Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Special education in Christian schools: Post-professional development support
by Lane, Julie M., Ed.D., Pepperdine University, 2011, 264; 3475101
Abstract (Summary)

Private schools are not required to provide special education services to students who have been identified as needing such services. No prior research shows what programs exist in Christian private schools and how services are provided. This study sought to understand Christian educators' experiences and obstacles when developing a special education program. Participants attended a 1-week summer institute that provided instruction in key areas of special education services, disabilities, and instruction pertinent to serving children with special needs. Participants demonstrated an increase in knowledge and skills following the institute. The institute coordinator provided afterward 3 months of support through a virtual forum. Synchronous and asynchronous communication provided participants with support as they implemented their plans at their school sites. Conclusions relating to the three research questions are as follows: 1. The experience of participants as they applied their knowledge from the institute to their school sites was that (a) the two Catholic schools experienced fewer obstacles in implementation than two of the Lutheran schools; (b) participants reported more success when they had buy-in from the school community; (c) the follow-up virtual forum provided the summer institute participants with a reliable avenue to seek support and guidance; (d) schools differed in their experience of implementing the plans, and their experiences could benefit those interested in determining potential obstacles. 2. Steps that participants took as they experienced obstacles in the implementation of their plans included the following: (a) setting up clearly defined policies and procedures regarding identification of needed services, as well as clarification of general education teachers' roles; (b) recruitment of teachers and parents for student study teams; and (c) professional development for other staff members. 3. The virtual forum support following the professional development summer institute benefitted participants in the following ways: (a) provided them immediate and useful feedback, (b) provided a sense of community, and (c) held them to a deadline to report on progress. Recommendations include (a) gathering statistical research about existing private school special needs programs, (b) development of a national private school database, and (c) regular summer institutes supporting special needs program development.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hamilton, Eric R.
Commitee: Rhodes, Kent B., Weber, Margaret
School: Pepperdine University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 73/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Religious education, Special education
Keywords: Christian education, Christian schools, Professional development, Program development, Special education, Strategic planning, Virtual support
Publication Number: 3475101
ISBN: 978-1-124-92825-8
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