A Study into How Elementary School Principals Across Virginia Reduce or Eliminate Exclusionary Discipline for Students with Disabilities
Jacks, Andrew Michael
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Students with disabilities are highly at-risk for administrative disciplinary actions that remove them from school for misconduct. School leaders have the authority and expertise to reduce the amount of these removals by reconsidering their current methods for discipline, reflecting on how these affect their students, and making changes to student consequences. The purpose of this study was to determine what highly skilled principals in the field have found to be the most effective strategies in reducing or eliminating out-of-school suspensions for students with disabilities. This insight is invaluable to the discussion on next steps to close the discipline gap between special education and regular education students. This study used a Delphi model for research building consensus through three rounds of surveys. This input was collected from a panel of 15 principals from 13 school divisions across Virginia that were identified as having already achieved success in eliminating out-of-school suspensions for students with disabilities. The panel concluded that principals must ensure a positive relationship with every student, use alternative, logical, and authentic consequences, and identify and implement individualized supports and accommodations when addressing student misconduct to eliminate out-of-school suspensions for their students with disabilities. Principals should implement practical strategies that proactively build positive relationships and help them better understand the child as an individual in order to reduce or eliminate suspensions in their schools.
- Doctoral Dissertations