238. work with children with disabilities in addition to all their other responsibilities. Even if teachers
  1239. and administrators are initially enthusiastic, sustaining the change is difficult and requires strong
  1240. support systems committed to the process (Coates, 1989).
  1241. According to Datnow and Castellano (2001), “the implementation of an externally
  1242. developed school reform model can also dramatically affect the professional lives of teachers”
  1243. (p. 222). If change in education depends on what teachers do and think, it is crucial for change
  1244. agents to pay close attention to the thoughts and actions of teachers. According to Fullan (2001),
  1245. due to being given multiple and contradictory directives, it is common for teachers to resist new
  1246. programs. However, they hold valuable knowledge about the system and good ideas about what
  1247. should change and how it should occur. Researchers recognize that in some instances teacher
  1248. commitment follows, rather than precedes, changes in practice (McLaughlin, 1998). Ultimately,
  1249. teacher ownership of change is critical to the success of school reform. Educators need to be
  1250. 46
  1251. supported by one another and their organization as they undergo valid, necessary and
  1252. uncomfortable reactions to change.
  1253. 2.4.2 Teacher Perception
  1254. Regular education teachers do not necessarily agree with the contentions of inclusionists that
  1255. traditional special education is ineffective or that they themselves can work successfully with
  1256. exceptional students (Coates, 1989). General education teachers often report feeling
  1257. uncomfortable as they move into new roles that include providing meaningful educational and
  1258. social experiences for students with disabilities. They struggle with special education jargon and
  1259. paperwork and working with more comprehensive record keeping systems. Some general
  1260. educators fear a lack of support from administration and special education teachers, and some
  1261. have expressed concern that these supports will be eliminated all together.
  1262. In a review of the research on teacher perceptions of inclusion, Scruggs and Mastropieri
  1263. (1996) analyzed the results of twenty-eight studies published between 1958 and 1995. The major
  1264. finding was that, although, on average, 65 percent of teachers supported the general concept of
  1265. inclusion, only 40 percent believed that this is a realistic goal for most children. Fifty-three
  1266. percent of teachers reported they were willing to teach students with disabilities and 54 percent
  1267. considered that such students could benefit from inclusion. However, only 33 percent of teachers
  1268. believed that the regular education classroom was the best place for students with disabilities.
  1269. More specifically, only 28 percent of teachers thought there was sufficient time available to
  1270. implement inclusion and only 29 percent considered they had sufficient expertise. An important
  1271. finding was that there was no correlation between positive attitudes toward inclusion and date of
  1272. publication, suggesting teachers’ views have not substantially changed over the years.
  1273. 47
  1274. 2.4.3 Teacher Attitude
  1275. Teacher attitude is one of the most important variables in determining the success of innovative
  1276. programs in special education (Larrivee & Cook, 1979; MacDonald & Hardman, 1989; Parrish,
  1277. Nunn, & Hattrup, 1982; Stoler, 1992). Although inclusion is recognized as a recent initiative,
  1278. few studies have been conducted to consider teacher’s feelings about it. Pearman, Huang,
  1279. Barnahart, and Mellblom (1992) analyzed the results of their attitudinal survey of special and
  1280. regular education teachers and others involved in the education of students with disabilities. A
  1281. small sample of administrators was also involved in the study (10 percent of respondents). The
  1282. 246 respondents were associated with 22 schools in Colorado. The authors found apparent
  1283. contradiction in the results. Although 70-percent of respondents agreed that inclusion would
  1284. work in their schools, about 50-percent also disagreed that inclusion is the best way to meet the
  1285. needs of all students. Specifically, the teachers reported their concern with students with
  1286. behavior and aggression problems being included in the regular education classroom. The
  1287. findings also indicated teachers were frustrated by the heavy workload of meeting standards and
  1288. benchmarks, covering the curriculum, and individualizing work for students with IEPs. The
  1289. authors also reported 60-percent of respondents disagreed that regular education teachers want
  1290. children with disabilities in their classes full-time, whereas, 41-percent disagreed special
  1291. education teachers want their students placed full-time in the regular education classrooms.
  1292. Twenty-eight agreed that inclusion would be detrimental to the learning of other students, and
  1293. 53-percent agreed that inclusion classrooms “created too much additional work for staff”
  1294. (Pearman, Huang, Barnahart, & Mellblom, 1992, p. 180).
  1295. A survey of 400 teachers who belong to the American Federation of Teachers reported
  1296. that their schools either had or were moving toward a full inclusion program. Seventy-seven
  1297. 48
  1298. percent opposed the inclusion program. These were teachers who had inclusion students in their
  1299. classrooms and reported problems with discipline and time allocation. Only 22-percent of the
  1300. teachers surveyed said they had received special training, and just half of those teachers thought
  1301. their training was good (American Federation of Teachers, 1994).
  1302. Stoler (1992) studied the attitudes of secondary school teachers toward the inclusion of
  1303. all disabled children. Results indicated that teachers with differing levels of education had
  1304. different perspectives on inclusion. The higher the education level, the more negative the
  1305. attitudes were toward inclusion. There was also a difference in perceptions based on special
  1306. education coursework. The more special education coursework the teachers had throughout their
  1307. college experience, the more positive their attitudes were regarding inclusion. It was also noted
  1308. that the attitudes of teachers who received professional development on inclusion were more
  1309. positive than those who did not receive training.
  1310. The roles of regular education teachers and special education teachers are redefined in an
  1311. inclusion classroom. This becomes a role shift in which the regular education teacher primarily
  1312. assumes the responsibility for educating children with disabilities and the special education
  1313. teacher is responsible for supporting both the regular classroom teacher and the student.
  1314. Philosophically, most regular educators support and believe inclusion is the best answer
  1315. for delivering special education services. Although this is true, most prefer the traditional “pull
  1316. out” model. Regular education classroom teachers believe they are not adequately prepared to
  1317. handle special education challenges within a regular classroom (Hines & Johnston, 1996). Many
  1318. teachers believe an inclusion classroom would offer unlimited opportunities to develop more
  1319. flexible and responsive classrooms, but feel they do not have the appropriate training to provide
  1320. 49
  1321. these opportunities. Favorable opinions are reported more by teachers in qualitative studies than
  1322. in large-scale teacher surveys (Hines & Johnston, 1996).
  1323. Giangreco (1996) suggests ten recommendations for regular education teachers in an
  1324. inclusive setting:
  1325. 1) Work with other team members
  1326. 2) Welcome all students into your classroom
  1327. 3) Be the teacher for all students
  1328. 4) Provide the same classroom experiences for all students
  1329. 5) Be specific about shared expectations with team members
  1330. 6) Adapt work to the student’s needs
  1331. 7) Provide both active and participatory learning experiences
  1332. 8) Adapt classroom arrangements, materials and strategies
  1333. 9) Have appropriate support services, and
  1334. 10) Evaluate your teaching
  1335. Instructional models should stress collaborative planning and problem solving in order to
  1336. serve the diverse student population. Inclusive support teams can work together to provide
  1337. meaningful experiences for students with disabilities. Classroom teachers and support specialists
  1338. can use their complimentary skills and knowledge to plan, implement, and evaluate the benefits
  1339. of instructional practices for all students in their class (Walther-Thomas, 1997).
  1340. Titone (2005) conducted focus groups composed of individuals experienced with
  1341. inclusion. The purpose was to determine the knowledge perspective teachers need to know, or
  1342. interventions they must be able to make in order to be successful in K-12 inclusive school
  1343. settings. Themes from the study suggested adapting curriculum and pedagogy, learning to
  1344. 50
  1345. monitor one’s own attitude, collaborating with teachers, as well as changes in courses and field
  1346. experiences for teachers in preparation programs. In addition to understanding and caring for the
  1347. students, the teacher must be successful at teaching the subject-area content. Curriculum
  1348. development is a critical factor in establishing a successful inclusion program because the
  1349. curriculum is the map that guides the educational process. Participants in the study agreed that it
  1350. is not sufficient to develop and adhere to a good curriculum, but teachers must know how to
  1351. adapt or modify curriculum to meet the needs of all students in the classroom. According to
  1352. Titone (2005), the best curriculum decisions can be made only through collaboration of special
  1353. and regular education teachers.
  1354. 2.5 OVERVIEW OF CO-TEACHING
  1355. The demands that special education legislation has placed on school districts have forced a
  1356. redesign of the educational system for children with disabilities. It has become important for
  1357. school districts to utilize their resources in more effective and creative ways in order to meet the
  1358. mandates of NCLB and the even more recent mandates of the newly revised IDEA 2004. Both of
  1359. these laws define “highly qualified” in new ways, and as a result, schools must find unique ways
  1360. to meet the requirements these laws set forth. Co-teaching has become one of the many
  1361. collaborative strategies that schools are looking at in an effort to meet the needs of all students
  1362. within this educational framework that we call school (Villa, Thousand, & Niven, 2004: Snell
  1363. &Janney, 2005).
  1364. Co-teaching is a “push-in” rather than “pull-out” model of service delivery for students
  1365. with disabilities. This model is different as special educators come to the regular education
  1366. 51
  1367. classrooms to co-teach with general educators, and the expertise of teachers is viewed as
  1368. complementary. The general education teacher shares expertise in all aspects of the curriculum
  1369. and subject area, along with effective teaching and large-group instruction. The special education
  1370. teacher contributes his or her expertise in adaptations and modifications to the curriculum,
  1371. learning styles and strategies, along with clinical teaching and behavior management (Parrott,
  1372. Driver, & Eaves, 1992). A popular definition of co-teaching has evolved over time and explains
  1373. the process as:
  1374. Co-teaching refers to an educational approach in which general and special educators
  1375. work in a coactive and coordinated fashion to jointly teach academically and behaviorally
  1376. heterogeneous groups of students in educationally integrated settings (i.e., general
  1377. classrooms). Specifically, in co-teaching both general and special educators are
  1378. simultaneously present in the classroom, maintaining joint responsibility for specified
  1379. instruction that is to occur within that setting. (Bauwens, Hourcade, & Friend, 1989. p.
  1380. 18)
  1381. According to Gerber and Popp (2000):
  1382. The model of co-teaching has recently been used to serve students with disabilities
  1383. who have been placed in general education classrooms, primarily because they were
  1384. considered to be academically able. The great majority of these students are students with
  1385. learning disabilities. These students are cognitively within normal ranges and are thought
  1386. to be able to compete at approximately their age and grade level. (p. 229)
  1387.  Co-teaching is most often recommended for students with high-incidence disabilities.
  1388. These can include students with mild retardation, behavior disorders or learning disabilities
  1389. whose IEP calls for adapted instruction in the regular education classroom.
  1390. 52
  1391. 2.5.1 Models of Co-teaching
  1392. Special Education researchers, teachers and practitioners have described methods in which
  1393. general and special education teachers can co-teach in a single classroom. Friend, Reising, and
  1394. Cook (1993) identified five options teachers typically use when implementing a co-teaching
  1395. model. As teams progress through the options, it is important to remember that these are
  1396. hierarchical across three variables. First, as the co-teachers move down the continuum of models,
  1397. it must be understood that more and more planning time together is needed. Secondly, as the
  1398. team progresses, both teachers need to have a solid foundation of content knowledge in order for
  1399. the model to work effectively. This expectation can be the greatest barrier to co-teaching at the
  1400. secondary level. Thirdly, as the co-teachers move down the continuum, they must share the same
  1401. philosophy of inclusion and have a level of trust and respect for each other. It is critical that the
  1402. co-teachers be established from the onset of the initiative in order to provide the opportunity for
  1403. beginning to build relationships. Administrators should be cognizant of the teachers they are
  1404. pairing together, because a positive relationship is critical to the success of co-teaching.
  1405. Model 1: Lead and Support
  1406. In this model, one teacher takes the instructional lead and the other simultaneously
  1407. observes, monitors or tutors individual students. Theoretically, the regular or special education
  1408. teacher can assume either role, but in reality, it is usually the regular education teacher who
  1409. initiates the instruction and the special education teacher who assists. This model is often
  1410. preferred in the initial stages of co-teaching because the special education teacher lacks
  1411. confidence with the rhythm, pacing and content of the general education curriculum (Friend,
  1412. Reising & Cook, 1993).
  1413. 53
  1414. Model 2: Station Teaching
  1415. Co-teachers that utilize this model divide the class into two or three heterogeneous
  1416. groups. Two groups are supported by teacher-directed instruction while the third group works
  1417. independently. Within the teacher-directed groups, course content and class work are established.
  1418. They do not have to be completed in any specific order. Normally, each teacher teaches one
  1419. lesson and the third lesson (if there are three groups) consists of a seatwork assignment that
  1420. students complete independently or with minimal assistance. Each group rotates through the two
  1421. or three teaching stations. The purpose of this model is to allow both teachers to provide more
  1422. individualized instruction to students (Friend, Reising & Cook, 1993).
  1423. Model 3: Parallel Teaching
  1424. In this model the class of students is divided into two heterogeneous groups of equal size,
  1425. both containing students with disabilities. The teachers are expected to jointly plan a lesson that
  1426. delivers the same content within the same timeframe. This model recognizes that teachers have
  1427. different teaching styles and allows for that uniqueness when designing the assignments and
  1428. instruction. Parallel teaching requires that both teachers pace their lessons so that both groups of
  1429. students finish the unit of instruction at the same time with the same degree of mastery (Friend,
  1430. Reising & Cook, 1993).
  1431. Model 4: Alternative Teaching
  1432. This model supports the idea of pre-teaching or re-teaching depending on need.
  1433. Typically, a larger group of students is engaged in whole-group instruction or an extension
  1434. activity, while a smaller group of students have concepts re-taught or specific skills reemphasized. This model requires more planning time to ensure these tasks can be successfully
  1435. 54
  1436. completed with all students. Either teacher can teach the groups. Sometimes it is beneficial for
  1437. the regular education teacher to assist the students with the pre-teaching and re-teaching since
  1438. they are the experts in the content knowledge (Friend, Reising & Cook, 1993).
  1439. Model 5: Team Teaching
  1440. Both teachers equally share the planning and instruction of students in this model. The
  1441. teachers are expected to plan lessons jointly, have equal knowledge of the content, and be
  1442. responsible for the learning of all students in the class, including those with disabilities. This
  1443. model is typically used with co-teachers who have worked together for at least 2 years. In this
  1444. type of classroom environment, both teachers finish each other’s sentences, clarify each other’s
  1445. comments or answer student questions without the fear of offending the other teacher (Friend,
  1446. Reising & Cook, 1993).
  1447. 2.5.2 Benefits of Co-Teaching
  1448. Despite the increasing popularity of the co-teaching service delivery model, the field currently
  1449. lacks a strong empirical database on the overall effectiveness of this model. Research has been
  1450. limited to case studies, observations, survey research and reports from teachers involved in the
  1451. process. Nonetheless, from the work currently completed, a number of benefits are presented in
  1452. the literature including: greater collegial exchanges of strategies between professionals,
  1453. increased understanding of students’ needs, stronger instructional programs for students with
  1454. disabilities, increased acceptance of students with disabilities by their non-disabled peers and
  1455. decreased burnout for professionals (Lecompte & Preissle, 1993).
  1456. According to Cook and Friend (1995), proponents argue that co-teaching is a viable
  1457. model for effective inclusion for at least two reasons. First, co-teaching allows the special
  1458. 55
  1459. education teacher to provide direct instructional support to the regular education teacher. Other
  1460. consultation models limit the amount of direct support the special education teacher can provide,
  1461. and as a result, they are unable to offer suggestions or assist with modifications on a consistent
  1462. basis. Secondly, proponents of co-teaching report this model provides a direct means of special
  1463. education services in a less obtrusive manner, so that students with disabilities do not feel
  1464. stigmatized or isolated from their peers. Many feel the co-teaching experience is beneficial as the
  1465. students with disabilities receive the content expertise of the regular education teacher and the
  1466. disability expertise of the special education teacher (Stainback & Stainback, 1990).
  1467. Other research indicates several benefits of co-teaching. The data reports most students
  1468. with disabilities made academic gains of some type (Klingner, Vaughn, Hughes, Schumm &
  1469. Elbaum, 1998). Other research indicates augmented self-esteem, reduced social stigma amongst
  1470. peers and parental satisfaction with the co-teaching model (Affleck & Lowenbraun, 1990).
  1471. Walther-Thomas (1997) reported benefits such as teacher satisfaction; professional and personal
  1472. growth; improved academic performance; and peer relationships. Gerber and Popp (2000) found
  1473. that administrators, teachers, parents and students were enthusiastic about the co-teaching model
  1474. and perceived successful academic outcomes and positive effects on self-esteem and behavior
  1475. management.
  1476. 2.5.3 Barriers to Co-Teaching
  1477. Researchers identify several barriers that impact the success of the co-teaching model. WaltherThomas (1997) identified planning time, scheduling, caseloads, administrative support and staff
  1478. development as the most prominent challenges a school system faces when implementing this
  1479. service delivery model. Similarly, Dieker (2001) reported planning time, student grading, student
  1480. 56
  1481. readiness, teacher readiness and high stakes testing as challenges. Schumaker and Deshler (1988)
  1482. identified three significant barriers to co-teaching at the secondary level. First, they noted the
  1483. large gap in the skill level of students with disabilities. “Research has repeatedly shown that the
  1484. amount of time necessary to teach the required number of skills exceeds the amount of time that
  1485. might be allocated to such instruction in a secondary content classroom” (p. 37). Secondly,
  1486. Schumaker and Deshler argued that research has indicated that individual feedback; high rates of
  1487. interaction with peers and teachers; high rates of students’ responding; and direct skill instruction
  1488. can repair skill deficit areas in students with disabilities. Finally, the authors described the
  1489. characteristics of secondary education that inherently pose barriers, including the voluminous
  1490. nature of the content; the amount of time teachers are in contact with students; the pressures from
  1491. outside the school; the autonomy and independence of teachers in courses; and the divergent
  1492. goals of special education and general education as the grade level rises (Schumaker & Deshler,
  1493. 1988).
  1494. Weiss and Lloyd (2002) observed co-taught classes at the middle and high school levels
  1495. and identified several challenges related to co-teaching. One issue related to a split in instruction
  1496. within the classroom because of the gaps in academic and behavioral domains between the
  1497. regular and special education student population. Another issue was the little time that was
  1498. devoted to special education teachers being able to deliver and modify instruction. Overall, the
  1499. regular education teachers were regarded as the content specialists and the special education
  1500. teachers were identified as the classroom assistants.
  1501. 57
  1502. 2.5.4 Components of a Successful Co-teaching Model
  1503. Several researchers (Friend & Cook, 1995; Weiss & Lloyd, 2002; Dieker, 2001; Gerber & Popp,
  1504. 2000; Schumaker & Deshler, 1988) have described similar components that lead to effective coteaching. The following characteristics surfaced from the literature signifying a “true” coteaching model: strong positive relationships between the teaching pairs; consistent planning
  1505. time; equity in the teaching roles for both teachers; and more individualized student instruction.
  1506. There has been several research studies related to the implementation of successful coteaching programs and specific components that make co-teaching effective. Scruggs and
  1507. Mastropieri (1995) conducted two case studies examining the effective teaching practices for
  1508. including students with disabilities in the regular classroom setting at the upper elementary,
  1509. middle and secondary levels. The researchers worked closely with both regular and special
  1510. education teachers from one semester to two years. Data sources consisted of extensive class
  1511. observations, field notes, videotapes of classes, interviews with teachers and students, and other
  1512. artifacts. Data analyses in these cases were qualitative and inductive.
  1513. The similarities in the ways in which collaboration and co-teaching occurred between the
  1514. two teams of teachers were noted through the observational findings. Each team possessed 1)
  1515. outstanding working relationships 2) strengths as motivators 3) time for co-planning 4) good
  1516. curriculum 5) effective instructional skills 6) exceptional adaptations for students with
  1517. disabilities and 7) expertise in the content area (Scruggs & Mastropieri, 1995). According to the
  1518. results of these studies, the authors found these seven factors critical to the implementation of a
  1519. successful co-teaching program.
  1520. Co-teaching is a developmental process that has stages through which co-teachers
  1521. proceed. Through extensive experience, classroom observations, and conducting in-service
  1522. 58
  1523. training with co-teachers on co-teaching over the past decade, Gately and Gately (2001) identify
  1524. three developmental stages in the co-teaching process.
  1525. Stage 1 is identified as the Beginning Stage. At this level, co-teachers are guarded and
  1526. more superficial in their communication as they develop boundaries and attempt to establish a
  1527. professional working relationship. “It may be that much of the dissatisfaction that is noted in the
  1528. literature regarding co-teaching is expressed by teachers who continue to interact at the
  1529. beginning level” (Gately & Gately, 2001, p. 42).
  1530. Gately and Gately (2001) identify stage 2 as the Compromising Stage. As the relationship
  1531. develops between the co-teachers, the communication becomes more “open and interactive”
  1532. (p.42). As a result, there is an increase in the professional communication. At this level, teachers
  1533. use a “give and take” approach in order to build a level of trust that is needed to move toward a
  1534. more collaborative partnership.
  1535. Finally, stage three in the developmental process of co-teaching is the Collaborative
  1536. Stage. At this level the teachers “openly communicate and interact” (Gately & Gately, 2001, p.
  1537. 42). The relationship between the teachers is one of trust and mutual respect for each other both
  1538. as a colleague and a professional. There is a sense of comfort that enhances the co-teaching,
  1539. collaborative classroom. “At this stage, it is often difficult for outsiders to discern which teacher
  1540. is the special educator and which is the general educator” (Gately & Gately, 2001, p. 42).
