This mixed methods case study examined the systems thinking component of collaboration through coteaching at inclusive public school environments to facilitate the need of special education students who are presently segregated at nonpublic schools. This study first analyzed qualitative data in the form of interviews from a sample population of 5 district representatives to disclose the chief reason for such failure on the part of a plethora of public school districts in southern California to facilitate the needs of their students (characterized with emotional disturbance and/or another disability who also display behavior issues) in inclusive and collaborative environments. Secondly, this study used quantitative data in the form of surveys to investigate the preliminary openness of collaboration through coteaching from a sample population of 51 teachers who currently instruct (or had experience instructing) students at a nonpublic school campus. And lastly, this study investigated whether the same sample population of teachers felt that a coteaching model/approach at inclusive and collaborative school campuses are feasible for the students they currently teach (or had experience teaching) at nonpublic school environments. The findings from this study are three-fold: First, the qualitative interviews exposed that there are considerable deficiencies among certain school districts in southern California in the effort to educate all students with disabilities on public school campuses. The following themes were developed from the responses of the district representative participants: (a) inadequate support for teachers in coteaching classrooms, (b) negative aspects of segregated placements, and (c) positive aspects of segregated placements (please note that the subthemes also emerged from each of the three areas). Second, the findings from the quantitative portion revealed that participants' age, gender, educational background, and years of teaching experience did not influence openness to coteaching and coteaching responsibilities. Next for the quantitative portion, the study uncovered that participants' responses were almost evenly split regarding the feasibility of coteaching models, however slightly more participants felt that the coteaching model was not a feasible alternative to nonpublic school placements. Lastly, the study also uncovered that the nonpublic teacher participants indicated that the most beneficial model out of all the coteaching options presented in the survey (to best facilitate their nonpublic/segregated students in a public school settings) is that of team teaching. Consequently from this study's findings, it appears that until certain individual school districts substantially increase their teacher and auxiliary staff supports, shift monetary spending, and provide strong leadership to enhance collaboration among its special and general education teachers, nonpublic school placement for some students with ED and behavior issues may be an appropriate placement.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Students with social disabilities -- Education (Secondary) -- California, Southern -- Case studies; Special education educators -- California, Southern -- Case Studies; Teaching teams -- California, Southern -- Case studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Mallette, Leo