Date of Award

Summer 5-24-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Bonita Drolet

Second Advisor

Dr. Suzanne Stolz

Third Advisor

Dr. Karen Walker


In 2002, President Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act, which required all students to be proficient in English and Math by 2014. (Congress, 2002), including all subgroups. Students with disabilities were expected to meet the proficiency criteria along with all other subgroups. NCLB also required schools to report assessment scores to reflect the achievement of students as well as demonstrate all students were meeting, or at least making gains to achieve, proficiency. If students did not reach the expected benchmark the school was identified as failing and placed in Program Improvement. (CDE, 2011) Each school year, NLCB required a greater number of students in the schools to meet proficiency. This resulted in more and more schools, as the years progressed and the number of required students rose higher, unable to meet the required benchmarks, mainly because of the students with disabilities subgroup, and more schools were being placed into Program Improvement. However, there were a few schools that were meeting their benchmarks and exiting Program Improvement.

This is a mixed-methods study of Title 1 elementary schools, in four Southern California counties, with the subgroup of students with disabilities, regarding which instructional strategies and/or inclusionary practices Special Education teachers implemented, with school leadership support, to provide students with disabilities access to the general education curriculum and allow schools to exit Program Improvement, meet AYP criteria or reach Safe Harbor status. This study will benefit elementary schools, as they approach 2017 and PI status will be implemented again, to understand how to assist students with disabilities gain greater access to general education curriculum and develop skills to meet proficiency.