Following the implementation of IDEA, almost 80% of students with disabilities are educated in general education classrooms for 80% of the day with support from special education teachers. Two key ways to support students with disabilities in general education classrooms is through collaboration and co-teaching.

Collaboration is defined as a special education and general education teacher planning together to support students with disabilities in general education classrooms. Collaboration focuses on supporting students with disabilities (this model does not focus on delivery of content to all students). This can include collaborative lesson planning as well as coordination of the delivery of Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) and Supplementary Aids and Services (SAS). Collaborators sometimes work together in the general education classroom, but instruction is usually provided separately in a collaborative model with the student receiving primary instruction and SAS in the general education classroom and then receiving SDI from the special education teacher.

Co-teaching was created from research by Dr. Marilyn Friend, and this model specifies that two teachers with equivalent certification – usually a general education and special education teacher – work together to deliver content instruction in the general education classroom to support the learning of ALL students. The models of co-teaching that have been found to have the highest percent of student growth are:

  1. Parallel teaching
  2. Station teaching
  3. Alternative teaching
  4. Team teaching


Helpful Websites

The Inclusive Classroom Project 

National Education Association 6 steps to successful co-teaching

ASCD Making co-teaching work

Helpful Resources

KDE CEC 2017 Co-Teaching Resources


Co-Teaching Planning Protocol

Co-Teaching Lesson Plan Template

Co-Teaching in the Classroom: What Teachers Need to Know


Books & DVDs

Co-Teach!      Power of Two      Including Students with Special Needs      Power of Two 2nd Ed.


Training & Technical Assistance Available…

If your district or school would like to explore how collaboration and co-teaching can be implemented to best support the learning of students with disabilities, please contact us to discuss support opportunities including:

  • Professional development (training)
  • Professional Learning Community development
  • Book study support
  • Administrative support for implementing co-teaching and collaboration

Training offerings include:

  1. Co-teaching overview
  2. Co-teaching models 2.0 – a deeper look at how to implement co-teaching
  3. Co-teaching in content areas (co-teaching in language arts, co-teaching in math, co-teaching in science, co-teaching in social studies…)
  4. Co-teaching walkthroughs and observations

Contact us!


Laura Clarke

Dr. Laura Clarke has over 10 years of experience supporting students with disabilities, teaching pre-service and practicing teachers at universities in the tri-state area. Laura has her Director of Special Education, Learning and Behavior Disorders, Moderate to Severe Disabilities, Interdisciplinary Early Childhood certifications and has taught in self-contained, resource, and co-teaching classrooms.
Laura has presented at regional, state, national conferences and has published articles in Teaching Exceptional Children, Beyond Behavior, Teacher Education and Special Education, Kentucky Teacher Education Journal.  She looks forward to sharing her experiences supporting teachers and students with disabilities with the Northern Kentucky community.
I welcome the opportunity to work with you!