The Alignment of Individual Education Plan Objectives with Inclusion Classroom Practice

The Alignment of Individual Education Plan Objectives with Inclusion Classroom Practice

Author: 
Linda McDonnell
Program of study: 
Ed.D./CI
Abstract: 
The purpose of this qualitative case study was to investigate how the individual education plan (IEP) team collaborates to develop IEP plans and to examine the barriers that prevent the alignment of IEPs with classroom practice. It is important to understand how educators collaborate to develop IEPs and how barriers can prevent aligning the IEP with classroom practice. The study involved 6 participants from an elementary school who supported a student with special learning needs. The participants were a classroom teacher, a teacher’s special-education-trained assistant, a principal, a special education support service teacher, a community behavioral interventionist, and a parent who support the special learning needs of one student. Interviewing each team member, examining an IEP document and multiple lesson plans from the inclusion classroom teachers, and observing an IEP meeting resulted in an in-depth investigation into the culture of the inclusion classroom environment to explore the development of IEP goals and objectives by the IEP team members. The data collected included an audio-recorded observation of an IEP meeting that included all IEP team members, documents of the IEP, the classroom teacher’s lesson plans, and interviews from each IEP team member. The first theme was IEP team collaboration, which was important because it indicated the team was collaborative and strived to align the behavior-related and academic goals with classroom practice. The barrier that surfaced that prevented the alignment of academic and behavioral goals with classroom practice was the need for more IEP reviews. The barrier was a need indicated by the IEP team members that IEP team reviews of goals are not occurring as much as the IEP team members revealed was necessary.
Dedication: 
I dedicate this study to my four grandchildren: Joah (9), Mika (7), Neko (4), and George (4). Every time I look at my grandchildren’s faces, I think about how education in some form may change their lives. Erik Erikson said, “It is the young who live by their actions and tell the old whether life as represented to them has some vital promise.” I hope education, in the form they choose, will be part of the vital promise they can experience with joy. Joah, Mika, Neko, and George, education does not necessarily occur at a specific place or time, but it is what happens when you let your mind be open to think about something from another perspective.
Acknowledgements: 
First and foremost, I want to acknowledge my husband George with all my heart. George’s support was incredible, because there was not one moment where he did not stand by my program decisions, work schedules, and changes in lifestyle. During the entire process, George could always pull me back through the fog to reality when I drifted away to destinations unknown. You are and will always be my hero. I would like to acknowledge the support my friends and family gave me through my journey. My family and friends, who are far too many to list, please know I always knew you were there with me every step of the way. Special thanks to my mom for instilling in me the value of education and to my dad (who just passed away in December 2012) who was the absolute role model of where my values and morals came from. Thank you to my Grandpy who taught me to do everything with a smile. Thank you Bill and Joyce Foyle, who never missed an opportunity to ask how my program was going during the entire 4 years. I would like to acknowledge the students with special needs and staff at Kinnikinnick Elementary who I learned with for inspiring and motivating me to begin this adventure. Your dedication to teaching and learning helped me follow my suggested teachings to you inregard to the triple Ps. I began and completed this program with a positive attitude, made progress, and persevered. You taught me how to do this no matter what personal challenges and obstacles were put before me. I had the honor of working with two delightful chairs. Thank you to Patricia Shopland for her endless patience and persistence in helping me get my proposal together and standing by me until all my initial approvals went through. Also, a very special thank you goes to Dr. Mercer, who stepped in and guided me successfully through the administration of my study and through the writing process of Chapters 4 and 5, final approvals, and oral defense. Your daily checking and positive encouragement gave me the opportunity to complete my dissertation with joy and pride. A special thanks to my committee members Dr. John Gregg and Dr. Linda Crawford. Thank you Dr. Gregg for keeping me informed and taking the time to discuss the dissertation process when frustration set in. Thank you Dr. Crawford for your continual positive attitude and for going the distance with me. Thank you to Patrick Bocking, the superintendent of School District 46, for allowing me the opportunity to administer my study in the Sunshine Coast School District #46. Your helpful, supportive, and timely responses helped me make my deadlines. There could not have been a more supportive the staff than that of Roberts Creek Elementary School. A special thanks to Fiona Henderson for all her expertise and ability to make some tricky scheduling occur. Another special thanks to Karen Bozak, who always answered her e-mail and helped me find everyone I needed throughout my entire program. Lastly but with first priority in our family, I would like to give hugs and pets to my 100-pound big, black, huggable, faithful, retriever mix, my lovable boy Lucky! Thank you Lucky for listening to endless hours of commentary as I read every copy of this paper aloud several times.