Co-taught classes integrate special education students into general curriculum


Joshua Yang, Forum Editor

Chief to the integration of special education programs into classroom settings has been the co-teaching program. Launched just five years ago, the co-teaching program consists of a general education teacher and a special education teacher instructing students in a shared classroom. Currently, co-teaching is offered through all four years of college-prep English classes and through junior year for math, science and history courses.

Co-teaching can take on many different forms; in parallel teaching, two teachers split students into groups and teach simultaneously. Another option available is for one teacher to lead the class the majority of the time and for the other teacher to provide assistance as needed.

According to special education teacher Jacqueline Selfridge, co-teaching gives special education students a chance to be in the general education setting and offers a more equitable experience. “It gives [special education students] access to [general education] curriculum and [the opportunity] to be taught by a content teacher as well as a special ed teacher,” she said. “It gives them opportunities to access academics as well as the social aspect of it: to be able to work with their same aged peers that are in the generalized setting.”

Selfridge remembers watching her students grow and thrive in a co-taught setting over the course of a year. “One of my favorite memories is watching kids who, their freshman year, wouldn’t say anything—they wanted to participate, but they were so scared to be in bigger classes,” she said. “Their sophomore year, [they were] the leaders of the class. Within a one year time difference, they made that big of a jump. They were much more confident and they became independent, and they saw what they’re capable of doing.”