  1541. In addition to the developmental stages, the authors also identify several factors that must
  1542. be addressed in order for co-teachers to move through these stages in order to establish a
  1543. successful co-teaching model. Gately and Gately (2001) identify these factors as: 1) physical
  1544. arrangement of the classroom 2) special education teacher’s knowledge of the general education
  1545. curriculum 3) shared responsibility for adaptations and modifications of the curriculum 4)
  1546. 59
  1547. common planning time 5) shared instructional presentation 6) effective classroom management
  1548. 7) an established assessment system and 8) interpersonal communication.
  1549. Gately and Gately (2001) recommend that co-teachers and supervisors use The Coteaching Rating Scale (CtRS) to continuously analyze the effectiveness of the co-teaching
  1550. classrooms. This is an informal instrument that can help teachers monitor and adjust their coteaching program in order to reach the collaborative level more quickly. There are two forms of
  1551. the CtRS. One is for the special education teacher and the other is for the regular education
  1552. teacher. Overall, the CtRS assists in identifying each teacher’s strengths and weaknesses. The
  1553. authors recommend that the teachers complete the forms independently and then compare results
  1554. with their partners. In addition, they recommend the co-teachers use the CtRS continuously
  1555. throughout their co-teaching experience in order to create a successful co-teaching model that
  1556. will “enhance the experience of inclusion for all students and adults in the classroom” (Gately &
  1557. Gately, 2001, p. 47).
  1558. Magiera and Simmons (2005) evaluated the co-teaching program in three high schools
  1559. within one school district. Their study consisted of 10 classroom observations, 22 teacher
  1560. interviews and the Magiera-Simmons Quality Indicator Model of Co-Teaching rating form. This
  1561. rating form offers a different view of reflecting on the co-teaching model. The 25 measurable
  1562. quality indicators provided by this tool guide co-teachers in the study of their classroom
  1563. practices. It can also be the basis for a self-study of teacher practices.
  1564. The following four instructional process quality indicators from the rating form were
  1565. selected to emphasize the instructional themes in the co-teaching literature at the secondary
  1566. level:
  1567. 1. Quality Indicator #8- Both teachers clearly are responsible for group instruction
  1568. 60
  1569. 2. Quality Indicator #11- Accommodations for students with disabilities are
  1570. observed in the classroom
  1571. 3. Quality Indicator #14- Both teachers provide substantial instruction to all students
  1572. 4. Quality Indicator #17- The process of learning is emphasized along with the
  1573. content being learned. (Magiera & Simmons, 2005, p. 5)
  1574. In addition to these quality indicators, the authors make the following recommendations
  1575. to ensure a solid co-teaching model: 1) keep effective co-teaching pairs together 2)
  1576. provide common planning time 3) encourage special education teachers to become part of
  1577. content departments and 4) track student outcomes (Magiera & Simmons, 2005).
  1578. The review of literature related to co-teaching identifies various factors that contribute to
  1579. an effective co-teaching model. Many of the researchers identified throughout this section share
  1580. commonalities among those factors as a result of their research. A framework for identifying the
  1581. factors that enhance a co-teaching model has been provided (see figure 3) with emphasis on the
  1582. common factors shared by each of the researchers.
  1583. Researcher Common Factors
  1584. LeCompte and Preissle (1993) Outstanding working relationship
  1585. Strengths as motivators
  1586. Common planning time
  1587. Solid curriculum
  1588. Effective instructional skills
  1589. Exceptional adaptations and modifications for
  1590. students with disabilities
  1591. Special education teacher’s knowledge of the content
  1592. area
  1593. Scruggs and Mastropieri (1995) Outstanding working relationship
  1594. Strengths as motivators
  1595. Common planning time
  1596. Solid curriculum
  1597. Effective instructional skills
  1598. Exceptional adaptations and modifications for
  1599. students with disabilities
  1600. Special education teacher’s knowledge of the content
  1601. Gately and Gately (2001) Physical arrangement of the classroom
  1602. Special education teacher’s knowledge of the general
  1603. education curriculum
  1604. Shared responsibilities for adaptations and modifications
  1605. 61
  1606. Common planning time
  1607. Shared instruction
  1608. Effective classroom management
  1609. Established assessment system
  1610. Magiera and Simmons (2005) Shared Instruction
  1611. Observed adaptations and modifications for students
  1612. with disabilities
  1613. Special education teacher’s knowledge of the content
  1614. and participation in the department meetings
  1615. Consistent pairing of co-teachers
  1616. Common planning time
  1617. Tracking of student outcomes
  1618. Figure 3 A framework for summarizing the common factors that relate to an effective co-teaching
  1619. model according to the literature review of several researchers
  1620. 2.6 SUMMARY OF CHAPTER II
  1621. This review of literature has attempted to help the reader develop a thorough understanding of
  1622. the federal legislation related to special education that has forced school districts to restructure
  1623. the current educational programs offered to students, specifically those students with disabilities.
  1624. The Individuals with Disabilities Act requires states and school districts to consider LRE
  1625. for students with disabilities, which is the regular classroom setting with supplemental aids and
  1626. services provided to the student. This legislation, coupled with the landmark court case, Gaskin
  1627. v. Pennsylvania Department of Education, has compelled school districts to redesign the way in
  1628. which current education is provided to students with disabilities. As a result, many districts have
  1629. adopted the idea of co-teaching as one method for ensuring the inclusion of students with
  1630. disabilities in the regular education setting.
  1631. The review of literature revealed that although many school districts have implemented
  1632. co-teaching programs within their inclusive school settings, some have been found ineffective.
  1633. Research shows that reasons for this failure relate to a lack of core components that are necessary
  1634. 62
  1635. for establishing a successful co-teaching model. Furthermore, the research has found that there
  1636. are specific developmental stages of co-teaching, along with various models of co-teaching that
  1637. co-teachers must experience before reaching the maximum level of co-teaching. If the
  1638. components are not observed and available to the co-teachers, then the probability of the coteachers reaching the maximum level is unlikely.
  1639. The purpose of this review of literature was to help build a conceptual framework for
  1640. investigating the implementation of a co-teaching model in various school settings and to study
  1641. the components that are necessary to design and implement an effective program. As the
  1642. literature revealed, there are several key components that are necessary for designing and
  1643. implementing a successful co-teaching environment. The components include a positive working
  1644. relationship between the co-teachers, common planning time, the special education teacher’s
  1645. knowledge of the general education curriculum, shared responsibilities for adapting and
  1646. modifying student work, shared instruction, assessment and monitoring student outcomes.
  1647. The review of literature conducted by this author revealed that co-teaching can be a
  1648. successful method for including students with disabilities into the regular classroom setting if
  1649. key components are established by the administration, faculty and most importantly, the coteachers. Studying these components more in-depth in a setting that is currently implementing
  1650. co-teaching is essential in order to maximize the use of co-teaching and to foster the educational
  1651. learning of all students, including those with disabilities.
  1652. 63
  1653. 3.0 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
  1654. 3.1 PURPOSE
  1655. The purpose of this qualitative case study is to examine the implementation of co-teaching
  1656. models in a middle school inclusive setting in Western Pennsylvania. In particular, the researcher
  1657. wishes to examine the human, task, structural, and technical subsystems of the school to
  1658. determine what factors will affect the implementation of co-teaching relationships between
  1659. regular and special educators. Rogers (2003) refers to early adoption as the
  1660. redefining/restructuring stage of implementation. The grand tour question is: What sociotechnical subsystem variables affect the successful adoption of co-teaching for inclusion in a
  1661. suburban middle school?
  1662. 3.2 BACKGROUND
  1663. According to Walther-Thomas (1997) and Isherwood and Barger-Anderson (2008), a need exists
  1664. to further investigate what can be done to improve current co-teaching systems and practices.
  1665. The authors identify a number of challenges and barriers that influence the success of coteaching in schools, including: planning time; human resources; scheduling; caseloads; clarity in
  1666. teacher roles and responsibilities; teacher attitudes; administrative support; and staff
  1667. 64
  1668. development. These challenges are examples of factors related to each of the four subsystems
  1669. found in a school that have been demonstrated to affect co-teaching program adoption. The four
  1670. subsystems interrelate, with each tending to shape and mold the others (Owens & Steinhoff,
  1671. 1976). Because these subsystems are co-dependent of one another, a change in one will result in
  1672. some adaptation on the part of the others. Understanding what specific changes occur in each of
  1673. a school’s subsystems as a result of the implementation of co-teaching and identifying successful
  1674. resources for supporting these changes may provide valuable knowledge for school personnel
  1675. planning to implement a co-teaching model.
  1676. 3.3 AUDIENCE
  1677. This investigation is relevant for school personnel such as teachers, school administrators, and
  1678. special education specialists interested in planning for the implementation of co-teaching. The
  1679. study focuses on adoption and implementation at the initial stages and how conditions for change
  1680. are created through co-teaching.
  1681. 3.4 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
  1682. This study is based on the grand tour question, or statement of the problem in its most general
  1683. form, followed by four sub-questions that serve to narrow the focus of the investigation.
  1684. Problem Statement:
  1685. 65
  1686. What socio-technical subsystem variables affect the successful adoption of co-teaching for
  1687. inclusion in a suburban middle school?
  1688. Research Questions:
  1689. 1. What changes occur in the school’s human subsystem as a result of the
  1690. implementation of co-teaching?
  1691. 2. What changes occur in the school’s task subsystem as a result of the
  1692. implementation of co-teaching?
  1693. 3. What changes occur in the school’s technical subsystem as a result of the
  1694. implementation of co-teaching?
  1695. 4. What changes occur in the school’s structural subsystem as a result of the
  1696. implementation of co-teaching?
  1697. 3.5 RESEARCH DESIGN
  1698. A case study design using the naturalistic inquiry method will be employed to gain an in-depth
  1699. understanding of the situation and to gather meaning for the researcher and relevant audience.
  1700. Merriam (1998) suggests that case studies are different from other types of qualitative research in
  1701. that they are intense descriptions and analyses of a single unit or bounded system such as an
  1702. individual, program, innovation, event, group, intervention, or community.
  1703. Using the naturalistic approach will allow the researcher to study the implementation and
  1704. adoption of co-teaching models and relationships as they occur naturally, without constraining,
  1705. manipulating, or controlling it, and provide a detailed description of the case that is under study.
  1706. The intent is not to establish a cause-effect relationship, but to offer understanding and generate
  1707. 66
  1708. patterns inductively from the data. These patterns will be confirmed through triangulation of data
  1709. sources, which will give credibility to the researcher’s judgment.
  1710. 3.6 CASE
  1711. The case or bounded system that will be studied in this investigation is a suburban middle school
  1712. located in Western Pennsylvania about 10 miles north of Pittsburgh. The district resides within
  1713. one small township that is approximately six square miles in size with an above average family
  1714. household income. The school district has earned a positive regional reputation with higher than
  1715. average student achievement on state assessment tests. The middle school is comprised of grades
  1716. six, seven and eight with approximately 750 students and 70 faculty and staff members. The
  1717. school was implementing co-teaching at the onset of this study. Prior to the co-teaching
  1718. initiative, the special education program functioned as a pull-out program where students with
  1719. disabilities received direct instruction for primary academic subjects such as English and
  1720. mathematics in the learning support classroom, the emotional support classroom or the life skills
  1721. classroom. Students with disabilities participated in regular education classes for some subjects
  1722. such as social studies, science, physical education and elective courses. No co-teaching
  1723. relationships existed prior to the co-teaching initiative.
  1724. 67
  1725. 3.7 SUBJECTS
  1726. This investigation is using a case study approach and as a result, criterion sampling (a form of
  1727. purposeful sampling) was the method of choice used for identifying subjects for this study.
  1728. Because the investigator wished to discover, understand, and gain the most insight possible about
  1729. this particular phenomenon, a technique known as criterion-based selection was employed to
  1730. choose the subjects who participated in this study. In criterion-based selection a list of essential
  1731. attributes is created for the study and then participants are chosen to match the list (Merriam,
  1732. 1998). The criteria established for subject selection includes being a special education teacher or
  1733. regular education teacher that is assigned at least one co-teaching period during the school day.
  1734. The subjects in this case study include ten regular education teachers and six special
  1735. education teachers. All teachers included in the study are co-teaching at least one class per day
  1736. with a colleague with three different partners. Teachers range in career experience from two
  1737. years to 32 years. The majority of participants in the study are females. Five regular education
  1738. teachers are male including two science teachers, one social-studies teacher, and two math
  1739. teachers. No teacher in the study has previous co-teaching experience.
  1740. 3.8 QUALITATIVE DATA COLLECTION
  1741. In a case study there is not one particular method for collecting data or analyzing it. Various
  1742. methods of data collection consist in a case study such as testing or interviewing. According to
  1743. Merriam (1998):
  1744. 68
  1745. Data are nothing more than ordinary bits and pieces of information found in the
  1746. environment. They can be concrete and measurable, as in class attendance, or invisible
  1747. and difficult to measure, as in feelings. Whether or not a bit of information becomes data
  1748. in a research study depends solely on the interest and perspective of the investigator (p.
  1749. 69).
  1750. Merriam (1998) compares the researcher in qualitative studies to a detective in that the
  1751. researcher spends time searching for clues, following leads, and looking for missing pieces in an
  1752. attempt to put together a puzzle of the problem under investigation. A qualitative approach is
  1753. utilized in an effort to find answers associated with the research question posed. The methods for
  1754. this study included interviewing subjects, observations of co-taught classrooms, and examination
  1755. of existing documents related to co-teaching. The data collection occurred over a three year
  1756. period. The following outlines a more specific description of the type of data collection that was
  1757. implemented during the study.
  1758. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with co-teaching partners throughout the
  1759. study. Merriam (1998) cautions against the use of highly structured interview techniques in
  1760. qualitative research in that adhering to predetermined questions may not allow the researcher to
  1761. access participant’s perspectives and understandings of the problem at hand. Merriam (1998)
  1762. suggests using semi-structured interviews. Semi-structured interviews consist of questions that
  1763. are more flexibly worded, or the interview is a mix of more and less structured questions.
  1764. According to Merriam (1998) this format allows the researcher to respond to the situation at
  1765. hand, to the emerging worldview of the respondent, and to new ideas on the topic. In addition,
  1766. Piantanida and Garman (2009) recommend using semi-structured interviews “when the intent of
  1767. the study is to probe deeply into the meanings that participants have made of some experience”
  1768. 69
  1769. (p. 95). I used an interview guide (see Appendix B) containing specific questions. Some openended questions were followed up with probes, along with a list of topics and issues that related
  1770. to the topic of study. Probes are questions or comments that follow up something already asked
  1771. by the researcher (Merriam, 1998). Probing can come in the form of asking for more details, for
  1772. clarification, or for examples. I used probes in order to make adjustments in the interviewing and
  1773. to expand on something significant the respondent said during the interview.
  1774. I collected documents related to co-teaching as a source of data. Merriam (1998) uses the
  1775. term document as the umbrella term to refer to a wide range of written, visual, and physical
  1776. materials relevant to the study at hand. Documents that were inspected in this study include
  1777. memos, emails, conversations during professional development, logs, formal and informal
  1778. correspondence, teacher lesson plans, and teacher evaluations.
  1779. The researcher’s observer activities are known to the group and participation in the
  1780. group is secondary to the role of information gatherer. Observations took place in identified coteaching academic classes. The purpose of the observation was to examine the effects of the
  1781. potential socio-technical subsystem variables on the co-teaching initiative. The researcher used a
  1782. modified version of Gately and Gately’s Co-teaching Rating Scale (CtRS) observation guide (see
  1783. Appendix C) when conducting classroom observations. Prior to utilizing the form, I matched the
  1784. socio-technical subsystems to each of the 24 indicators.
  1785. 3.9 QUALITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS
  1786. According to Merriam (1998) qualitative research is not a linear, step-by-step process. It is an
  1787. interactive process that allows the investigator to produce believable and trustworthy findings.
  1788. 70
  1789. Data collection and analysis is a simultaneous activity. Analysis begins with the first interview,
  1790. the first observation, and the first document read. The researcher’s emerging insights, hunches,
  1791. and tentative hypotheses direct the next phase of data collection. This in turn leads to the
  1792. refinement of questions, and so on.
  1793. Data analysis is the process of making sense out of data. Merriam (1998) suggests that all
  1794. qualitative data analysis is content analysis in that it is the content of interviews, field notes, and
  1795. documents that are analyzed with the communication of meaning being the focus. In this study,
  1796. the content of interviews, field notes, and documents were analyzed. Piantanida and Garman
  1797. (2009) use the term raw text because of the various forms of information used to represent raw
  1798. materials that encompass the experimental, discursive and theoretic texts of the dissertation. Raw
  1799. data was collected using a wide range of materials including observations, interview guides and
  1800. archival records. I coded the data using note cards to identify recurring themes. This involved
  1801. editing for accuracy and analyzing for coding purposes.
  1802. Merriam (1998) recommends keeping an interview log as opposed to transcribing
  1803. interviews. I kept a log that identified specific details of each interview with the teacher. The
  1804. content of the interview log was coded according to the emerging themes or categories that
  1805. appeared. Merriam (1998) refers to coding as a process of assigning some sort of shorthand
  1806. designation to different aspects of data in order to easily retrieve specific pieces of data. Coding
  1807. was done throughout the data collection process.
  1808. Miles and Huberman (1994) suggest beginning the coding process by using descriptive
  1809. codes. Descriptive coding involves assigning data an initial start code. The list for this study was
  1810. developed from the research question themes. They include: human subsystems-HS, technical
  1811. subsystem-TS, structural subsystems-SS, and the task subsystem-TaskS. The second step is
  1812. 71
  1813. pattern coding. This step is more inferential and explanatory. Rereading of descriptive field notes
  1814. frequently reveals the discovery of patterns in the data.
  1815. During the coding process, the researcher will attempt to bring meaning to the coding
  1816. through the memo writing. Glasser (1978) defines memos as the theorizing write-up of ideas
  1817. about codes and their relationship as they strike when coding. As coding occurred, I drafted
  1818. memos to identify consistent, interesting and poignant findings in the data.
  1819. I reviewed the findings, and quality of data supporting the findings, in order to write a
  1820. synthesis. Once I analyzed the data, I began to summarize the specific factors related to each
  1821. subsystem in the socio-technical theory that were reoccurring themes throughout the study. I
  1822. organized the study to represent each of the three school years and then provided a summary of
  1823. each factor that related to the human, task, technical or structural subsystem. Miles and
  1824. Huberman (1994) refer to this as a form of data collection and recommend it be completed about
  1825. one-third of the way through the study.
  1826. 3.10 VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY OF RESULTS
  1827. According to Merriam (1998), validity and reliability are concerns that can be addressed through
  1828. careful attention to a study’s conceptualization and the way in which data are collected,
  1829. analyzed, and interpreted, and the way in which findings are presented. A number of approaches
  1830. were utilized to guarantee the data was reliable and valid. Interviews, observation information
  1831. and documented data were triangulated to identify themes and categories and consistency in
  1832. results. Merriam (1998) defines triangulation as the process of using multiple investigators,
  1833. sources of data, or methods to confirm emerging findings. Member checks (Merriam, 1998) is a
  1834. 72
  1835. technique used as subjects are shown excerpts of tentative interpretations of their interviews to
  1836. check for accuracy as they are being written up. Another technique known as peer examination
  1837. will be utilized to check for feasibility of results. This process requires the researcher to ask
  1838. colleagues to comment on the findings as they emerge (Merriam, 1998).
  1839. Merriam (1998) and Piantanida and Garman (2009) suggest identifying the researcher’s
  1840. bias at the outset of the study is a way of ensuring validity and reliability. I am the Director of
  1841. Pupil Services for the district in which the study will take place. The Director of Pupil Services
  1842. has been charged with the task of creating a more inclusive school environment for students with
  1843. disabilities as a result of Federal and State regulations. As such, co-teaching is one method
  1844. chosen for accomplishing this task.
  1845. 3.11 REPORTING THE RESULTS
  1846. Merriam (1998) suggests that there is no standard format for reporting qualitative research. The
  1847. content of a case study depends on the audience it was written for and the investigator’s purpose
  1848. for conducting the research study. Most case studies, particularly qualitative studies, provide a
  1849. description of the context of the study, or where the inquiry took place early in the study. This
  1850. study provided a description of the school’s current special education program and how students
  1851. with disabilities were serviced. In addition, it provided a history of the earliest stages of adoption
  1852. and implementation of the co-teaching model, along with information on how co-teaching pairs
  1853. were established.
  1854. The findings of a study are the outcomes of the inquiry and what the researcher came to
  1855. understand about the phenomenon. Merriam (1998) suggests reporting the findings of a study by
  1856. 73
  1857. providing the reader with information on the problem of the study and how it was carried out.
  1858. The most common way findings are presented in a qualitative report is to organize them
  1859. according to the categories, themes, or theories derived from the data analysis (Merriam, 1998).
  1860. Typically, a Findings section begins with a brief overview of the findings supported by quotes
  1861. from the interviews or field notes or references to documentary evidences (Merriam, 1998). A
  1862. Findings section was included in both Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 of this case study.
  1863. A Discussion section may be necessary in order to tell the reader what the investigator
  1864. makes of the findings (Merriam, 1998). This is where the researcher often identifies any
  1865. surprises and compares the results of the case study to the existing knowledge base in the field.
