Date of Award

2020

Document Type

Dissertation in Practice

Degree Name

Ed.D.

Keywords

Principal, Central office leadership, Inclusive, Disability, Social justice leadership, Special education, Professional development

Department

Educational Administration and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Susan Korach, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Erin Anderson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Kristina Hesbol, Ph.D.

Abstract

Principals shape school culture and the teaching practices that students experience and engage with every day. Today’s leaders need regular access to learning and support that will influence their ability to lead schools for social justice for students identified with disabilities.

District leaders have a responsibility to develop and support principals to provide equitable and high-quality learning experiences for students who have been identified with disabilities. The purpose of this study was to analyze the Mountain Meadow School District’s role in supporting the development of leaders for social justice for students identified with a disability. This qualitative case study examined current practices and structures through interviews, document reviews and observations to discover how central office leaders support principals. A synthesis of school leadership for social justice frameworks (Capper, Theoharis, and Sebastian, 2006 & Theoharis, 2009) and The Five Dimensions of Central Office Transformation (Honig, Copland, Rainey, Lorton, and Newton, 2010) framework led to the development of the District Level Leadership for Social Justice Framework that was used to analyze the current practices and systems in the Mountain Meadow School District.

The findings indicated that while MMSD supported a vision for equity for all students through their vision and strategic plan there were little to no explicit connections to the needs of students identified with a disability in principal professional learning. The examination of current practices and structures revealed four areas of focus for the district’s role in supporting the development of principals: development of the instructional leadership capacity of principals, system-wide focus on instructional practices, beliefs supporting equity, and leadership for special education. Three themes emerged from the analysis through the District Level Leadership for Social Justice Framework: assumptions that structures and practices would serve all students; coaching and data use were vehicles to provide support; and special education was a siloed area of work. Recommendations for improvement were made from an analysis of current practices and systems and informed by the District Level Leadership for Social Justice Framework. The synthesis of the findings related to current practices and systems and the District Level Leadership for Social Justice Framework provide the basis for recommendations for improvement and action as the Mountain Meadow School District strives to create socially just inclusive schools that consider the needs of each student identified with disabilities.

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Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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