Date of Award

Spring 6-20-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Philip O. Pendley

Second Advisor

Dr. Gwendolyn Rowe-Lee

Third Advisor

Dr. Naomi Eason

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Patricia Clark-White


Purpose: This qualitative comparative case study analyzes the perspectives, feelings, and beliefs of eight special education case managers who work with students who have been diagnosed as emotionally disturbed (ED), or exhibit ED type behaviors in Contra Costa County, California. It is the hope that through the identification of criteria leading to successful integration, policy makers and educators will be able to develop and implement effective strategies to successfully mainstream ED students, or students who exhibit ED type behaviors into general education classes.

Methodology: This qualitative comparative case study is designed around the following research question: What factors do special education case managers identify as important when making a decision to mainstream emotionally disturbed students from a self-contained classroom to general education classes?

Findings: For ED students to be successfully mainstreamed into general education classes, in addition to adhering to legal requirements, case managers have to look at safety and the ED students’ strengths, weaknesses and ability to self-regulate.

Conclusion: On-going effective communication between IEP team members is imperative so that ED students have access to counseling, appropriate interventions and sufficient support to be successful in general education classes. Adequately trained teachers and staff who maintain a warm school climate, and have positive relationships with ED students increases the chance of ED students being successful in general education classes.

Recommendation: A readiness checklist should be used as a tool to inform IEP team of areas where the ED students could use the most support in order to increase the probability of them successfully mainstreaming into general education classes. It is essential to build the capacity of teachers and staff, so that they have the knowledge to competently utilize effective strategies to manage classroom environments, and provide the support and structure necessary for ED students to be successful.