Collaboration in Special Education and English Language Learners Programs

Collaboration in Special Education and English Language Learners Programs

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During the 2012- 2013 academic school year, in the North shore school district , 2660 students with disabilities were served by Special Education services, and 5.4% of the student population were classified as English Language Learners in the State of Washington (Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction). Understanding the basic foundation and history of special education and English language development programs, can assist an educator, in serving the needs of a diversified classroom.
According to the Federal Government, special education is composed of three major pieces. First, the unique needs of a student with a disability, must be met through individualized instruction, with no cost to the parent/guardian(s). Second, special education must include related services, which are defined as various types of support that, assist students with disabilities access education. In other words, a related service makes education accessible to students with disabilities (e.g. school bus with a wheelchair lift, an elevator, wheelchair ramp, etc.) (Friend, 2014, p. 5). And finally, students with disabilities must be given access to supplementary aids and services, an example of a supplementary aid or service is computer software that transcribes a lecture, an ASL interpreter, etc. (Friend, 2014, p7).
Special education is the vehicle through which students with disabilities receive an individualized education, and ensure the supports are in place for the student to reach their full learning potential. In the same regard, English language development programs support English Language Learners (ELL) so they don’t fall behind in their general education while acquiring English proficiency. To further understa...


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Nieto, D. (2009, Spring). A brief history of bilingual education in the United States. Perspectives on Urban Education, 61-71. Retrieved from http://www.urbanedjournal.org/archive/volume-6-issue-1-spring-2009/brief-history-bilingual-education-united-states

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Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. (2014).
Northshore School District Program Enrollment – English Language Learners [Data File]. Retrieved from http://data.k12.wa.us/PublicDWP/Web/WashingtonWeb/Home.aspx

Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. (2014).
Northshore School District Program Enrollment – Students Served in Special Education by Disability Type [Data File]. Retrieved from http://data.k12.wa.us/PublicDWP/Web/WashingtonWeb/Home.aspx

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