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Effects of implementing a transition curriculum using Google Classroom on the self-determination, post-secondary readiness, and career readiness skills of high school students with high incidence disabilities
Effects of implementing a transition curriculum using Google Classroom on the self-determination, post-secondary readiness, and career readiness skills of high school students with high incidence disabilities
Katie Williams
Students with high incidence disabilities continue to fall behind when compared to their nondisabled peers who experience much greater post-secondary and employment success after high school. The purpose of the study was to determine if using Google Classroom to impl...
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Students with high incidence disabilities continue to fall behind when compared to their nondisabled peers who experience much greater post-secondary and employment success after high school. The purpose of the study was to determine if using Google Classroom to implement a transition curriculum would affect the career readiness, post-secondary readiness, and self-determination skills of students with high incidence disabilities. The literature review revealed that there are several definitions and theories defining the components that comprise an effective transition curriculum. Using Google Classroom transition modules were created and implemented that focused on the components: age-appropriate assessments, individualized and student-centered planning and goal setting, career exploration, post-secondary training exploration, employment preparations, and self-determination. A quantitative study was designed to determine whether utilizing Google Classroom had an effect on the self-determination, career readiness, and post-secondary readiness skills of the student participants. Two rating scales were utilized, and a Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to analyze the data. Utilizing Google Classroom had an overall positive effect on the self-determination, career readiness, and post-secondary readiness skills. The transition curriculum also had a positive effect on all areas except leisure activities. This positive effect has many implications on future transition educational practices and post-high school outcomes for students with disabilities. This positive effect could help students secure financial stability and successfully live independently after high school.
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2021
Reading Instruction for Students with Reading Disabilities
Reading Instruction for Students with Reading Disabilities
The Internal and External Factors Influencing the Teaching Practices of Elementary Special Education Teachers when Working with Students with Reading Disabilities
Rebecca Whitman
Students with a reading disability often struggle to become proficient readers. The learning support teachers challenged with the job of teaching these students to read can significantly affect the level to which they become competent readers. However, without scient...
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Students with a reading disability often struggle to become proficient readers. The learning support teachers challenged with the job of teaching these students to read can significantly affect the level to which they become competent readers. However, without scientifically-based reading instruction, many students will struggle with the reading process, and many will not learn to read at a proficient level. Therefore, it was the purpose of this qualitative research study to explore the lived experiences of elementary special education teachers currently teaching reading to students with reading disabilities. Through the use of a hermeneutic phenomenological design, the researcher utilized questionnaires and semi-structured interviews of elementary learning support teachers in order to develop a deeper understanding of the internal and external factors that affect their practice. The researcher subsequently transcribed, coded, and analyzed the content of the interviews to identify themes within three broad categories: 1) internal factors influencing the teaching practices of elementary special education teachers as they teach students with a reading disability to read, 2) external factors influencing the practices of elementary special education teachers as they teach students with a reading disability to read, and 3) specialized knowledge that special education teachers possess and apply when teaching students with a reading disability to read. Through this study, the researcher sought to better understand these factors and how they affect the practices carried out by special education teachers in their pursuit of teaching students to read proficiently. The insights garnered through this process illuminated the importance of understanding how various factors influence how special education teachers plan and carry out specialized reading instruction for students with reading disabilities.
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2022
Overcoming Childhood Adversity
Overcoming Childhood Adversity
A Collective Case Study of the Influence of ACEs on the Work of Special Education Teachers
Kristyn Whisman
In order to fully realize student-focused trauma-informed care, educational settings must become trauma-informed environments wherein all who are served and all who are employed are supported through trauma-informed care. The purpose of the study was to identify the ...
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In order to fully realize student-focused trauma-informed care, educational settings must become trauma-informed environments wherein all who are served and all who are employed are supported through trauma-informed care. The purpose of the study was to identify the ways in which adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) influenced the work of special education teachers, how they overcame their ACEs, and describe the supports that are necessary to create a trauma-informed environment for them. The literature review revealed the significant toll ACEs have on physical and mental health, as well the social and emotional tone of a classroom. A holistic collective case-study design and narrative analysis was used to evaluate three semi-structured interviews with special education teachers employed in the 2020-2021 school year in southern Pennsylvania. Semi-structured interview transcripts were combined into one composite interview transcript, which served as the data set for analysis. Analysis revealed the following salient themes: special education teachers are called to their work, ACEs created an adulthood awareness childhood struggles, ACEs encouraged connections with students and their families, personal relationships were the key to overcoming ACEs, trauma-informed care is for students only, resilience in the real world, and the division that exists between general education and special education teachers.
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2021
The Instructional Leadership Role of Pennsylvania Public School Principals and Their Effect on Special Education Practices
The Instructional Leadership Role of Pennsylvania Public School Principals and Their Effect on Special Education Practices
Amanda Truitt-Smith
Pennsylvania public-school principals are expected to be instructional leaders for all students within their district. When it comes to leadership for students with disabilities, this role can be problematic due to a lack of experience in the field of special educati...
