NATIONAL FORUM OF APPLIED EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH JOURNAL
VOLUME 27, NUMBERS 1 & 2, 2014

An Investigation of the Attitudes o...
KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN
Today, after multiple reauthorizations, the initial special education law, (EAHCA, 1975...
KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN
schools and can restructure schools to accommodate weaknesses. In addition, they a) uti...
KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN
attitudes toward inclusion, there has been less research regarding other characteristic...
KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN
experience; and 2.9% (n = 4) reported having 19 or more years of full-time special educ...
KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN
which is the cognitive representation of readiness to perform a given behavior. The the...
KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN
inclusion was 2.46 out of 5.0 with a standard deviation of .666. For perceptions of the...
KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN
reported by the participants.
Table 1
School Leaders’ Training and Experience
Years of ...
KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN
In terms of experience with students and individuals with disabilities, 39.1% of the
sc...
KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN
3, 9, and 2 the lowest.The mean total for attitudes toward inclusion was 2.46 out of 5....
KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN
the perceptions of school leaders regarding the most appropriate placement of students ...
KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN
school leaders and their perceptions of the most appropriate placement for students wit...
KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN
skills necessary for school leaders to promote team building and collaborative practice...
KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN
school principals in Florida revealed that the administrators demonstrated high levels ...
KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN
finding, Brown (2007) found that administrators with fewer years of experience and trai...
KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN
included in regular education classrooms for at least 75% of their school day was the o...
KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN
leadership would provide a better understanding of the basis of training and experience...
KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN
Green, R. L. (2005). Practicing the art of leadership: A problem based approach to
impl...
KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN
Praisner, C. L. (2003). Attitudes of elementary school principals toward theinclusion o...
KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN
Authors
Karen Ball,EdD is Attendance and Discipline Official for Shelby County Schools,...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

National FORUM of Applied Educational Research Journal 27(1&2) 2014, Karen Ball & Reginald Green - NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS ((Founded 1982), Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief - www.nationalforum.com -

2,245 views

Published on

National FORUM of Applied Educational Research Journal 27(1&2) 2014, Karen Ball & Reginald Green - NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS ((Founded 1982), Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief - www.nationalforum.com


NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS
Founded 1982

NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS are a group of national refereed, juried, peer-reviewed, blind-reviewed professional periodicals. Any article published shall earned five affirmative votes from members of our National Board of Invited Distinguished Jurors and must be recommended for national publication by members of the National Policy Board representing all National FORUM Journals. Journal issues are distributed both nationally and world-wide.
Our website features national refereed articles that are published daily within our National FORUM Journals Online Journal Division. Over 1,000 articles are available to scholars and practitioners world-wide. Over 250,000 guests visit our website yearly. About 56,000 articles are downloaded for academic purposes at no charge. We have about an 88% rejection rate. See: www.nationalforum.com
Founded in 1982, National FORUM Journals has published the scholarly contributions of over 5,200 professors with over 2,000 articles indexed. Our journals are indexed with many global agencies including Cabell’s Directories, ERIC, EBSCO, SWETS International, Library of Congress National Serials Data Program, and the Copyright Clearance Center, Danvers, Massachusetts.

Global Website: www.nationalforum.com

Published in: Education
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
2,245
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
3
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
9
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

National FORUM of Applied Educational Research Journal 27(1&2) 2014, Karen Ball & Reginald Green - NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS ((Founded 1982), Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief - www.nationalforum.com -

