Search Results1 to 24 of 75
 Effectiveness of a summer intervention program on improving kindergarten readiness in at-risk students
Effectiveness of a summer intervention program on improving kindergarten readiness in at-risk students
Nicole Billak
While a wealth of knowledge exists supporting the need for early intervention in improving kindergarten readiness, very few programs have offered an evidence-based solution to providing remediation for at-risk children demonstrating weak academic or social readiness ...
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While a wealth of knowledge exists supporting the need for early intervention in improving kindergarten readiness, very few programs have offered an evidence-based solution to providing remediation for at-risk children demonstrating weak academic or social readiness skills during the kindergarten registration process. Often, children who are identifies as having weak readiness skills at kindergarten registration will need to wait until school begins in the fall to receive intervention, putting students further at-risk for school failure. The United Way of Mercer County’s Success By 6™ program offers a 6-week intervention for students identified during registration as having poor readiness skills. This study determined the effectiveness of Success By 6™ on improving both academic and social readiness skills deemed necessary for school success. A total of 216 students completed the Kindergarten Readiness Test at the beginning and the end of the program. Teachers also rated students’ social emotional learning using the Social Skills Improvement System Social Emotional Learning Progress Monitoring Scales. Results from paired sample t-tests indicated a statistically significant improvement in students’ academic readiness, t(215) = 16.58 p < .001, after completing the program. Students also made statistically significant gains in social emotional skills needed for kindergarten readiness, t(231) = 22.13, p < .001, after participating in the program. Both calculations revealed large effect sizes (d = 1.13 and 1.45, respectively). Implications of this research can effect social change at local, state, and federal levels in order to expand evidence-based practices in early childhood education.
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2021
 A phenomenological qualitative inquiry : assistive technology use or discontinued use in the school setting
A phenomenological qualitative inquiry : assistive technology use or discontinued use in the school setting
Kendra Bittner
This phenomenological qualitative inquiry was designed to explore the phenomenon of using assistive technology (AT) or putting AT “on the shelf” in the school setting. The purpose of this study was to identify factors involved in educators’ use or discontinued use AT...
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This phenomenological qualitative inquiry was designed to explore the phenomenon of using assistive technology (AT) or putting AT “on the shelf” in the school setting. The purpose of this study was to identify factors involved in educators’ use or discontinued use AT in the school setting. The researcher wanted to learn more about educator efficacy with implementing AT and interviewed 10 participants of various stakeholder roles in the AT decision-making process. Participants shared their insight through one of two options: a live interview or a written questionnaire. Key findings were generated through emergent themes from the sample’s responses. Findings indicated that participants used AT continuously when there was buy-in from IEP team members. AT was discontinued by this sample due to lack of buy-in and challenges with the technology. Further research stemming from this study includes the exploration of instructional coaching as an approach to support educators with the use of AT in the school setting.
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2021
 Trauma-informed care
Trauma-informed care
exploring the perceptions of secondary general education teachers
Nicole Burson-Belcher
Trauma exposure during adolescence is common and has dramatically increased nationally. Trauma exposure is associated with emotional, mental, and behavioral problems, such as, depression, anxiety, delinquency, substance abuse, suicidality, and posttraumatic stress di...
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Trauma exposure during adolescence is common and has dramatically increased nationally. Trauma exposure is associated with emotional, mental, and behavioral problems, such as, depression, anxiety, delinquency, substance abuse, suicidality, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Darnell et al., 2019). While new legislation, programs, and school leadership have sought to address these problems, no significant changes have been documented. At the forefront, teachers witness students’ mental health needs, in conjunction with declining academic performance, behavior, socialization, and emotional state. Further studies must be conducted to gain the teachers’ perspective on trauma-informed care (TIC) in order to provide critical information to educational leadership and policymakers in hopes of solving or at least reducing these problems. Such information was gathered in this phenomenological research study, where interviews were conducted with five secondary general education teachers within public school systems in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Data was collected by asking the participants open-ended questions about their perceptions of trauma-informed care and students with a trauma background. The research questions focused on teacher’s knowledge of TIC, school policies on TIC, the vital components, and critical issues of providing TIC to students, the importance of addressing trauma-based mental health needs, and ways districts can provide more support for teachers. Next, the data, via transcribed interviews, was hand coded to ensure a rich and in-depth description is obtained through analyzing data for nuance and phraseology. Using the hand coding through the iterative approach, the investigator explored the major themes and subthemes within the data by analyzing the frequency of the word or phrases used most often, comparing participant responses, while using guiding theories and research questions. Based upon the results of this study, the following respective themes emerged: secondary general education teachers’ understanding of trauma-informed care is varied; communication, differentiation, and flexibility are current supports implemented to address students’ with a trauma background; overall professional development related to trauma-informed care is lacking; and barriers to addressing and supporting students exposed trauma are lack of professional development, training, confidentiality, retraumatization, and lack of communication. Ultimately, these research findings may enhance forthcoming professional development, trainings, best practices, and established literature pertaining to trauma-informed care.
