Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Education, Teaching-Learning Processes

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

April Regester


Nicholas Husbye

Natalie Bolton

Michael Bahr


This basic qualitative research study describes how Jewish supplementary school directors and educators define inclusion, include students with disabilities in their religious school education programs, identify different components of the schools that benefit inclusion, and understand barriers that impede inclusion. Through in-depth interviews with Jewish supplementary school directors and educators, the study explored three important goals. The study first explored how Jewish supplementary school directors and educators define meaningful inclusion, and how they perceive their inclusive classrooms enable students with disabilities to have meaningful access to both academic information and socialization with their same-age peers who do not have disabilities. Next, the study investigated which educational, organizational, personnel, and congregational components of Jewish supplementary schools the directors and educators perceived as contributing to the meaningful inclusion of students with disabilities. Finally, the study sought to uncover what Jewish supplementary school directors and educators perceive as barriers to inclusion of students with disabilities with their same-age peers. The study found that participants identified five significant themes that promote inclusion: believing in the importance of inclusion; having a philosophy about inclusion; all stakeholders must support inclusion; social interactions help create inclusion; and Jewish supplementary school directors and educators promote social interactions more than academics within their classes and programs to advance inclusion. The absence of these themes are barriers to inclusion.