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Pennsylvania public-school principals are expected to be instructional leaders for all students within their district. When it comes to leadership for students with disabilities, this role can be problematic due to a lack of experience in the field of special education and pre-service special education training. Special education leadership should be a significant concern for school administrators as their roles have increased to ensuring successful outcomes for all students, the increased number of students placed in special education, the high cost associated with educating students in special education, and the due process ramifications if educational outcomes are not achieved. The research has demonstrated that overall, public-school principals receive little to no formal training in leading special education in pre-service or on-going professional development. The purpose of this research study was twofold. The research is helpful to colleges and universities when developing plans of study and programming for future public-school principal and leadership training degrees and certificates. This research also provides a platform where current Pennsylvania public-school principals can identify where their special education knowledge is lacking and how to become a better instructional leader for their own district’s special education population. This study provided insight into understanding the factors that contribute to the lack of special education training in special education programs by higher education entities.
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2019
The Effects of Physical Exercise on Stereotypic Behaviors in Autism
The Effects of Physical Exercise on Stereotypic Behaviors in Autism
A Meta-Analysis
Christopher W. Tarr
he prevalence rate of children with autism has been on the rise for the past 20 years. A hallmark characteristic of this disorder is the presence of stereotypic behaviors. Children who engage in stereotypic behaviors experience difficulties in effectively interacting...
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he prevalence rate of children with autism has been on the rise for the past 20 years. A hallmark characteristic of this disorder is the presence of stereotypic behaviors. Children who engage in stereotypic behaviors experience difficulties in effectively interacting with their surrounding environment. Both consequence-based and antecedent based interventions have been successful in decreasing these interfering behaviors. The performance of physical exercise has shown positive results as both a consequence based and antecedent based intervention in reducing stereotypic behaviors. The current investigation conducted a meta-analysis on the effects of physical exercise on stereotypic behaviors in individuals with autism. This study was able to run this meta-analysis using both aggregate score studies and single subject design studies. This study identified 10 research articles that met all of the inclusion criteria. The 10 articles were coded according to sixteen primary moderators and four peripheral moderators. The 10 articles produced an overall large effect size of d = -.456. This large effect size demonstrated that physical exercise is effective in decreasing stereotypic behaviors in individuals with autism. However, no significant statistical difference was observed within any of the primary and peripheral moderators. The lack of significant statistical difference within any of the moderators lead the current investigator to conclude that the effect of physical exercise on stereotypic behaviors in individuals with autism may not be impacted by external factors. Further research is needed to determine the internal neurobiological effects of physical exercise on stereotypic behaviors in individuals with autism.
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2018
Teacher Preparedness for Educating Students with Emotional Disturbances within the Inclusive Setting
Teacher Preparedness for Educating Students with Emotional Disturbances within the Inclusive Setting
Susan Stegman
Approximately fourteen percent or 6.7 million school age children in the United States have a disability. Of those fourteen percent of students, it is estimated that 335,000 or five percent of those students qualify under the criteria of emotional disturbance (Nation...
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Approximately fourteen percent or 6.7 million school age children in the United States have a disability. Of those fourteen percent of students, it is estimated that 335,000 or five percent of those students qualify under the criteria of emotional disturbance (National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 2020). Many of these students are included with general education peers and taught by general education teachers. While the teachers strive to implement supports and services to provide an equitable education, it appears that teachers do not enter the field with foundational knowledge or practice. Research has focused on pre-service teacher programs as well as preparedness of teachers to work with students of specific disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder and students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Other research has focused on teacher's literacy in the field of mental health and awareness around mental health needs of students. This study aims to bridge the gap between these areas of research. The study design utilized an interview of twelve current general education teachers to gain information regarding teacher’s pre-service training and experience in supporting students with emotional disturbance within the inclusive setting. Information gained from this study can inform future programming for general educators to best support students with emotional disturbance in the inclusive setting.
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2022
Analyzing and Comparing Similarities and Perceptions of Current status and of Years of Experience Regarding Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Tier 1 Implementation Across Multiple K-6 Schools
Analyzing and Comparing Similarities and Perceptions of Current status and of Years of Experience Regarding Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Tier 1 Implementation Across Multiple K-6 Schools
William Schleicher
In this study, the educational discussion focused on Tier 1 implementation of the behavioral management system known as positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) within three randomized K-6 elementary schools all at varying years of program implementation...
