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This qualitative study explored the experiences of U.S. teachers of English language learners (ELLs) and students with disabilities (SWDs) as they sought to align the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) with previously used standards and instructional approaches during the first year of CCSS implementation. Open-ended interviews were conducted with 20 ELL and SWD literacy teachers to investigate (1) the teachers’ experiences as they began the alignment of their curriculum and teaching methods with the CCSS, (2) the teachers’ perceptions of the support that they received and that they still require, and (3) the teachers’ perceptions of the challenges to and potential for implementation. Four themes emerged from analysis of the interview data: alignment to the CCSS, teacher comfort level, best teaching practices, and challenges of teaching literacy. The authors conclude that broad-based alliances across schools, districts, and communities are needed to support professional development that responds authentically to the challenges revealed, as well as understanding at all levels that time and support are critical for teachers of special needs students.

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Journal of Research in Childhood Education

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This is a preprint of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Research in Childhood Education on Sept. 23, 2015, available online: