Year of Publication

2016

Season of Publication

Fall

Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Department

Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr. Anne K. Swanson

Second Advisor

Dr. Christopher A. Janson

Third Advisor

Dr. Karen B. Patterson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Gerard T. Hogan

Department Chair

Dr. Anne K. Swanson

College Dean

Dr. Diane Yendol-Hoppey

Abstract

Abstract

This dissertation focuses on the perceptions of the school principals, general education teachers, and special education teachers about practices and processes that support the inclusion program. High stake holders in schools and parents of students with disabilities are advocating for the improvement of the quality of the inclusion as an academic service delivery model. This study is significant because the number of students with disabilities being placed in the general education classroom continues to increase, and the federal and the state mandates are holding school districts and schools accountable for all students’ academic performance, including students with disabilities. A collective case study approach was used in this study to explore the lived experiences of school principals, general education teachers, and special education teachers with the inclusion program. Through the lenses of Bolman and Deal’s Four Frames of Leadership theoretical framework, as well as the Differentiation of Instruction model, the researcher explored the practices and processes that support the inclusion program at public elementary schools. Through semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, and document analysis, data were collected and analyzed using a constant comparative analysis approach. The first research question investigated the beliefs and attitudes school principals, general education teachers, and special education teachers perceive to support the inclusion program. The second research question inquired about the relationships they perceive to support them in implementing the inclusion program. The third research question examined the structural practices they believe support the inclusion program. The fourth research question studied the leadership aspect they perceive support the inclusion program. The fifth research question looked into the inclusiveness of instructional practices. The common themes: (a) positive attitude and self-efficacy,(b) relationships,(c) collaboration, (d) distributive leadership and resources, and (e) differentiation of instruction and accommodations emerged from data. A uniformed district policy procedure vis-a`-vis the inclusion program, a positive culture about the inclusion program, a balanced leadership approach between the human needs and the schools’ goals, structures to foster collaboration, the application of the principles of the distributive leadership, and the implementation of inclusive instructional practices were evident in the schools.

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