  1866. This section allows the researcher to draw overall conclusions and express his or her thoughts of
  1867. the study. A Discussion section was included in the Conclusion Chapter of this case study.
  1868. 74
  1869. 4.0 IN THE TRENCHES
  1870. 4.1 SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
  1871. School districts have been forced to rethink the way they provide special education services to
  1872. children with disabilities as a result of IDEA 2004 and NCLB. Both laws have established
  1873. detailed requirements regarding teacher certifications and obtaining “highly qualified” status
  1874. (PSBA, 2005). Co-teaching has become a popular method for meeting these strict requirements
  1875. of providing highly qualified teachers, and districts are embracing the concept and using it as a
  1876. well-regarded best practice.
  1877. As the Director of Pupil Services for a suburban school district, I was charged with the
  1878. responsibility of examining our special education program and researching methods for
  1879. increasing inclusion opportunities for students with disabilities. IDEA was upholding district
  1880. accountability for providing education to children with disabilities in the least restrictive
  1881. environment, which in a public school setting, is the regular education classroom. I was fortunate
  1882. that our district already had a positive reputation for educating students with disabilities in the
  1883. regular education setting but knew that we could do better.
  1884. Prior to the co-teaching initiative, the special education program functioned as a pull-out
  1885. program where students with disabilities received direct instruction in primary academic subjects
  1886. such as English and math in the learning support classroom, the emotional support classroom or
  1887. 75
  1888. the life skills classroom. Students with disabilities participated in regular education classes for
  1889. social studies, science, physical education and all elective courses. No co-teaching relationships
  1890. existed prior to the co-teaching initiative.
  1891. 4.2 INITIATION
  1892. Rogers (2003) states that the innovation process in organizations consists of a sequence of five
  1893. stages: two in the Initiation sub process and three in the Implementation sub process. The later
  1894. stages cannot be addressed until the first two stages have been accomplished, either explicitly or
  1895. implicitly (Rogers, 2003). Agenda-setting and matching are the first two of the five stages and
  1896. together constitute Initiation. Initiation is defined as all of the information gathering,
  1897. conceptualizing, and planning for the adoption of an innovation, leading up to the decision to
  1898. implement (Rogers, 2003).
  1899. Because many qualitative case studies present a description of the context early on in the
  1900. report, I provided a description of the agenda-setting and matching stage to help the reader
  1901. understand the context and sequence of the innovation process that led to the implementation of
  1902. co-teaching at our middle school. I will provide a description of the redefining/restructuring
  1903. stage of the Implementation sub process later in the study so the reader has a clear understanding
  1904. of the changes that occurred in the socio-technical subsystems at the middle school as a result of
  1905. co-teaching.
  1906. 76
  1907. 4.3 PART I: THE INVESTIGATION
  1908. 4.3.1 Agenda Setting
  1909. The school district is located north of Pittsburgh and is a flourishing professional community of
  1910. about 18,000 residents. Easily accessible from the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Pennsylvania
  1911. Route 8, the Township's 16-square miles include portions of North Park, Hartwood Acres,
  1912. McCully Road Nature Trail, the Depreciation Lands Museum and an expanding business district.
  1913. Unique among neighboring districts, the township's boundaries coincide with the school
  1914. district's, leading to cooperative ventures such as the after-school Latchkey program. The
  1915. community park, pool and other recreational facilities are maintained through a Joint Recreation
  1916. Board, which benefits students as well as other residents.
  1917. The School District is comprised of three elementary schools grades K-5, a middle school
  1918. grades 6-8 and a high school grades 9-12. The school district serves 3,109 students, employs
  1919. more than 400 faculty and staff members, and has an operating budget of $40 million.
  1920. Specifically, the district serves 328 students with disabilities and operates about a $4 million
  1921. special education budget.
  1922. Shortly after being given the task of investigating our special education program’s
  1923. inclusion practices, I began to contact other local school districts in order to discover what they
  1924. were doing to maintain or increase their inclusion practices. After contacting more than 10 local
  1925. districts, I became frustrated to learn that our district was in the forefront of including children
  1926. with disabilities in the least restrictive environment. Three of the school districts however, were
  1927. able to talk about the co-teaching models they were utilizing. They explained that co-teaching
  1928. was a concept in which the special education teacher taught with the regular education teacher in
  1929. 77
  1930. the regular education classroom. Most of the administrators I spoke with said they were utilizing
  1931. the co-teaching model in order to comply with IDEA’s and NCLB’s highly qualified status for
  1932. their special education teachers. This was due to the fact that the majority of their special
  1933. education teachers were not highly-qualified, and therefore, no longer legally approved to
  1934. provide direct instruction in the core academic subjects to children with disabilities. As a result,
  1935. co-teaching satisfied these requirements and districts were “off the hook.”
  1936. 4.3.2 Matching
  1937. The district’s special education department began with all special education teachers being
  1938. highly-qualified. This is a requirement from the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. All special
  1939. education teachers have to obtain certification in an academic subject area in addition to the
  1940. special education certification. The district wasn’t being forced to implement co-teaching in
  1941. order to remain in compliance with Federal law. That being said, co-teaching would address the
  1942. substitute issues and meet the requirements for any future hires in the special education
  1943. department that might not have attained highly qualified status. Although I didn’t have to
  1944. implement co-teaching as a result of compliance, I was very interested in its overall philosophy
  1945. and concept. In addition, research suggested that co-teaching would be an excellent way to
  1946. increase inclusion for our students with disabilities in the regular education classroom.
  1947. Co-teaching immediately sparked my interest and I began researching the topic. I called a
  1948. colleague who is a professor at Slippery Rock University in the Special Education Department to
  1949. ask if he could provide me with any information on this concept. He went on to describe the
  1950. business that he and his colleagues in the Special Education Department had started called
  1951. Keystone Consulting, Inc. They were providing co-teaching professional development to
  1952. 78
  1953. teachers in area school districts. He then sent me literature on co-teaching and information on
  1954. how his company could serve our school district and move the co-teaching initiative forward.
  1955. After reviewing the literature I received, along with conducting my own research on coteaching, in November of 2005, I decided to share the information at one of our Administrative
  1956. Council meetings with the superintendent, assistant superintendent and building principals. Of
  1957. course, none of the building principals were interested in yet another “initiative” involving
  1958. special education. Fortunately, both the superintendent and assistant superintendent at the time
  1959. were very supportive of the co-teaching initiative and they encouraged me to move forward with
  1960. the pre-planning stages.
  1961. A decision had to be made as to which building would implement co-teaching. In early
  1962. January of 2006, I scheduled a meeting with the five building principals and we spent the
  1963. morning reviewing data in order to make an informed decision. PSSA data, along with other
  1964. standardized test scores, were used to look at the IEP subgroups in each building. I also used
  1965. information from Penn Data that identified the percentage of students with IEPs in each building
  1966. who were receiving instruction in the regular education classroom. The results were glaring, and
  1967. it was obvious to the entire group that the middle school had the greatest need for improvement
  1968. of achievement and inclusion for students with disabilities. Therefore, the decision was
  1969. unanimous in choosing to implement co-teaching at the middle school.
  1970. Both the middle school principal and assistant principal were very positive in taking the
  1971. lead with implementing co-teaching. We surmised that the teachers wouldn’t be so positive about
  1972. the co-teaching initiative. After long discussions and weighing the pros and cons, we decided to
  1973. meet with Keystone Consulting to see if they were capable of providing the professional
  1974. development needed to bring the middle school faculty onboard. After serving many years as an
  1975. 79
  1976. administrator, I learned that when trying to implement a new initiative it is best to hire outside
  1977. people to provide training. Teachers seemed more willing to accept the advice and expertise
  1978. from those outside their own organization. In addition to my thoughts the middle school
  1979. principal explained:
  1980. I am willing to do whatever it takes to make the implementation of co-teaching at the
  1981. middle school successful but in no way am I an expert on the topic. I will take the lead in
  1982. bringing my faculty on board, but I need people who are experts on co-teaching and
  1983. know the research behind it to actually provide the professional development to my
  1984. faculty. We have to be strategic in our presentation of co-teaching to the faculty and this
  1985. will require a lot of preparation and planning on all of our parts. (Interview, 2006)
  1986. 4.3.3 Interpretation of Agenda Setting
  1987. Rogers (2003) states that during the agenda setting state of Initiation, needs and problems within
  1988. the organization are identified and prioritized. This is followed by a search of the organizational
  1989. environment in an attempt to find the usefulness of innovations. In this case study, as the
  1990. Director of Pupil Services, I found a need existed to enhance the least restrictive environment
  1991. opportunities for the students with disabilities so that they could have the same access to the
  1992. curriculum and learning opportunities that students without disabilities experienced. I also knew
  1993. that by implementing the co-teaching model, the district would maintain compliance with the
  1994. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act. After meeting
  1995. with Keystone Consulting, we decided they possessed the expertise and qualifications required to
  1996. move the co-teaching initiative forward.
  1997. Innovation Champion
  1998. Rogers (2003) defines an innovation champion as a charismatic individual who throws
  1999. his or her weight behind an innovation, thus overcoming indifference or resistance that the new
  2000. 80
  2001. idea may provoke in an organization. In this case study, there were several factors of resistance
  2002. that needed to be overcome including teacher attitude, willingness to change and cost.
  2003. Research findings from studies of innovation champions have concluded that the
  2004. important qualities of champions were that they (1) occupied a key linking position in their
  2005. organization (2) possessed analytical and intuitive skills in understanding various individuals’
  2006. aspirations and (3) demonstrated well-honed interpersonal and negotiating skills in working with
  2007. other people in their organization (Rogers, 2003). Findings from this case study support these
  2008. conclusions. In my experience, the middle school administrators lacked the analytical and
  2009. intuitive skills in understanding others’ aspirations and were not skilled in negotiating with the
  2010. teachers in their building. They fell short in the leadership skills an innovation champion must
  2011. possess in order to successfully implement an innovation. This issue will be discussed further in
  2012. the study.
  2013. Several people were identified as innovation champions during this case study. The
  2014. middle school principal held a key position within the organization and recognized the need for
  2015. more students with disabilities to be included in the regular classroom setting. At first, he was
  2016. able to utilize his interpersonal skills to convince a core group of regular education teachers that
  2017. co-teaching was necessary and would benefit all students. In the end, he struggled with keeping
  2018. the motivation and momentum going when a larger group of teachers began to challenge the coteaching initiative. I was able to act as the innovation champion for the special education
  2019. department. I also held a key position within the organization as the Director of Pupil Services
  2020. who was responsible for special education programming K-12. I had a very good relationship
  2021. with most of the special education teachers at the middle school and was able to meet with them
  2022. over a few months time and convince them that co-teaching would benefit all students, including
  2023. 81
  2024. those with disabilities. Why of course it wasn’t easy to convince them, but I do think that due to
  2025. the level of trust they had in me and confidence in my support, they were willing to climb on
  2026. board.
  2027. Although the professors from Keystone Consulting didn’t hold key positions within the
  2028. organization, they certainly possessed qualities of an innovation champion. All three consultants
  2029. were professors from Slippery Rock University in the Special Education Department. Prior to
  2030. being college professors, the three consultants had been special education teachers in public
  2031. schools and two of them were previous public school administrators, specifically building
  2032. principals. Their experience as both scholars and practitioners provided credibility in the eyes of
  2033. the middle school faculty and the three of them were certainly charismatic and possessed the
  2034. interpersonal skills necessary to motivate staff members.
  2035. Building a Learning Organization
  2036. In addition to enhancing Inclusion for students with disabilities, I also recognized the
  2037. need to begin building learning organizations within the district. I was confident that co-teaching
  2038. would naturally create a learning organization at the middle school. Fullan (1993) explains that
  2039. leaders are designers, stewards, and teachers in a learning organization. They are responsible for
  2040. creating organizations where people continually expand their capabilities to understand
  2041. complexity, improve shared mental models and clarify vision. My agenda was not simply to
  2042. provide an easier way for teachers to include students with disabilities in the regular education
  2043. setting, but rather to make co-teaching a meaningful way of learning for both the students and
  2044. teachers, and to create a “culture of learning.”
  2045. Fullan (1993) also suggests that in learning organizations, leaders may start by pursuing
  2046. their own vision, but as they listen to the visions of others, they begin to realize their personal
  2047. 82
  2048. vision is part of a bigger picture. I had a vision for co-teaching, which began to grow and include
  2049. the visions of other school personnel, including the middle school administrators, special
  2050. education teachers and some regular education teachers. As each educator expressed his or her
  2051. vision for co-teaching, the potential benefits and positive outcomes for children with disabilities
  2052. became unlimited.
  2053. Fullan (1993) states, “visions can die or fail to develop in the first place if too many
  2054. people are involved at the beginning, when leaders fail to advocate their views, when superficial
  2055. talk rather than grounded inquiry and action is the method used” (p.30). He cautions against
  2056. trying to get every individual on board with an innovation before implementation occurs because
  2057. it does not connect to the reality of dynamic complexity. Fullan (1993) defines dynamic
  2058. complexity as the real territory of change: “when ‘cause and effect’ do not produce expected
  2059. outcomes because other ‘unplanned’ factors dynamically interfere” (p.20).
  2060. I attempted to implement the co-teaching initiative through the lens of both a scholar and
  2061. a practitioner. This was a very difficult task. From the researcher’s viewpoint, I tried to take
  2062. Fullan’s advice by limiting the implementation of co-teaching to one building in the district,
  2063. which was the middle school. From a practitioner’s standpoint, I identified a handful of
  2064. administrators and teachers, both regular and special educators, who understood from the onset
  2065. that implementing co-teaching would be a dynamic and complex process because it represented a
  2066. change in instructional practice and also a change in culture. Keeping this in mind, the key
  2067. players moved their agenda forward. They recognized there would be roadblocks along the way
  2068. in efforts made to gain normative consensus about what co-teaching could become; planning
  2069. strategies to get there; and carrying out incremental experimentation that connected the creativity
  2070. 83
  2071. of all members to the change effort. Specific details about the strategies and experimentation
  2072. used to implement co-teaching will be discussed later in this chapter.
  2073. Change
  2074. One of the areas the agenda setting stage focused on during the innovation decision
  2075. process was change. Co-teaching was the mechanism the administrative team planned on using
  2076. to foster a new culture within the school system in which every person could act as a change
  2077. agent capable of individual and shared inquiry and ongoing renewal. This is important to
  2078. understand because the agenda setting stage didn’t focus only on Inclusion for students with
  2079. disabilities. It also created a new culture of shared vision in which teachers would be held
  2080. accountable for differentiating instruction for all students, using a team approach for developing
  2081. improved learning opportunities for students, and improving curriculum and lesson planning.
  2082. 4.3.4 Interpretation of Matching
  2083. Rogers (2003) defines matching as the stage in the innovation process in which the problem from
  2084. the organization is planned and designed to fit with the innovation. Conceptual matching of the
  2085. problem with the innovation during this second stage occurs in order to establish how well they
  2086. fit. During this stage, the organizational members try to determine the feasibility of the
  2087. innovation in solving the organization’s problems. In this case, the district needed to increase the
  2088. least restrictive environment for students with disabilities in the middle school. Co-teaching was
  2089. the innovation selected to solve the problem.
  2090. 84
  2091. Relative Advantage
  2092. The matching stage started when we began to examine various methods for enhancing
  2093. Inclusion for students with disabilities, specifically the co-teaching model. Factors such as
  2094. relative advantage, compatibility, and complexity were considered when researching this
  2095. method. Rogers (2003) defines relative advantage as the degree to which the innovation is
  2096. perceived as being better that the idea it supersedes. In this case study, co-teaching offered a
  2097. relative advantage over the current pull-out model the district used to instruct students with
  2098. disabilities.
  2099. Looking back at examining the matching stage of co-teaching, I do not think the
  2100. administrative team, including myself, initially thought much about the compatibility of coteaching with the existing values, past experiences and needs of the potential adopters; the
  2101. teachers. Certainly the co-teaching model was compatible with meeting the needs and wants of
  2102. school administrators who researched it, and it continued to allow the district to comply with
  2103. Federal and State laws, but the majority of teachers who were being expected (some feeling
  2104. forced) to implement co-teaching may have considered it as intrusive or problematic. Data
  2105. analysis indicates that many teachers perceived co-teaching as an invasion of their classroom as
  2106. they were expected to “share” their classroom, teaching, and planning time with another teacher.
  2107. Also perceived was a way for administration to document accountability of instruction by using
  2108. the new observation form designed specifically for co-teaching. Many teachers immediately
  2109. become uncomfortable when another adult enters their classroom.
  2110. Centralized Diffusion System
  2111. According to Rogers (2003) a centralized diffusion system is when an innovation starts
  2112. from an expert source outside the organization and is brought in by an innovation champion then
  2113. 85
  2114. spread to the potential adopters using opinion leaders in the system. This case study is an
  2115. example of the classical diffusion model in the fact that Keystone Consulting introduced the idea
  2116. of co-teaching to me, one of the innovation champions, who convinced other administrators to
  2117. adopt it. The co-teaching innovation was then discussed with other potential adopters, such as
  2118. regular and special education teachers, using the middle school principal and assistant principal
  2119. as the opinion leaders in the system. Centralized diffusion systems are based on a more one-way
  2120. method of communication. Diffusion in centralized systems flow from the top down and from
  2121. experts to users; many innovations in school settings are diffused in this manner (see Figure 4).
  2122. ↓ ↓ ↓
  2123. ↓ ↓ ↓
  2124. Figure 4 A framework for depicting centralized diffusion system
  2125. Private Consulting Firm
  2126. KEYSTONE CONSULTING, INC.
  2127. Innovation Champion
  2128. DIRECTOR OF PUPIL SERVICES
  2129. Opinion Leader
  2130. KEY SPECIAL and
  2131. REGULAR
  2132. EDUCATION
  2133. Opinion Leader
  2134. MS Principal and Assistant
  2135. Principal
  2136. Opinion Leader
  2137. CENTRAL OFFICE
  2138. ADMINISTRATORS
  2139. Potential Adopters
  2140. TEACHING STAFF/OTHER STAFF
  2141. 86
  2142. 4.4 PART II: PREPARATION
  2143. Rogers (2003) defines Implementation as all of the events, actions, and decisions that are
  2144. involved in putting an innovation into use. Redefining/restructuring, clarifying and routinizing
  2145. make up the Implementation sub process. This case study research took place during the
  2146. redefining/restructuring phase of Implementation.
  2147. Rogers (2003) indicates that when the organization’s structure is modified to fit with the
  2148. innovation and is reinvented to accommodate the needs and structures of the organization more
  2149. closely, the redefining/restructuring occurs. Owens and Steinhoff (1976) contend that the
  2150. implementation of an innovation results in changes in the subsystems of any socio-technical
  2151. organization. The subsystems consist of a technical, human, structural and task subsystem.
  2152. Rogers’ Theory of Diffusion supports this notion. Rogers (2003) states: Implementation
  2153. of a technical innovation in an organization amounts to a mutual adaption of the
  2154. innovation and the organization. Typically, both change during the sub process of
  2155. Implementation. Innovations not only adapt to existing organizational and industrial
  2156. arrangement, but they also transform the structure and practices of these environments.
  2157. (p. 424)
  2158. At this point, the story continues with how the middle school modified the co-teaching
  2159. initiative to better fit the current structure of the organization and how the middle school had to
  2160. undergo changes to improve the utilization of the innovation; co-teaching.
  2161. 4.4.1 Redefining/Restructuring
  2162. Scheduling Preparation
  2163. 87
  2164. The second semester of 2006 was spent planning the redesign of the middle school’s master
  2165. schedule to fit the co-teaching model, establishing co-teaching pairs and planning professional
  2166. development with Keystone Consulting for the start of the 2006-2007 school year. Both the
  2167. middle school principal and I agreed that we needed a small committee that consisted of the
  2168. special education department head, the eighth grade department head and team leaders from
  2169. grades six and seven to assist with the planning. We offered compensation for any time they
  2170. spent beyond the contracted work day because we believed that the first step of ownership was to
  2171. make sure some of the key teachers played a role in the decision-making process. In other words,
  2172. it wasn’t the administration dictating what the changes would be and how co-teaching would be
  2173. implemented, but rather, a team approach that included leaders from the special and regular
  2174. education departments creatively developing a plan. These six professionals were willing to
  2175. devote extra time to this important initiative and appreciated the fact that they were asked to take
  2176. part in the implementation process.
  2177. The first meeting was scheduled in early January of 2006 and initially the atmosphere
  2178. was negative between the administrators and the team of teachers. The teachers recommended
  2179. volunteers to pilot co-teaching in classrooms. They felt strongly that this would be an easier
  2180. transition for the faculty and they would be more willing to accept this initiative if it was
  2181. implemented slowly. Although we certainly realized this approach had positive aspects, we
  2182. explained that we needed to increase the least restrictive environment for all students with
  2183. disabilities at the middle school, not just a small group. We also explained that the master
  2184. schedule needed to be designed for the entire school year with the same expectations for the
  2185. following year. If we focused only on a select group of teachers, not all students with disabilities
  2186. would benefit from the outcomes of co-teaching and the master schedule would most likely need
  2187. 88
  2188. additional changes the following year. After much debate, we were able to convince the teachers
  2189. that piloting co-teaching would not be effective in achieving the overall goal, which was to
  2190. increase inclusion of all students with disabilities in the regular education setting at the middle
  2191. school level.
