Publication Date

Spring 2019

Document Type

Project Summary

Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Marlon Cummings, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Saundra Mickles, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

John W. Cook, Ph.D.


The purpose of this qualitative study was designed to determine if teachers in an elementary school in South Suburban School District in Chicago, Illinois increased their self-efficacy as it relates to serving students with disabilities in their least restrictive environment after receiving professional development. The study began with a historical review of students with disabilities and the current requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Reauthorization Act of 2004. Educational systems within the United States are required to provide services to students with diverse learning needs in the least restrictive environment. These supports are most commonly referred to as inclusive practices. Research indicates that teachers’ self-efficacy, attitudes towards inclusion, and professional development play a significant role in the effectiveness of districts’ mandated requirement of inclusion. The school district’s administrative team determined that a study should be conducted to determine if weekly professional development increases the likelihood that educators felt equipped to service students with disabilities using inclusionary practices. Professional development was provided to all staff at Mary Elementary School. Interviews were conducted with a systematic selection of teaching staff members. Implications for future district improvement plans were delineated from the data received during the interviews.