The barriers and facilitators of special education service delivery models: single approach to mastery and team approach to mastery

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Delaware
At the University of Delaware (UD), I work as a field instructor, supervising 4+1 elementary special education teacher candidates in public elementary schools, henceforth referred to as teacher candidates. I have noticed significant inconsistencies in the services rendered to students with disabilities in Delaware, particularly those students coded as “least restrictive environment (LRE) A”. To meet these students’ needs, Delaware primarily uses two service delivery models to provide specialized instruction: single approach to mastery (SAM) and team approach to mastery (TAM) (i.e., coteaching). While SAM uses one teacher who takes on the roles of both general education and special education teacher, TAM uses two teachers (one general education and one special education teacher). I questioned whether teacher candidates in SAM and TAM classrooms were getting the exposure and experiences they needed to become successful, highly qualified special education teachers. Given this question, I wanted to learn about the barriers that affected a SAM or TAM teacher’s ability to provide specialized instruction to students with disabilities, so I could better support the growth of teacher candidates. ☐ The purpose of this Educational Leadership Portfolio (ELP) was to identify the barriers and facilitators of SAM and TAM, so that I could proactively instruct teacher candidates how to: navigate and overcome the barriers of SAM and TAM service delivery models, avoid burnout, and reduce attrition. I also wanted to use this data to inform future conversations and make field placement recommendations to UD’s Office of Clinical Studies. To accomplish these goals, I created seven artifacts to address three broad topics: (1) Barriers and Facilitators of SAM and TAM, (2) Professional Development (PD), and (3) Policy. ☐ Findings from these artifacts culminated in a PD Plan and a Policy Document, where the PD Plan addresses the barriers and facilitators of SAM and TAM, while the Policy Document makes three recommendations to improve the quality of teacher candidates UD produces. The three recommendations are: (a) carefully select special education clinical educators, (b) prioritize TAM classrooms over SAM classrooms for special education teacher candidate placements, and (c) ensure that teacher candidates and educators learn about the barriers and facilitators of SAM and TAM. The next steps include implementing the PD plan and conducting a longitudinal study to determine whether the recommendations in this ELP affect attrition rates of EDUC 750 Graduate Teaching Internship alumni in special education.
Coteachers, Professional Development, Service Delivery, Single Approach to Mastery, Special Education, Team Approach to Mastery