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In this study, the educational discussion focused on Tier 1 implementation of the behavioral management system known as positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) within three randomized K-6 elementary schools all at varying years of program implementation (Lower Elementary, K-3 Elementary, and K-6 Elementary school). Further, the study fixated on whether there were commonalities or differences in the perception of the current status of PBIS Tier 1 implementation which came in the form of a mixed-method approach for the participating general and special education teachers within those schools. An effective, consistent, and positive behavioral management system in schools is a relatively new concept with so many educational institutions in the past taking punitive approaches toward discipline. To take a more proactive approach toward behavior, schools have been utilizing PBIS to reshape the thinking of students and teachers to develop better and safer environments for learners and educators alike. The data collected in this study was analyzed using the Kruskal-Wallis H test and detailed thematic analysis. The qualitative analysis results revealed the presence of five major themes regarding feedback from staff on the factors and perceptions contributing to successful Tier 1 implementation of PBIS. Such themes consisted of: (a) Buy-in from stakeholders; (b) Needing the use of consistent language, communication, and policies across the school; (c) Informing and reminding students about the expectations on a daily basis; (d) Integrating the teaching of Values inside and outside of the classroom; and (e) Needing to implement constant and clear communication to all stakeholders. Results showed that while school-wide discipline systems were more prevalent, visible, or successful in the lower elementary school, the implementation of non-classroom management systems and classroom management systems of the respective schools was almost similar with the implementation of being mostly in place. Recommendations for future research include more understanding of the main needs of a school (resources, training, time, evaluation, etc.) of a school, a heightened awareness of disciplinary action needs to be emphasized by means of restorative behavioral management practices for all staff, and a need for advanced tiers should be established for all students. Implications for positive change include increased teacher/school awareness, support, and guidance with PBIS, enhanced restorative behavioral management skills, and a positive shift in mindset regarding interacting with negative behaviors within school settings.
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2022
A Critical Analysis of Classroom Management Issues Within Early Childhood Classrooms
A Critical Analysis of Classroom Management Issues Within Early Childhood Classrooms
Cybill Reed
Classroom management has been the topic of many research studies in the past (Anderson & Kinaid, 2005; Carter & Pool, 2012; Chu, 2015; Ersozlu & Cacyi, 2016; Evertson, 1989; Grining, et al., 2010; Ritz et al., 2014). The purpose of this study was to examine what earl...
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Classroom management has been the topic of many research studies in the past (Anderson & Kinaid, 2005; Carter & Pool, 2012; Chu, 2015; Ersozlu & Cacyi, 2016; Evertson, 1989; Grining, et al., 2010; Ritz et al., 2014). The purpose of this study was to examine what early childhood teachers regarded as disruptive behaviors, what strategies were used to manage said behaviors, and the usefulness of using said strategies. All participants in this research were currently teaching in a Head Start or Pre-K classroom. To collect data for this study, a mixed method study was conducted. A quantitative survey was conducted to gather information on the types of classroom management strategies that were used and the frequency and usefulness of said strategy. To gather qualitative data for this study, four open-ended questions were asked at the beginning of the survey to gather more in-depth answers from teachers on classroom management. The participants interviewed for this study were certified teachers who were employed as early childhood teachers located in Western Pennsylvania. The interviews occurred during the 2017-2018 school year. Results from this study included five main findings. First, it was determined that disruptive behaviors vary between early childhood classrooms and that teachers would benefit from learning classroom management strategies that focus on managing a range of behaviors. Second, lack of knowledge in the time and consistency it takes to shape behaviors leads to teachers not committing to research-based classroom management techniques. Third, teachers have not had enough training in using research-based classroom management techniques for those techniques to be considered useful and effective in their classroom. Fourth, teachers need additional support within their classroom to better meet the needs of diverse learners. Finally, when specific research-based teaching strategies were used frequently, teachers found them to be very useful. Findings suggest that early childhood teachers would benefit and are in need of additional trainings in how to use research-based classroom management techniques to manage disruptive behaviors.
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2018
Workload Manageability
Workload Manageability
Exploring the Perceptions of School-Based Speech-Language Pathologists
Kerry McLaughlin Pringle
Legal reform measures and evidence-based referral processes significantly expanded speech-language pathologists’ scope of practice; however, contemporary research initiatives fail to directly address perceived challenges that arise as a result of workload inequities....
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Legal reform measures and evidence-based referral processes significantly expanded speech-language pathologists’ scope of practice; however, contemporary research initiatives fail to directly address perceived challenges that arise as a result of workload inequities. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative research study was to investigate speech-language pathologists’ perceptions of workload management within the public-school setting. The contents of this narrative systematically describe federal and state legislative actions pertaining to professional responsibilities and the conceptual frameworks that are often used to evaluate personal and job-related workload implications. A purposeful sampling approach allowed the co-investigator to assemble a team of eight school-based speech-language pathologists, currently employed in public-school districts located in Southwestern Pennsylvania, who met an explicit set of criteria relevant to the premise of the investigation. Participants were interviewed and data was analyzed utilizing descriptive coding followed by NVivo coding in order to identify major themes and patterns in regard to the following research questions: What workload responsibilities do school-based speech-language pathologists perceive as the most demanding? How do school-based speech-language pathologists describe the relationship between perceived workload demands and job performance? How do school-based speech-language pathologists view the impact of perceived workload demands on their body, mood, and/or behavior? Four major themes emerged from the data and indicate the following: SLPs have a clear understanding of the terms caseload and workload in regard to school-based speech and language support services; Workload obligations perceivably cause SLPs to encounter psychological and physical implications, including stress, anxiety, and frustration; Workload obligations perceivably impact SLPs’ ability to meaningfully provide therapeutic services; and the roles and responsibilities of school-based SLPs are perceivably misinterpreted and/or misunderstood by educational stakeholders, including administrators, teachers, and parents. Findings from this study may contribute to future professional development initiatives, caseload dissemination methods, and the growing body of literature related to the topic.
