Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Norm Weston, Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth McDonald

Third Advisor

Dr. Harrington Gibson


Many school districts across the United States have adopted, or are considering adopting, full inclusion to meet academic and social-emotional needs of increasingly diverse student populations. Co-teaching has become a popular approach for districts committed to inclusion. This study is about a Midwestern school district which more than 10 years ago committed itself to inclusion and co-teaching. The primary research question was: How do we make co-teaching more effective in the Fairview School District? A survey was sent to 120 co-teachers from three middle schools about their experiences with co-teaching in the areas of sharing responsibilities, co-teaching relationships, planning time, administrative support, and professional development. Seventeen teachers from across the three schools volunteered to be interviewed in small groups to discuss the results of the survey. Themes which emerged from the survey and interview data were: allocation and use of planning time, the importance of co-teacher relationships, and a concern about parity in roles and responsibilities in the co-teaching partnership. Recommendations to address the primary research question include: a) performance of a needs assessment of co-teaching practices to design professional development tailored to the needs of teachers; b) creation of a co-teaching reference and resource guide, clearly outlining co-teaching expectations commitments, roles and responsibilities, best co-teaching practices, scheduling, honoring planning time, and administrative support; and c) formation of a co-teaching taskforce made up of representative stakeholders to assemble the resource guide, conduct and analyze the needs assessment, mentor co-teaching teams, and drive future improvement in co-teaching practices.