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2022
Potentials and Barriers to Culturally Responsive Music Therapy Education
Potentials and Barriers to Culturally Responsive Music Therapy Education
Perspectives of Music Therapy Educators
Candice Bain
Abstract This qualitative focus group study explored perceptions of potentials and barriers to cultural responsiveness in music therapy education. Music therapy literature calls for an increase in culturally informed music therapy practice. However, despite cultural ...
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Abstract This qualitative focus group study explored perceptions of potentials and barriers to cultural responsiveness in music therapy education. Music therapy literature calls for an increase in culturally informed music therapy practice. However, despite cultural considerations present in music therapy professional competencies, there are no standards for culturally responsive pedagogical practices. Simultaneously, there has been an acknowledgment in the music therapy literature of challenges to culturally responsive practices, such as the homogeneous, privileged identities dominant in music therapy's professional demographics, compounded by the privileging of Western classical music in music therapy education. In this exploratory study, an online focus group discussion was facilitated with seven music therapy educators to explore their perspectives on the definition of culturally responsive education, their reflective evaluations of their pedagogical practices, their perspectives on how standards of music therapy education inform and/or hinder the ability to foster cultural responsiveness, and their respective outlooks on how potentials and barriers to cultural responsiveness are impacting education, research, theory, and practice. Results demonstrated that educators who value cultural responsiveness believe it is being overlooked in the field of music therapy. Six themes with 34 sub-themes were found: defining cultural responsiveness (stances of humility, self-awareness, continual and constant attention, knowledge of systems of power, self-critique, process, accountability, skills), relevance to clinical practice (ethical responsibility, effect on the therapeutic relationship, effective versus ineffective practice), approaches in education (dedicated course work, infused throughout the program, gradually increasing depth, beyond the classroom, from the beginning, dialogical over technical, experiential learning), preparedness (personal/professional growth practice, training for supervisors and faculty, staying informed), institutional attitudes (the need for changing attitudes, the field is improving, superficiality, the burden on marginalized faculty, commitment to social justice, support from administration), and barriers (Eurocentricity, lack of diversity, AMTA, jam-packed program, no specific training, the need for research). These findings offer recommendations for how the field of music therapy approaches cultural responsiveness in our training programs.
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2023
Perspectives of special education teachers on students with disabilities in an inclusive setting
Perspectives of special education teachers on students with disabilities in an inclusive setting
A comparative analysis
Ronald Steven Carlisle
In this study, the educational discussion focused on inclusion, methods for teaching in inclusive classrooms, and positive aspects of inclusion for academic growth. Also studied were the perspectives of special education teachers on students with disabilities in an i...
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In this study, the educational discussion focused on inclusion, methods for teaching in inclusive classrooms, and positive aspects of inclusion for academic growth. Also studied were the perspectives of special education teachers on students with disabilities in an inclusion setting. Inclusion in public school districts is a very debated and sensitive subject that has been controversial for many years. Inclusion denotes the education of students with disabilities and students that do not have disabilities in the same classroom setting. The data collected from this study was analyzed using measures of central tendency, specifically the mode and percentages and the chi-square test of independence. Data analysis was conducted to determine the perspectives of special education teachers on the controversy of inclusion practices for students with disabilities in two separate clusters, grades K-3 and 4-6, respectively. The qualitative analysis results revealed the presence of two main themes regarding teacher attitudes on inclusion: (a) Risks of inclusion are special education student lack of success, increased burden on teachers, and class disruptions; and (b) Inclusion can benefit all students. Results of the quantitative analysis revealed no statistically significant relationship between years spent in a special education environment and teacher inclusion attitudes. These results suggest that teachers’ views on inclusion are varied and are not significantly influenced by their years of experiences teaching in a special education environment. Recommendations for future research include changes to the study design and data collection techniques. Implications for positive social change include increased teacher confidence, diverse learning opportunities for all students, and the potential for a positive shift in societal beliefs about special education student capabilities and the benefits of inclusion.
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2021
 Perspectives of special education teachers on students with disabilities in an inclusive setting
Perspectives of special education teachers on students with disabilities in an inclusive setting
a comparative analysis
Ronald Steven Carlisle
In this study, the educational discussion focused on inclusion, methods for teaching in inclusive classrooms, and positive aspects of inclusion for academic growth. Also studied were the perspectives of special education teachers on students with disabilities in an i...
