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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Teachers' Perceptions of Successfully Sustained PBIS Programs
Teachers' Perceptions of Successfully Sustained PBIS Programs
Nathan Pfeiffer
Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a system of support that includes proactive interventions for defining, teaching, and supporting student behaviors to ensure a positive school atmosphere. PBIS programs are being implemented more and more and t...
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Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a system of support that includes proactive interventions for defining, teaching, and supporting student behaviors to ensure a positive school atmosphere. PBIS programs are being implemented more and more and there is a large amount of research and literature about best practices when implementing these programs, but not as much on sustaining these programs. The purpose of this mixed methods study is to look at successfully sustained PBIS programs and to find commonalities from teacher perspectives on these programs. Finding these common trends will help other schools and districts being able to maintain their PBIS program after implementation. The data for this study was collected through teacher responses to open-ended questions on PBIS programs and ratings based on Likert-type questions on the importance and effectiveness of key PBIS program components. The school used for this study had been identified by the state of Pennsylvania as having sustained fidelity with their PBIS program. Themes that emerged from this research were the importance of adapting programs, staff buy-in, the use of data, teacher training and professional development, administrative support, and the token economy. These findings show the need to continually make changes to programs over time, the proper use of data, continued professional development, and the importance of funding to sustain PBIS programs.
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2022
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
A Multi-level Quantitative Analysis on Factors Affecting Special Education Compliance
A Multi-level Quantitative Analysis on Factors Affecting Special Education Compliance
Justin Karam
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a federal law that requires that students with disabilities are provided with a Free and Appropriate Public Education. The cost of ensuring FAPE can be quite high for students that require more specialized supports; ...
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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a federal law that requires that students with disabilities are provided with a Free and Appropriate Public Education. The cost of ensuring FAPE can be quite high for students that require more specialized supports; however, in not meeting that standard, districts may be liable for compensatory education. Much of the responsibility to fund special education, especially in Pennsylvania, falls on the schools to raise through local taxes. This has put schools in very challenging circumstances in regard to their budget. States across the country have conducted a Costing Out Analysis to review the necessary spending levels reviewed for education. Many studies discuss the need for higher funding allocations from state and federal governments so that the high-cost burden does not fall on LEAs and local tax dollars to meet the IDEA compliance requirements. While overall compliance with IDEA has improved over time, it is still an issue that needs to be addressed. This study used multiple regression to determine if there is a link between compliance with the Cyclical Monitoring for Continuous Improvement and factors such as special education spending and percentage of population receiving special education supports. The data are all public record and was collected through Pennsylvania Department of Education online Databases. The data revealed a regression model suggests that the relationship between the number of areas of non-compliance has a significantly moderate negative correlation with both the number of special education expenditures and the percentage of special education students. The model can explain or predict 11.4% of the number of areas of noncompliance in a school district.
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2022
Special Education Teacher Job Satisfaction
Special Education Teacher Job Satisfaction
What Can We Learn from Positive Organizational Scholarship and Satisfied Special Educators
Kerra Holden
Special Education Teacher (SET) job satisfaction and workplace commitment have long remained an elusive goal for many school communities and administrators. Workplace stress and burnout have burdened the role since its inception in 1975, leading to significantly more...
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Special Education Teacher (SET) job satisfaction and workplace commitment have long remained an elusive goal for many school communities and administrators. Workplace stress and burnout have burdened the role since its inception in 1975, leading to significantly more turnover than in other teaching roles and, more generally, other fields. This turnover, and various efforts to fill SET roles with unqualified educators, negatively affect the learning and school success of over one million students with disabilities each year. This study sought to learn from the small percentage of individuals who choose to stay in the Special Education Teacher role for more than 10 years and report high job satisfaction as well as a sense of thriving at work. Utilizing a qualitative research approach, as well as positive deviance lens, this study sought to understand what school leaders may learn from highly satisfied SETs and which leadership practices and strategies may encourage SET job satisfaction. Furthermore, potential intersections between SET job satisfaction and positive organizational scholarship were examined, to best understand how the field of Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) may, if at all, inform the role of special education administrator. The findings of this study extend beyond the intersection of POS and SET job satisfaction and suggest the addition Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives into current conceptualizations of SET job satisfaction and retention.
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2022
Special Education Teacher and Administrator Perception of the Teacher Evaluation Process in Western Pennsylvania
Special Education Teacher and Administrator Perception of the Teacher Evaluation Process in Western Pennsylvania
Amanda White
Teacher evaluations have long been used to increase teacher effectiveness and accountability in public schools. According to the literature, special education teachers have varied roles and responsibilities, the most crucial being improving the post-secondary outcome...