  2192. The team decided that the special education teachers who currently taught grades six,
  2193. seven and eight would remain the special education co-teachers for those particular grade levels.
  2194. The administrators thought this would create an advantage and accelerate the relationshipbuilding process since they already worked with one another in some capacity. There would be
  2195. one special education teacher to work with two teams in grades six, one to work with two teams
  2196. in grade seven, and one special education teacher to work with grade eight teachers because 8th
  2197. grade was departmentalized. The special education teacher who previously taught the life skills
  2198. program was to provide direct instruction in English, reading and math to those students who
  2199. needed a more restrictive learning environment. Consequently, she was the only special
  2200. education teacher who had proper certification in all of these areas. The teacher who previously
  2201. taught emotional support would co-teach across all grade levels. The speech and language
  2202. therapist would be scheduled to co-teach with teachers who had students with speech and
  2203. language IEPs in the regular education classroom.
  2204. Once the teaching assignments of the special education teachers were established, we
  2205. worked on deciding in which academic classes co-teaching would be implemented. The special
  2206. education teacher and team leaders from the three grade levels were instrumental in assisting us
  2207. with this decision. A discussion took place about the need to continue the direct instruction
  2208. classes for reading in grades six and seven. All of the teachers presented their case by explaining
  2209. that reading is a fundamental skill that all students must acquire in order to be successful in any
  2210. 89
  2211. academic class. If a child cannot read, then the child would not benefit from being in any of the
  2212. regular academic classes. Although I didn’t completely agree with this philosophy, I realized that
  2213. the decision-making process needed to be cooperative and collegial; since we already denied
  2214. their request to pilot the co-teaching initiative, I was willing to concede on this issue. As a result,
  2215. we decided that the special education teachers assigned to those grade levels would continue to
  2216. provide direct instruction in reading; co-teaching would not occur in the reading classrooms.
  2217. With that decision made, the regular education team leaders recommended that co-taught classes
  2218. be offered in math and English across all three grade levels and in the reading/communication
  2219. classes at the eighth grade level. This discussion was due to there being no direct instruction
  2220. reading class for eighth grade students. Math and English were the classes where students with
  2221. disabilities received the most direct instruction previously, and if the goal was to increase
  2222. inclusion in the regular education setting, then the students would need the most support in these
  2223. academic classes.
  2224. The valuable insight that this group of professionals provided through the lens of teachers
  2225. was priceless in designing the co-teaching schedule. Schedules for the sixth, seventh and eighth
  2226. grade teachers were now established. The special education teachers for grades six and seven
  2227. would teach one section of direct instruction reading (combining students from both teams) and
  2228. co-teach one section of English and math per team. In addition they would each be responsible
  2229. for a structured tutorial where they would provide backup and re-teaching support to students
  2230. with disabilities from both teams. This gave them six teaching periods, and contractually, their
  2231. two preparatory periods, totaling an eight period day schedule. The eighth grade special
  2232. education teacher would co-teach two sections of reading/communications (two periods in
  2233. length) and two sections of math, along with her two preparatory periods.
  2234. 90
  2235. Configuring the schedule for the special education teacher who was going to teach the
  2236. direct instruction classes was the easiest one to complete. She was assigned two sections of direct
  2237. instruction at each grade level totaling six sections. Deciding where the former emotional support
  2238. teacher would co-teach wasn’t as easy. There was detailed discussion about how to best utilize
  2239. her time in coordination with others. In fairness to all grade levels, we decided that she would
  2240. co-teach one section per team in grades six and seven and then two sections in grade eight. This
  2241. would assign the six teaching periods she was allowed contractually, along with the required two
  2242. preparatory periods. The next task was deciding in which academic subjects she would co-teach.
  2243. We felt confident that the English, math and reading co-taught classes at all three grade levels
  2244. were properly addressed. As a result, the focus was narrowed down to social studies and science.
  2245. Everyone had differing opinions about which of these two subjects should be co-taught. Some
  2246. expressed their concerns that the reading level in the social studies classes was challenging and
  2247. students with disabilities needed more support in the social studies curriculum. Opponents
  2248. presented a case for co-taught science due to a necessary level of independence for completing
  2249. science labs and activities. Not only may they need support academically in science, but safety
  2250. concerns could arise during lab experiments. In the end, the team decided that the sixth grade
  2251. social studies curriculum, Ancient History, was very challenging and students with disabilities
  2252. would benefit from co-taught classes. One section per team of co-taught Ancient History was
  2253. created at grade six. As for Grades seven and eight, the team reviewed both the social studies and
  2254. science curriculum. Based on the information, we decided the special education teacher would
  2255. co-teach one 7th grade section per team in science and two sections of science in grade eight. We
  2256. knew this wasn’t an ideal situation for the teacher because she would be responsible for learning
  2257. 91
  2258. three different curriculums, but our decisions were based on the needs of the students with
  2259. disabilities.
  2260. The next task for the team was to decide on how often professional development would
  2261. be offered to the middle school faculty. We explained to the teachers that Keystone Consulting.
  2262. would be providing the majority of professional development on co-teaching. We provided them
  2263. with an overview of Keystone’s qualifications and the consultants’ background as special
  2264. educators, school administrators and college professors. The teachers were very impressed and
  2265. positive about the services they would receive from Keystone Consulting. They were also
  2266. relieved when I assured them that the training would not be a two-day training at the beginning
  2267. of the school year but would be an ongoing effort of training, observation, evaluation and
  2268. support. I gave an overview of how I envisioned the training to look to the group:
  2269. As a former teacher, I remember how frustrating it was when the administration would
  2270. inform the teachers of a new initiative that we were expected to implement and then
  2271. provide us with a one or two day training/workshop and then tell us to being
  2272. implementation. There was never any ongoing or follow-up training. I carried this
  2273. memory with me all through my years as an administrator, and as a result, anytime I am
  2274. put in charge of implementing a new initiative, I focus on the amount and level of
  2275. training that will be needed in order for the implementation to be successful. With that
  2276. being said, let me tell you how I see the co-teaching training unfolding. I see the initial
  2277. training intense. The remaining professional education days this year will be devoted to
  2278. co-teaching training for middle school faculty. One of those days will consist of Keystone
  2279. Consulting providing a thorough overview of the philosophy on co-teaching, co-teaching
  2280. models and the key components of co-teaching. Another day will consist of some type of
  2281. breakout sessions that faculty can attend on a rotating basis. I am not sure on the specific
  2282. topics for each session, but I would like to make this particular day more interactive for
  2283. the faculty. Finally, I see the last professional education day being devoted to planning. I
  2284. would ask the consultants to come in and spend the day with the co-teachers and
  2285. administration to work on planning for the start of the school year. This includes, meeting
  2286. with the co-teachers, assisting with ordering materials and resources and addressing any
  2287. other issues in order to be prepared for implementation on the first day of the next school
  2288. year. At the start of next year, I would like to schedule monthly on-site visits with
  2289. Keystone Consulting, Inc. These visits would be structured for the Keystone team to
  2290. observe all co-taught classes and then meet individually with the co-teachers to debrief.
  2291. These observations and debriefing meetings would be used as a vehicle for supporting the
  2292. co-teachers as they implement co-teaching. They would not be used to evaluate or
  2293. 92
  2294. criticize the co-teachers, but rather as ongoing support while they continue to monitor and
  2295. adjust their co-teaching practice. I would expect Keystone Consulting to provide any
  2296. resources, materials or literature on co-teaching that would assist the teachers with
  2297. transitioning their regular education classrooms into co-teaching classes. In addition to
  2298. the two day workshops and monthly visits, I would devote all other in-service days
  2299. throughout the year to continue professional development on co-teaching for the middle
  2300. school faculty. I will get this commitment from central office administrators and middle
  2301. school administration. After I made these comments there was complete silence from the
  2302. group. Deep inside me a panic arose and I thought to myself, “Oh no, what did I say to
  2303. upset them?” After a few moments of awkward silence, I asked the group what I said
  2304. wrong.
  2305. One of the regular education teachers explained,
  2306. You didn’t say anything wrong. In fact, I think we are all dumb-founded by the level of
  2307. training you are willing to provide the middle school faculty. Never in my 22 years of
  2308. teaching has any administrator ever provided that type of training. In fact, it was usually
  2309. the type of training that frustrated you when you were a teacher. I really think the faculty
  2310. will be appreciative and feel a level of support from administration that we necessarily do
  2311. not feel.
  2312. I asked if anyone else had any recommendations or suggestions related to professional
  2313. development and training on co-teaching, and surprisingly, they all were in acceptance of the
  2314. proposal I described above. Several of the teachers agreed with the above statement made from
  2315. the regular education teacher. It was more than they expected. One teacher asked how I was
  2316. going to support this financially, and was concerned that down the road there wouldn’t be any
  2317. funds to continue providing this level of training. I assured them that I would be able to
  2318. financially support the training needed to implement co-teaching by utilizing the School-Based
  2319. ACCESS funds I generate through the special education program.
  2320. Common Planning Time
  2321. Through all of the research on co-teaching, one of the consistent recommendations for
  2322. success was to have common planning time for the co-teachers. In contrast, this was also the
  2323. most difficult task for administrators due to scheduling. The design of the middle school master
  2324. 93
  2325. schedule allowed for common planning time for sixth and seventh grade. Each team of teachers
  2326. had the same two preparatory periods available. This allowed at least one common planning
  2327. period for the special education teacher with each team. Although this wasn’t ideal, it was a start.
  2328. The team was adamant in arranging a common planning time for the eighth grade special
  2329. education teacher and the regular education teachers with whom she would be teaching. We were
  2330. able to arrange a common planning period for all of these teachers. However, it proved
  2331. impossible to provide consistent common planning periods for the emotional support teacher and
  2332. her co-teaching partners. This teacher was assigned to all three grade-levels with only two
  2333. preparatory periods. One sixth grade ancient history teacher and one eighth grade science teacher
  2334. were available the same period, which required the special education teacher to split her time
  2335. with them. This was not an ideal situation for her and we knew she would not be happy with her
  2336. new schedule. In an attempt to be fair and recognizing the added responsibility with learning
  2337. three different curricula, we decided not to assign any students with disabilities to her caseload.
  2338. This would alleviate the special education paperwork and allow her more time to focus on the
  2339. curricula for which she would now be responsible. The team felt good about the proposed master
  2340. schedule, with the exception of common planning time conflicts. Figure 5 provides a visual
  2341. representation of the special education teachers’ schedules.
  2342. SPECIAL
  2343. EDUCATION
  2344. TEACHER
  2345. PERIOD
  2346. 1
  2347. PERIOD
  2348. 2
  2349. PERIOD
  2350. 3
  2351. PERIOD
  2352. 4
  2353. PERIOD
  2354. 5
  2355. PERIOD
  2356. 6
  2357. PERIOD
  2358. 7
  2359. PERIOD
  2360. 8
  2361. Grade 6 Team A
  2362. CoTaught
  2363. Math
  2364. Team B
  2365. CoTaught
  2366. Math
  2367. Common
  2368. PlanTeam A
  2369. Common
  2370. PlanTeam B
  2371. Tutorial
  2372. Direct
  2373. Instruction
  2374. Reading
  2375. Class
  2376. Team A
  2377. Co-Taught
  2378. English
  2379. Team B
  2380. Co-Taught
  2381. English
  2382. Grade 7 Team A
  2383. CoTaught
  2384. English
  2385. Team B
  2386. CoTaught
  2387. English
  2388. Team A
  2389. CoTaught
  2390. Math
  2391. Team B
  2392. Co-Taught
  2393. Math
  2394. Tutorial
  2395. Common
  2396. PlanTeam A
  2397. Common
  2398. PlanTeam B
  2399. Direct
  2400. Instruction
  2401. Reading
  2402. Class
  2403. Grade 8 Common
  2404. Plan
  2405. Time
  2406. (English)
  2407. Common
  2408. Plan
  2409. Time
  2410. (Math)
  2411. Section 1
  2412. English
  2413. Comm.
  2414. Section 1
  2415. English
  2416. Comm.
  2417. Section 1
  2418. Math
  2419. Section 2
  2420. English
  2421. Comm.
  2422. Section 2
  2423. English
  2424. Comm.
  2425. Section 2
  2426. Math
  2427. 94
  2428. Grades 6-8 Grade 6
  2429. Team A
  2430. Ancient
  2431. History
  2432. Grade 7
  2433. Team B
  2434. Science
  2435. Grade 7
  2436. Team A
  2437. Science
  2438. Common
  2439. Plan Time
  2440. (available
  2441. teachers)
  2442. Grade 8
  2443. Section 1
  2444. Science
  2445. Grade 8
  2446. Section 2
  2447. Science
  2448. Common
  2449. Plan Time
  2450. (available
  2451. teachers)
  2452. Grade 6
  2453. Team B
  2454. Ancient
  2455. History
  2456. Grades 6-8
  2457. Direct
  2458. Instruction
  2459. (D.I)
  2460. Grade 6
  2461. D.I.
  2462. Grade 6
  2463. D.I.
  2464. Prep Grade 7
  2465. D.I.
  2466. Grade 8
  2467. D.I.
  2468. Grade 8
  2469. D.I.
  2470. Prep Grade 7
  2471. D.I.
  2472. Figure 5: A visual representation of the special education teachers’ co-taught class schedules
  2473. Transformation and Reassignment of Special Education Classrooms
  2474. The next topic of discussion was the reassignment of the special education classrooms. At
  2475. that point all six special education teachers had their own classrooms. Now that four of the six
  2476. would be in regular education classrooms the majority of their day, they would no longer need
  2477. their own individual classrooms. In addition, the middle school was in desperate need of
  2478. additional space and this transformation would open up some classrooms. Needless to say, the
  2479. special education department chair was not happy about losing the classroom she had for over 20
  2480. years. More importantly, she was not looking forward to informing her colleagues that some of
  2481. them would no longer have their own classrooms. This type of disruption and change cannot be
  2482. overlooked in an implementation process. Although she was upset, she portrayed the utmost
  2483. professionalism and forged forward with the initiative.
  2484. In the end, we decided to turn the largest of the special education classrooms into a
  2485. Special Education Suite. There would be room for four teacher desks, a large round work table
  2486. and individual filing cabinets. In an attempt to ease the pain, I even promised to get the Special
  2487. Education Department their own photo copier and paper shredder. In addition to the Special
  2488. Education Suite, we were going to use two of the special education classrooms for multiple
  2489. purposes. Teachers would provide the direct instruction reading classes in one of these two
  2490. rooms and tutorials would take place in these areas. There would be two special education
  2491. 95
  2492. paraprofessionals assigned to these rooms all day in order to service those students who required
  2493. re-teaching or backup support from their academic classes, alternative test location or who just
  2494. needed a time out area.
  2495. The regular education team leaders and department heads were sensitive to the sacrifices
  2496. the special education teachers were making and wanted to make sure that they welcomed the
  2497. special education teachers into their classrooms. They also identified a designated area for them
  2498. and made sure extra teacher desks would be provided in the co-taught classes for the special
  2499. education teachers. The middle school administrators made this a priority and promised the desks
  2500. would be in the rooms on the first day of school.
  2501. The Final Step
  2502. The last step was to decide when the co-teaching initiative would be introduced to the
  2503. middle school faculty. The team decided to conduct a faculty meeting to introduce the coteaching initiative and unveil the plan for implementation. The planning committee would
  2504. present the information to the teachers. We thought it was important to present the co-teaching
  2505. initiative as a unified front so that the rest of the faculty would see a team approach was used
  2506. during the initial planning process. We would allow as much time as needed for this meeting so
  2507. that the faculty would have ample time to ask questions and address concerns. We did not invite
  2508. the consultants to this first meeting because we thought there might be some resistance by
  2509. teachers. We wanted to give them this opportunity to vent their frustration and address any
  2510. concerns. We held the meeting during a January 2006 professional education day and scheduled
  2511. it for the entire morning. By introducing the co-teaching initiative and implementation plans
  2512. early in the second semester, our hopes were that teachers would have the remainder of the
  2513. semester, along with the summer break to process the co-teaching initiative. They would have
  2514. 96
  2515. time to read the literature, review resources, and plan for co-teaching so that when the
  2516. consultants from Keystone arrived on the first day of school, the faculty would be ready to start
  2517. the training.
  2518. The Announcement to the Middle School Faculty
  2519. The planning committee was prepared to present co-teaching to the faculty. We had a
  2520. short PowerPoint presentation and resource folders available for each faculty member. The
  2521. middle school principal welcomed everyone and was enthusiastic when he introduced the coteaching initiative. He remained positive as he set forth the expectations. As I observed the facial
  2522. expressions of the teachers, I recognized this would be a tough transition for many teachers.
  2523. They already seemed discouraged and frustrated and we hadn’t even started the training! I heard
  2524. one teacher whisper to a colleague, “here we go again, another great initiative dictated from
  2525. central office administration!” I became a little frustrated, but was not surprised by this
  2526. comment.
  2527. After the presentation on co-teaching the principal opened the conversation up for
  2528. discussion. The first teacher asked how the co-teachers were paired. One of the team leaders took
  2529. the question and answered it. Another teacher expressed concern that the on-site training was
  2530. going to take place simultaneous to implementation. This teacher did not believe this would be
  2531. the most effective way to implement co-teaching. Several other teachers agreed with this
  2532. particular person. The principal explained that although this was not the best situation, we
  2533. needed to move forward with the initiative. I also explained that it wouldn’t be effective to add
  2534. another teacher to the classroom half-way through the year. This would be confusing to the
  2535. students and it wouldn’t be fair to expect the special education teacher to pick up with the
  2536. instruction mid-year. We went on to assure the faculty that the expectation during the first
  2537. 97
  2538. semester would be for co-teachers to build the relationship and put what they learned from the
  2539. training into practice. We would not be evaluating the co-teachers as satisfactory or
  2540. unsatisfactory, but rather on the basis of whether they embraced the co-teaching initiative and
  2541. began building the co-teacher relationship throughout the school year. We explained that only
  2542. the Keystone Consultants would be observing the co-taught classes the first semester. We
  2543. believed that this was important in order to give the teachers a level of comfort before
  2544. administrators started to observe. With that being said, we also pointed out that the consultants
  2545. would be sharing the data with administrators so that we could continuously monitor and adjust
  2546. the co-teaching implementation.
  2547. I was very clear in explaining that co-teaching was not an option; it was an expectation
  2548. and the faculty was encouraged to embrace it. I also explained that the overall district goal was to
  2549. implement co-teaching district-wide within the next three years. My explanation seemed to
  2550. eliminate the thinking of many teachers that co-teaching was just another fad. After reviewing
  2551. both IDEA and NCLB, along with the Gaskin Settlement, teachers began to realize that coteaching was not unique to our district, but that all school districts were being forced to increase
  2552. LRE for students with disabilities, and co-teaching was being adopted by several school districts.
  2553. The overview of Federal and State laws and court cases set the tone for the remainder of the
  2554. conversation and it seemed that teachers changed their attitudes toward co-teaching and became
  2555. more positive in their thinking. The remainder of the faculty meeting was spent having
  2556. productive conversation about the implementation of co-teaching, specifically the professional
  2557. development they would receive throughout the first year of implementation.
  2558. 98
  2559. 4.5 PART III: PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
  2560. 4.5.1 Day One: February 2006
  2561. In February of 2006 Keystone Consulting arrived in the middle school to provide the first official
  2562. professional development workshop on co-teaching. The remaining professional development
  2563. days of the school year were devoted to training for middle school faculty and staff on coteaching. Any paraprofessional that worked in the special education program was expected to
  2564. participate in the training so that the entire middle school faculty as well as any staff who worked
  2565. with children with disabilities had a clear understanding of co-teaching and the transformation
  2566. the middle school was about to undergo.
  2567. The consultants from Keystone Consulting were excited to begin work with us as the first
  2568. school district to contract their services. In addition, all of them, who were also college
  2569. professors and former teachers or administrators, were firm believers in co-teaching and were
  2570. anxious to put their research into practice.
  2571. The day started with an overview of co-teaching; specifically the research and philosophy
  2572. behind it. The consultants used a PowerPoint presentation as their method of delivery and
  2573. provided handouts for teachers to take notes. The behavior of the majority of the middle school
  2574. faculty during this presentation was disrespectful to the presenters. Some teachers were talking,
  2575. laughing, texting and doing other work. Those teachers who did ask questions or make
  2576. comments were somewhat rude and condescending in their approach. One consultant even
  2577. jokingly replied, “Don’t shoot the messengers.” I was embarrassed and ashamed of these people
  2578. that called themselves professionals. At one point, I had to remind the faculty that they needed to
  2579. provide Keystone Consulting their full attention. The middle school administrators and I were
  2580. 99
  2581. shocked at the level of unprofessionalism the teachers displayed. We could not believe the
  2582. negativity they displayed in front of the Keystone consultants. It was obvious at this moment that
  2583. the middle school administrators were not the opinion leaders they needed to be. The principal
  2584. did not take the lead in addressing the unprofessional behavior of his faculty. He did not take
  2585. ownership of his building by interrupting the presentation in order to address the faculty, but
  2586. instead allowed a central office administrator to do it for him. It was apparent he lacked the
  2587. confidence and skills required to change the behavior of his faculty and move the co-teaching
  2588. initiative forward.
