Date of Award

5-1-2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Education

Degree Name

Ed.D.

Department

Educational Leadership

Abstract

The purpose of this mixed study was to measure the strengths. challenges. weaknesses, and quality of services to students with disabilities enrolled in metropolitan Atlanta charter schools. Through data collected from exceptional education teachers at four charter schools, the study closely examined teacher perceptions. belief's. and pedagogy regarding student achievement. curriculum delivery , school objectives. school resources, and the charter school reform initiative. Findings in this research specifically give insight into the extent to which such variable influence the achievement of' students with special needs at charter schools.

Over the duration of several months data were collected through surveys. semi -structured interviews. classroom observations. field notes, and the examination of other pertinent documents. The results of this investigation primarily suggest that student preparation for meeting state performance standards is contingent upon teacher ability to provide classroom structure, creativity in providing instruction. appropriate accommodations, and remediation of skills that students arc deficient in.

Other findings in this study include the high expectations charter school teachers have for all students, regardless of disability or handicap. Having high expectations for exceptional students was also consistent with teachers keeping class and school objectives synonymous. The perceptions of the teachers participating in this study further revealed that school resources. particularly media and technology have a tremendous impact on the achievement of students with disabilities. Ultimately, the respondents in this study shared positive views and opinions about the effectiveness of their school culture and climate on the achievement of students with disabilities. Limitations and recommendations arc also discussed.

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