This book supports the professional learning of school principals, and those who aspire to be such, in development of their skills and knowledge around fostering inclusive schools for students with special education needs. The book includes 27 case stories that are based on research with school principals. Each case includes expert commentaries and resources to support principals and emerging leaders as they consider how to effectively support students with special education needs in inclusive schools. Its premise is based on the recognition that there are increasing numbers of students with disabilities and special education needs in neighbourhood schools. Principals need to develop new competencies to navigate the challenges, and benefits, of including students with special education needs into inclusive classroom settings. The book provides opportunities to build leadership competencies by considering a diversity of cases related to inclusive leadership. The cases in the book are divided among nine sections addressing the following areas: transitions, early years, elementary school cases, secondary school cases, community supports, school board/district supports, school teams, complex cases, and cases specific to new teachers. Seven cross-cutting themes are addressed in these cases including: communication, parents/caregivers, agency/efficacy, collaboration, relationships/trust, legal, and advocacy.
Steve Sider is a former school administrator and current university faculty member who researches inclusive education and school leadership. He directs the Centre for Leading Research in Education and has held six national research grants exploring how school principals’ leadership competencies are nurtured.
Kimberly Maich is a current university professor, psychologist, and behavior analyst, as well as a former autism consultant to schools, vice principal, resource teacher, and guidance counselor in charge of special service.
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Competencies for Inclusive School Leadership Transitions
Chapter 3 The Case of Charles
Chapter 4 Supporting Albert
Chapter 5 The Big Move The Early Years
Chapter 6 “You have to trust we’re doing our job”
Chapter 7 The Case of Jakob
Chapter 8 “I can’t believe I was the one who excluded him…”
Elementary School Specific Cases
Chapter 9 The Grade 5 Field Trip
Chapter 10 Overstepping Boundaries
Chapter 11 An Accident and an Injury
Secondary School Specific Cases
Chapter 12 The Incident in Mr. Mooney’s Science Class
Chapter 13 Overheard in the Staff Room
Chapter 14 Truly Inclusive?
Chapter 15 Involving Community Programs: The Case of Aki
Chapter 16 The Case of Sahar Said
Chapter 17 “She won’t go”
School Board Supports
Chapter 18 Supporting T.J. and Mr. Garcia
Chapter 19 A Case of School Board Funding
Chapter 20 Wandering Off: A Case of a Safe Arrival Program School Teams
Chapter 21 Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Chapter 22 A Dysfunctional School Team?
Chapter 23 “No one is listening to me”
Chapter 24 “I was on autopilot”
Chapter 25 The Case of Bethany
Chapter 26 The Newspaper Article
Supporting New Teachers
Chapter 27 Figuring It Out On Your Own
Chapter 28 The Case of Alexis
Chapter 29 Over Invested?
The research is clear; great schools have great principals and vice-principals. And while we have much to be proud of regarding public school systems in Canada, we know that we can do better. Leadership for Inclusive Schools: Cases from Principals for Supporting Students with Special Educational Needs provides a handbook for creating more inclusive learning communities by sharing real-life examples of effective inclusionary practises from practising school leaders. The authors have provided a much needed roadmap and helpful resources for school leaders to create truly inclusive learning communities that meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population.
This book clearly fills a gap for school leaders as they work towards creating inclusive schools. The case study combined with evidence-based interpretations supports accessible, practical and current learning for principals and vice-principals. Applying this new knowledge allows school leaders to move beyond procedures and policies toward the development of a deeper understanding of the skills needed to work with students with special needs and their families.
The chapters in this book will support valuable professional learning for school leaders who are striving to establish a more inclusive approach to culture, policy and practice. Learning from such an extensive range of authentic leadership experience will support school leaders to guide their work with students, staff, and parents to establish and sustain inclusion.
Making schools inclusive demands the transformation of a wide range of long entrenched school and classroom practices. This book provides insights on the critical elements of effective and value-driven leadership needed to achieve that goal. The case study format draws the reader into the practical and difficult issues faced by principals in schools every day. In Leadership for Inclusive Schools: Cases from Principals for Supporting Students with Special Educational Needs, Sider and Maich have delivered a resource that will be invaluable for the professional learning of both current and prospective school leaders.
In over thirty years of research in inclusive practices I have found a critical element to determine success. For any organization to transform practices to become inclusive, leadership is key. This book, focused on leadership, is a welcome addition to the field. The format is engaging; presenting cases to facilitate analysis and learning is perfect for teaching. I am excited to see the innovative ways teachers and students interact with this text.
Case studies based on real events and real people form the core of this book. The case studies invite principals to consider the varied perspectives of teachers, students, parents, community members, school boards and other stakeholders as the principals reflect on actions they might take to support positive outcomes for students in inclusive classrooms. Each case study is followed by relevant questions to focus and extend reader thinking as well a generous, annotated list of relevant references. Highly readable and practical, this fresh and well-executed approach to the topic of inclusion will contribute to the development of more effective leaders and more inclusive learning environments in the schools they lead.