  1. 1. NATIONAL FORUM OF APPLIED EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH JOURNAL VOLUME 27, NUMBERS 1 & 2, 2014 An Investigation of the Attitudes of School Leaders toward the Inclusion of Students with Disabilities in the General Education Setting Karen Ball, EdD Attendance and Discipline Official Shelby County Schools Reginald Leon Green, EdD Professor University of Memphis Abstract In this descriptive study, the authors examined the attitudes and perceptions of school leaders in a Southeastern United States public school district relative to inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education setting. A self-reporting survey instrument entitled the Principals and Inclusion Survey was used to collect data from 138 school principals and assistant principals. Variables selected for study included demographic factors, training and experience, attitudes toward inclusion, and perceptions of the most appropriate placement for students with disabilities. Results revealed that school leaders were limited in their training and experience relative to special education and inclusive practices, and that their attitudes toward inclusion were slightly negative. While school leaders supported more inclusive placements for students with moderate disabilities, they perceived less inclusive placements were more appropriate for students with severe and profound disabilities. There was a negative correlation between the training and experience and attitudes of school leaders, and the results strongly emphasized the need for quality training and experience for pre-service and practicing school leaders. Keywords:Attitudes toward inclusion, leadership and experience in special education, special education training for principals and assistant principals Prior to the enactment of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (EAHCA), United States students with disabilities were frequently not allowed to enroll in public schools (Yell, Rogers,& Rogers, 1998). Despite compulsory education laws that had been in place since 1918, only those students with mild or moderate disabilities were allowed to enroll in public schools. Students with severe or profound disabilities were ostracized and forced to remain at home with their families or placed in institutions (Singer & Butler, 1987; Yell et al., 1998). 57
  2. 2. KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN Today, after multiple reauthorizations, the initial special education law, (EAHCA, 1975), is known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA). Designed to improve access to public education for students with disabilities, IDEA requires public schools to serve students with a broad range of disabilities and mandates the implementation of related services and additional supports to assist these students in reaching their full potential in the general educational setting (Williamson, McLeskey, Hoppey,& Rentz, 2006). Although school leaders and teachers are aware of the collective mandates, implications, and accountabilities associated with IDEA (2004) and the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 (NCLB), there is still much debate regarding how and where students with disabilities should be educated (Turnbull, Turnbull,& Wehmeyer, 2007).Educators opposed to inclusion view special education as a specialized service provided to students with disabilities outside of the general education setting (Friend & Bursuck, 2011; Salend, 2007). Supporters of this view argue that students with disabilities are uniquely different from their non-disabled peers. Therefore, they require services that are specific to their disabilities (Halvorsen & Neary, 2005). In contrast, educators in support of inclusion view special education as a mainstream service provided in the general education setting with various in-class supports (Praisner, 2003). Proponents of this view believe that students with disabilities benefit, bothacademically and socially, when provided opportunities to interact, learn, and share with their non-disabled peers (Heubert, 1994; Patterson, Bowling, & Marshall,2000). The latter view of this debate best describes inclusion (Praisner, 2003). Once associated with the term mainstreaming, a service-delivery model which places students with disabilities in general education classrooms without appropriate supports and services to assist them in achieving important learning goals, inclusion was first described in the initial reauthorization of the EAHCA (Kasser & Lytle, 2005).However, now IDEA (2004) mandates that students with disabilities be provided appropriate educational supports and services to assist with their limitations in the general education setting to the maximum extent possible. This legal requirement, known as the least restrictive environment (LRE), explains the premise of inclusion, which was not clearly defined by the law (Halvorsen & Neary, 2005). Using this model, students are provided the necessary supports to access the general education curriculum for all academic and non-academic classes. With increased focus on providing high quality education for students with disabilities, the role of school leaders has changed immensely. In addition to maintaining safe schools, personnel management, and high-stakes testing, school leaders are now accountable for designing, implementing, leading, and evaluating programs to meet the needs of all students (Katsiyannis, 1994). While some duties associated with special education vary among districts, there are specific duties governed by federal law that must be followed. With school leaders holding the key to school-level compliance, it is necessary to identify the components of school leadership that are necessary for school leaders to perform their duties effectively (Sage &Burrello, 1994). Review of the Literature Over the past four decades, the importance of school leadership in creating learning environments conducive to learning for all students has been well documented (Edmonds, 1979; Gates, Ross,& Brewer, 2001; Green, 2005; Leithwood, 1994; Purkey & Smith, 1983; Senge, 1990; Fullan, 2001). Effective school leaders understand the strengths and interests within their 58
