Graduation Year

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Special Education

Major Professor

Ann Cranston-Gingras

Keywords

coordination, federal programs, mobility, school failure, special education

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Migrant students face many challenges to their educational experiences due to the migratory lifestyle of their families as they seek employment in agriculture across state and school district lines. For migrant student with disabilities, these challenges are exacerbated. Migrant children with disabilities may be eligible and entitled to educational services from migrant education, special education, and ELL programs which are distinct federal programs coordinated as separate agencies. This exploratory study examined the extent to which, if any, collaboration exists within three Florida school districts' providing educational services to migrant children with disabilities through the migrant education, special education, and ELL programs. Data were collected through personal interviews with nine district level supervisors, one each per district: migrant education, special education, and ELL programs using a semi-structured interview protocol. Data were analyzed through a latent content analysis to identify, code, and categorize patterns (Mayan, 2009) regarding the extent to which, if any, supervisors collaborated when developing and coordinating educational services for migrant students with disabilities. Further, data were reviewed through document analysis provided by the participants or accessed through school, district, or state websites. Finally, the data from the interviews and document analysis were aligned with Gitlin et al. (1994) five-stage model for collaboration framework to determine the extent to which, if any, the characteristics of the five stages for collaboration exists for each district, and if not, the potential for them to be developed and lead to collaboration. The intent of this study was to explore current practice and use this knowledge to provide recommendations for future practice and scholarship regarding interagency

collaboration between migrant education, special education, and ELL programs providing educational services to migrant students with disabilities. The findings for this study suggest that collaboration benefits students, programs and overall school systems. However, instilling a spirit and developing a culture of collaboration is challenging and requires direct deliberate and explicit work by the districts. Recommendations for research and practice are provided.

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