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In this study, the educational discussion focused on inclusion, methods for teaching in inclusive classrooms, and positive aspects of inclusion for academic growth. Also studied were the perspectives of special education teachers on students with disabilities in an inclusion setting. Inclusion in public school districts is a very debated and sensitive subject that has been controversial for many years. Inclusion denotes the education of students with disabilities and students that do not have disabilities in the same classroom setting. The data collected from this study was analyzed using measures of central tendency, specifically the mode and percentages and the chi-square test of independence. Data analysis was conducted to determine the perspectives of special education teachers on the controversy of inclusion practices for students with disabilities in two separate clusters, grades K-3 and 4-6, respectively. The qualitative analysis results revealed the presence of two main themes regarding teacher attitudes on inclusion: (a) Risks of inclusion are special education student lack of success, increased burden on teachers, and class disruptions; and (b) Inclusion can benefit all students. Results of the quantitative analysis revealed no statistically significant relationship between years spent in a special education environment and teacher inclusion attitudes. These results suggest that teachers’ views on inclusion are varied and are not significantly influenced by their years of experiences teaching in a special education environment. Recommendations for future research include changes to the study design and data collection techniques. Implications for positive social change include increased teacher confidence, diverse learning opportunities for all students, and the potential for a positive shift in societal beliefs about special education student capabilities and the benefits of inclusion.
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2021
Teachers' attitudes towards inclusion and the effect on professional development
Teachers' attitudes towards inclusion and the effect on professional development
Joyce A. Carr
Inclusive education has increased for students with disabilities within our public schools since the reauthorization of IDEA ( 1997). This change has resulted in a paradigm shift for both general and special education teachers. Research has shown the success of inclu...
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Inclusive education has increased for students with disabilities within our public schools since the reauthorization of IDEA ( 1997). This change has resulted in a paradigm shift for both general and special education teachers. Research has shown the success of inclusive education is impacted by many factors, one being the attitude of the teachers. Attitude is comprised of three components, Behavioral, Cognitive and Affective (Gregory & Noto, 2012). Understanding what component is a strength or an area that could use improvement will enable educational leaders to develop professional development and training opportunities to address their educators' gaps in attitude in regards to inclusive education. This study identified whether there was a relationship between teacher attitude about inclusion and their teaching assignment, level at which they teach and/or years of teaching experience. A survey was conducted resulting in 219 participants completing the necessary information to be included in the research, which included three demographic questions, as well as a nine item Likert scale questionnaire. General education teachers made up 69.90% of the participants, special education teachers made up 30.10%. Elementary educators were 58% of the respondents, secondary were 42%. Regarding years of teaching experiences for the participants, 7.3% had 0-3 years, 11.9% had 4-9 years and the largest majority of respondents, 80.80%, had ten years or more. After receiving the survey for this quantitative study, responses were analyzed using SPSS, descriptive statistics, Cronbach a, t-Tests, ANOVA and multiple linear regression. Findings of this study indicated general education teachers have a lower level of agreement than their special education colleagues in both the cognitive and affective components of attitude towards inclusion for students with disabilities. Results also indicated that teachers with more than ten years of teaching experience have lower cognitive agreement than those who have taught for fewer years. Lastly, the study showed there was no significant difference in regards to the three components based on the grade level teachers taught. From this study, recommendations for professional development and trainings, as well as future research, were addressed.
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2018
Teachers' Attitudes Towards Inclusion and the Effect on Professional Development
Teachers' Attitudes Towards Inclusion and the Effect on Professional Development
Sub-Title test field.
Joyce A. Carr
Inclusive education has increased for students with disabilities within our public schools since the reauthorization of IDEA ( 1997). This change has resulted in a paradigm shift for both general and special education teachers. Research has shown the success of inclu...
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Inclusive education has increased for students with disabilities within our public schools since the reauthorization of IDEA ( 1997). This change has resulted in a paradigm shift for both general and special education teachers. Research has shown the success of inclusive education is impacted by many factors, one being the attitude of the teachers. Attitude is comprised of three components, Behavioral, Cognitive and Affective (Gregory & Noto, 2012). Understanding what component is a strength or an area that could use improvement will enable educational leaders to develop professional development and training opportunities to address their educators' gaps in attitude in regards to inclusive education. This study identified whether there was a relationship between teacher attitude about inclusion and their teaching assignment, level at which they teach and/or years of teaching experience. A survey was conducted resulting in 219 participants completing the necessary information to be included in the research, which included three demographic questions, as well as a nine item Likert scale questionnaire. General education teachers made up 69.90% of the participants, special education teachers made up 30.10%. Elementary educators were 58% of the respondents, secondary were 42%. Regarding years of teaching experiences for the participants, 7.3% had 0-3 years, 11.9% had 4-9 years and the largest majority of respondents, 80.80%, had ten years or more. After receiving the survey for this quantitative study, responses were analyzed using SPSS, descriptive statistics, Cronbach a, t-Tests, ANOVA and multiple linear regression. Findings of this study indicated general education teachers have a lower level of agreement than their special education colleagues in both the cognitive and affective components of attitude towards inclusion for students with disabilities. Results also indicated that teachers with more than ten years of teaching experience have lower cognitive agreement than those who have taught for fewer years. Lastly, the study showed there was no significant difference in regards to the three components based on the grade level teachers taught. From this study, recommendations for professional development and trainings, as well as future research, were addressed.