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2021
Workload Manageability
Workload Manageability
Exploring the Perceptions of School-Based Speech-Language Pathologists
Kerry McLaughlin Pringle
Legal reform measures and evidence-based referral processes significantly expanded speech-language pathologists’ scope of practice; however, contemporary research initiatives fail to directly address perceived challenges that arise as a result of workload inequities....
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Legal reform measures and evidence-based referral processes significantly expanded speech-language pathologists’ scope of practice; however, contemporary research initiatives fail to directly address perceived challenges that arise as a result of workload inequities. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative research study was to investigate speech-language pathologists’ perceptions of workload management within the public-school setting. The contents of this narrative systematically describe federal and state legislative actions pertaining to professional responsibilities and the conceptual frameworks that are often used to evaluate personal and job-related workload implications. A purposeful sampling approach allowed the co-investigator to assemble a team of eight school-based speech-language pathologists, currently employed in public-school districts located in Southwestern Pennsylvania, who met an explicit set of criteria relevant to the premise of the investigation. Participants were interviewed and data was analyzed utilizing descriptive coding followed by NVivo coding in order to identify major themes and patterns in regard to the following research questions: What workload responsibilities do school-based speech-language pathologists perceive as the most demanding? How do school-based speech-language pathologists describe the relationship between perceived workload demands and job performance? How do school-based speech-language pathologists view the impact of perceived workload demands on their body, mood, and/or behavior? Four major themes emerged from the data and indicate the following: SLPs have a clear understanding of the terms caseload and workload in regard to school-based speech and language support services; Workload obligations perceivably cause SLPs to encounter psychological and physical implications, including stress, anxiety, and frustration; Workload obligations perceivably impact SLPs’ ability to meaningfully provide therapeutic services; and the roles and responsibilities of school-based SLPs are perceivably misinterpreted and/or misunderstood by educational stakeholders, including administrators, teachers, and parents. Findings from this study may contribute to future professional development initiatives, caseload dissemination methods, and the growing body of literature related to the topic.
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2021
Transition Experiences of College Students with Disabilities between High School Graduation and Enrollment in Postsecondary Education and its Correlation with Student Self-Determination, College Readiness, and Registration for Disability Services During t
Transition Experiences of College Students with Disabilities between High School Graduation and Enrollment in Postsecondary Education and its Correlation with Student Self-Determination, College Readiness, and Registration for Disability Services During the Freshman Year of College.
Melinda Phillips
Students with disabilities who do not receive effective transition planning during their high school years may lack self-determination skills and be ill equipped to advocate or conjure up the skills necessary to independently self-disclose for the receipt of accommod...
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Students with disabilities who do not receive effective transition planning during their high school years may lack self-determination skills and be ill equipped to advocate or conjure up the skills necessary to independently self-disclose for the receipt of accommodative support services at the post-secondary level. This study sought to identify the relationship between these variables.
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2022
Providing Tier 2 math Interventions within Core Instruction
Providing Tier 2 math Interventions within Core Instruction
Diane Pauli
In 2004 the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was reauthorized allowing states to use various models to determine Specific Learning Disability. The thought behind allowing schools and districts to use other models besides the discrepancy model involved the ...
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In 2004 the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was reauthorized allowing states to use various models to determine Specific Learning Disability. The thought behind allowing schools and districts to use other models besides the discrepancy model involved the overidentification of Specific Learning Disabilities in students. One of the models stated in the reauthorization was Responsiveness to Intervention, RtI. Throughout the country, different models of RtI have been used and embraced by schools and districts. In PA, the decision to use RtI for SLD determination is up to each school and district. In the past ten years, RtI has is now part of a framework called Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). It is a systemic, constant improvement framework where data-based problem solving using benchmark and other assessments to make decisions is used to determine the needs of all students. RtI is part of that process. As more and more schools incorporate MTSS and RtI, this study seeks to examine the impact on student benchmark assessment scores when RtI is used within math core classrooms. This study also included an examination of the influence of professional development on teacher efficacy, including understanding all of the components of RtI, benchmark assessments, small group instruction, and evidence-based interventions. The study used both quantitative and qualitative methods. The quantitative methods included analysis of data from the Acadience benchmark assessment scores for 2nd grade students from three elementary schools. Data involved fall, winter, and spring assessment scores. The qualitative portion included interviews with teachers who attended the professional development training offered by the researcher and subsequent iterative analysis of interview transcripts and field notes. The results did not provide evidence that targeted professional development had an impact on student achievement. Students benchmark scores did not improve significantly from the winter to the spring. Only one teacher made a growth over the expected growth that was projected. Analysis of the teacher interviews indicates that teachers varied in their perception of professional development. Discussion of the findings and implications for further research are included.
