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Leadership for
Inclusive Schools

Perhaps the most critical role in successful inclusive schools is the role of the principal. The school principal’s active participation is the single most important predictor of success in implementing change, improving services, or setting a new course. The school principal is central to facilitating systemic change and leading faculty to adopt new attitudes and new practices. 

With responsibilities widening each year, today’s principal must create the conditions for a positive learning environment, academic rigor, and set the standard for shared ownership across the entire faculty. This page explores the many facets of the role of inclusive principals.

Shared Ownership

How does the principal forge a united faculty that envisions itself as a team of educators working on behalf of all students? Begin by reminding every faculty member of these three points: Every student is a general education student and a full member of the school community. Some students just need additional supports! Having a… Read more

Instruction in Inclusive Settings

How does the principal create an inclusive school that values all students as full members of the school community? Some of the most important characteristics of inclusive schools focus on providing support in general education classrooms. All students are educated in the general education classroom to the greatest extent appropriate Expectations are high Individualized supports are… Read more

Quality Indicators of Inclusive Early Childhood Programs/Practices

This is a collection of resources and indicators of high quality inclusive early childhood environments prepared by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and the National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center. Available resources and indicators of high quality inclusive practices are presented in this compilation. Assembling many different resources in one place allows for easy… Read more

Supporting a School-Wide System of Positive Behavioral Supports

How does the principal establish an effective school-wide positive behavioral support system? An effective school-wide positive behavioral support system consists of three parts: Shifting from a reactive stance to a responsive stance; Emphasizing proactive strategies, such as defining, teaching and supporting appropriate behaviors Establishing a continuum of positive behavior support for all students provided by… Read more

High Stakes Testing and Accommodations: Prepare for Success!

In this age of accountability, statewide student assessments have become a central focus every spring for students, teachers and families. High-stakes testing requires the school community to invest significant amounts of time and attention in this process, and so we want to ensure that students with and without disabilities have the best possible outcomes. For students with… Read more

Scheduling for Success: Common Planning Time

Common planning time among educators is a crucial element in the success of an inclusive school. Planning time helps improve instruction by allowing teachers to share best practices, look at students' work, and plan curriculum and lessons together. In order for planning to contribute meaningfully to curriculum development and implementation, sufficient time should be built… Read more

Celebrating Collaborative Teaching Success

Collaboration among people is one of the most important factors in successful inclusive schools. Inclusive Schools Week happens during a time that many cultures consider a season of celebration and giving. This is a perfect time to celebrate the people who you credit with being supportive of inclusive education in your school and community—the teachers… Read more

Inclusive Education Knowing-Doing Gap

Just over a decade ago, Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton authored The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action.  Their point:  we know a great deal, are generally well trained, yet despite all of our knowing, we still are not doing what we know should be done.  In the words of the authors… Read more

The Principal’s Responsibilities in Supporting Quality Instruction

Principals play a key role in the delivery of quality instruction. Their responsibilities include ensuring educational strategies are in place that support effective learning for all students. They serve as a facilitator, guide and supporter of quality instructional practices. Good principals understand that improved test scores are important but know that quality instruction is essential… Read more

Including Students with Disabilities: A Missing Link

Author: Tim LaCourt, M.Ed. In my career as a special education teacher, curriculum supervisor, and then principal, Inclusion was a priority focus; however, there always seemed to be a missing link in the process of including students with disabilities—especially more severe conditions—into the general population of students. I had an early spring meeting with a… Read more