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2018
The Development of a Reflective Wellness Self-Assessment for Music Therapists
The Development of a Reflective Wellness Self-Assessment for Music Therapists
Janelle Chambers
The inspiration behind developing a reflective wellness self-assessment tool for music therapists came from the rationale that 1) burnout is an ethical issue that is prevalent in our profession and 2) no other tool which encourages therapist self-reflection on this i...
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The inspiration behind developing a reflective wellness self-assessment tool for music therapists came from the rationale that 1) burnout is an ethical issue that is prevalent in our profession and 2) no other tool which encourages therapist self-reflection on this issue exists in the field of music therapy. In an effort to create a unique tool that is relevant to the uniqueness of the profession, this self-assessment resource was based on pre-existing research and literature specific to music therapists and their experiences of burnout and burnout prevention. The development of this tool involved four phases: 1) an extensive investigation and organization of music therapy literature regarding personal and professional wellness; 2) the development of the wellness self-assessment tool based on the results found in the literature; 3) an evaluation process of the self-assessment by advanced and student music therapy professionals; and 4) an examination of the evaluation results and making changes to the assessment based on those results. In addition to their questions and suggestions that contributed to changes made to the assessment, the evaluators also identified multiple uses of the wellness self-assessment for music therapists, such as: bringing results into individual, group, or peer supervision; administering it to interns and students; completing it at regular intervals (i.e. 5-year re-certification); using it for future research on music therapy burnout; and incorporating it into the music therapy curriculum. The evaluators also indicated that the strengths of the wellness self-assessment tool were that it is specific to the field of music therapy, it is holistic and comprehensive, and it inspires critical and valuable self-reflection. The Wellness Self-Assessment for Music Therapists has ethical implications and is designed to be a preventative resource that promotes self-awareness, self-reflection, and overall wellness for the music therapist’s personal and professional self.
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2019
 Effectiveness of inclusion in K-12 schools on students' academic performance
Effectiveness of inclusion in K-12 schools on students' academic performance
a qualitative study
Angela Confair
Students with disabilities are entitled to free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. With this mandate inclusionary practices are expected to be implemented into school districts nationwide. Inclusion is defined in many ways making it di...
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Students with disabilities are entitled to free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. With this mandate inclusionary practices are expected to be implemented into school districts nationwide. Inclusion is defined in many ways making it difficult for educators to effectively educated diverse students. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study sought to understand how inclusion impacts the learning of all students. Twelve participants were used in this study that included general education teachers, special education teachers, and administrators. Semi-structured interviews were conducted which each participant. The results of this study conclude that many educators feel unprepared to educate diverse classrooms and uneducated on special education regulations. A recommendation for future research is to evaluate the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs. Finally, there is a need for more professional development and training in the area of special education for educators.
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2023
 Examining teachers' attitudes toward the inclusion of students using alternate standards in regular standards core academic classes
Examining teachers' attitudes toward the inclusion of students using alternate standards in regular standards core academic classes
Wendy Daniels Stewman
Creating a fully inclusive educational environment continues to be a topic for educational reform. Children with disabilities have the right to access their education in the Least Restrictive Environment. In the United States, this right is protected by the Individua...
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Creating a fully inclusive educational environment continues to be a topic for educational reform. Children with disabilities have the right to access their education in the Least Restrictive Environment. In the United States, this right is protected by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004). Approximately 13.3% of the total number of students with disabilities in the United States are educated in a separate setting. In comparison, 49.2% of all students with a disability in the United States identified as having a cognitive impairment continue to be educated in a separate class setting (U.S. Department of Education, 2019). This study will use mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative data) analysis to examine the attitude of middle school teachers toward the inclusion of students with a cognitive impairment who access their curriculum using alternate standards in the regular education class setting, available training, and needed resources. This study identified factors which influence teacher attitudes toward the inclusion of students using alternate standards, available training, and teacher perceptions for needed resources for an effective inclusion program at the middle school level. The information from the study will be used to provide recommendations to school leaders related to improving supports, training, and services for teachers with the goal of increasing the participation of students using alternate standards in the regular education setting.
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2021
Perceived Levels of Burnout in Public School SLPs
Perceived Levels of Burnout in Public School SLPs
Christy Olexa DeCarlo
School-based speech-language pathologists (SLPs) experience high caseloads and increasing demands on their time. Simultaneously, levels of burnout are increasing across many fields, including education. As burnout rates are increasing, so are the numbers of workers l...
