Title

Teaching Students with Special Needs in a Local Catholic K-8 School Setting

Graduation Date

5-2015

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Education

Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell, Ph.D.

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, Ed.D.

Abstract

Many students with special needs are enrolled in private, Catholic schools and are included in the general education classroom. In most cases, these schools do not have the necessary resources or information on how best to serve these students. The purpose of this study is to evaluate a local K-8 Catholic school’s current special education program(s) and to document strategies and services that can be implemented in this school setting to serve students with special needs. A review of the literature revealed that teachers in a Catholic school setting are not aware of how to work with and best serve students with special needs. This study involves survey results from teachers, administrators, and support staff in an effort to help support all students and their needs at a local Catholic elementary school. Results indicated that teachers were not especially educated or well qualified in special education instruction. Almost half of the teachers, administrators, and support staff felt ‘somewhat prepared’ to teach students with special needs. Participants in this study desire more trainings and information on students’ specific disabilities and how best to work with these students in their classrooms. This study included a small and closed sample site. Only one school’s experience with special needs students and opinion of admitting students with special needs was documented. Implications of this study include the staffing of more qualified and trained teachers and more resources available to the students and teachers.

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