Collaborative professional development of regular and special education teachers: A two-year case study

Mary Veronica Sheehy, Fordham University


This case study examined and evaluated a new model of professional development that cross trained teams of regular and special education teachers on techniques designed to enhance their skills for working with at-risk and/or special education students. The design of the program was intended to foster collaboration and consultation between these teachers and to develop a cadre of consultant teachers from among the ranks. This program was a collaborative effort between a school district, special education, and a college to foster the further integration of regular and special education. Both qualitative and quantitative analyses were utilized within this case study to gather data from the program participants, schools, and administrators to observe the effects of the program and answer the research questions. All of the 54 teachers within the program were interviewed on a semi-structured basis and individual interviews were utilized with the 14 teachers within the three selected schools. Their responses and ratings of the professional development program were utilized to determine their acceptance and success of the program in meeting their needs. Administrators, principals, and faculty within the district, college, and the three selected schools were individually interviewed to determine their perceptions of this collaborative professional program. Leadership aspects were investigated to determine the factors that either supported or impeded the program implementation. The findings of this researcher supported that the collaboration of a school district, special education, and a college resulted in meeting the needs of the program participants, the college, and some of the needs of the district and their schools. Leadership style was found to have a direct impact on the degree of success of the implementation of this new program. The school with the most successful level of program implementation was found to have a collaborative culture; an initiator style of leadership; and more than one-fifth of the teachers involved within the professional development program. Evidence also was available within this case study that this collaborative professional development program was successful in meeting the needs of the teachers and fostered a setting that integrated regular and special education needs and practices.

Subject Area

School administration|Teacher education|Curricula|Teaching

Recommended Citation

Sheehy, Mary Veronica, "Collaborative professional development of regular and special education teachers: A two-year case study" (1991). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9136336.