  2589. Although painful, we made it through the morning and it was time to break for lunch. The
  2590. middle school principal, assistant principal and I took the consultants to lunch. The consultants
  2591. were somewhat taken aback by the behavior of most of the teachers. We apologized and
  2592. expressed our concerns on the lack of professionalism that was displayed and assured them it
  2593. would be addressed with the middle school faculty. They told us not to be too hard on the
  2594. teachers because they expected a level of resistance from them. They remembered as former
  2595. administrators how frustrating it was to try to implement an initiative only to get a negative
  2596. response from the teachers. I explained that I expected frustration and some resistance, but never
  2597. this level of unprofessionalism. In my eyes, it was unacceptable and the tone needed to be set
  2598. before we moved forward with co-teaching.
  2599. I had a few minutes before the afternoon session and took the opportunity to speak with
  2600. the assistant superintendent about the behavior of the middle school faculty during the morning
  2601. presentation. I needed to get her insight and perspective on how I should move forward with the
  2602. afternoon training. I was concerned that the teachers would continue the inappropriate behavior,
  2603. especially during the afternoon session. I was not surprised at how the assistant superintendent
  2604. 100
  2605. reacted when I told her about the morning session. She would be described as someone who
  2606. portrays the utmost professionalism; giving and demanding respect. A very good listener and
  2607. considerate of other’s feelings, she was naturally angry and shocked at how the middle school
  2608. faculty represented themselves. She was disappointed for Keystone Consulting’s first impression
  2609. of the middle school faculty. She decided to attend the afternoon session in hopes that it would
  2610. be a more positive and inviting atmosphere.
  2611. It was obvious that things were not going to be better since most of the teachers were late
  2612. in returning for the afternoon session. We decided to begin the presentation even though the
  2613. majority of teachers had not returned. We hoped it would send a clear message when they
  2614. entered and the presentation had started without them. In addition, the assistant superintendent
  2615. was present to witness the disrespect. Finally, all of the staff returned and Keystone continued
  2616. the afternoon session with the philosophy of co-teaching. The end of the day was reserved for a
  2617. question and answer session. We did not anticipate the types of questions and comments the
  2618. teachers were going to initiate. One teacher asked in a very condescending manner,
  2619. Who was responsible for establishing the co-teachers and was any real thought even put
  2620. into this initiative before the schedules were designed? I am speaking on behalf of several
  2621. regular education teachers who expressed the same concerns. First, we are concerned that
  2622. there is not enough planning time reserved for the co-teachers, especially after listening
  2623. to the morning presentation. Secondly, we want to know what the administration was
  2624. going to do in order to prepare the special education teachers for learning the various
  2625. curriculums they were expected to teach. Regular education teachers are concerned that
  2626. the special education teachers will not be able to teach the curriculum, and therefore, coteaching will not be effective.
  2627. The middle school principal tried to explain that this was not the time to address those
  2628. types of questions, but rather the focus needed to be on asking questions related specifically to
  2629. co-teaching. He went on to clarify that the consultants from Keystone did not design the master
  2630. schedule or choose the co-teaching pairs. He reminded the faculty that they were there simply to
  2631. 101
  2632. support the district with implementing co-teaching. The principal informed the faculty that any
  2633. concerns or issues related to the technicalities of co-teaching should be directed toward
  2634. administration, not the consultants. I thought the principal was very clear on explaining what the
  2635. role of the Keystone consultants was, but obviously some of the teachers were not because the
  2636. interrogation did not stop. Another teacher raised her hand and commented,
  2637. I am offended that I was not part of this conversation from the beginning; rather I learn at
  2638. a faculty meeting that we are implementing another new initiative, and I am expected to
  2639. engage in co-teaching starting the first day of school with very little training.
  2640. Another teacher interjected her feelings,
  2641. I agree. I find it disheartening that the district would think it was acceptable to implement
  2642. co-teaching without involving the teachers in the planning stages. I am very concerned
  2643. that I am going to be expected to change my entire teaching routine and now share my
  2644. instructional responsibilities with someone who has no clue about the curriculum. This
  2645. cannot be good for any kids, including those with disabilities.
  2646. I realized that the principal’s previous statements had little to no effect on the faculty.
  2647. Recognizing that the faculty did not have confidence in their building leaders, I attempted to
  2648. reassure the faculty that the administration was not expecting the teachers to fully implement coteaching from the start of the school year. Rather next year was about “learning as we go” and
  2649. during the first semester, no one would be held accountable for anything other than being
  2650. receptive of the co-teaching initiative and working with Keystone Consulting in order to move
  2651. co-teaching forward. In addition, I had to remind them again that the purpose of this afternoon’s
  2652. session was to focus on questions and concerns related to co-teaching in general. It was
  2653. imperative that everyone had a clear understanding of the philosophy and research behind coteaching. We were not interested in continuing conversations about individual’s feelings and
  2654. opinions about how co-teaching should have been implemented, but rather factual and
  2655. professional discourse about the information that was presented to us today.
  2656. 102
  2657. The level of disrespect and unprofessionalism the faculty displayed was enough to make
  2658. the assistant superintendent address the entire middle school faculty in front of the Keystone
  2659. consultants. In all of my years, I never witnessed her address a large group of teachers in the
  2660. manner she did with this particular group. Although it was well-deserved, it was out of character
  2661. for her. She was very direct in indicating her disappointment with the behavior of the majority of
  2662. people in the room. She went on to say,
  2663. The level of unprofessionalism and disrespect that I am seeing in this room today could
  2664. be categorized as criminal in my eyes. I have never witnessed this type of behavior in all
  2665. my years in education. These people (the consultants) are trying to do their job, and I give
  2666. them credit for the professionalism and positive attitude they are trying to maintain. If I
  2667. were them, I would have probably left by now. The fact that you have already given up
  2668. on co-teaching before we have even finished the initial introduction of it is disheartening.
  2669. I am embarrassed and ashamed of what I witnessed over this last hour.
  2670. She finished her speech by informing everyone that she hoped the next professional
  2671. development day would bring a new outlook and better attitude from everyone so that the district
  2672. could continue with this exciting initiative that would better meet the needs of all students,
  2673. including those with disabilities.
  2674. I was absolutely speechless after the assistant superintendent finished speaking. Although
  2675. it was exactly what the middle school faculty needed to hear, again, it was so out of character for
  2676. the assistant superintendent to express her concerns so openly, that many teachers seemed to be
  2677. offended. The consultants from Keystone were true professionals and finished out the last half
  2678. hour of the afternoon as if nothing happened.
  2679. At the end of the day we sat down with the consultants to plan for April’s professional
  2680. development event. We were happy to learn that this agenda focused more on breakout sessions,
  2681. and that individuals would be assigned to sessions that pertained to them. The consultants
  2682. recognized that not every teacher was going to be co-teaching and that they needed to
  2683. 103
  2684. differentiate their presentations to benefit all teachers. For those teachers who would not be coteaching, the breakout sessions consisted of: how to adapt and modify for struggling students,
  2685. understanding the need to differentiate instruction and how to utilize paraprofessional support in
  2686. the regular education setting. Those teachers who would be co-teaching would participate in
  2687. sessions that were more focused and related to components of co-teaching, such as: relationship
  2688. building, how to use common planning time, shared instruction and using the five co-teaching
  2689. models. We were impressed with the various sessions Keystone was going to offer and thought
  2690. they did a thorough job in addressing the needs of all of the teachers.
  2691. 4.5.2 Day Two: April 2006
  2692. It was the April professional development day and we were happy that the consultants came
  2693. back. We were excited about the sessions they were going to conduct. Each room was set up and
  2694. prepared with various activities to share with teachers. I was relieved that the consultants had a
  2695. variety of resources to share with them. When a district is initiating such a powerful program like
  2696. co-teaching, I have learned that teachers want examples and resources for implementation. Each
  2697. breakout session came with a folder of resources for each teacher to use as they continued on
  2698. their journey with co-teaching.
  2699. The administrators made it a point to visit each break out session throughout the day to
  2700. monitor the behavior of the faculty after the previous professional development session. We
  2701. received a lot of positive feedback from the teachers as we observed the various groups. One of
  2702. the sessions focused on technology and the consultant demonstrated free websites the teachers
  2703. could access to find materials and resources for co-teaching and differentiated instruction. One
  2704. teacher who participated in the technology session commented,
  2705. 104
  2706. This session was so beneficial as it provided me with the resources I needed to actually
  2707. implement co-teaching in my classroom. I feel much better about implementing coteaching after participating in today’s breakout sessions. It was obvious that
  2708. administration recognized the value of providing, in advance, actual resources we need to
  2709. implement co-teaching and eliminated the task for us to find them ourselves. This will
  2710. save me so much time and allow me to focus my attention on co-teaching since I already
  2711. have a library of resources available to start reviewing now.
  2712. Another teacher who participated in the session that reviewed various adaptations and
  2713. modifications for students with disabilities shared her opinion,
  2714. I have to say I was very skeptical after the first co-teaching presentation. I was afraid that
  2715. we were going to be expected to do all of the leg work in preparing for our co-taught
  2716. classes in addition to just learning about it. I think both administration and the consultants
  2717. have done an excellent job in providing us with a ton of resources from the start. I am
  2718. somewhat relieved that I do not have to worry about finding all of these resources just so
  2719. that I can begin co-teaching. This folder contains a wealth of information on various
  2720. ways to adapt and modify for students, and I will not have to reinvent the wheel in trying
  2721. to identify them. Also, I will have the rest of this year and the summer to review it all.
  2722. Most of the sessions were positively received by the faculty. As I observed the various
  2723. sessions, I overheard rich discussions between teachers about how they could utilize the
  2724. information the consultants were sharing. There seemed to be somewhat of an excitement on the
  2725. part of the teachers and the atmosphere during the day’s activities felt inviting and warm. This
  2726. was in total contrast to the February professional development day experience.
  2727. I visited one of the sessions that the co-teachers were participating in that focused on how
  2728. to build co-teaching relationships. This was probably one of the most important sessions that we
  2729. offered because the research behind co-teaching consistently identifies a positive relationship as
  2730. a factor that makes co-teaching successful. It was interesting to observe the interactions of some
  2731. of the co-teaching pairs. As a bystander, it was obvious to me which teachers already had some
  2732. type of relationship or bond, because they were sitting next to each other and were very relaxed
  2733. and, at times, joked with one another. One the other hand, I was able to identify those coteachers who were paired together and did not have a pre-established relationship. Their body
  2734. 105
  2735. language portrayed a sense of anxiousness on both their parts. In addition, they were very
  2736. cautious in their approach with one another and their posture was observed to be guarded and the
  2737. conversation seemed to be strained and awkward. The session was extremely well planned by the
  2738. consultants in that the entire focus was on how to build positive co-teaching relationships. The
  2739. consultants provided several activities that helped the teachers get to know one another as a
  2740. person versus a colleague. They did some role playing scenarios with each other that painted a
  2741. clear picture for the teachers about the importance of a positive relationship and using a team
  2742. approach to co-teaching. The role play scenarios were real life situations that happened in the
  2743. consultants’ previous experiences as either co-teachers or administrators.
  2744. I was able to sit with one of the co-teaching pairs to get their perspective on the session.
  2745. The special education teacher commented,
  2746. Honestly, if I didn’t already know my co-teaching partner and have a good relationship
  2747. with him, I would be scared to death right now. I can’t imagine being forced
  2748. to co-teach with someone I never worked with before. I think this session was so
  2749. beneficial for those co-teachers who do not have a pre-established working relationship. I
  2750. just hope they are able to build from these activities as they move forward with the coteaching initiative.
  2751. The regular education teacher shared his thoughts,
  2752. I agree 100%. I couldn’t imagine being forced to co-teach with someone I never worked
  2753. with. I am fortunate that my previous schedule allowed me to work closely with this
  2754. special education teacher. Thank you for recognizing the importance of the relationship
  2755. piece and keeping the same special education teachers assigned to the same grade levels.
  2756. I feel bad for the two special education teachers who have to start from scratch and build
  2757. relationships with regular education teachers they never worked with before. That will be
  2758. difficult I think. If I can be frank, today’s session was probably more meaningful for
  2759. those teachers than to us.
  2760. I thanked the two teachers for taking the time to meet with me and appreciated their
  2761. perspectives on the session. I wanted to meet with a co-teaching pair that was going to be
  2762. working together for the first time, so I asked one of the special education teachers whose role
  2763. 106
  2764. was changing and one of the Ancient History teachers if they would be willing to spend a few
  2765. minutes with me in order to reflect on today’s session. The special education teacher offered her
  2766. thoughts,
  2767. I hope I can speak openly without offending anyone. I am very scared about this new role
  2768. I am expected to take on. I do not feel comfortable at all with my new schedule and am
  2769. very disappointed with how it was determined. I do not know how I am going to learn
  2770. three different levels of curriculum in two different subjects. After participating in this
  2771. last session, I realize how important it is to build a positive relationship with your partner.
  2772. I have to attempt to build a positive relationship with six different people. How in the
  2773. world do I do that? I just do not see how my schedule is going to allow my co-teaching
  2774. experiences to be positive and rewarding for the students with disabilities. Quite frankly,
  2775. I don’t see me ever moving past the one teach, one assist model of co-teaching.
  2776. The Ancient History teacher provided his perspective on relationships for co-teaching,
  2777. This session gave me a lot of good ideas on how to build a relationship with my coteacher. I just don’t see me having enough time to do that since she has to work with
  2778. six different regular education teachers. It takes time to build relationships and I am
  2779. afraid we will not have an efficient amount of time to spend together in order to do that.
  2780. I know the co-teaching implementation cannot be perfect, but I do think this special
  2781. education teacher got the short end of the stick, which means so did the rest of us that
  2782. have to co-teach with her.
  2783. Both of these teachers expressed concerns that the committee recognized and addressed
  2784. during the initial planning stages. Unfortunately, this was the best schedule that we could design
  2785. for this particular special education teacher.
  2786. The administrators and Keystone consultants reflected on the breakout sessions at the end
  2787. of the day. We all agreed that the day’s activities sparked the interest of several teachers and
  2788. created a positive working environment that we didn’t observe in the previous workshop. We
  2789. were hopeful that the teachers would continue to move the co-teaching initiative forward in a
  2790. positive direction.
  2791. 107
  2792. 4.5.3 Day Three- June 2006
  2793. It was the last professional development day of the school year in June 2006. The consultants
  2794. from Keystone met with me and the middle school administrators early in the morning to review
  2795. the training schedule for the 2006-2007 school year. We secured the first two days of school,
  2796. four additional professional development days, and established the dates for the on-site monthly
  2797. visits. We decided that at least one of the consultants would meet with the middle school
  2798. principals and me prior to their on-site visits. We would collectively create an agenda that would
  2799. involve the consultants observing a group of co-teachers and then debriefing with them after the
  2800. observations. Classroom coverage was arranged in advance for the co-teachers. A specific
  2801. schedule was designated for each co-teaching pair. The goal would be to provide constructive
  2802. feedback to the co-teachers in order to enhance the co-teaching experience.
  2803. The teachers were provided, in advance, a list of the dates each month Keystone
  2804. Consulting would be on site and, which co-teaching pairs would be working with the consultants
  2805. each visit. A copy of the schedule is provided in Appendix D. One consultant would observe a
  2806. section of sixth grade math and English on both teams and debrief after each observation with
  2807. the co-teachers. The second consultant would observe a section of seventh grade math and
  2808. English on both teams and debrief with the co-teachers. Finally, the third consultant would
  2809. observe one section of the eighth grade English communications and math, one section of sixth
  2810. grade Ancient History and one section of seventh grade science and debrief. This schedule would
  2811. allow the consultants to observe the majority of co-taught classes during one visit. The only cotaught classes that weren’t observed during this particular visit would be the other section of
  2812. sixth grade Ancient History and seventh grade science, two sections of eighth grade science and
  2813. a class with the speech language therapist. These classes were observed during the next visit,
  2814. 108
  2815. allowing more time for the consultants to work with the co-teachers.
  2816. The remainder of the day would be devoted to allowing the consultants to work with the
  2817. co-teaching pairs in order to establish the resources that were needed for the start of the school
  2818. year. The special education department asked if they could have a meeting with me prior to
  2819. meeting with the Keystone consultants and regular education teachers. I asked the consultants to
  2820. start working with the regular education teachers while I met with the special education teachers.
  2821. The six special education teachers were visibly frustrated. The special education
  2822. department head spoke on behalf of the other five. She started by recognizing that she was
  2823. involved in the initial planning of co-teaching and appreciated the fact that the administration
  2824. offered the invitation. Furthermore, she acknowledged that she was a firm believer in coteaching and believes that if implemented correctly, our students with disabilities would
  2825. experience success in the regular education setting. With that being said, she went on to explain,
  2826. I am speaking on behalf of all of us when I say that we are concerned that we do not have
  2827. a sufficient amount of resources to begin co-teaching the first day of school with our
  2828. students. Honestly, I neglected to think about the added resources that we need in
  2829. the regular education setting now that we no longer have our own classrooms. For
  2830. example, the special education teachers do not even have a space to call our own in the
  2831. regular education classrooms. Where are we going to put our stuff now that we are
  2832. considered traveling teachers. Will we have a desk and workspace available in each room
  2833. that we co-teach? Secondly, where will we provide re-teaching and small group
  2834. instruction for students? We learned that this type of instruction should happen right
  2835. within the regular classroom when co-teaching. Our regular education classrooms
  2836. currently do not allow for that type of teaching. Also, what about the added
  2837. materials we will need for adapting and modifying work for students. Usually these types
  2838. of materials were available to our students when they came to the resource room. Since
  2839. they will no longer be coming to the special education classrooms, we will need these
  2840. resources accessible to students in the regular education setting.
  2841. I patiently listened to everything the special education teacher had to say and appreciated
  2842. her directness. It was obvious that this group of special educators wanted to implement a solid
  2843. co-teaching program and was attempting to address all of the obstacles that could possibly create
  2844. 109
  2845. a negative experience. I told them that additional teacher desks would be placed in every
  2846. classroom that had been identified as a co-taught setting. They were happy to hear that. I also
  2847. explained that they could order whatever extra materials and resources they felt were needed in
  2848. order to move ahead with the co-teaching initiative. Those items might consist of round tables to
  2849. place in the back of classrooms so that re-teaching and small group instruction could be provided
  2850. or additional software, computers, laptops, or other types of classroom materials. The only
  2851. stipulation I had was that they needed to sit with their co-teacher and produce a list of items
  2852. together. Once the list was identified, they could send it directly to me and I would place the
  2853. order. I then explained that one of the previous classrooms would be transformed into the middle
  2854. school special education office. A desk would be available for each of the four special education
  2855. teachers. In addition, each of their work areas would contain a desktop computer, printer and
  2856. telephone. They could order filing cabinets or whatever they preferred to maintain files and
  2857. organize their space. The speech teacher and special education teacher who would provide direct
  2858. instruction would still have their own classrooms.
  2859. The women indicated they felt better after meeting with me and thanked me for my
  2860. support and understanding. They wanted to have this discussion without the regular education
  2861. teachers because they didn’t want to offend their co-teaching partners in any way. I told them I
  2862. recognized the sacrifices the special education department had to make as a result of the coteaching initiative, and was willing to support them in any way I could in order to make the
  2863. transition as smooth as possible.
  2864. Another special education teacher expressed her concerns,
  2865. I am really afraid of the amount of curriculum I am expected to learn and really do
  2866. not have any idea of how I am going to do it. Have extra teacher resources been
  2867. ordered in the regular education classes that will now be co-taught? I would like to
  2868. 110
  2869. have a copy of my own so that I can take it home in the evenings and review it over the
  2870. summer.
  2871. Another special education teacher asked,
  2872. Would it be possible to get each of us laptops now that we do not have our own
  2873. classrooms anymore? I used to do my work in my classroom during my prep and between
  2874. class periods. Now that I will be sharing classrooms with regular education
  2875. teachers, it would be great if I had a laptop that I could carry from room to room.
  2876. In my opinion, the special education teachers spent time reflecting on how their role as
  2877. special education teachers would change as a result of co-teaching. I told them that I would order
  2878. a laptop for each of them and that they needed to meet with the co-teachers to determine what
  2879. additional resources or materials they will need for co-teaching. I told them to send me the list
  2880. after their meeting today and I would place the order as soon as I received it.
  2881. The special education teachers joined the rest of the group in reviewing resources,
  2882. materials, software, and other items so that a final list could be prepared and submitted to central
  2883. office for purchase. The consultants played a key role in identifying appropriate materials that
  2884. would be needed in order to implement co-teaching for the start of the 2006-2007 school year.
  2885. At the end of the day the consultants provided me with a list of several items that needed
  2886. to be purchased. They reiterated again how pleased they were with the attitude change in most of
  2887. the teachers toward the co-teaching initiative. They believed that the items requested were
  2888. essential in starting co-teaching in a positive manner. I assured them that I would submit the
  2889. items for purchase so that they arrive prior to the start of the school year. Hopefully, the
  2890. curriculum resources would arrive within the next month so that teachers could have them to
  2891. review over the summer. I informed the teachers that I would contact them directly when the
  2892. resources arrived so that they could review them sometime during the summer break, if desired.
  2893. 111
  2894. Summer arrived and so did all of the materials and resources I ordered for the co-teaching
  2895. initiative. I made sure the small teacher desks were placed in each of the co-taught classrooms. I
  2896. called each special education teacher to inform them their materials were ready. All six teachers
  2897. came the next day to pick up the materials to review over their summer break. I had their laptops
  2898. ready for them to take with them if they wanted to do any pre-planning. Again, they were very
  2899. appreciative of the effort I made to support their requests.
