A Principal's Leadership in the Implementation and Support of Inclusion
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) 2004 requires schools to provide students with disabilities with all the academic opportunities, services, and extracurricular involvement afforded non-disabled peers and with non-disabled peers. Accountability measures resulting from the law, No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), place increased emphasis on the performance of students with disabilities who must be included in the state assessment system, and meet the levels of proficiencies identified by the state for Adequate Yearly Progress in reading and math no later than 2013-2014. According to the literature, principals felt unprepared to provide the leadership in special education. The purpose of the case study of the leadership of a principal was to provide descriptions of practices in implementing and supporting inclusion so that instruction for children with disabilities can be delivered in general education classrooms. The data were triangulated from an interview with the principal, a focus group discussion of general and special education teachers, and examinations of physical artifacts. The findings revealed that the principal organized the school to support instruction of children with disabilities in general education classroom, planned intentionally for scheduling and grouping of students, expected general education and special education teachers to share equal responsibilities for instruction, used data to monitor the progress of students, developed visible and written procedures for academic and behavioral expectations, and collaborated with parents. Underlying each of the findings was the expectation that the faculty collaborate in understanding the impact of the disability upon learning, and problem solve interventions to positively affect academic outcomes for children with disabilities.