Educational Leadership to Create Authentic Inclusive Schools: The Experiences of Principals in a Canadian Rural School District

Angela Irvine, Judy Lupart, Tim Loreman, Donna McGhie-Richmond

Abstract


Inclusive education—based on the premise of social justice—advocates equal access to educational opportunities for all students. This research provides insight into the inclusive experiences of school principals in a Canadian rural school district through quantitative and qualitative inquiries. A survey was administered to 16 school administrators, and following initial data analysis, individual inter- views with four school principals were carried out as part of a multi-perspective case study of students with special needs. Overall, inclusion was viewed in a positive light and extended beyond classroom placement to meeting the needs of diverse groups of students within the regular classroom. The responsibilities and strategies of the principals that support inclusion are outlined and other factors that contribute to effective inclusion identified. Key factors include collaboration among key players in the students’ education and opportunities for professional development. The results have implications for school leadership preparation and professional development of school administrators.

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