  2900. As the end of the summer grew near, I felt confident that I had addressed all of the
  2901. physical requirements needed for the start of school. I took a few minutes to reflect on the
  2902. progress we made from January and felt good that we were able to accomplish several of the
  2903. goals the small committee established during the pre-planning stages of co-teaching. The main
  2904. objective now would be to focus on the actual implementation of co-teaching and really work
  2905. with the co-teachers to assure the students experienced success with co-teaching.
  2906. 4.6 IMPLEMENTATION OF CO-TEACHING
  2907. 4.6.1 Year One: 2006-2007 School Year
  2908. Professional Development
  2909. The first two professional development days prior to the start of school were devoted to
  2910. continuing where Keystone Consulting left off with co-teaching for the middle school faculty.
  2911. The first day consisted of an overview of co-teaching and then various break-out sessions for
  2912. those teachers who would actually be implementing co-teaching in their classrooms. These
  2913. 112
  2914. break-out sessions were unique in that each one demonstrated a model of co-teaching: Lead and
  2915. Support, Station Teaching, Parallel Teaching, Alternative Teaching and Team Teaching.
  2916. Teachers were assigned to groups of five, and each group rotated through the five stations
  2917. throughout the day. The consultants from Keystone were outstanding with their presentations,
  2918. and brought seven additional professionals with them for this particular training so that they
  2919. could co-teach a lesson using one of the five different models.
  2920. The feedback from this training was phenomenal. Almost every teacher who participated
  2921. in one of the break out sessions reported positively. One co-teaching pair offered their opinion,
  2922. The Keystone consultants are quite impressive. They really know co-teaching and
  2923. provided practical training that will help us in the classroom. After today’s sessions, we
  2924. feel confident that we understand each model and how each one can be used to achieve
  2925. various goals based on what the teaching objective was for the day. A reading, English,
  2926. math, science and social studies lesson was used to demonstrate each model.
  2927. Another teacher offered her insight on the sessions,
  2928. I found these sessions to be very meaningful. It is obvious that building a relationship
  2929. with your co-partner is critical in order to move through the various models of coteaching. It seems to me that trust is a huge factor in the relationship piece, and if
  2930. that isn’t there, then the co-teaching pair will mostly rely on the lead and support model.
  2931. Day two of professional development was spent working with the co-teaching pairs to
  2932. organize materials and design the first week of lesson plans with the consultants from Keystone
  2933. Consulting. The teachers were very appreciative of this time and really focused on co-planning
  2934. lessons that would represent the co-teaching model. Most of the lessons focused on the Lead and
  2935. Support model since the co-teachers were just getting started. The teachers were excited about
  2936. the resources that were reviewed over the summer and believed they would be instrumental in
  2937. moving co-teaching forward. Most of the teachers were still apprehensive about co-teaching, but
  2938. maintained a positive attitude and were ready for the challenge.
  2939. 113
  2940. Co-Teaching Activities
  2941. Monthly on-site visits were conducted by the Keystone consultants during the 2006-2007
  2942. school year. As expected, the co-teachers addressed many concerns during their observation and
  2943. reflection meetings. The administration debriefed with the consultants after each session to stay
  2944. abreast of the concerns teachers reported in order to monitor and adjust the co-teaching initiative.
  2945. The consultants reminded us that in their experience, the first year of implementation teachers
  2946. were typically skeptical of one another. This skepticism related to many factors that included:
  2947. teachers having to adjust to a major change; being held accountable for implementing a new
  2948. initiative and, for some, learning new curriculum; building a relationship with another colleague
  2949. and feeling vulnerable because they now had to share their classroom with someone else. The
  2950. results of the monthly on-site visits are presented later in this section and were combined with
  2951. other sources of data in order to identify the common concerns that were shared consistently by
  2952. teachers, observed by administrators and consultants, and documented through multiple
  2953. communication methods throughout the 2006-2007 school year.
  2954. Several meetings were held with the building principals, the co-teachers and me
  2955. throughout the first year in order to maintain communication and address concerns as the
  2956. teachers moved forward with co-teaching. During a meeting in October of 2006, one of the
  2957. regular education teachers commented,
  2958. One concern I have noticed as a result of co-teaching, specifically in math, is the
  2959. discrepancy between what is being taught in the elementary grades and what is
  2960. being taught in middle school. In the past, most students with IEPs received direct
  2961. instruction in math, so I really didn’t have the opportunity to work with these
  2962. students in the regular education classroom to see what they knew. Now that I am
  2963. responsible for teaching them in my classroom, I have concerns with the basic math
  2964. skills some of these students lack. I just wonder if we need to communicate more with
  2965. the elementary math teachers to assure the curriculum is properly aligned.
  2966. 114
  2967. I explained that this was something that would lead to a positive outcome in the future. I
  2968. assured this teacher I would share these concerns with the Curriculum Director so that she was
  2969. aware of the situation and could address it through the department meetings she conducted across
  2970. the district.
  2971. Another teacher expressed a concern that several other teachers confirmed,
  2972. I am concerned that some students need lessons or concepts re-taught when they
  2973. demonstrate difficulty. I am struggling with when to do the re-teaching due to time
  2974. constraints and the constant pressure to keep up with the curriculum. I do not want
  2975. to hold the other students back so that I can provide re-teaching, but I do not want
  2976. to set those students who are struggling up for failure either.
  2977. Although I had answers to several of the teachers’ concerns, I strategically refrained from
  2978. commenting. Instead, I listened to their concerns, confirmed they were heard and assured the
  2979. teachers that the administrators would attempt to address these concerns as we continued with
  2980. co-teaching. I did, however, remind them that maintaining a positive attitude and making every
  2981. attempt to better themselves as a co-teacher was necessary in order to experience success with
  2982. the initiative.
  2983. In addition to group meetings, over the course of the school year, the principals and I
  2984. observed each co-taught class so that we could provide ongoing support and feedback to the
  2985. teachers. We remained fairly neutral during the first year with observations. Collectively, we
  2986. decided to put most of the focus on the positive things we observed during observations. We did
  2987. provide constructive criticism in order to refrain from making it a negative experience for the
  2988. teachers. The strategy for this method was based on our attempt to get teacher buy-in and make
  2989. them feel comfortable and confident with co-teaching.
  2990. During a debriefing session after observing a co-teaching pair, one of the teachers
  2991. commented,
  2992. 115
  2993. Co-teaching is a lot of work. I am struggling with finding the time to meet with my copartner so that we can plan in advance and be prepared to service the many different
  2994. types of students I am now being expected to work with. Even though we have a
  2995. common planning period each day, it is impossible for us to meet everyday because of
  2996. the additional responsibilities the special education teacher has. She has IEPs to write,
  2997. meetings to attend, progress monitoring to conduct on each student that limits her ability
  2998. to meet with me each day to focus on co-teaching. I feel really bad for her and I know it
  2999. is not her fault, but I find myself getting frustrated with her.
  3000. I was impressed that the regular education teacher felt comfortable enough to express her
  3001. concerns in front of the co-teaching partner. This dialogue proved that they had a positive
  3002. relationship because the special education teacher continued by saying,
  3003. I take no offense to what she said. Actually, I completely agree with her statements. I
  3004. find myself trying to do ten different things at once as a result of co-teaching. It is like
  3005. a huge responsibility was added to my job, but none were taken away. The amount of
  3006. special education paperwork I have to complete, timelines to comply with, IEP meetings
  3007. to conduct, along with planning for each co-taught class is overwhelming. I
  3008. just do not know how I am going to do all of this and do it with fidelity. I am somewhat
  3009. frustrated and need some help with juggling all of these responsibilities.
  3010. I acknowledged that their concerns were justified, confirmed that I recognized their
  3011. struggles and appreciated their honesty and the hard work they were doing in order to make the
  3012. co-teaching experience a positive one. I noted their concern so that I could discuss it with the
  3013. consultants and middle school administration.
  3014. After observing another co-taught classroom, I decided to debrief with each teacher
  3015. separately because I didn’t get the sense that this particular co-teaching pair had established a
  3016. positive relationship. During the observation, the special education teacher seemed guarded and
  3017. refrained from providing input or feedback to the students. The regular education teacher
  3018. dominated the lesson and was the sole provider of instruction. My interpretation is that the
  3019. regular education teacher didn’t see the co-teacher as an equal and utilized the special education
  3020. teacher more as an assistant rather than allowing her to share the responsibilities of a classroom
  3021. teacher.
  3022. 116
  3023. During the debriefing session with the special education teacher, she reported,
  3024. I feel bad with what I am about to say, but being that we are halfway through the school
  3025. year and I have seen absolutely no change in my co-teacher’s behavior, I feel obligated
  3026. to defend myself. I truly believe that my co-teaching partner “puts on a show” when the
  3027. Keystone consultants come into observe each month. I only wish I was able to do as
  3028. much as I am able to do during that one day a month. I really want to do more in the
  3029. classroom and am feeling frustrated. There is still that “these are your kids not our
  3030. kids” mentality. I am not permitted to make the modifications or adaptations I believe
  3031. are appropriate for the kids. Instead, I am frequently told that I help the kids too much.
  3032. The regular education teacher shared this perspective during our debriefing session,
  3033. I feel like the co-teaching is going good so far. I am somewhat frustrated because I
  3034. think a couple of students are functioning too low below grade level to benefit from the
  3035. curriculum. I feel like my co-teaching partner provides too many adaptations and
  3036. modifications that take away from the student’s learning. In my opinion, if we are
  3037. modifying the curriculum that much, then the student should be receiving direct
  3038. instruction in the learning support classroom. I find it hard to meet and plan with my
  3039. partner each day. Both of us have other responsibilities that do not allow us to meet
  3040. each day to focus strictly on planning for our co-taught class. Finally, I do not feel
  3041. confident in allowing the co-teacher to provide instruction. She is not familiar with
  3042. the content, and although I know we are only in year one of implementation, I do not
  3043. see her knowing enough to deliver instruction the way the co-teaching model suggests.
  3044. I had several concerns after speaking with these two teachers and made a note to speak to
  3045. the consultants about this co-teaching pair during their next visit. I knew the co-teaching
  3046. initiative was still in the early stage of implementation, but I wanted to take a proactive role in
  3047. providing extra guidance to these teachers. If we didn’t find a way to support them early on, then
  3048. their experience with co-teaching would only get worse.
  3049. As the year progressed there were some problems that needed to be addressed with the
  3050. consultants. By mid-year, based on the reports we received from Keystone, it seemed as though
  3051. the monthly on-site meetings were becoming unproductive. The co-teachers were spending the
  3052. majority of the time they had with the consultants discussing administrative issues that were not
  3053. 117
  3054. relevant to the task at hand. Their sessions with the consultants became complaint sessions
  3055. versus sessions that focused on enhancing their co-teaching experience.
  3056. As a result of these reports, a meeting was scheduled with the Keystone consultants,
  3057. middle school administrators and me in order to discuss these concerns. It was an uncomfortable
  3058. meeting because we had to express our disappointment with how the monthly sessions were
  3059. evolving. The principals and I explained to the consultants that the district was not spending all
  3060. of this money basically to allow the teachers to complain. It was communicated to the
  3061. consultants that the discussions they were having with the co-teachers needed to be on the coteaching observations. Any issues the co-teachers had that were administrative in nature needed
  3062. to be discussed directly with the district administrators. We explained that after reviewing the
  3063. monthly summary reports, we felt mixed messages were being sent to the co-teachers. We
  3064. explained that some consultants were taking on too much of an administrative role versus the
  3065. role of a consultant. We provided them with the specific example of a conversation between the
  3066. building principal and a co-teaching pair that commented,
  3067. The consultant informed us that it is okay to use the Lead and Support model all year but
  3068. when the Director of Pupil Services observed the class and debriefed with us, she told us
  3069. we should be trying the different models when the opportunity presents itself in the
  3070. classroom. We are getting mixed messages from the consultants and district
  3071. administration. Who is in charge and who are we to listen to?
  3072. The consultants recognized our concerns and assured us that they would proceed with
  3073. caution. They asked that we schedule a meeting with all of the co-teachers in order to clarify
  3074. their role and establish guidelines for the teachers so they were clear about the purpose of the
  3075. monthly meetings.
  3076. In February of 2007 a meeting was scheduled with the co-teachers to discuss the
  3077. administrators’ concerns with how the monthly on-site sessions were evolving. We explained to
  3078. 118
  3079. the teachers that after reviewing the monthly summary reports provided by Keystone, we were
  3080. concerned that the sessions were being used for a time to complain about co-teaching rather than
  3081. focus on how they could continue to enhance co-teaching in their classroom. A clear directive
  3082. was given that any administrative issues or concerns were to be directed toward the building
  3083. principals or the Director of Pupil Services and not the consultants. Furthermore, we explained
  3084. that the consultants were hired to provide training and assistance with implementing co-teaching.
  3085. Although each of them had a background in teaching and administration, they were not hired to
  3086. answer questions or give opinions that should be answered or addressed by district
  3087. administration. We informed the co-teachers that the focus during the on-site visits must remain
  3088. on enhancing co-teaching and gaining insight on how to improve it within each of their
  3089. classrooms.
  3090. One teacher made the following statement during the meeting,
  3091. I think we felt comfortable sharing our concerns with the consultants rather than the
  3092. district administration because we didn’t want the administrators to feel like we were
  3093. complaining. We really want to make co-teaching work, but feel like there are a lot of
  3094. roadblocks that are keeping us from being successful. Many of us are frustrated and
  3095. I think that we used the consultants because they were non-threatening and weren’t the
  3096. people evaluating us.
  3097. We reminded the teachers that any observations during the first year would not be used to
  3098. complete end-of-year evaluations. Rather, the administration was sensitive to the newness of the
  3099. implementation and would use the observations to reflect on co-teaching, highlight the positive
  3100. aspects of it, and discuss areas of improvement in order to continue to enhance classroom
  3101. instruction utilizing co-teaching. We encouraged the teachers to communicate openly with
  3102. administration so that the issues could be addressed and the district could move forward with the
  3103. co-teaching initiative. We informed the co-teachers that an end-of-year meeting would be
  3104. scheduled sometime in early May to reflect on the first year of implementation and discuss any
  3105. 119
  3106. changes that needed to occur in order to enhance the co-teaching experience during the second
  3107. year.
  3108. Another conversation revealed a co-teaching pair’s inability to establish a common
  3109. philosophy of co-teaching. The regular education teacher was a veteran teacher who was
  3110. traditional in his teaching method. However, the special education teacher was new to the
  3111. teaching profession and excited to use the 21st century skills and teaching methods with children.
  3112. Their philosophy on education was on opposite ends of the spectrum, which was causing a
  3113. disruption to the learning environment of the students. The middle school administration
  3114. received several telephone calls from parents that were concerned because their children were
  3115. coming home from school informing their parents about the “arguments” these teachers would
  3116. have during class. These phone calls confirmed the concerns the consultants had expressed
  3117. earlier in the school year. Whenever the administrators observed this particular co-taught class, it
  3118. was obvious that the two teachers did not share a common philosophy of co-teaching, but they
  3119. maintained their professionalism during the observation. As a result of the data collected, the
  3120. middle school administrators and I scheduled a meeting with the co-teachers to express the
  3121. concerns.
  3122. Both teachers were defensive during the meeting, which created a negative atmosphere.
  3123. Both teachers refrained from making eye contact with one another. When one teacher spoke, the
  3124. other would roll their eyes indicating dissatisfaction. The tension in the room was felt by
  3125. everyone. The administrators and I took the approach that we wanted to help the teachers and
  3126. provide them with the necessary supports and resources in order to establish some common
  3127. ground in regard to co-teaching. The regular education teacher commented,
  3128. 120
  3129. I just do not see co-teaching ever working. The special education teacher is simply not
  3130. qualified or able to deliver the instruction. Quite frankly, she is just holding me back
  3131. from teaching.
  3132. The special education teacher immediately took offense and commented,
  3133. Working with this teacher is impossible. I am treated like an aide in the classroom. I feel
  3134. like he degrades me in front of the students and makes comments that clearly indicate
  3135. his lack of confidence in me. I am not saying that I am a math teacher, but I do have a lot
  3136. of experience in working with students and teaching them how to learn. He doesn’t even
  3137. allow me the opportunity to at least provide adaptations or modifications to the work he
  3138. presents.
  3139. The relationship between these teachers was not going to improve. It was hard for me to
  3140. maintain an objective opinion because I knew the regular education teacher and had some
  3141. concerns from the beginning when he was identified as one of the co-teachers. As his former
  3142. assistant principal, he had a history of being difficult to work with and frequently exhibited a
  3143. negative attitude, particularly with new initiatives. Unfortunately, he was the only teacher
  3144. available to teach this particular section of math that required a co-taught setting. The comments
  3145. made by the special education teacher were accurate and her concerns were legitimate.
  3146. We attempted to mediate the disagreement between the two teachers but realized nothing
  3147. was going to change on the part of the regular education teacher. Understanding that co-teaching
  3148. is a give and take experience, there was not going to be any giving on the part of the regular
  3149. education teacher. The administration took a more forceful approach with the regular education
  3150. teacher and directed him to change how he conducted the co-taught class. We brought the
  3151. Keystone consultants in to work one-on-one with this particular co-teaching pair to provide more
  3152. individualized support in the co-taught classroom. Simultaneously, the middle school principals
  3153. conducted more frequent unannounced classroom observations. This step was necessary in order
  3154. to assure the co-teaching experience was benefiting the students in the classroom .
  3155. 121
  3156. The administration knew that this co-teaching pair needed to be changed for the 2007-
  3157. 2008 school year, and in fact, we made a note to exclude this particular regular education teacher
  3158. from the entire co-teaching experience. This would result in a major schedule change for him
  3159. and, after we notified him of this change, he retired at the end of the school year. His retirement
  3160. allowed us to look at the master schedule for the next year and be strategic about pairing teachers
  3161. for this co-taught math class. The goal was to keep the special education teacher the same but
  3162. match her with a math teacher whose philosophy of co-teaching was similar. This was going to
  3163. be a main area of focus for the administrators when assigning the co-teaching pairs for the 2007-
  3164. 2008 school year.
  3165. End of Year One
  3166. By the end of the school year, the consultants, building principals and I observed all coteachers. After reviewing the observation notes, conducting debriefing sessions with each coteaching pair, reviewing data collected throughout the first year, and conducting the end-of-theyear reflection meeting with the co-teachers, some common themes emerged from the data. The
  3167. following chart highlights those themes:
  3168. Table 1 End of Year One- Common Themes Identified
  3169. End of Year One- Common Themes Identified
  3170. Special Education Teachers lack content knowledge in academic subject areas
  3171. Lack of planning for co-taught lessons
  3172. Lack of resources
  3173. Inability to balance curriculum demands and students’ needs
  3174. Need for study halls in master schedule to provide re-teaching of concepts to struggling students
  3175. Inability to differentiate instruction for all students
  3176. Lack of trust between co-teachers
  3177. Limited time to allow for consistent planning due to other responsibilities
  3178. More focused training
  3179. Increase the use of various co-teaching models
  3180. Need to hire additional special education teachers
  3181. Decrease class size for each co-taught class
  3182. 122
  3183. Pair teachers together who share a similar philosophy of co-teaching
  3184. We knew that it would be a work in progress for many of the concerns identified at the
  3185. end of the 2006-2007 school year. The special education teachers would need time to gain
  3186. confidence and knowledge in the various academic curriculums. It would also take time for the
  3187. co-teachers to establish a relationship. The administrative team decided to focus on the
  3188. scheduling issues over the summer in order to create a master schedule that was a better fit with
  3189. the co-teaching initiative. Specifically, we focused on identifying consistent planning times each
  3190. week for the co-teachers and reducing the class size of the co-taught sections.
  3191. Summer 2007
  3192. The district faced a minor roadblock in the summer of 2007 when the assistant
  3193. superintendent announced that she was offered a superintendent’s position in another district,
  3194. and would be leaving at the end of the summer. This was disheartening to hear since she was a
  3195. big proponent of co-teaching and helped set the expectations with the middle school faculty. The
  3196. uncertainty of knowing if the next assistant superintendent would value the initiative was
  3197. unsettling and caused somewhat of a panic on my part. I knew that the new person’s support
  3198. would be vital in continuing forward with co-teaching.
  3199. 4.6.2 Year Two: 2007-2008 School Year
  3200. Obstacles
  3201. The second implementation year of co-teaching brought about improvement and new challenges.
  3202. One obstacle for administration to overcome was to introduce co-teaching to the new assistant
  3203. superintendent. Fortunately for the district, the assistant superintendent was a former special
  3204. education teacher and fully supported the co-teaching initiative. She was instrumental in picking
  3205. 123
  3206. up where the previous assistant superintendent left off as far as holding teachers accountable for
  3207. implementing co-teaching in order to enhance inclusion for students with disabilities in the
  3208. regular education setting.
  3209. Another obstacle that some of the middle school co-teachers would face for the 2007-
  3210. 2008 school year was a change in co-teaching pairs. Although all the research suggests that it is
  3211. vital to keep co-teaching pairs together each year in order to enhance the relationship, there are
  3212. situations that arise that are beyond the control of administration. Two regular education teachers
  3213. retired who were co-teaching during the 2006-2007 school year. As a result, two of the special
  3214. education teachers had to build relationships with their new co-teaching partners. In addition, it
  3215. would be necessary for administrators to ensure that the new teachers received intense training
  3216. on co-teaching. Individual sessions with the consultants from Keystone were scheduled with the
  3217. new teachers in order to continue to make progress with the co-teaching initiative.
