A case study of one struggling male reader and the school community that he lives in
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In this case study of a struggling male with a Specific Learning Disability who participated in a reading resource classroom, the community in which the student participated was examined. A disproportionate number of males are being placed in Special Education programs for Specific Learning Disabilities. The school community consisted of teachers, administrators, special education personnel, school psychologist, outside psychologist, tutors, parents, and the student. The study explored whether the school community functioned in a democratic manner over nine years of analysis. The democratic community was evaluated through the lens of John Dewey’s pragmatism. The data was collected by analysis of over 700 pages of the student’s school documents that contained grade reports, Individualized Education Plans, psychologist reports, testing results, and notes from school meetings. Data was also collected through multiple interviews of the parents and student. Results were mixed. The school community prospered before the diagnosis of the Specific Learning Disability; the student’s literacy skills were positively influenced and he had good self-esteem. The community became non-existent in grades three, six, seven, and eight. In those years, teachers, administrators, and the school psychologist created a divisive, negative atmosphere that created conflict for the parents and student. Many questionable school decisions placed the student in a resource setting when clearly he should have been in the regular classroom. This fractured community negatively affected literacy skills and self-esteem. The parents used an outside psychologist and tutors to help their son reach some of his goals. The parents and student persevered in an admirable manner. Communication and control were the major themes that affected the quality of the school community. Currently, the student is prospering in high school in the Regular Education setting with an IEP. The study should help school personnel as they work with reading disabled males.