  3. 3. KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN schools and can restructure schools to accommodate weaknesses. In addition, they a) utilize flexible practices to establish relationships; b) influence teachers; c) encourage the collaborative practices required for assessing the professional development needs of teachers; d) identify goals; and e) guide the implementation of practices for effective teaching and learning (Edmonds, 1979; Fullan, 2001; Gates et al., 2001; Lasky & Karge, 2006; Leithwood, 1994; Purkey & Smith, 1983; Senge, 1990). This type of leadership is required for the sustainability of the inclusion model (Klinger, Arguelles, Hughes,& Vaughn, 2001; Vaughn, Klinger,& Hughes, 2000). Shaping the School Culture for Inclusion The attitude of school leaders is critical in shaping school cultures that embrace inclusive practices to meet the needs of all students (Peterson & Deal, 1999).In order to establish cultures that support the development of all students, certain attitudinal, organizational, and instructional changes must occur in the schoolhouse (Green, 2005; Lasky & Karge, 2006). However, the extent to which these changes occur depends on the school leader‟s ability to recognize the need for change, build capacity for change, and establish support networks that foster the development of stakeholders as change occurs (Lasky & Karge, 2006; Vernon-Dotson, 2008). By leading with commitment and organizing schools in ways that capitalize on the collective professional skills, knowledge, and experiences of stakeholders, effective school leaders are able to facilitate the changes necessary to transcend attitudes, beliefs, and practices into shared visions, ideas, and goals (Gameros, 1995; Hughes, 1999; Klinger et. al, 2001;Peterson & Deal, 1999). Preparation of School Leaders for Special Education Services According to Anderson and Decker (1993), the extent to which school leaders are able to support inclusive school programs depends on how well they are prepared in school leader preparation programs. While school leaders are not required to be experts in special education, they must have the fundamental knowledge and skills to perform essential special educationrelated leadership tasks (DiPaola & Walther-Thomas, 2003). In addition to understanding the levels, needs, categories, and manifestations of the different disabilities, school leaders must have a solid understanding of special education laws, research-based practices related to special education, and the instructional challenges faced by teachers who work with students with disabilities (DiPiaola & Tschannen-Moran, 2003). Patterson, Bowling, and Marshall (2000) contend that most school leaders are inadequately prepared for their roles as special education leaders in schools. In support of these researchers, Katsiyannis (1994) indicates that university preparation programs provide preservice school leaders with only a small part of the knowledge base deemed necessary by researchers to implement inclusive school programs. Although most districts offer professional development training and assistance with special education, it is often not sufficient to adequately prepare school leaders for the challenges they may encounter (Katsiyannis, 1994; Monteith, 2000).Without adequate preparation, school leaders may be detrimental to inclusive school programs, as their lack of preparation limits their ability to provide appropriate opportunities for students with disabilities, hinders decision making, and puts schools at greater risk for legal liability (DiPaola & Walther-Thomas, 2003; Katsiyannis, 1994). While there has been research and debate regarding the importance of school leaders‟ 59
  4. 4. KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN attitudes toward inclusion, there has been less research regarding other characteristics of school leaders that affect inclusion within the schools. A large body of research suggests that there is a relationship between school leaders‟ in-service training hours, formal special education coursework, and attitudes toward inclusion, and that this relationship may impact inclusive school practices (Greyerbiehl, 1993; Hesselbart, 2005; Praisner, 2000; Valesky & Hirth, 1992; Washington, 2006). However, the research regarding the impact of these practices is inconclusive. Therefore, a study that examines how the training, experience, and attitudes of school leaders impact the delivery of services provided to students with disabilities in the general education setting appears warranted. Purpose of the Study The study was conducted to determine if the experience and training of school leaders impacted their attitudes toward inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education setting. For purposes of this study, attitudes were defined as school leaders‟ feelings or positions toward