TTAC staff is focused on inclusive practices as a VDOE priority initiative, implementing a more integrated approach by embedding effective practices, such as co-teaching strategies, high leverage practices (HLP) and tools used in I’m Determined in the work we are doing with school divisions. Strategies and tools of inclusive practices proven effective in promoting positive student outcomes will be offered to school divisions in Region 4, particularly those school divisions participating in VTSS. It is our intent to collaborate with our VTSS systems coaches to direct this work through the professional learning community (PLC) structure in a systematic way. We are excited about our integrated PL model, which is designed to effect sustainable, inclusive practices in our schools.
Co-Teaching is an approach to inclusive practices that speaks to the requirement to educate special needs students in the Least Restrictive Environment (Individuals with Disabilities Act, 2004). Co-teaching is two or more professionals delivering substantive instruction to a diverse group of students in the same physical space. It is often a general education teacher and a special education teacher who share responsibility for educating the same students. Research shows that students with disabilities can acquire increased social and emotional skills in a co-taught classroom, as well experience greater academic success (Friend, 2014; Murawski, 2009).
Virginia’s Co-Teaching Ambassadors Network
About 64% of Virginia students with disabilities spend 80% of more of their days in the general education classroom (Virginia Department of Education, 2018). Co-teaching has frequently been chosen as a service delivery option for these students. For several years, the Virginia Department of Education has chosen certain schools throughout the state as co-teaching demonstration sites, as part of its Excellence in Co-Teaching Initiative. They have modeled co-teaching, welcomed visitors, and produced lesson plans and videos of co-planning, co-assessing, and co-instructing.
Region 4 TTAC and Co-Teaching
TTAC supports the Region 4 Co-Teaching Ambassadors Network for the 2019-20 school year. These Ambassadors are from experienced co-teaching school sites that have served as VDOE Demonstration sites. Co-teaching Ambassadors may make presentations, provide professional development, mentor, and open their classrooms to visitors wishing to observe co-teaching in action, among other activities.
Teachers and administrators are welcome to observe in these classrooms and may arrange visits or other assistance from Co-Teaching Ambassadors through Region 4 TTAC.
Visits to Demonstration Sites
Co-Teaching teams in Region 4, serving as Co-Teaching Ambassadors for school year 2019-20 are:
- Eastern View High School, Grade 9 Algebra (Culpeper County Public Schools)
- Emerald Hill Elementary School, Grade 1 Math (Culpeper County Public Schools)
- Discovery Elementary School, Grade 4 LA/Math, two co-taught classrooms (Loudoun County Public Schools)
To arrange a visit or request other assistance from Co-Teaching Ambassadors, contact Diane Loomis (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Region 4 TTAC.
Resources for Co-Teaching
- Self-Assessment of Quality Indicators of Co-Teaching for Administrators & Co-Teachers
Schools may assess their own progress in co-teaching through this checklist on Quality Indicators for Co-Teaching.
- Real Co-Teachers of Virginia –Middle & High
- Real Co-Teachers of Virginia—Elementary
This series of webshops showcases the products created by real co-teachers of Virginia. These co-teachers established demonstration sites and opened their doors to visitors wishing to observe quality co-teaching; they also developed co-taught lesson plans and videos to share through these webshops. In their videos, teachers model not only co-instructing in the classroom, but co-assessing and co-planning as well.
- Friend, M. (2014). Co-Teach! Building and sustaining effective classroom partnerships in inclusive Schools. Washington, D.C.: Marilyn Friend, Inc.
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 (2004).
- Murawski, W. (2009). Collaborative teaching in secondary schools: Making the co-teaching marriage work! Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
- Virginia Department of Education (2018). Special education performance report 2016-17. Retrieved July 31, 2018, from http://www.doe.virginia.gov/special_ed/reports_plans_stats/special_ed_performance/division/2016-2017/index.shtml#state
Transition Coordinator and Co-teaching Lead