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2021
A Phenomenological Study of Public High School Inclusive Extracurricular Opportunities
A Phenomenological Study of Public High School Inclusive Extracurricular Opportunities
Perspectives of Parents of Neurotypical Students
Rachel Ann Pasquerilla
Special educators, school leaders and parents across the nation are exploring the benefits of inclusive opportunities for high school students with and without disabilities. Peer Mediated Intervention (PMI) is a long-standing literature-backed set of teaching procedu...
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Special educators, school leaders and parents across the nation are exploring the benefits of inclusive opportunities for high school students with and without disabilities. Peer Mediated Intervention (PMI) is a long-standing literature-backed set of teaching procedures and models that promote prosocial development in individuals with developmental disabilities across the lifespan. Although PMI literature includes benefits to typical peers, little to no information exists specific to the high school and young adult population. The present study gathers qualitative interview data from four parent participants to gain authentic feedback about the takeaways for their typical high school student from their perspective. Many positive implications were uncovered in the thematic coding and data analysis process. Positive implications for peers can be utilized as support for the development and maintenance of future inclusive extracurricular activities in public high schools. Discussion around the findings of the study provide school leaders with clear and concise examples of this support, including but not limited to: increase in personal self-worth and empathy, college and career readiness opportunities, and community acceptance carryover.
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2019
Multi-Sensory Room Usage in Medium-Sized Elementary Schools in Western PA: A Case Study
Multi-Sensory Room Usage in Medium-Sized Elementary Schools in Western PA: A Case Study
Belinda Nuth Sloboda
Are multi-sensory rooms the new fad or are they necessary spaces for special education students? This question frequently comes to mind when talking to people outside of the education system. Oftentimes, these rooms receive little consideration when space planning a ...
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Are multi-sensory rooms the new fad or are they necessary spaces for special education students? This question frequently comes to mind when talking to people outside of the education system. Oftentimes, these rooms receive little consideration when space planning a new school. Instead, any extra room or space that has not already been allocated becomes the multi-sensory room. This often does not allow for proper space planning for the needed sensory aids. The multi-sensory room also may be situated in an undesired location within the school that may be distracting. These undesired adjacencies include the lunchroom, auditorium, and gymnasium. Due to this uncertainty of room placement during the design phase of building, a mixed-methods study was conducted to analyze current multi-sensory rooms. This allowed the researcher to examine how well the rooms function for the students and teachers who use them. The mixed-methods study consisted of a Qualtrics survey and in-person interviews with special education teachers. These teachers were from five elementary schools within the same district in Western Pennsylvania. Results of the study indicated that even though multi-sensory rooms were necessary for the special education students’ daily schedule, teachers often supplemented their students’ sensory needs with aids in the classroom. The rooms housing the multi-sensory rooms were generally located in unideal positions within the school; some were adjacent to high activity areas such as the cafeteria and gymnasium, whereas others were out of the way for convenience. These results, as well as their implications for future research and practice, are discussed.
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2022
The Effects of Staff Training in Blocking Techniques and Trauma Informed Care on the Number of Student Restraints in a Special Education Setting at a Suburban Public-School District
The Effects of Staff Training in Blocking Techniques and Trauma Informed Care on the Number of Student Restraints in a Special Education Setting at a Suburban Public-School District
Edward G. Nientimp
The purpose of this study was to determine if the implementation of a staff development program that included instruction in trauma informed care, de-escalation, and the use of soft blocking pads (Ukeru ™) would influence the number of times students attending public...
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The purpose of this study was to determine if the implementation of a staff development program that included instruction in trauma informed care, de-escalation, and the use of soft blocking pads (Ukeru ™) would influence the number of times students attending public-school special education programs were physically restrained. Restraint reduction/elimination efforts have been documented at psychiatric hospitals and residential treatment facilities for individuals with disabilities but not in public-school settings. There are many peer reviewed studies in the professional literature that detail the potential negative effects of restraint which include injury, trauma, negative perceptions, and sometimes death. This quasi-experimental design employed a retrospective data analysis to determine the usage of restraint across multiple school district supported programs. In this study data that was submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education's Restraint Information System of Collection (RISC) by one school district was analyzed over a three-year period. State wide data reports were also analyzed. Restraints per student, total restraints, mean number of restraints, and injuries to students or staff were rep01ied and analyzed to dete1mine trends over the three-year study. The nomandom sample was dete1mined by program assignment. Students attended either a public-school special education program, a residential treatment facility program, a partial hospitalization classroom, or an approved private school. The public-school students (all identified as eligible and in need of special education) were exposed to the Ukeru™ intervention during pmi of year two, and all of year three. All other groups served as comparison groups where the use of restraint continued to be used as a crisis management intervention. The use of restraint was eliminated in year three in the public-school special education setting. The Ukeru™ intervention was employed with the same number of students that had been traditionally restrained, suggesting that use of the trauma informed care, de-escalation, and soft blocking pads (Ukeru™) replaced the need for restraint. All comparison groups continued to regularly utilize restraint, with a substantial increase in restraints occurring at the residential treatment facility and overall across the state of Pennsylvania. There was no reduction in injuries associated with the utilization of the Ukeru™ intervention. Three years of data review supports that student and staff injuries occurred at very low rates at all school district supported programs prior to the implementation of Ukeru™ (year one), during the trial school year (year two), and during full implementation (year three).
