Melissa Pedraza Accountable Talk Reading Inclusion Teacher Mentoring

Melissa Pedrazais is in her fourth year of teaching first grade in Queens, New York. Melissa team-teaches a monolingual inclusion class with Nicole McCabe. Eight of their 21 students have special needs, as defined in Individual Education Programs (IEPs).  Their school serves about 1200 students from preschool through 6th grade.  About 10% of the students in the school are classified as having special needs, and almost 25% of the students are classified as English Language Learners with 10% of the students newly arrived immigrants from countries like Bangladesh, Ecuador, and Mexico.  About 40% of the students are Hispanic; 30% are African-American; 15% are White; and 15% are Asian.   About 75% of the students participate in the free and reduced price lunch program. All grades K-5 include one inclusion class like Melissa’s with collaborative team teachers and one dual language inclusion class with team teachers. 

• General education grades Pre-K through 6 (Four classes in every grade except sixth).
• Monolingual inclusion grades K-5 with collaborative team teachers (1 class per grade).
• Dual language inclusion grades K-5 with collaborative team teachers (1 class per grade).
• One contained bridge class, grades 2 and 3, which has twelve students and one teacher.


Watch 5:09 min quicktime video about collaborative team teaching (FAST: 12.8 MB / SLOW: 2.4 MB).

Collaborative team teaching in an inclusion class

Melissa: I think the most important element of collaborative team teaching is that the teachers have ownership of all the students, so that you feel responsibility for not only the special education students, or just the general education students; you feel as though they're all your students.

Nikki: We're modeling relationships. . . we're able to model appropriate behavior, without having to be teacher-directed. We do this a lot--it really helps their communication.

Leslie: Looking at this team, what makes it special is that they do take the time--they wake, breathe, sleep this class. They are thinking about it all the time, and they plan together, they discuss and collaborate. It's very rare that it works out as perfectly as it does here.