Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Cecelia Parnther

Second Advisor

Thomas Fasano

Third Advisor

Catherine DiMartino


Teachers play a crucial role in the education of students with disabilities and their participation in the special education process is critical and mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA). Despite the important role teachers play in the education of students with disabilities and the legal ramifications for failing to follow IDEIA, very few studies have examined teachers’ actual knowledge or perception of their knowledge of special education procedure and law. The purpose of the present study is to determine the current knowledge of special education procedures and law and to determine areas in which educators need more support. This current case study focuses on the non-instructional tasks associated with educating students with disabilities. A sample of 17 general and special education teachers from various disciplines throughout grades K-12 in a Nassau County school district were interviewed independently or participated in a focus group via Google Meets.

Four themes emerged from the data analysis: first, conflicting perceptions of teachers’ ability to adhere to special education laws and regulations, second, that teacher’s roles and responsibilities depend on the environment, third, that there is insufficient support from administration and fourth, that teachers have a mix of emotional responses as they fulfill the non-instructional task related to special education. The findings suggest that teachers make sense of the non-instructional tasks associated with special education students' support through peer relationships and administrative leadership. The study's findings indicate that there is a lack of professional development in the areas of special education law and that there are opportunities to meaningfully engage teachers in how to have positive and effective co-teaching relationships to enhance the education of students with disabilities across all grade levels.