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Teacher evaluations have long been used to increase teacher effectiveness and accountability in public schools. According to the literature, special education teachers have varied roles and responsibilities, the most crucial being improving the post-secondary outcomes for students with disabilities. With the number of students identified with disabilities increasing each year, it is more important than ever to develop the skills of marginal teachers and further develop those who are already proficient. This qualitative study investigates the perceptions of special education teachers and administrators in Western Pennsylvania regarding the evaluation process used by public school districts. Survey data were collected from five special education teachers and five administrators representing five different school districts in Western Pennsylvania. Data tools included the Teacher Evaluation Profile for Teachers and Administrators, followed by individual interviews via Zoom. The Teacher Evaluation Profile had Likert-type questions and open-ended responses. The Likert-type questions, open-ended responses, and subsequent interviews allowed special education teachers and administrators to reflect on their perception of the evaluation process in their district. This study demonstrated that special education teachers are more frustrated with the evaluation process. However, the administrators were reasonably satisfied with the process. They found that using Differentiated Supervision allowed special education teachers to take a more active role in their evaluation and subsequent professional development decisions. This study resulted in findings that support the need for additional professional development for teachers and administrators in evidence-based practices in special education classrooms and a more significant presence in the special education classroom by administrators.
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2022
The Untapped Superpower of Comics
The Untapped Superpower of Comics
The Positive Effects of a Comic Reading Curriculum in a Special Education Classroom
Peter Nolan
The purpose of this mixed methods action research case study was to determine if the use of a researcher-created comic reading curriculum would improve students’ knowledge of Tier Two academic vocabulary, increase oral reading fluency rates, and lead to increased lev...
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The purpose of this mixed methods action research case study was to determine if the use of a researcher-created comic reading curriculum would improve students’ knowledge of Tier Two academic vocabulary, increase oral reading fluency rates, and lead to increased levels of student engagement in a pull-out special education classroom. A multiple-choice vocabulary pretest was administered at the start of the study, followed by a nine-week intervention period in which students were instructed with a researcher designed comic curriculum. The vocabulary test was administered again at the conclusion of the study. A running record was used as the assessment to determine student reading fluency growth. The data (scores) collected from the running record examined any effects in student oral reading fluency from the first day of research to the ninth week of research. The researcher, acting as a participant observer, took daily notes in a field log with attention to behaviors of student engagement. The four student participants were selected by the researcher. The researcher taught for nine weeks, thirty minutes a day. The data from the pre and posttest was analyzed using a paired sample t-test to determine if the scores of participants showed a significant improvement. The data collected from the running records of reading rates for each student were analyzed using linear regression analysis to determine if improved reading rates were statistically significant. Observational data was entered into Dedoose qualitative data analysis software and analyzed using a Grounded Theory (Glaser et. al. 1968) approach in which new theories emerged through a deductive process. The results of the t-test showed that all students made significant improvements in knowledge of the targeted Tier Two vocabulary. Analysis of running records showed that only one student had a significant increase in their rate of oral reading fluency. All students exhibited increased behaviors of engagement as demonstrated by their abilities to complete three tasks in a session and to contribute to a positive learning environment. The results imply that practitioners could use a comic curriculum with similar components to achieve positive academic outcomes for students receiving special education support. Future research of a similar curriculum might focus on its potential uses for English Language Learners.
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2022
Exploring Student Understanding and Perception of Crisis Intervention Using a Trauma Informed Approach versus a Restraint Based Approach
Exploring Student Understanding and Perception of Crisis Intervention Using a Trauma Informed Approach versus a Restraint Based Approach
Mary Triana
The purpose of this study was to understand the perspectives of students who have experienced two different types of crisis intervention for aggressive or self-injurious behaviors, one being restraint and the other a restraint-free, trauma-informed approach. Studies ...
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The purpose of this study was to understand the perspectives of students who have experienced two different types of crisis intervention for aggressive or self-injurious behaviors, one being restraint and the other a restraint-free, trauma-informed approach. Studies on the use of restraint have found that it has detrimental emotional and physical effects, along with the risk of injury and death. Emerging research into the use of trauma-informed approaches (TIA) has demonstrated that they can substantially reduce or effectively negate the need for restrictive practices. For the purposes of this qualitative study, participants were in grades six through twelve and had a history with both restraint and Ukeru™. All were recruited from one school district in Pennsylvania and took part in face-to-face interviews with the researcher. Resulting themes confirmed previous negative associations with restraint. Conversely, Ukeru™ was described using neutral or positive terms and was deemed a safer option when students recalled experiences. The results of this study indicate that schools can safely support students in crisis without the use of restraint using Ukeru™, a TIA that avoids re-traumatization, increases safety, and maintains connections with staff.
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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