Special Services Update


Frequently Asked Questions About Co-Teaching

I would like to thank the co-teaching partners for filling out the survey. Next week’s newsletter will address some of the questions that have been posed in response to newsletters about co-teaching as well as in the survey. If you haven’t had time to respond there is still time, and your response is appreciated!

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about Co-Teaching.

1. Is it co-teaching whenever two adults are in the classroom?

No. A co-taught model requires two teachers with equal licensure and equal levels of expertise who co-plan, co-teach and co-assess a diverse group of students. Although other adults, such as teaching assistants and volunteers serve important roles, they are not part of a co-teaching model.

2. Does co-teaching require the special education teacher in the classroom for an entire day?

Not always. Co-teaching is a special education service delivery model, so special education teachers are scheduled in based on the needs of the students with IEPs. In the vast majority of co-taught classrooms, co-teaching partners teach together for scheduled portions of the day.

3. How many students with IEPs should be in a co-taught classroom?

There is no fixed amount. The generally accepted ratio is a maximum of 1/3 students with IEPs and 2/3 general education students, depending on the level of need of the students. One of the benefits of co-teaching is a significantly reduced teacher student ratio for all of the students in the co-taught classroom.

4. Is co-teaching collaboration, team-teaching, or inclusion?

None of the above. Co-teaching is a special education service delivery model that enables students with disabilities to be taught in the least restrictive environment with their general education peers.

Collaboration is the means by which co-teachers may provide instruction and a critical component of co-teaching. Team teaching is often used by general education teachers to combine classrooms and share instruction. For example, at the elementary level, two 5th grade teachers may switch classes, with one teacher teaching both classes math and one teacher teaching both classes ELA.

Inclusion is not an activity, it is a philosophy that embraces the position that all students should be welcomed and supported in a learning community. Additionally, it is a legal requirement under IDEA. All students with disabilities are entitled to receive instruction in the least restrictive environment in which they can make meaningful education progress.

Here is Your Tool of the Week: It is an 8 minute video that shows an example of Co-Teaching in an ELL classrooms at PS 29 in New York City. Interestingly, at the conclusion of the video, the Principal notes that the ELL students out-performed the native speakers in recent assessments, attesting to the power of the co-teaching model for diverse learners. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7IfQ8oYPBA