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School-based speech-language pathologists (SLPs) experience high caseloads and increasing demands on their time. Simultaneously, levels of burnout are increasing across many fields, including education. As burnout rates are increasing, so are the numbers of workers leaving specific fields. As of now, there are no studies that explore the level of burnout that school SLPs are facing. Therefore, the aim of this study was do determine these levels, identify the factors contributing to these feelings, and how they impact the potential for SLPs to leave the field. A qualitative study was completed via surveys sent to eligible school-based SLPs. The SLPs were asked to complete an open-ended survey, which would provide a snapshot of the lived experiences of the participants. The results showed that the SLPs that participated are experiencing similar situations, with similar constraints put on their time during work hours. All of the participants report experiencing at least one symptom of burnout, with many experiencing these feelings multiple times per week. The SLPs identified similar factors contributing to their feelings, as well as specific ways administrators could work to fix these problems. The results showed that, while SLPs are experiencing burnout, most are unlikely to leave the school-based sector at this time.
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2023
 Significance of academic and social/emotional accommodations and supports
Significance of academic and social/emotional accommodations and supports
examining the perceived impact on college students with disabilities
Danielle Dietz
College students with disabilities are attending college at increasing rates. However, their success and retention still lag when compared to their non-disabled peers. This mixed methods research design aimed to look at perceived success and challenges that college s...
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College students with disabilities are attending college at increasing rates. However, their success and retention still lag when compared to their non-disabled peers. This mixed methods research design aimed to look at perceived success and challenges that college students with disabilities faced. Using both a survey and an open-ended interview, the researched examined what areas students felt were areas they used the most to support their success, areas of social/emotional need, executive functioning challenges and resources to address those needs, as well as additional stressors faced. The researcher aimed to address the following research questions: 1. What academic supports benefit students with disabilities the most at the college/university level? 2. What level of importance does social and/or emotional supports factor into the retention of students with disabilities in higher education? 3. What executive functioning capabilities present the biggest challenge(s) for students with disabilities in college/university? 4. What other stressors (such as finances, family support, virtual learning, etc.) factor into the retention and success of students with disabilities in college? Through qualitative and quantitative analysis and thematic coding, the following themes emerged: (1) professor office hours are most beneficial academic support, (2) campus resources are least beneficial academic support, (3) the social experience is an important aspect to college life, (4) emotional wellbeing greatly impacts the college experience, (5) starting tasks is the most challenging aspect of executive functioning, (6) planners and/or calendars are the most effective tool to address executive functioning challenges, and (7) academic performance is a significant stress factor.
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2022
Creating a trauma informed school
Creating a trauma informed school
a study of the implementation of a social-emotional learning resource
Kristen Doyle
The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of a social-emotional learning (SEL) resource in kindergarten through grade 4 classrooms on creating a trauma-sensitive school. One tenet of supporting a trauma-sensitive and informed school is the utilization of ...
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The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of a social-emotional learning (SEL) resource in kindergarten through grade 4 classrooms on creating a trauma-sensitive school. One tenet of supporting a trauma-sensitive and informed school is the utilization of a social-emotional resource. The resource entitled In Focus authored by Thomas McSheehy MSW, LSW was implemented in general education classrooms for 45 school days. Prior to the implementation of the resource, a qualitative survey was provided to participating teachers to determine previous knowledge of trauma-informed schools and social-emotional learning. This information would be further used to support professional development needs of educators in the participating district to support students that have been impacted by traumatic events. During the 45 days, weekly professional development meetings were conducted with the study group that focused on equipping educators with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide a trauma-sensitive environment. At the conclusion of the 45 day study, an electronic qualitative survey was provided to the participants to confirm or refute the success of the selected social-emotional resource, In Focus. iv The research questions examined during the study included: 1. Prior to this study what training or professional development did Kindergarten-Grade 4 teachers participate in related to trauma-informed schools? 2. After nine weeks of incorporating a daily social-emotional learning resource, what impact was evidenced in the classroom community? 3. After implementing a social-emotional learning resource, and attending the weekly professional development meetings, what specific skills, knowledge, and/or strategies do Kindergarten-Grade 4 teachers feel the most confident to implement in their classrooms? 4. After attending the weekly professional development meetings and evening professional development event, at what level will K-4 teachers feel prepared to deliver a social-emotional learning resource to students? This study contributes to the research in the area of supporting students that have experienced traumatic events and the teachers that support them. Further, it outlines the needs of the participating teachers in the district relating to past and future professional development opportunities around the topic of social-emotional learning and trauma-informed and sensitive schools. An electronic survey was conducted to gather feedback on the areas of the resource that participating teachers determined to be both successful and not helpful to their classroom community. Additionally, teachers provided a comparison of social-emotional competencies that they observed in their students as compared to prior observations to the resource implementation.
