Independent Learning Project



An Independent Learning Project Presented by
Erica Rose Nelson

Dr. Myrel Seigler
Dr. Roberta Hatcher

In partial fulfillment of the requirements for
The degree of Master of Education:
Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (PreK-12)

Cambridge College
Cambridge Massachusetts

April 2011

This is an unpublished Independent Learning Project

Copyright by Erica Rose Nelson
December, 2010
All Rights Reserved


I sincerely want to show my appreciation to the Cambridge College faculty for their patience and support during this extensive writing process.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1
Problem Statement
Anticipated Outcome
Research Question
Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV


Maximizing Sped Label1
Chapter 1

What is the first thought provoked when school employee notes that a student is a special education? For some, the first thought is questioning what the disability is, and for some the first thought is what the guidelines of the Individualized Education Plan are for the special education student. The question I want to become the first thought is how can we maximize on this special education student? To answer this question, we must first examine what maximizing on the label encompasses. To many we think of the definition of maximizing as making something as great as you can. In the world of technology, it is a term that is a button or command to enlarge a window to the full size of the display screen. To truly maximize on the special education label, individuals or societies must gain the maximum amount out of the resources they have available to them. This definition opens the door to the new thought I desire school employees to have when someone mentions a special education student. What can our school environment due to improve the learning conditions for this special education student?

Once a student has the special education label, they have a team of school faculty that play a vital role in the success of the student. From the administration to the guidance counselor to the special education teacher, the student’s success is dependent on ability of this team to create a plan that maximizes on the school culture to ensure a proper learning environment. Maximizing Sped Labels 2

These stakeholders must demand an exceptional level of decorum, professionalism, accuracy, communication and compassion. Realistically, it seems impossible for all of these vitally important attributes to be displayed by our stakeholders within the school on each encounter with a student, but it is a goal that should be on everyone’s horizon. In retrospect, if we envision that each child is within our personal cohort such as their own child or a niece and nephew, our outcome for reaching this goal would be vastly different.

Problem Statement
In special education, students that are mainstreamed can potentially loose their optimal heights in education because educators have not maximized their relationships by using the special education label.

Special education students’ academic achievement relies heavily on the effectiveness of the team of faculty and staff or stakeholders working on their behalf. To achieve this optimal goal, these stakeholders must maximize their relationships to achieve success.

Maximizing Sped Label3

Anticipated Outcome
The ideal outcome is a learning environment where special education students are receiving the optimal educational experience as a result of school faculty stakeholders maximizing within their relationships. Everyone must work in unison on achieving superior academic success for each student as a result of a community effort. Research Question

How can educators and parents maximize the relationships between...

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Davis, M
Lilly, S. M. (2001). Special education - a cooperative effort. Theory Into Practice, 15 (2), 82 - 89.
Messiou, K
Phillips, W., Alfred, K., Brulle, A., & Shank, K. (1990). The will and skill of regular educators. Eastern Illinois University Charleston, II (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED320323).
Pressley, M. (2005). Reading instruction that works: The case for balanced teaching (3rd Ed.). New York: Guilford Press.
Ritter, C., Michel, C., & Irby, B. (1999). Concerning inclusion: Perceptions of middle school students, their parents, and teachers. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 18 (2), 10 - 17.
Schwartz, P
Soukup, J., Wehmeyer, M., Bashinski, S. & Bovaird, J. (2007). Classroom variables and access to the general curriculum for students with disabilities. Exceptional Children, 74 (1), 101 - 120.
Spindler, J., & Biott, C
Villa, R. & Thousand, J. (2001). Restructuring for caring and effective education: Piecing the puzzle together (2nd Ed.). Baltimore: Brookes.
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