DISSERTATION PROPOSAL ANNOUNCEMENT Ed.D. Program: Katie Schooley “Listening to the Voices of Students with Significant Support Needs”

9:00 am - 10:30 am

Students with significant support needs (SSN) are students with more pervasive disabilities. These students have the most severe cognitive impairments and may also have physical, communication, and mental health needs. They comprise less than 1% of the population. There is a breadth of research on best practices for students with SSN in public schools, but most of this knowledge is derived from the thoughts, opinions, and observations of parents, educators, and researchers. It rarely includes the voices of students with SSN. Recently, researchers have been using numerous special methods that are modified to adapt to the special needs of students with SSN, to listen to the voices of students with SSN who rely less on language-based strategies.

Middle school is a unique experience for students with SSN, and these students must have a voice and an opinion when we seek to understand their educational experiences. Understanding middle school experiences through their lens can bring a critical and missing perspective to research on public schooling, learning environments, teaching strategies, and inclusive practices for students with SSN. Using a disability studies theoretical lens, this qualitative phenomenological study will use flexible methodologies to elevate the voices of students with SSN to understand their experiences in a public middle school.

To access the Zoom link required to attend, please contact academic.services@gse.rutgers.edu.