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2022
The Importance of Employability Skills for Students with Disabilities
The Importance of Employability Skills for Students with Disabilities
A Comparison of Employer and Educator Perspectives
Karen Eppley
A misalignment exists between instruction provided in schools for students with disabilities preparing for employment and the employers’ expectations for entry-level employees. Task-related social behaviors are one set of necessary skills individuals with and without...
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A misalignment exists between instruction provided in schools for students with disabilities preparing for employment and the employers’ expectations for entry-level employees. Task-related social behaviors are one set of necessary skills individuals with and without disabilities need to maintain employment. This study compared descriptions of task-related social behaviors provided by employers’ and educators’ through an online survey. Additionally, employers’ and educators’ importance ratings for the same task-related social behaviors were analyzed. Results show employers and educators agree on descriptions and importance ratings for some of the task-related social behaviors included in this study and have differing opinions for others. An employee that can exhibit appropriate task-related social behaviors will strengthen coworker relationships, demonstrate personal growth, and add to business success. Results of this study may provide a starting point for restructuring secondary transition programming for students with disabilities to include more direct instruction of necessary social skills during work-based learning experiences.
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2023
Why Parents Choose or do not Choose Cyberschools for their Children
Why Parents Choose or do not Choose Cyberschools for their Children
David Furka
Parents and guardians have many options regarding the type of educational institution that their child can attend. The two most common options for school-aged children are a traditional brick-and-mortar school or a cyberschool. Since children come from diverse backgr...
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Parents and guardians have many options regarding the type of educational institution that their child can attend. The two most common options for school-aged children are a traditional brick-and-mortar school or a cyberschool. Since children come from diverse backgrounds, have individual needs, and learn differently, it is important for children and their parents and guardians to understand what each type of school has to offer so they can make an informed decision. This study aimed to understand the specific reasons why parents and guardians choose cyberschools for their children. Ten participants were asked to complete a survey and answer open-ended interview questions; answers were analyzed using Weiss’s 4 I’s framework to determine key factors of school choice. Furthermore, participant responses and collected enrollment data were analyzed to determine student enrollment trends over the past five years at six cyberschools in Pennsylvania. The findings of this study indicated that there are specific, but different, characteristics that both cyberschools and brick-and-mortar schools possess that influence parents and guardians choices regarding educational institutions. Based on this study some parents and guardians prefer the safety and teacher communication that cyberschools offer, and some parents and guardians prefer the extracurricular activities that brick-and-mortar schools offer. Additionally, this study analyzes if the Covid-19 pandemic persuaded parents and guardians to choose one type of school over the other. The data collected from this study can help parents and guardians make informed decisions, based on their children’s needs, to which type of schooling would be most beneficial to them. Additionally, data can help school administrators make changes within their school to help maintain or increase student enrollment by meeting a larger range of student needs.
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2023
 Perceptions and pragmatics of therapy dog implementation in schools
Perceptions and pragmatics of therapy dog implementation in schools
Janet Garchinsky
The benefits of the application of therapy dogs have been well documented. Studies related to therapy dogs have shown success in reducing stress and anxiety, improving behavior and self-esteem, increasing reading scores, promoting socialization and motivation, increa...
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The benefits of the application of therapy dogs have been well documented. Studies related to therapy dogs have shown success in reducing stress and anxiety, improving behavior and self-esteem, increasing reading scores, promoting socialization and motivation, increasing rates of de-escalation, and helping younger children develop empathy. Common concerns related to the use of therapy dogs have previously been documented. These concerns include child and animal welfare, animal hygiene, zoonotic disease, and fear or cultural differences. Concerns such as these may cause schools to deny the use of therapy dogs in their facilities. The purpose of this qualitative study was to determine what problems have manifested in schools and how they compare to concerns documented by previous studies. Staff in Pennsylvania schools were surveyed to identify what, if any, problems arose during the implementation of therapy dog programs within their districts, and whether staff perceptions changed after implementation. Results from this study can assist school stakeholders in decision-making and policy development related to therapy dog implementation. Despite problems that have manifested, including those specific to K-12 schools, staff perspectives of therapy dogs became more favorable after implementation.
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2022
An examination of the special education cyclical monitoring process through a socio-technical system's lens
An examination of the special education cyclical monitoring process through a socio-technical system's lens
a case study of a suburban Pittsburgh school district
Christina Garczewski
The current study used a socio-technical system’s (STS) lens to examine how a suburban Pittsburgh school district applies the cyclical monitoring process. The use of a qualitative research method to examined how school districts and how school administrators use the ...