  3218. The middle school administrators were able to design a master schedule that allowed for
  3219. more common planning time between the co-teachers. Unfortunately, they were not able to
  3220. secure consistent planning time for the special education teacher who worked with teachers
  3221. across grade levels. This was impossible due to the make-up of the middle school schedule. They
  3222. were able to schedule two preparatory periods with two of the three regular education teachers
  3223. she co-taught with. Specific planning time with the third regular education teacher was identified
  3224. before and after the school day, two days a week. The middle school administrators did their best
  3225. at identifying some consistent common planning time for this co-teaching pair. They assured
  3226. these two teachers that they would not have any additional responsibilities and be excused from
  3227. any meetings that might occur during these times.
  3228. Accomplishments
  3229. 124
  3230. The co-teachers were satisfied with the size of their co-taught classes. The middle school
  3231. administrators worked diligently to decrease these class sizes when creating the master schedule.
  3232. In order to decrease the class size of the co-taught sections, the regular sections had to be
  3233. increased. This caused concern for the other teachers. The dedication on the part of the
  3234. administrators to decrease the sizes of the co-taught classes proved their commitment to the coteaching initiative. This accomplishment made the teachers realize that co-teaching was not just
  3235. another fad in education and that the district was serious about making it a successful program at
  3236. the middle school.
  3237. In order to confirm our commitment to the co-teaching initiative, the district signed
  3238. another one year contract with Keystone Consulting. The consultants continued with the monthly
  3239. on-site visits at the middle school during the second year of implementation. In addition to these
  3240. scheduled visits, they provided professional development during three professional education
  3241. days throughout the year and worked individually with all teachers new to co-teaching. The same
  3242. process was used during the on-site visits; the consultant observed the co-taught class and then
  3243. debriefed with the co-teachers to reflect on the observation.
  3244. Co-Teaching Activities
  3245. After the first on-site visit of the 2007-2008 school year, one of the consultants
  3246. commented,
  3247. I am glad to see that the teachers haven’t forgotten the basics of co-teaching. It seems that
  3248. the co-teachers who are the same from last year have maintained a positive relationship
  3249. that has moved their co-teaching forward. I am happy to see that a few of the co-teachers
  3250. used different models during their lesson. Although most of the classes I observed
  3251. utilized the Lead and Support model, it was encouraging to see the growth in the
  3252. interaction between the two teachers.
  3253. Another consultant shared their thoughts on the first visit,
  3254. 125
  3255. I am excited with what I observed today. I was concerned that being our first visit was
  3256. so close to the start of the school year, we would spend the majority of time revisiting
  3257. the basics of co-teaching. That was not the case at all today. It was as if last school year
  3258. never ended. These teachers have picked up right where they left off at the end of last
  3259. year and haven’t missed a beat. I agree that the majority of lessons observed today were
  3260. Lead and Support, but I definitely saw growth in the teacher relationship. The special
  3261. education teachers seemed to be more comfortable and confident in the classroom.
  3262. We were encouraged to hear the positive comments from the consultant so early in the
  3263. year, but decided that we needed to establish goals for the 2007-2008 school year in order to
  3264. continue moving the initiative forward. As an administrative team, we collectively agreed upon
  3265. three goals that Keystone Consultant would focus on when working with the co-teachers. First,
  3266. we wanted to see an increase in the various co-teaching models used during instruction; second,
  3267. we wanted to see the co-teachers use the established common planning time consistently and
  3268. productively; third, we wanted to see the relationships build between the co-teachers.
  3269. The consultants were confident they could achieve the three goals and asked that we
  3270. share them up front with the co-teachers so that everyone was aware of what the tasks were for
  3271. the year. A meeting was scheduled with the co-teachers the next morning to review the three
  3272. goals for the school year and answer any questions they had. One teacher commented,
  3273. I am concerned that you want us to use the established common planning time to focus
  3274. solely on co-teaching. I have two other sections that I also must prepare for and am
  3275. afraid that I will not have enough time to plan if I am expected to utilize the period each
  3276. day to plan for co-teaching.
  3277. A special education teacher commented,
  3278. I am also worried about using the common plan period each day to co-plan. I am
  3279. concerned that I will not be able to keep up with the special education paperwork
  3280. requirements without the use of this prep period.
  3281. The middle school principal explained to the teachers that the established common
  3282. planning times scheduled in this year’s master schedule were a result of the feedback the coteachers provided at the end of last year. He reminded them that the majority of co-teachers
  3283. 126
  3284. identified “not having enough common planning time with co-teaching partner” as an area of
  3285. concern from last year’s end of the year survey. He was very clear in directing the co-teachers
  3286. that the identified plan time was to be used to co-plan. The teachers would have to use other plan
  3287. time available in their daily schedule to complete additional responsibilities.
  3288. The middle school administrators gave the co-teachers the schedule for monthly on-site
  3289. visits with Keystone Consulting. We asked the teachers for suggestions on adjusting the year’s
  3290. visits, but everyone agreed that they would like them to remain the same as the previous year. In
  3291. addition to the on-site visits, the co-teachers were informed that middle school administrators
  3292. and the Director of Pupil Services would also be observing the co-taught classes and conducting
  3293. post-observation meetings with the co-teaching pairs. We explained that the administrators
  3294. would be evaluating the progress the co-teaching pairs were making on the three goals
  3295. established for the 2007-2008 school year. We would refrain from using the co-teaching
  3296. observation as part of the overall evaluation so that the teachers could continue to focus on
  3297. improving their co-teaching. We told the teachers that administrators would identify areas of
  3298. weaknesses, and possibly set additional expectations, if co-teachers were not making progress on
  3299. the co-teaching initiative. The co-teaching expectations were going to increase for the second
  3300. year of implementation, and teachers would be held more accountable for the success of coteaching in their classrooms. One of the regular education teachers commented,
  3301. I feel like co-teaching is being rushed. We are only in year two of implementation and
  3302. the expectations have already been increased. There is still so much to learn about coteaching and the various models that I do not see me using the different models until I
  3303. have established a relationship with my co-teaching partner. Additionally, I do not see
  3304. my co-teaching partner having enough knowledge of the curriculum in order to use some
  3305. of the different models.
  3306. 127
  3307. The administration assured the co-teachers that we would be looking for improvement in
  3308. these areas, not complete mastery. We reminded them that the second year of implementation
  3309. should bring about enhancement and refinement of co-teaching.
  3310. The October 2007 professional education day was designed to allow co-teachers to spend
  3311. the day creating co-taught lessons and developing lesson plans for specific units. The co-teaching
  3312. pairs separated into three groups. One of the Keystone consultants facilitated each group. The
  3313. purpose of providing this type of activity was two fold: (1) the consultants assisted the coteachers with writing lesson plans using the various co-teaching models and (2) the co-teachers
  3314. were expected to design a unit’s worth of lesson plans. This would allow the co-teachers to
  3315. review the instruction for upcoming lessons and gain confidence in the content they were
  3316. expected to teach during their daily planning time.
  3317. The professional education day modeled the best way to utilize common planning time in
  3318. order to design meaningful co-taught lessons. It was a successful activity and many of the coteachers were appreciative of the day. One special education teacher commented,
  3319. For me personally, this activity forced my co-teaching partner to share the responsibility
  3320. in writing lesson plans. Many times I was just given a copy of the lesson plans and told to
  3321. look over them to see if I had any questions. I never sat with him before to design a
  3322. lesson. I have to say, this activity was very helpful in identifying the parts of the
  3323. curriculum that I must become familiar with. Now I will review the specific topics prior
  3324. to that class and be more confident and knowledgeable in what I am expected to teach.
  3325. A regular education teacher commented,
  3326. Today was a meaningful experience, but somewhat unrealistic. We simply do not have
  3327. that kind of time to sit and design lessons with our co-partner. Although we have a
  3328. common planning period each day, there are many days that time is used to conduct IEP
  3329. meetings or other meetings that we are required to be at. I am not faulting anyone, but
  3330. there are times when parents are only available during this specific time of the day. In the
  3331. everyday hustle and bustle of school, spending that amount of time to plan a lesson is not
  3332. realistic.
  3333. 128
  3334. We reminded this teacher that designing lessons as a co-teaching pair was an expectation
  3335. of administration. The first year would most likely require additional time and effort on the part
  3336. of the teachers, but in future years the burden should lesson. Although it would be time
  3337. consuming, we stressed the importance of sharing the planning of lessons and how it was needed
  3338. to enhance the co-teaching in the classroom. In addition, this would help the special education
  3339. teachers become familiar with the curriculum so that they could become more of an equal in the
  3340. classroom.
  3341. As the year progressed and classroom observations were conducted, the administrators
  3342. and consultants started to identify common themes. There was concern that the special education
  3343. teachers still lacked sufficient knowledge in the content areas, and as a result, there was little use
  3344. of the co-teaching models. Most co-teaching pairs continued to use the Lead and Support model,
  3345. in which the special education teacher acted more as an assistant versus an equal teacher
  3346. providing instruction. After conducting the classroom observations, I noted that there was still a
  3347. lack of planning on the part of the co-teachers for their co-taught lessons.
  3348. End of Year Two
  3349. Several common themes emerged after the end-of-year reflection meeting was held with
  3350. the co-teachers. Some of the themes were a repeat from year one and some were new. The
  3351. following chart highlights the common themes that were discovered after the second year of
  3352. implementation through classroom observations, post conferences with co-teachers, discussions
  3353. with the consultants and the end-of-year meeting:
  3354. Table 2 End of Year Two- Common Themes Identified
  3355. End of Year Two- Common Themes Identified
  3356. Special Education Teachers lack content knowledge in academic subject areas
  3357. Lack of planning for co-taught lessons
  3358. Inability to balance curriculum demands and students’ needs
  3359. Inability to differentiate instruction for all students
  3360. 129
  3361. Lack of trust between co-teachers
  3362. Limited time to allow for consistent planning due to other responsibilities
  3363. Need to Increase the use of various co-teaching models
  3364. Need to hire additional special education teachers
  3365. Pair teachers together who share a similar philosophy of co-teaching
  3366. Regular education teachers concerned with how their role as classroom teacher is changing
  3367. Increase in clerical duties for both regular and special education teachers
  3368. Need to keep the co-teaching pairs the same each year
  3369. Summer 2008
  3370. After reviewing the common themes, we identified three tasks to focus on over the
  3371. summer in order to refine the co-teaching initiative for the third year. The first task involved
  3372. designing some type of a co-teaching observation form to use when conducting classroom
  3373. observations. We thought this would raise the level of concern for the co-teaching pairs since
  3374. there was still a lack of planning for lessons on the part of the co-teachers. The form would not
  3375. have a “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” component, but rather, a place for the observer to
  3376. identify areas of need. Again, the strategy behind this method of thinking was to continue to give
  3377. support to the co-teachers rather than make them feel threatened. We worked with Keystone
  3378. Consulting to design the co-teaching observation form. This tool was an extensive list of possible
  3379. teacher behaviors and provided opportunity for specific written feedback in many clearly
  3380. delineated categories. Administrators met with union representatives to present the new
  3381. observation form and the representatives accepted and approved it as the observation form to be
  3382. used for all co-taught classes.
  3383. The second task was to design a master schedule that kept the same co-teaching pairs. We
  3384. were able to do this for the majority of co-teachers except for the special education teacher who
  3385. worked across all three grade levels. Due to the retirements of previous co-teachers, we were
  3386. forced to reassign the special education teacher to two new co-teachers. Although we knew this
  3387. would create a set back in starting the new school year, we arranged for Keystone to provide
  3388. 130
  3389. more intense training with the two new teachers and the special education teacher in an attempt
  3390. to expedite the relationship component.
  3391. Finally, we decided that the middle school faculty needed a refresher course on
  3392. differentiated instruction. Even though the district provided a year of intense training for faculty
  3393. K-12 on differentiated instruction, it was obvious from our work with co-teaching that the
  3394. teachers needed guidance on how to differentiate the instruction in a co-taught setting. We
  3395. contracted with a nationally known expert on differentiated instruction to work with the
  3396. Keystone Consultants for the 2008-2009 school year to provide professional development to our
  3397. middle school teachers on differentiating instruction in a co-taught classroom. We reserved the
  3398. first two professional development days of the 2008-2009 school year, along with two other
  3399. professional development days throughout the year for this necessary and integral component to
  3400. co-teaching.
  3401. The summer of 2008 presented a major challenge for me. Both the principal and assistant
  3402. principal left the district and I was faced with new administrators leading the co-teaching
  3403. initiative. This caused a major set back because it was necessary to allow the principal and
  3404. assistant principal time to become acclimated. As a result, co-teaching was put on the back
  3405. burner. Due to this situation, I was responsible for planning the majority of professional
  3406. development on co-teaching for the 2008-2009 school year and had to take the lead in continuing
  3407. with the progress we had made thus far.
  3408. I scheduled a meeting with the new middle school administrators shortly after they
  3409. arrived in order to bring them up to speed on the co-teaching initiative. I could tell from my
  3410. discussion with them that they did not share the same philosophy about co-teaching. This was a
  3411. delicate situation because I knew that if I didn’t have the support of the new administrators, all of
  3412. 131
  3413. the hard work we had completed over the past two years would be forgotten. It was critical that
  3414. the new middle school administrators understood this was a district-wide initiative, and the
  3415. overall goal was to implement co-teaching K-12.
  3416. I needed assistance from the assistant superintendent and superintendent in order to send
  3417. a clear message that the expectation was to continue with the co-teaching initiative at the middle
  3418. school. They made it clear to the middle school administrators that continuing the co-teaching
  3419. initiative and seeing it through with fidelity was an expectation. This situation put somewhat of a
  3420. wedge between the middle school administrators and me from the start. It was unfortunate, but
  3421. necessary, in order for me to assure success with the final year of implementation.
  3422. I knew I would be responsible for completing the majority of the leg work since the new
  3423. principals would be busy acclimating themselves to the middle school. Fortunately, prior to the
  3424. previous administrators’ departure, we had finalized plans for the three tasks established for the
  3425. upcoming school year. It was just a matter of reviewing the co-teaching observation form with
  3426. the new administrators to assure consistency in how the observations were conducted. The coteaching pairs were already established in the master schedule and the consultants were
  3427. scheduled for four professional education days during the 2008-2009 school year.
  3428. During the summer of 2008 the Keystone consultants provided a full day of training on
  3429. co-teaching for the middle school administrators. This was necessary so that they were on the
  3430. same page with the expectations of co-teaching for the start of the school year. Since the new
  3431. administrators had no previous training on co-teaching, it was crucial that they understood it
  3432. from both a philosophical and practical standpoint. After this training, the principals were more
  3433. receptive of the co-teaching initiative and one commented,
  3434. I have to admit, I was completely wrong with how I interpreted co-teaching. I am glad I
  3435. received this training because it really helped me understand the philosophy
  3436. 132
  3437. behind the initiative. I definitely think co-teaching will benefit the students with
  3438. disabilities. In fact, I think it will also benefit those students who may not be identified,
  3439. but are struggling in certain subjects. I am more onboard with co-teaching now than I was
  3440. when I was first told about it.
  3441. The consultants from Keystone met two more times over the summer with the middle
  3442. school administrators so that they were prepared for the third year implementation of coteaching. They reviewed with them, in depth, the co-teaching observation form and how it
  3443. should be used with the co-teaching pairs in order to improve instruction. They also reviewed the
  3444. five models of co-teaching and identified scenarios of when it would be appropriate for the coteachers to use each model. We reviewed the lesson plans that were developed during the end of
  3445. last year by the co-teaching pairs and explained how the teachers were expected to implement
  3446. these lessons during the upcoming school year.
  3447. I have to admit, it was frustrating, because we had to teach the basics of co-teaching to
  3448. the new middle school administrators. Although it slowed down the progress, in the end it was
  3449. well worth it. Both principals were impressed with the level of support they were provided and
  3450. the level of support the teachers had been given over a three year period. Both commented that
  3451. they have never experienced this level of training and support given to teachers for one initiative.
  3452. Once the middle school administrators had a handle on the co-teaching initiative, I moved
  3453. forward with planning for year three implementation. I scheduled a meeting near the end of the
  3454. summer with the middle school administrators, Keystone consultants and the consultant for
  3455. differentiated instruction. The purpose of the meeting was to design a tentative agenda for the
  3456. four professional education days that would be shared between the co-teaching and differentiated
  3457. instruction consultants.
  3458. 133
  3459. 4.6.3 Year Three: 2008-2009 School Year
  3460. Professional Education Days
  3461. The first professional education day for the middle school teachers was devoted to a half day
  3462. refresher course on co-teaching in the morning and a half-day refresher course on differentiated
  3463. instruction in the afternoon. All middle school teachers were expected to attend this workshop.
  3464. The purpose of this refresher training was to remind all of the teachers that co-teaching and
  3465. differentiated instruction must be understood by the entire faculty whether they are currently coteaching or not. In addition, we reminded the faculty that differentiated instruction was an
  3466. expectation in all classrooms, not just co-taught ones.
  3467. The co-teachers identified for the 2008-2009 school year were required to participate in
  3468. the second professional education day that focused on differentiating instruction in a co-taught
  3469. classroom. This workshop was a hands-on learning experience that provided the teachers with
  3470. sample lessons taught by the consultants. The consultants were strategic in demonstrating a
  3471. lesson in each of the academic subject areas. They first demonstrated a lesson for the teachers
  3472. and then conducted a debriefing session in which they walked the teachers step by step through
  3473. the planning process. Overall, the feedback from the teachers was positive. They appreciated the
  3474. practical approach to the training, and the fact that they were able to take something away from
  3475. the training. One of the regular education teachers commented,
  3476. Today was really beneficial. I was able to observe a lesson conducted by the consultants
  3477. that was realistic in the sense that it provided me with a lot of great ideas on how to
  3478. differentiate instruction in my subject area. I will definitely use pre and post assessments
  3479. prior to each unit in order to gauge students’ knowledge and then plan according to their
  3480. needs. This will require a lot more plan time upfront, but in the end I think it is what is
  3481. needed in order for all students to experience success.
  3482. The special education co-teacher commented,
  3483. 134
  3484. This session was excellent. It was so great to have the consultants demonstrate lessons
  3485. that involved both differentiating and co-teaching. I really think it helped us understand
  3486. that the two do go hand in hand and that if we differentiate instruction, then naturally we
  3487. will be forced to use the various co-teaching models based on what we are differentiating
  3488. for the students.
  3489. All the co-teachers who participated in this training received a packet of resources to use
  3490. when planning differentiated instruction in their co-taught classroom. Again, one teacher
  3491. commented,
  3492. The one thing that continues to impress me about the consultants is the amount of
  3493. practical resources they give us. I can honestly say, I have used something from
  3494. every resource packet they have provided since they started working with us. They
  3495. continue to be accessible and genuine in their desire to make co-teaching successful
  3496. here.
  3497. The day ended on a positive note and most of the co-teachers walked away feeling ready
  3498. to tackle year three of co-teaching. For some, their level of confidence increased from the prior
  3499. year, but for others, there was still that look of fear and uncertainty on their faces. We conducted
  3500. a debriefing meeting at the end of the day with the consultants to reflect on the last two days and
  3501. prepare for the upcoming school year. We planned to maintain the monthly on-site visits with
  3502. Keystone, but this year we decided that the visits would be unannounced. The administrators and
  3503. consultants identified the specific dates for each month, but these dates would not be shared with
  3504. the co-teachers upfront. Instead, co-teachers were notified the day of the visit that the consultants
  3505. were on-site and would be conducting observations and debriefing sessions. The process
  3506. remained the same, but the actual date of the visit remained unknown.
  3507. The reason for this decision was that it seemed the feedback we received from the
  3508. consultants on the progress of the co-teaching was consistently positive. In the previous years, I
  3509. believed that what the administrators observed in the co-taught classes and what the consultants
  3510. observed were completely at opposite ends of the spectrum. I related this to the fact that the visits
  3511. 135
  3512. from Keystone were announced and all of the classroom observations conducted by the
  3513. administrators were unannounced. Quite frankly, we felt as if the co-teachers were putting on a
  3514. show for the consultants. We believed that the types of co-taught classes observed by
  3515. administration were happening more frequently than what was observed by the consultants. In
  3516. order to confirm or reject this suspicion, we decided to be consistent and make all observations
  3517. unannounced. Both the consultants and administrators would observe a true co-taught setting and
  3518. get a better snapshot of a typical co-taught lesson. Everyone was in agreement that this type of
  3519. observation was necessary now that we were entering our third year of implementation.
  3520. A middle school faculty meeting was held on the third professional education day in
  3521. order to review with the teachers the three established goals for the year in regard to co-teaching
  3522. and also to inform them that the on-site visits from Keystone Consulting would be unannounced.
  3523. The middle school principal and assistant principal opened the meeting by welcoming everyone
  3524. back and introducing themselves. The first item of discussion on the agenda was co-teaching.
  3525. The principal made it very clear to the faculty that he intended to pick up with co-teaching where
  3526. the previous principals left off and that it was still a number one priority of the middle school. I
  3527. was impressed with his commitment to this initiative and respected the message he sent to the
  3528. faculty. He then went on to review the three goals for the year: 1) use the co-teaching
  3529. observation form 2) keep the co-teachers the same as last year and 3) provide additional training
  3530. on differentiated instruction and how it can be utilized in a co-taught classroom. He explained in
  3531. detail how these goals were accomplished over the summer with the perseverance of
  3532. administration and the consultants. He talked about how we strived to maintain the same coteaching relationships, but that there were natural roadblocks that caused us to separate one coteaching pair. Finally, he reviewed the schedule for differentiated instruction and described how
  3533. 136
  3534. the teachers would work with Keystone Consulting on two more occasions throughout the school
  3535. year.