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2018
Identifying Salient Factors in the Retention of Special Education Teachers
Identifying Salient Factors in the Retention of Special Education Teachers
What Makes Them Stay?
Mary P. Nientimp
The purpose of this study was to determine the reasons why special education teachers continue to teach in their present special education positions for five years or longer. The factors that influence special education teachers to remain were identified and analyzed...
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The purpose of this study was to determine the reasons why special education teachers continue to teach in their present special education positions for five years or longer. The factors that influence special education teachers to remain were identified and analyzed. The study was a quantitative design including a survey and one open-ended question. Relational support factors and organizational factors were categorized into the survey questions from Billingley’s (2004) research. The participants included 90 special education teachers from Erie, Crawford and Warren counties. The survey and the open-ended question data were analyzed. The quantitative results indicated that there was a significant difference at a .05% probability level from the response data modes for relational support factors as compared to the organizational support factors. The three most common retention factors included enjoyment gained from job, ability to make a difference in the lives of students, and support of fellow special education teachers. Three themes emerged from the open-ended question: administrative support, helping students succeed and colleague support. The responses were more influential with the relational support factors than the organizational factors. This study should help administrators identify strategies to help retain special education teachers in their current special education teaching positions.
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2018
Key Factors Contributing to the Academic Success of African American Males with a Disability
Key Factors Contributing to the Academic Success of African American Males with a Disability
Lorna Nation
There is a diversity of factors that negatively affect the academic success of African American males, from early childhood through adulthood; however, there are those African Americans males with disabilities that are beating the odds and are obtaining degrees at th...
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There is a diversity of factors that negatively affect the academic success of African American males, from early childhood through adulthood; however, there are those African Americans males with disabilities that are beating the odds and are obtaining degrees at the post-baccalaureate level. This qualitative case study, therefore, aims to identify key factors that contribute to the academic success of African American males with a disability who have attained master’s and earned doctoral degrees. Both purposive sampling and snowball sampling were employed to recruit participants for the study. Three African American males with a disability, one of whom has an earned doctoral degree one, an earned Master’s 'degree and one who is currently pursuing a doctoral degree, participated in the study. Specifically, the interview method was used to gather data as the study investigated an unexplored area in research that contrasts disability diagnosis, and academic success in a specific racial group at the master's degree and terminal degree levels. After data was gathered, the researcher relied heavily on content analysis. Findings from the study show that the factors which contributed to the academic success of African American males with a disability includes family support, resilience, faith/ spirituality, academic engagement, self-advocacy and a belief in ones’ ability to succeed no matter the circumstance. African American males with a disability faces a variety of challenges on their path to academic success, however they can achieve academic success despite all the challenges they face.
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2022
Middle school teacher and support staff perceptions of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)
Middle school teacher and support staff perceptions of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)
A case study in a suburban western Pennsylvania middle school
Emily Mazzant
This dissertation focuses on teacher and staff perceptions of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) implementation at the middle school level. MTSS implementation at the secondary level proves to be a daunting task which includes many complex facets. Ensuring that t...
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This dissertation focuses on teacher and staff perceptions of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) implementation at the middle school level. MTSS implementation at the secondary level proves to be a daunting task which includes many complex facets. Ensuring that teacher and staff insights are sought out and taken into account when implementing school-wide programming such as MTSS can increase program success and fidelity. Specifically, this study examines three research questions: (1) How do middle school teachers and school support staff perceive implementation of a multi-tiered system of support? (2) How do these perceptions impact the buy-in and level of understanding of MTSS implementation? (3) In what ways do middle school teachers understand the MTSS framework? Utilizing a qualitative, single subject case study design methodology, this study sought to explore how teacher and staff perceptions and understanding of MTSS can impact implementation. The study took place in a suburban, western Pennsylvania middle school, in which the researcher is employed. The constant comparative method of coding was utilized in order to uncover themes related to the collected data. The following themes were uncovered through data analysis: support for all students and addressing individual student needs is a part of the MTSS process, the need for all staff to be involved in MTSS, insufficient communication with off-team teachers, discussion of forms as a part of the MTSS process, parental involvement was not discussed as a priority in responses, and procedures and logistics are discussed in relation to MTSS rather than the day to day implementation through working with students. Results of this study indicate that seeking opinions from teachers and staff regarding program implementation can provide valuable information for schools and districts to consider and highlights the importance of professional development focused on MTSS.
