ECS understands that full-inclusion requires a team-based approach to instructional delivery. Co-teaching is two or more educators sharing responsibility for teaching some or all of the students in a classroom. Committed to supporting educators to do outstanding work and to meeting all students where they are, co-teaching is another building block to the ECS Framework. Dr. Lynne Cook, expert in the pragmatics of co-teaching delivery, identified four specific rationales for moving forward in this framework. ECS endeavors to evidence these core ideas as the co-teaching model at our school develops.
- Co-teaching delivers services to students with disabilities or other special needs as part of a philosophy of inclusive practices. As a result, all ECS students benefit from inclusion strategies, including a reduction in stigma for students with special needs, an increased understanding and respect for students with special needs on the part of other students, and the development of a sense of heterogeneously-based classroom community.
- Co-teaching supports improved instruction for ALL students. The ECS community of learners includes a variety of abilities across all grade levels. Effective co-teaching provides improved services to students who are academically gifted or talented, students who have average ability, students who are at risk for school failure as well as students with identified special needs. All ECS students benefit from two outstanding educators in a classroom.
- In co-teaching, the instructional fragmentation that often occurs in other service delivery options is minimized. ECS students benefit by not having to leave the classroom to receive services. At the same time, the special education co-teacher has a better understanding of the curriculum being addressed in the classroom and the expectations for both academics and behavior.
- Co-teachers report that sharing a classroom fosters a sense of support. ECS co-teachers collaborate in the same ways they expect students to work. The benefits of sharing celebrations and challenges can lead to more work satisfaction and retention of teachers.