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The current study used a socio-technical system’s (STS) lens to examine how a suburban Pittsburgh school district applies the cyclical monitoring process. The use of a qualitative research method to examined how school districts and how school administrators use the cyclical monitoring process in special education to provide a foundation for developing appropriate regulations that guide in ensuring students with special needs receive adequate formal education. The researcher collected and discussed information about the participation of school administrators in using a cyclical monitoring process for decision-making at the district and building level through interviewing. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the collected data. All of the participants in this study demonstrated basic knowledge of the CMCI process and the impacts this process has on special education policies, procedures, and practices within the district. While each participant demonstrated a different level of understanding of how compliance monitoring enhances the services and programs offered in the district, all five participants recognized the benefits and needs for the CMCI process. All administrators interviewed described the CMCI process as a positive process to evaluate the district’s programming and reflect upon areas that need improvement. Common themes identified in this study included: resources/programming, interventions, and parent engagement. Based on this study, it can be concluded that the increase of administrators’ knowledge and participation in the CMCI process will improve compliance with special education regulations as well as improve education for all students with disabilities.
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2022
Embodied Speech Through Song
Embodied Speech Through Song
A Queer Autoethnographic Exploration of Gender Affirming Voicework in Music Therapy
Maevon Gumble
Through queer autoethnography (i.e., queerly telling stories), I have explored the beginning development of a gender affirming voicework method within music therapy, informed by my personal experiences of seeking a more affirming voice for myself as a nonbinary trans...
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Through queer autoethnography (i.e., queerly telling stories), I have explored the beginning development of a gender affirming voicework method within music therapy, informed by my personal experiences of seeking a more affirming voice for myself as a nonbinary trans person, specifically doing this through my singing voice. This was further informed by literature from the fields of speech-language pathology, vocal pedagogy, and music therapy. This method will potentially provide a uniquely holistic space, working with the physical voice in terms of working on gendered behavioral changes and healthy vocal habits; the psychological voice in terms of supporting the emotional relationship that a person has with their voice, body, and Self; and the body in terms of encouraging relaxation and groundedness as well as working with the ways a person expresses/relates to their voice, body, and Self. In attempts to ignite a conversation around the possibilities of gender-based work within music therapy for trans, nonbinary, and cis individuals, I share my experiences of engaging in gender affirming voicework. Although this voicework is likely relevant to all individuals, it is perhaps more pertinent for trans and nonbinary folk. This is reflected throughout my autoethnography.
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2019
A Survey Approach to Effects of Work Relates Stress Among Special Education Teachers
A Survey Approach to Effects of Work Relates Stress Among Special Education Teachers
Jessica Hall-Wirth
Teacher stress studies suggest that teacher stress has become progressively heightened. Researchers have acknowledged that teachers are stressed, and in turn, there has been an increase in burnout and turnover within the field. Seemingly, even with the magnitude of a...
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Teacher stress studies suggest that teacher stress has become progressively heightened. Researchers have acknowledged that teachers are stressed, and in turn, there has been an increase in burnout and turnover within the field. Seemingly, even with the magnitude of attention dedicated to preventing occupational stress, the prevalence is growing. In response, this study aimed to understand special education teachers and the stressors within their occupation. This study used a questionnaire using a Likert scale and opened ended questions to gain a better understanding of the stressors and overall well-being of special education teachers. The mixed methods approach allowed for a comprehensive look at 45 K-12 special education teachers within four school districts in Western Pennsylvania. The data was collected from April to May of 2018 and used the themes: (a) working conditions, (b) professional responsibilities, (c) student needs, and (d) student behavior to categorize the data. Data suggested that the working conditions and professional responsibilities provided the most stressors for special education teachers. The questionnaire also provided insight on an individual’s inability to differentiate between types of stressors. The implications of these findings for future research, professional development, and wellness education are discussed within this study.
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2018
A survey approach to effects of work related stress among special education teachers
A survey approach to effects of work related stress among special education teachers
Jessica Hall-Wirth
Teacher stress studies suggest that teacher stress has become progressively heightened. Researchers have acknowledged that teachers are stressed, and in turn, there has been an increase in burnout and turnover within the field. Seemingly, even with the magnitude of a...
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Teacher stress studies suggest that teacher stress has become progressively heightened. Researchers have acknowledged that teachers are stressed, and in turn, there has been an increase in burnout and turnover within the field. Seemingly, even with the magnitude of attention dedicated to preventing occupational stress, the prevalence is growing. In response, this study aimed to understand special education teachers and the stressors within their occupation. This study used a questionnaire using a Likert scale and opened ended questions to gain a better understanding of the stressors and overall well-being of special education teachers. The mixed methods approach allowed for a comprehensive look at 45 K-12 special education teachers within four school districts in Western Pennsylvania. The data was collected from April to May of 2018 and used the themes: (a) working conditions, (b) professional responsibilities, (c) student needs, and (d) student behavior to categorize the data. Data suggested that the working conditions and professional responsibilities provided the most stressors for special education teachers. The questionnaire also provided insight on an individual’s inability to differentiate between types of stressors. The implications of these findings for future research, professional development, and wellness education are discussed within this study.
