In Support of Access and Inclusion: Joint Professional Development for Science and Special Educators


  • Rita Brusca-Vega Purdue University Calumet
  • Jan Alexander Northeastern Illinois University
  • Colleen Kamin Northeastern Illinois University


Teacher Professional Development, Science Tecahing, Disability, Special Education


This article addresses the need for collaborative professional development of science and special educators to enhance access and inclusion for students with disabilities and improve science learning for all students. The purpose of the study was to examine changes in the teaching practices of science and special educators, grades 4 to 8, as they jointly completed an intense year-long professional development program designed to promote hands-on, inquiry-based science in their classrooms; expand their instructional repertoires to better serve students with disabilities and other learning problems; and facilitate communication between the groups. Quantitative and qualitative measures, including pre and post ratings of teacher classroom performance, action research projects, and teacher interviews, were used to determine changes in teacher instructional and collaborative practices.

Author Biographies

Rita Brusca-Vega, Purdue University Calumet

Associate Professor

College of Education, Department of Graduate Studies


Jan Alexander, Northeastern Illinois University

Director of Research and Evaluation at the Chicago Teachers Center

Colleen Kamin, Northeastern Illinois University

Evaluation Consultant, ChicagoTeachers’ Center