educating students with disabilities. Experience was defined as personal or on the job practices, observations, or interactions with students with disabilities. Training was defined as concepts and principles learned through professional development and formal training. The intent of this study was to gain insight into the attitudes, perceptions, and training and experiences of school leaders that positively or negatively contribute to successful inclusive school programs. Method and Data Sources Data Sources One-hundred and seventy (170) elementary and secondary principals and assistant principals of K-12 schools located in a Southeastern United States public school district were invited to participate in the study. The schools were of varying sizes, ranging from 251 to 1000 or more students with the average class size, ranging from 9 to 39 students. The majority of the school leaders participating in the study reported that students with disabilities made up 5% to 20% of the student body of their schools. A total of 170 paper surveys with written instructions and a return envelope were sent out to school leaders of 54 schools. The instructions were to complete the survey and return it to the researchers through the district‟s in-house mail system. A total of 138 school leaders completed and returned the survey for a return rate of 81%. Seventy-nine percent (n = 109) of the participating school leaders were females, and 21% (n = 29) were males. The participants‟ ages ranged from20 to 60, and 89.8% (n = 89) were 31 to 60 years of age. The majority of participants (30.4%, n = 42) had 7 to 12 years of full-time regular education teaching experience. As for full-time special education teaching experience, 75.4% (n = 104) of the participants reported that they had no full-time special education teaching experience; 10.9% (n = 15) reported having 1 to 6 years of full-time special education teaching experience; 7.2% (n = 10) reported having13 to 18 years of full-time special education teaching experience; 3.6% (n = 5) reported having 7 to 12 years of full-time special education teaching 60
  5. 5. KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN experience; and 2.9% (n = 4) reported having 19 or more years of full-time special education teaching experience. Eighty-six percent (n = 118)of the participants were not certified to teach special education, and 14% (n = 20) were certified to teach special education. Approximately 38% of the participants (n = 53) had 0 to 5 years of experience as a principal or assistant principal; 31.9% (n = 44) had 6 to 10 years; 18.8% (n = 26) had 11 to15 years; 6.5% (n = 9) had 16 to 20 years; and 4.3% (n = 6) had 21 or more years. The majority of the participants, 54% (n = 74), reported having 1 to 9 credits of special education formal training, whereas 15.9% (n = 22) reported having no special education formal training. In-service training refers to training provided to assist practicing school leaders in the development of skills in inclusive practices. Among the participants, 34.1% (n = 47) reported having 25 or more hours; 29% (n = 40) reported having 9 to 16 hours; 28.3% (n = 39) reported having 1 to 8hours; 7.2% (n = 10) reported having 17 to 24 hours; and 1.4% (n = 2) reported having no in-service training hours in inclusive practices. Sixty-one percent (n = 84) of the participants reported having a personal experience with (an) individual(s) with a disability outside the school setting, and 39.1% (n = 54) reported that they did not have a personal experience with (an) individual(s) with a disability outside the school setting. Research Design A correlational research design was used to answer 6 specific research questions: 1. What is the training and experience of school leaders relative to educating students with disabilities? 2. What are the attitudes of school leaders toward the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education setting? 3. What are the perceptions of school leaders regarding the most appropriate placement of students with disabilities? 4. What is the relationship, if any, between the training and experience of school leaders and their attitudes toward the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education setting? 5. What is the relationship, if any, between the attitudes of school leaders and their perceptions of the most appropriate placement for students with disabilities? 6. What is the relationship, if any, between the demographic variables associated with school leaders and their perceptions of the most appropriate placement for students with disabilities? Theoretical Framework The assumptions of this study were guided by the theory of planned behavior which is an extension of the theory of reasoned action. The theory of planned behavior suggests that behavior evolves from attitudes (Ajzen, 2005; Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). According to Ajzen and Fishbein (1980), attitudes toward a behavior may be influenced by past and present experiences, previous knowledge and training, and newly acquired knowledge and training. According to Ajzen and Fishbein (1980), the best predictor of behavior is intention, 61