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2018
 Augmented and virtual realities in special education contexts
Augmented and virtual realities in special education contexts
a meta-analysis
Toriel Herman
The augmented and virtual reality applications literature base spans more than 30 years with one of the first studies conducted by Meredith Bricken in 1991. With the advances in technology, researchers are increasingly examining the use of augmented reality (AR) and ...
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The augmented and virtual reality applications literature base spans more than 30 years with one of the first studies conducted by Meredith Bricken in 1991. With the advances in technology, researchers are increasingly examining the use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) within educational contexts, more specifically special education contexts. VR is one of the fastest growing technologies (Nuguri, Calyam, Oruche, Gulhane, Valluripally, Stichter, & He, 2021) and AR is growing rapidly showing advances in interaction, navigation, and tracking within education, entertainment, business, medicine, and other settings (Ablyaev, Abliakimova, & Seidametova, 2020). Despite AR and VR demonstrating documented success with enriching learning opportunities and task performances (Billingsley, Smith, Smith, & Meritt, 2019; Bricken, 1991; Nuguri et al., 2021), there is limited research on applying these programs directly within a school setting for students with disabilities. To understand the effectiveness of AR and VR, a meta-analysis of six studies was conducted using hierarchical linear modeling focusing on functional, transitional, and social skills. Participants included 18 students ages 6-15-years-old all with a special education diagnosis (i.e., Intellectual Disability or Autism). Results suggest that these interventions are effective in developing functional, transitional, and social skills with students with disabilities. Most notably, participants aged 14-15 years old showed the greatest effect estimates. There were no differences for sex. Limitations and potential future directions in supporting students with disabilities are discussed.
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2021
Effects of an iPad as a prompting device on increasing independence skills in elementary students with autism spectrum disorder
Effects of an iPad as a prompting device on increasing independence skills in elementary students with autism spectrum disorder
Stephanie M. Hindman
Students with autism spectrum disorder can experience challenges in acquiring the necessary adaptive skills to successfully transition out of high school. These challenges can prevent them from achieving independence, making them reliant on adults for everyday tasks ...
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Students with autism spectrum disorder can experience challenges in acquiring the necessary adaptive skills to successfully transition out of high school. These challenges can prevent them from achieving independence, making them reliant on adults for everyday tasks and having a restrictive impact on their level of involvement in their school and community. Current research is exploring the use of iPads as prompting tools on the acquisition of adaptive skills in individuals with autism spectrum disorder, specifically with individuals at the middle and high school level (Bouck, Savage, Meyer, Taber-Doughty, & Hunley, 2014; Gardner & Wolfe, 2015; Plavnick, Sam, Hume, & Odom, 2013). The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of an iPad with the FileMaker app to promote independence skills by presenting daily living tasks through video and static picture prompting to third through sixth grade students with autism. A multiple probe design was utilized across three daily living skills and replicated across four participants to determine the effectiveness of an iPad with the FileMaker app as a prompting tool. Results indicate that participants could select a desired prompt type and that some participants could self-prompt through task steps for various skills without adult intervention. All participants were able to decrease the mean percentage of steps completed independently correct from the initial probe phase to the iPad intervention phase. In addition, participants were able to maintain high levels of performance in follow-up and maintenance probes.
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2017
 New elementary school teachers' perceptions of classroom management
New elementary school teachers' perceptions of classroom management
Emily Hoffmann
New teachers leave their profession at an alarmingly high rate. Though many factors can be contributing to these high attrition rates, new teachers identify classroom management as one of their biggest challenges (Thompson, 2010). Considering this commonly reported c...
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New teachers leave their profession at an alarmingly high rate. Though many factors can be contributing to these high attrition rates, new teachers identify classroom management as one of their biggest challenges (Thompson, 2010). Considering this commonly reported challenge, this research study sets forth to understand how disruptive behavior in classrooms can impact job satisfaction for new teachers. Furthermore, this research study identifies the perspectives of new elementary school teachers relative to their classroom management, and gain insight into how professional development or training opportunities may impact new elementary school teachers’ perceptions on classroom management. The methodologies used in this study include quantitative and qualitative methods. An online questionnaire with both open-ended and closed-ended questions were completed by participants. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data from the closed-ended responses in the questionnaire, and qualitative data was gathered and grouped into codes, which were then supported by themes. The three major themes that were supported by the data in this study include (a) behavior disruptions that occur in the classroom have a direct impact on new elementary school teachers job satisfaction, (b) the 7 research-based classroom interventions and supports are not all found to be effective for most new elementary school teachers, and (c) training and professional development opportunities to support classroom management are lacking. Results of the data suggest that new elementary school teachers experience behavior disruptions in the classroom that impact overall job satisfaction, and minimal training opportunities are being reported to help support classroom management. Additionally, the 7 research-based classroom management interventions were not all effective for participants. Recommendations for future research include larger sample size. Implications for positive change include increased job satisfaction and higher retention rates among new elementary school teachers.
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2022