Dr. Lisa Dieker is a Professor and Lockheed Martin Eminent Scholar at the University of Central Florida. She received her undergraduate and master’s degree from Eastern Illinois University and her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. Her primary area of research focuses on collaboration between general and special education at the secondary level with a specific interest in the unique opportunities that exist in urban schools in the areas of mathematics and science. She also has a passion for how technology and specifically virtual classrooms can be used to impact teacher preparation As the Lockheed MartinEminent Scholar, she works collaboratively with outstanding UCF faculty in mathematics and science to Direct the Lockheed Martin/UCF Mathematics and Science Academy. Dr. Dieker is also the coordinator of the Ph.D. program in special education.  This program, during her tenure and in collaboration with her colleagues in special education, has graduated 50 new scholars.  Twelve are students with disabilities and twenty come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. She has published numerous articles focused on interdisciplinary collaboration. She is sought out regularly to provide national and international keynote addresses. She serves in numerous leadership roles including serving on the board of the Council for Exceptional Education Teacher Education Division where she was selected by the Council for Exceptional Children as the Child Advocate Network (CAN) coordinator of the year.  She also has been the editor and associate editor for two international journals and is currently the Associate Editor of Teaching Exceptional Children.

Selma Powell is a doctoral candidate at the University of Central Florida. She received her undergraduate and master’s degree from the University of South Florida. Her dissertation research focus is on developmentally appropriate use of mathematics applications for iPads in early childhood classrooms. Additionally, she is committed to advocacy for children with special needs and their families. In November of 2011, she was recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children, Division of Early Childhood, as the recipient of the J. David Sexton Doctoral Student Award for her contributions to these children and families. Selma Powell has published three articles and has presented at numerous national and state conferences. Within the university, Selma Powell has held leadership positions with the Council for Exceptional Children student chapter, as well as the Association for Doctoral Students in Exceptional Education. For the past two and a half years, she has worked as the assistant to the associate editor of Teaching Exceptional Children.

To include or not to include? That is the question every parent has to struggle with as his or her child progresses through the school; issues related to placement options for students with disabilities are challenging. This question is a complex one for parents, teachers, administrators, and even students to answer, as grade point averages become more and more important for college admissions or future career options.  Therefore, what is the least restrictive environment for all students?  That is a question that becomes even more complex as students enter middle and high school.

As an educator and a parent of a student with a disability, I (Lisa Dieker) can share that our family has had these same struggles.  Compound the parent role with what both of us (Lisa and Selma) know about secondary schools and we will share some of the reasons the struggle at the secondary level exists.  Many parents struggle with the right balance between their child participating in inclusive settings and closing gaps that might still exist for students as they progress in grade level.  In addition, parents must consider a range of service delivery options when GPAs count and there are few instances of general and special educators teaching together.  Not only are students transforming intellectually, emotionally, sexually, and socially, but teachers’ identities seem to change from foregrounding children to foregrounding discipline knowledge. In this blog, we share what we have seen that works for secondary schools that develop successful inclusive education contexts. Read more

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WM picWendy W. Murawski is an Associate Professor of Special Education at California State University, Northridge. Her research and publications focus on co-teaching, inclusive education and teacher preparation. Her two recent books are available through Corwin Press and are entitled “Collaborative Teaching in Elementary/ Secondary Schools: Making the Co-teaching Marriage Work!” In 2004, she was honored as California Teacher Educator of the Year and received CEC’s Division of Research early career publication award for her meta-analysis on co-teaching. Dr. Murawski is frequently asked to keynote conferences, consult with school districts, and present for the Bureau of Education and Research and other entities. She is the CEO of the educational consulting company, 2 Teach LLC (

What is co-teaching?

Co-teaching is when we put two professionals (most often a special education and general education teacher, but this can vary) together in the classroom to share in the planning, instructing, and assessing of a group of kids. While Cook and Friend made this relationship popular back in 19951, its use and success have waxed and waned over the years, but recently, it has become more popular in schools as a way to ensure differentiation and standards-based instruction in the general education classroom.

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