A middle school community's role in helping special needs students achieve

Richard Marchini, University of Pennsylvania


In July 2003, Pennsylvania Department of Education announced the list of schools that had not performed well on the state standardized test and were placed on the state warning list. Many school districts are very concerned about the performance of all of their students and especially the special education students. By using an action research methodology, stakeholders set an action plan to help the middle school special education population improve their reading scores. Students with disabilities were not achieving, according to the federal and state requirement, therefore, my research focused on the following: What can a school community do to enable and empower special needs students to reach the academic level of proficient in the area of reading, make Adequate Yearly Progress and consequently close the achievement gap? The data collection for this research consisted of four methods: interviews, observations and review of records and personal journal. With the help of the research team, we made specific decisions about collecting data as the process evolved. I chose this method of data collection because I was looking for answers from within the middle school community and I needed to gather information from those people who have been a part of the community and are closest to the problem. All information was confidential. As part of the findings and action plan, the stakeholders in the middle school worked to provide a relevant and researched based learning experience for all learners in the community. Actions plans were designed to improve the implementation and therefore sustainability of these experiences. The issue of consistent expectations for the learner was considered an important finding and further explored. It was finally concluded that a process was needed to engage all learners in this learning community.

Subject Area

Secondary education|Special education|Literacy|Reading instruction

Recommended Citation

Marchini, Richard, "A middle school community's role in helping special needs students achieve" (2005). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3168035.