  3536. The final discussion was informing the faculty that the visits from Keystone would be
  3537. unannounced. It was during this conversation that I interjected the reasoning for this decision. I
  3538. was frank with the teachers and told them that we felt the co-taught lessons that Keystone
  3539. observed were embellished. I explained further that the lessons observed by the consultants were
  3540. not the typical lessons that administrators were observing on a daily basis. One teacher
  3541. commented,
  3542. I feel like now you are trying to catch us doing something wrong. Why wouldn’t we be
  3543. provided the dates of the on-site visits? In the past, I was able to prepare for the visits in
  3544. advance by having my questions ready to ask in the short amount of time we had with
  3545. them to debrief.
  3546. I acknowledged this teacher’s concerns but explained that the visits would be
  3547. unannounced and that the teacher’s should continuously note any questions they have as they
  3548. proceed with co-teaching, so that they would be readily available when the consultants were onsite. We further explained that accountability would be increased as we enter year three of
  3549. implementation. The observation form was designed to provide specific feedback to the coteachers regarding their progress. The teachers were reminded that the form did not identify a
  3550. satisfactory or unsatisfactory rating, but most likely would change as we finished the school year.
  3551. The co-teachers were told up front that the expectations for co-teaching had increased and we
  3552. anticipated seeing an increase in the use of the various co-teaching models, lesson plans that
  3553. reflected shared planning between teachers, differentiated instruction and more teaching from the
  3554. special education teachers. A frustrated teacher commented,
  3555. I would like to know how you expect these things to happen when there is not enough
  3556. time in the day to plan with the special education teacher. I do not know how I am going
  3557. to manage finding the time to plan lessons with my co-teacher. In addition, I just do not
  3558. 137
  3559. see this person being able to take on more of the teaching responsibility. They just do not
  3560. have a handle on the curriculum.
  3561. Many teachers acknowledged this statement by nodding their heads. I reminded the
  3562. teachers of the professional development they received over the past two years and the resources
  3563. they were provided. We also reminded them of the professional education day at the end of last
  3564. year in which they were given time to create lesson plans to use this year. The middle school
  3565. principal gave his opinion from an outsider’s perspective,
  3566. I have to interject here for a moment. I am somewhat surprised to hear this level of
  3567. concern even after the amount of training the district has provided. I have been in
  3568. several school districts throughout my career, and I have never experienced a school
  3569. district that provided this level of support and training for teachers on one initiative. I say
  3570. this from a neutral party’s perspective since I am new to the district. With the amount
  3571. and intensity of training you all have received up until this point, there should be no
  3572. apprehension moving into the third year of implementation. First year is completely
  3573. understandable; second year I can understand the fear and uncertainty still, but entering
  3574. year three should be a breeze. In my opinion, we should be tackling other obstacles than
  3575. the ones we continue to tackle year after year.
  3576. This was a powerful statement sent by the new middle school principal and it set the tone
  3577. for moving forward with co-teaching. The message was clear that accountability and
  3578. expectations had increased for this school year.
  3579. Co-Teaching Activities
  3580. As the school year moved along, progress continued to be made with the majority of coteachers. Through the on-site visits and observations, we saw an increase in the level of planning
  3581. between the co-teachers and, as a result, the various models of co-teaching were being utilized
  3582. more often. There was a small improvement in the lesson plans submitted, but not enough to
  3583. consider it a success on the part of administration. There was still resistance from most of the coteaching pairs to allow the special education teacher to provide more instruction. This seemed to
  3584. be an ongoing concern of both the regular and special education teachers.
  3585. 138
  3586. Some unique challenges arose during the third year. As the teachers began to utilize the
  3587. co-teaching models more frequently, there was a need to physically rearrange classrooms, which
  3588. resulted in a cost increase. Many teachers began asking for additional resources such as, round
  3589. tables, individual chairs, white boards, smart boards and dividers. Although this was an
  3590. additional cost to the special education department, I honored the requests and adjusted the
  3591. budget.
  3592. Since the special education teachers were consistently using their preparatory period to
  3593. plan with their co-teaching partner, one in particular started to fall behind with special education
  3594. paperwork. Her paperwork was out of compliance and timelines were not met. When confronted
  3595. with these issues, the teacher in question reported that it was due to the fact that she now uses
  3596. that preparatory period to plan with her co-teacher. Administration took a different approach
  3597. dealing with this particular teacher who was beginning to use co-teaching as an excuse for not
  3598. fulfilling other job responsibilities. It was an unfortunate situation, but one that we had to deal
  3599. with in order to maintain compliance with special education paperwork.
  3600. In an effort to be supportive of the additional time the special education teachers had to
  3601. put in as a result of being directed to use one preparatory period to plan with their co-teachers,
  3602. administration decided to provide each special education teacher with additional IEP writing
  3603. days. They were able to request, in advance, an IEP writing/paperwork day and utilize the
  3604. building substitute to cover their classes. The middle school principals were fairly supportive of
  3605. these requests and flexible with honoring them for all special education teachers. Depending on
  3606. the number of co-taught classes they had, some teachers were granted an additional three days
  3607. throughout the school year. This process seemed to relieve the stress and anxiety of the teachers
  3608. and they were appreciative of the support from administration.
  3609. 139
  3610. Data collected by the consultants over the year confirmed the district’s concern that the
  3611. scheduled visits with Keystone were not the typical lessons presented day-to-day by the coteachers. The consultants reported that the co-taught lessons they observed this year were not as
  3612. good as the ones observed in previous years. They agreed that this was a result of the
  3613. unannounced visits and proved that teachers were not using common planning time to
  3614. thoroughly plan their lessons. This issue was something that needed to be examined more indepth for the upcoming school year.
  3615. In June of 2009, the school year came to a close. A final debriefing meeting was held
  3616. with the consultants, administrators and co-teachers. Consistent themes continued to emerge that
  3617. were similar to past years. The following chart highlights those themes and brings conclusion to
  3618. the three year implementation of co-teaching.
  3619. Table 3 End of Year Three- Common Themes Identified
  3620. End of Year Three- Common Themes Identified
  3621. Special Education Teachers lack content knowledge in academic subject areas
  3622. Lack of planning for co-taught lessons
  3623. Inability to balance curriculum demands and students’ needs
  3624. Inability to differentiate instruction for all students
  3625. Lack of trust between co-teachers
  3626. Inability to maintain other special education paperwork as a result of using common planning
  3627. time consistently
  3628. Need to Increase the use of various co-teaching models
  3629. Increase in clerical duties for special education teachers
  3630. 4.6.4 Summary of Chapter IV
  3631. Complete implementation of co-teaching had not occurred by the end of the third year. However,
  3632. common planning time, a co-teaching observation form, and a master schedule that maintained
  3633. 140
  3634. co-teaching pairs were becoming institutionalized. Other factors related to co-teaching, such as
  3635. the special education teachers’ increase in content knowledge, use of various co-teaching
  3636. models, consistent use of co-plan time and open and honest communication between the coteachers were still undergoing modifications to make utilization more of a possibility and to
  3637. assist in creating a better fit between co-teaching and the middle school.
  3638. Although implementation of co-teaching was still incomplete, enough of the components
  3639. were embedded in the routines and practices of school personnel that district administration felt
  3640. the initiative was a success. The goal was to now extend co-teaching into the high school and
  3641. elementary schools in the upcoming school years. The middle school would continue to make
  3642. progress with co-teaching and the co-teachers would become the internal experts for assisting
  3643. other district faculty through the initial stages. The district would continue to request the services
  3644. of Keystone Consulting in order to expand co-teaching across the district.
  3645. Interpretation of Redefining/Restructuring
  3646. Understanding of the innovation process in organizations can be gained from this case
  3647. study research of the implementation of co-teaching in a middle school. One might have thought
  3648. that co-teaching would be so beneficial for students that diffusion would have been rapid and
  3649. implementation effortless, but this is not the case. The co-teaching initiative created
  3650. overwhelming changes in human and organizational behavior. In addition, it required a great
  3651. deal of monitoring and adjusting on the part of both the innovation and the school organization.
  3652. All four of the socio-technical subsystems: task, human, technical and structural, were affected in
  3653. some way from the implementation of co-teaching.
  3654. 141
  3655. Re-invention
  3656. As stated previously, the redefining/restructuring stage marks the early stage of
  3657. implementation. Typically during this stage, innovations are reinvented to accommodate the
  3658. structure of the organization adopting it and the organization itself undergoes some changes to
  3659. better utilize the innovation. Analysis of data in this case study indicates more changes had to
  3660. take place for the middle school (the organization) in order to create a better fit with co-teaching
  3661. (the innovation). Some technical changes within the building that occurred include: the regular
  3662. and special education teachers differentiate instruction for students with disabilities within the
  3663. regular education classroom; co-teachers share instruction of the curriculum and classroom
  3664. management; and both teachers create adaptations and modifications within the regular
  3665. education classroom for students with disabilities. All of these changes increase the amount of
  3666. planning and clerical work, particularly for the special education teachers, in some way.
  3667. Reinvention of the task and structural subsystems within the middle school appeared to
  3668. be necessary to better utilize co-teaching. These changes included redesigning the master
  3669. schedule to include common planning time for co-teachers, eliminating special education
  3670. classrooms as a result of the change in how services were delivered to students with disabilities,
  3671. and creating the concept that the classroom was now shared equally between the regular and
  3672. special education teachers. These changes were also direct consequences of implementation.
  3673. Rogers (2003) defines a direct consequence as a change to an individual or social system that
  3674. occurs as a result of the immediate response to adoption of an innovation.
  3675. Consequences of Implementation
  3676. The unpredictability of an innovation’s consequence is an important type of uncertainty
  3677. in the diffusion process. This uncertainty can cause difficulty during implementation and must be
  3678. 142
  3679. studied in an effort to understand the implementation sub process. As implementation was
  3680. occurring consequences were emerging. The consequences of co-teaching had to be examined to
  3681. truly understand its impact on the school system.
  3682. According to many diffusion scholars, innovation champions, change agents, and opinion
  3683. leaders give little thought to the consequences linked with an innovation (Rogers, 2003). Too
  3684. often they assume that the adoption of an innovation will produce mainly beneficial results. This
  3685. assumption was made by the administrators in this case study who believed that co-teaching
  3686. would not only increase the least restrictive environment for students with disabilities, but also
  3687. help to foster a new learning organization within the middle school, create more collegial
  3688. relationships and increase the differentiated instruction students were receiving within the
  3689. regular education setting.
  3690. There were some incidental consequences that occurred from the adoption and
  3691. implementation of co-teaching that were unforeseen by the school administration. These include:
  3692. the discovery of inconsistency with delivery of the curriculum at the elementary level resulting
  3693. from students with disabilities being instructed in the regular education classroom at the middle
  3694. school; retirement of a regular education teacher as a result of being directed by administration to
  3695. change his teaching practices to coincide with the co-teaching philosophy; and redesign in lesson
  3696. plans and observation forms to increase accountability for co-teachers. These unanticipated
  3697. consequences represent a lack of understanding of how an innovation will affect individuals or a
  3698. social system and are often just as important as the anticipated consequences.
  3699. Opinion Leaders and Re-invention
  3700. A factor that may have delayed the implementation sub process in this case study was the
  3701. limited role that the opinion leaders (middle school principal and assistant principal) within the
  3702. 143
  3703. organization played in gaining the support for co-teaching from the adopters (teachers) and their
  3704. inability to develop reinvention strategies in the various subsystems in order to maximize coteaching. According to diffusion scholars, in systems with more traditional norms such as school
  3705. districts, opinion leaders play a critical role in influencing the behaviors of others. When
  3706. reflecting on the agenda setting and matching stages of Initiation, it appears the middle school
  3707. principals lacked the interpersonal skills needed to bring their teachers on board with coteaching. Instead, they relied on the consultants from Keystone to motivate the teachers to
  3708. embrace co-teaching. In retrospect, the middle school principals needed to take more of a lead in
  3709. moving the innovation forward from the beginning instead of relying on me and the consultants.
  3710. One critical role that opinion leaders play within a social organization is to help reduce
  3711. uncertainty about an innovation for their adopters. In this case study, the opinion leaders may
  3712. have contributed to the sense of uncertainty through their inability to take an active leadership
  3713. role in the co-teaching initiative from the start. One example of this came from the incident at
  3714. the very initial stage of implementation where the former assistant superintendent had to take the
  3715. lead in addressing the inappropriate behavior of the middle school faculty during the first
  3716. professional education day presented by Keystone Consulting. The principal should have
  3717. immediately addressed the faculty and took ownership of the innovation being implemented in
  3718. his building. Instead, he relied on central office administration to handle the situation, hence
  3719. demonstrating the lack of leadership qualities an innovation champion should possess. This was
  3720. a reoccurring theme throughout the course of the study.
  3721. Conclusions
  3722. In conclusion, when studying the implementation of co-teaching at the middle school, it
  3723. appears that during the Implementation sub process a state of disequilibrium occurred. Rogers
  3724. 144
  3725. (2003) defines disequilibrium as a state in which the rate of change is too rapid to permit a social
  3726. system to adjust. Disequilibrium brings about social disorganization which makes it an
  3727. inefficient and a negative way for change to occur in a system. Evidence of disequilibrium can
  3728. be found throughout the chapter in the voices of many teachers that provided their personal
  3729. experiences and thoughts on co-teaching during the first year of implementation.
  3730. When the rate of change in a social system occurs at the rate that is commensurate with
  3731. the system’s ability to cope with the change, a sense of dynamic equilibrium is achieved. This
  3732. middle school struggled to accomplish this state of dynamic equilibrium in the first two years of
  3733. implementation. This is evidenced in the numerous changes within the socio-technical
  3734. subsystems that were necessary to help create a fit between co-teaching and the middle school. It
  3735. wasn’t until year three that a sense of dynamic equilibrium was felt and then by only a select
  3736. number of co-teaching pairs.
  3737. 145
  3738. 5.0 DISCOVERIES, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS
  3739. This study attempted to explain changes that may occur within a socio-technical organization as
  3740. a result of the implementation of co-teaching. Specifically, the four socio-technical subsystems
  3741. were examined in a suburban middle school in Western Pennsylvania that included the task
  3742. subsystem, the human subsystem, the technical subsystem and the structural subsystem. The
  3743. investigation used qualitative approaches such as interviews with school personnel, classroom
  3744. observations, professional development forums and meetings, and document analysis in order to
  3745. glean information.
  3746. Chapter Four told the story of implementation of co-teaching and the various changes in
  3747. each of the subsystems that occurred as a result of the implementation. Particular emphasis was
  3748. placed on the various factors that affected the co-teaching relationships between the teachers that
  3749. related to each subsystem. Many strategies were utilized by the school district to help create a
  3750. better match between co-teaching and the middle school. Most of these strategies impacted one,
  3751. if not all, of the subsystems. Throughout the study, unexpected situations effected the
  3752. implementation of co-teaching, which in turn had an effect on the co-teaching relationships and
  3753. subsystems as well. The story helped answer the questions posed by the four sub-questions of the
  3754. study:
  3755. • What changes occur in the school’s human subsystem as a result of the
  3756. implementation of co-teaching?
  3757. 146
  3758. • What changes occur in the school’s task subsystem as a result of the
  3759. implementation of co-teaching?
  3760. • What changes occur in the school’s technical subsystem as a result of the
  3761. implementation of co-teaching?
  3762. • What changes occur in the school’s structural subsystem as a result of the
  3763. implementation of co-teaching?
  3764. This chapter uses a combination of the qualitative findings to create a clear understanding
  3765. of the reality of implementing co-teaching into a socio-technical setting. Specifically, discoveries
  3766. from the study, along with reflections and recommendations about the implementation of coteaching, provide valuable insight into this topic. The overall purpose of this synthesis was to
  3767. address the grand tour question of the research investigation:
  3768. • What socio-technical subsystem variables affect the implementation of co-teaching
  3769. relationships between regular education and special education teachers in a suburban
  3770. middle school?
  3771. 5.1 DISCOVERIES AND CONCLUSIONS
  3772. Socio-Technical Subsystems
  3773. Findings from this case study were based on semi-formal interviews conducted with ten regular
  3774. education teachers and six special education teachers, classroom observations, analysis of
  3775. hundreds of documents and observations/interactions with teachers, administrators and
  3776. consultants. Details about co-teaching were uncovered as school personnel shared many of their
  3777. thoughts and experiences throughout the course of the study. The interviews and classroom
  3778. 147
  3779. observations conducted with the individuals who were co-teaching provided valuable insight to
  3780. the findings as they pertain to the issues explored by the four sub-questions. The report is broken
  3781. into four sections representing the subsystems and the specific factors that emerged in the data in
  3782. each that affected the co-teaching relationships.
  3783. 5.2 HUMAN SUBSYSTEM
  3784. There were three common themes that continuously emerged when examining the impact coteaching had on the human subsystem. The themes were: establishment of a common philosophy
  3785. between co-teachers, maintaining co-teaching pairs from year-to-year and the need to hire an
  3786. additional special education teacher. Throughout all of the classroom observations, teacher
  3787. interviews and daily interaction with administrators and consultants during the study, these three
  3788. themes consistently surfaced and intertwined with one another.
  3789. 5.2.1 Common Philosophy
  3790. The success of the co-teaching relationship depended on whether or not the co-teachers shared a
  3791. common philosophy of co-teaching. When a common philosophy was established between the
  3792. teachers, open communication and trust were observed. This in turn led to students exhibiting
  3793. positive interactions with both teachers and peers. The classroom environment in these settings
  3794. felt warm and inviting. Students seemed comfortable and addressed both teachers equally. This
  3795. confirms Stump’s (2000) research finding that teacher collaboration is the most powerful tool to
  3796. ensure all students succeed in the regular education classroom.
  3797. 148
  3798. McLesky and Waldron (1996) identify three stages in developing successful inclusion
  3799. programs. The researchers identify the first stage, addressing the teachers’ beliefs and values
  3800. about inclusion, as the most critical and explain that they must be examined, reflected on and
  3801. changed in order to maintain success. This notion was confirmed when administration was
  3802. forced to address the regular education teacher who did not share the same beliefs and values of
  3803. inclusion as the special education teacher. After several discussions with the co-teaching pair and
  3804. classroom observations, I recognized that the teachers’ philosophy of co-teaching was
  3805. incongruent and no matter what type of support administration tried to provide them, the regular
  3806. education teacher was not going to examine or change his beliefs. As a result, the co-teaching
  3807. experience did not have a positive effect on the students. The administration came to realize that
  3808. co-teachers must be paired based on their philosophy of co-teaching in order to ensure a
  3809. successful co-teaching environment.
  3810. 5.2.2 Maintaining Co-teaching Pairs
  3811. The need to maintain co-teaching pairs from year-to-year was another factor that consistently
  3812. emerged when discussing the impact co-teaching had on teacher relationships. Administrators
  3813. need to commit to maintaining co-teaching pairs at the onset of a co-teaching initiative. Every
  3814. teacher confirmed during their semi-formal interview that keeping the same co-teacher from
  3815. year-to-year is critical in building a positive co-teaching relationship and classroom environment.
  3816. This can be heard in the voice of a regular education teacher that was interviewed,
  3817. I have had the same co-teacher since this process began. It helps that we had a prior
  3818. relationship and were able to continue to build on that relationship year after year. I
  3819. couldn’t imagine having to start from scratch with a new co-teacher like some of my
  3820. colleagues had to do throughout this experience. I know that some of the situations were
  3821. outside the control of administrators, but I hope they know how important it is to keep
  3822. 149
  3823. the co-teachers the same each year. Personally, I think the relationship established
  3824. between the two teachers is the most critical element in making co-teaching a positive
  3825. experience for the students. Kids are smart, and they know if the adults aren’t getting
  3826. along.
  3827. In addition, the co-teaching pairs who remained the same during the three-year study
  3828. received better evaluations than those co-teachers who were changed during the course of the
  3829. study.
  3830. 5.2.3 Hire One Additional Special Education Teacher
  3831. Overwhelmingly, all co-teachers expressed the need to hire an additional special education
  3832. teacher in order to implement a successful co-teaching model. Interviews, meetings, discussions
  3833. and analysis of various documents confirmed that both regular and special education teachers
  3834. believe an additional special education teacher is necessary in order to continue the success of
  3835. the co-teaching initiative. They believe that an additional teacher would lessen the
  3836. responsibilities of the special education teachers. This would also eliminate the current situation
  3837. for the special education teacher that has to work with all three grade levels. With one more
  3838. special education teacher, the middle school could assign one special education teacher per team
  3839. in grades six and seven and two special education teachers in grade eight. This would limit the
  3840. number of regular education teachers the special education teacher has to co-plan with and allow
  3841. them more time to focus on specific content knowledge and co-planning for classroom
  3842. instruction. These findings suggest that implementation of co-teaching into a school system will
  3843. create conditions for change in the human subsystem. Unfortunately, due to budgetary reasons
  3844. and appropriate teacher case loads at present, the District will not add special education staff.
  3845. 150
  3846. 5.3 TECHNICAL SUBSYSTEM
  3847. Four themes emerged from the data when examining the impact co-teaching had on the technical