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2021
Middle school teacher and support staff perceptions of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)
Middle school teacher and support staff perceptions of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)
A case study in a suburban western Pennsylvania middle school
Emily Mazzant
This dissertation focuses on teacher and staff perceptions of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) implementation at the middle school level. MTSS implementation at the secondary level proves to be a daunting task which includes many complex facets. Ensuring that t...
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This dissertation focuses on teacher and staff perceptions of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) implementation at the middle school level. MTSS implementation at the secondary level proves to be a daunting task which includes many complex facets. Ensuring that teacher and staff insights are sought out and taken into account when implementing school-wide programming such as MTSS can increase program success and fidelity. Specifically, this study examines three research questions: (1) How do middle school teachers and school support staff perceive implementation of a multi-tiered system of support? (2) How do these perceptions impact the buy-in and level of understanding of MTSS implementation? (3) In what ways do middle school teachers understand the MTSS framework? Utilizing a qualitative, single subject case study design methodology, this study sought to explore how teacher and staff perceptions and understanding of MTSS can impact implementation. The study took place in a suburban, western Pennsylvania middle school, in which the researcher is employed. The constant comparative method of coding was utilized in order to uncover themes related to the collected data. The following themes were uncovered through data analysis: support for all students and addressing individual student needs is a part of the MTSS process, the need for all staff to be involved in MTSS, insufficient communication with off-team teachers, discussion of forms as a part of the MTSS process, parental involvement was not discussed as a priority in responses, and procedures and logistics are discussed in relation to MTSS rather than the day to day implementation through working with students. Results of this study indicate that seeking opinions from teachers and staff regarding program implementation can provide valuable information for schools and districts to consider and highlights the importance of professional development focused on MTSS.
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2021
Principals' perspectives in determining the least restrictive environment for students with disabilities in rural Northwestern Pennsylvania schools
Principals' perspectives in determining the least restrictive environment for students with disabilities in rural Northwestern Pennsylvania schools
Brandon Maines
his research was conducted to determine the perspectives of principals in determining the least restrictive environment for students with disabilities. When principals are placed into the role of Local Education Agency (LEA) they are part of the decision-making proce...
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his research was conducted to determine the perspectives of principals in determining the least restrictive environment for students with disabilities. When principals are placed into the role of Local Education Agency (LEA) they are part of the decision-making process for determining the least restrictive environment (LRE) for individuals with disabilities in their schools. This research focused on the perceptions and attitudes that the principals have as it relates to special education. The research utilized a two-part investigation. For the first part, principals were asked to answer questions related to demographic data and educational experiences. Then, were asked a series of questions related to their attitudes toward inclusionary practices. Principals were then asked several hypothetical questions related to determining the LRE for students with disabilities. In the second part of the research, participants engaged in a face to face virtual interview that asked a series of questions related to their role as the LEA in their school and the perspectives that each principal had in relations to determining the LRE for students with disabilities. The results of the research indicated that principals lack the fundamental capacity to fully understand special education and its implications. The research showed and overwhelming need for in-depth professional development in the area of special education for principals as it relates to leading their schools and special education population. The need to build capacity to lead initiatives such as inclusion within their school is imperative in moving forward to ensure that individuals with special needs are educated in the LRE.
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2021
Preventing Abandonment of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices for Students with Autism: Parent Perspectives for Successful Implementation
Preventing Abandonment of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices for Students with Autism: Parent Perspectives for Successful Implementation
Sheri Lake
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the perspectives of parents of students with ASD who use high-tech AAC in educational settings. Although the use of AAC in school settings has been studied, research has not narrowed its scope to focus on children w...
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The purpose of the present study was to investigate the perspectives of parents of students with ASD who use high-tech AAC in educational settings. Although the use of AAC in school settings has been studied, research has not narrowed its scope to focus on children with ASD who use high-tech speech generating devices (SGDs) and receive special education services in school settings. By analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data, this study aims to create an initial framework for successful implementation of AAC for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. A mixed methods design was chosen for this study. Parametric and nonparametric statistics were utilized to test the theory that ease of use, device usefulness, and ease of learning the AAC technology positively influence parent satisfaction. Transcripts from semi-structured interviews were manually coded to identify qualitative themes related to parent satisfaction with their children’s AAC devices. Three qualitative themes emerged: parents feel like they are not equal members of the IEP team, parents act as self-advocates, and parents have difficulty trusting the recommendations made by the school team. Quantitative data analyses revealed a strong positive correlation between ease of use and satisfaction, ease of learning and satisfaction, and usability and satisfaction. Triangulation of data through qualitative analysis confirm that satisfaction is related to ease of use, ease of learning, and usability of the high-tech AAC device. Future studies should investigate parent perspectives that lead to abandonment of speech generating devices in different regions of the United States and across underrepresented groups. In addition, preservice programs in special education and speech-language pathology should be studied in order to determine the extent to which students entering the field have been taught to engage in family-centered practice. Finally, future research should investigate strategies that lead to successful implementation of speech generating devices with children with ASD.
