A new model for co-teaching in special education is being implemented at Fort Bend ISD. Teaching general education and special education students in the same classroom is possible when teachers for general education and special education work together on lesson planning, grading and instruction.
“When we walk into that classroom, we should not be able to tell which teacher is the special education teacher and which teacher is the general education teacher,” said chief academic officer Phillys Hill.
Hill started several efforts when she was hired at the start of the 2015-2016 school year. Fort Bend ISD has had a low percentage of special education students, which has increased in the past year. At present, 87 elementary school, 68 middle school and 87 high school classrooms have co-teach.
Within each classroom, no more than a third of the students in each classroom can receive special education services, so that the class can proceed at the general education pace. General education students report a positive social result from learning alongside special education peers, according to Hill.
Full implementation is expected in three to five years. “Equity-based inclusion is not a fad or an initiative that’s going away,” Hill said. “This is a change and we all need to get on the bus with this.”