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2021
Preventing Abandonment of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices for Students with Autism: Parent Perspectives for Successful Implementation
Preventing Abandonment of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices for Students with Autism: Parent Perspectives for Successful Implementation
Sheri Lake
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the perspectives of parents of students with ASD who use high-tech AAC in educational settings. Although the use of AAC in school settings has been studied, research has not narrowed its scope to focus on children w...
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The purpose of the present study was to investigate the perspectives of parents of students with ASD who use high-tech AAC in educational settings. Although the use of AAC in school settings has been studied, research has not narrowed its scope to focus on children with ASD who use high-tech speech generating devices (SGDs) and receive special education services in school settings. By analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data, this study aims to create an initial framework for successful implementation of AAC for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. A mixed methods design was chosen for this study. Parametric and nonparametric statistics were utilized to test the theory that ease of use, device usefulness, and ease of learning the AAC technology positively influence parent satisfaction. Transcripts from semi-structured interviews were manually coded to identify qualitative themes related to parent satisfaction with their children’s AAC devices. Three qualitative themes emerged: parents feel like they are not equal members of the IEP team, parents act as self-advocates, and parents have difficulty trusting the recommendations made by the school team. Quantitative data analyses revealed a strong positive correlation between ease of use and satisfaction, ease of learning and satisfaction, and usability and satisfaction. Triangulation of data through qualitative analysis confirm that satisfaction is related to ease of use, ease of learning, and usability of the high-tech AAC device. Future studies should investigate parent perspectives that lead to abandonment of speech generating devices in different regions of the United States and across underrepresented groups. In addition, preservice programs in special education and speech-language pathology should be studied in order to determine the extent to which students entering the field have been taught to engage in family-centered practice. Finally, future research should investigate strategies that lead to successful implementation of speech generating devices with children with ASD.
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2021
An Examination of Elementary School Librarians' Self-efficacy Beliefs in Serving Students with Disabilities
An Examination of Elementary School Librarians' Self-efficacy Beliefs in Serving Students with Disabilities
Jessica Jordan
The purpose of this study was to investigate the self-efficacy beliefs of elementary school librarians in meeting the needs of students with disabilities in the library classroom. Quantitative methods were used through the administration of a survey instrument previo...
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the self-efficacy beliefs of elementary school librarians in meeting the needs of students with disabilities in the library classroom. Quantitative methods were used through the administration of a survey instrument previously developed and implemented in general classrooms (Dawson & Scott, 2013). The instrument evaluated five factors potentially impacting self-efficacy: (a) instruction, (b) professionalism, (c) teacher support, (d) classroom management, and (e) related duties. The theoretical framework outlined for the study was based upon Bandura (1977). As the work of Bandura focuses on perceptions, the survey instrument asked participants to rank their perceived abilities on 14 initial constructs and the five factors listed above. Participants (n=35) were recruited through a listserv designed for school librarians (K-12) within Pennsylvania. Due to the small sample size (n=35), Partial Least Squares-Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM) was utilized for data analysis. (Hair et al., 2017). Findings showed each of the five manifest variables captured in the survey instrument impacted elementary librarians’ perceptions yet the analysis of these factors as one body, the Higher Order Construct (HOC) was statistically significant. In using the PATH Model function of PLS-SEM, analysis showed that instruction, professionalism, and classroom management were statistically significant independently but HOC demonstrated greater significance. The study found that 50% of participants had a mean score of 4 or higher on the Likert scale used within the survey, indicating an overall average of participants having "some ability" or higher demonstrated lower levels of self-efficacy in meeting the needs of students with disabilities.
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2021
A Qualitative Analysis of Administrative Oversight of Inclusionary Environments in Secondary Classrooms
A Qualitative Analysis of Administrative Oversight of Inclusionary Environments in Secondary Classrooms
William Jordan
The position of principal has evolved into one with many responsibilities ranging from managerial to visionary leader. Federal legislation has placed an added layer of responsibility through the implementation of Public Law 94-142 which supported social justice refor...
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The position of principal has evolved into one with many responsibilities ranging from managerial to visionary leader. Federal legislation has placed an added layer of responsibility through the implementation of Public Law 94-142 which supported social justice reforms that were meant to include students with disabilities and provide an education for them alongside their non-disabled peers. The changes brought about by this legislation and its iterations, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and No Child Left Behind Act, have supported inclusionary actions taken by schools and placed importance on effectiveness of the programs used to educate all students. Despite more students with disabilities being included in general education classrooms, schools still struggle with supporting effective inclusionary programs. This study conducted an exploration of a principal’s decision making processes by gathering descriptions of their background experiences, leadership, and structural management of inclusionary environments. It offers insight into what inclusionary environments look like through the eyes of the principal. Research was conducted through a case study with three principals using phenomenological techniques. This study revealed four themes that provide a vibrant description of the inclusionary environments in these principal’s buildings. The principals interviewed in this study discussed their background experiences as teachers, their professional certification coursework, leadership approaches and the structural management of inclusion. Their insight can help one to think about inclusion as they do on a daily basis.
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2020