  6. 6. KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN which is the cognitive representation of readiness to perform a given behavior. The theory of reasoned action suggests that behavior is determined by the intent to perform the behavior and that intentions are a function of the attitudes toward behaviors and subjective norms. Relative to inclusion, training and experience may influence the attitudes of school leaders regarding the implementation of inclusive school practices. However, the attitudes of school leaders, the intent and expectations of relevant others, and the motivation of school leaders to comply and meet the expectations of others must all come together to influence the implementation of inclusive practices. Therefore, it is important to ascertain the factors that shape the attitudes and behaviors of school leaders who are charged with the implementation of inclusive practices. Instrument The researchers used Praisner „s (2000) Principals and Inclusion Survey (PIS) to collect the data for this study. The PIS is divided into four sections: Section 1 consisted of four (4) questions that assessed characteristics of the students and the school; Section 2 consisted of 13 questions that assessed the training and experience of the school leaders; Section 3 consisted of 10 questions that assessed the school leaders‟ attitudes toward students with disabilities; and Section 4 consisted of 11 questions that measured perceptions of school leaders‟ beliefs regarding appropriate placement of students with disabilities. In answering the research questions, all sections of the survey were utilized. The PIS was modified to include the current disability categories specified in IDEA (2004), as well as assistant principals. Reliability The reliability of the PIS was authenticated by its use in a previous published study by Praisner (2000). Since Praisner‟s original study, the instrument has been used in other studies across the country (Ramirez, 2006; Washington, 2006). As for reliability of section III, Stainback (1986) conducted an analysis of reliability by computing a Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficient with a split half-correction factor on the original survey. The reliability coefficient was 0.899 for this section. For this study, Cronbach‟s alpha was used to test the internal consistency of the PIS. Cronbach‟s alpha for training and experience was .827; for attitudes toward inclusion, it was (α = .761); and for perceptions of most appropriate placement it was (α = .863) with an overall reliability coefficient of .824. Content validity of the initial instrument rests with the panel of experts who reviewed and piloted the survey, as well as the research performed by Praisner (2000). Scoring For the purpose of this study, five items on the PIS were reverse-coded. Those items were 2, 4, 6, 7 and 10 in section three on the attitudes toward inclusion of students with disabilities subscale. Subscale scores which corresponded to each section were computed by averaging the responses. In section four, most appropriate placements for students with disabilities, the individual responses for each disability group could range from 1-6 with “1” representing the least inclusive placement (special education services outside regular school) and 6, the most inclusive (full-time regular education with support). For training and experience, the mean score was 3.07 out of 6.0 with a standard deviation of 0.904.The mean score for attitudes toward 62
  7. 7. KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN inclusion was 2.46 out of 5.0 with a standard deviation of .666. For perceptions of the most appropriate placement for students with disabilities, the scores ranged from 1.15 to 5.62, and the mean score was 3.94 with a standard deviation of .666. Skewness and kurtosis statistics indicated that the scores were normally distributed. Limitations of Data and Measures This study was voluntary and only included school principals and assistant principals from a Southeastern United States public school district which limited the sample size. Additionally, participation in the study was voluntary which affected the number of participants in the study. If replicated, expanding the study to include school leaders from multiple school districts would enhance generalizability. With participation being limited to the inclusion efforts in one district, the results cannot be generalized to other school districts. The assumption that all school leaders have the same amount of autonomy to make decisions regarding their schools was also a limitation of this study. In theory, this assumption might be valid. However, the level of autonomy given to school leaders may vary, depending on their experience, the dynamics of their schools, and district, state, and federal mandates and policies. Another limitation of this study was the survey instrument used to collect the data. In addition to being a self-reporting instrument, the PIS lacked open-ended questions that would have permitted the school leaders to share in-depth information about their training and experience, attitudes, and perceptions regarding the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education setting. Additionally, the PIS was limited by the reliability and validity of the instrument. Depending on the situations within the schools at the time the survey was completed, participant responses may not have been completely honest. The fact that states vary regarding their requirements for school leadership certification was also a limitation of this study. While some states have identified and included an optimal amount of special education coursework for school leadership certification, other states have limited requirements regarding special education. Thus, some school leaders are assigned to leadership positions with little or no training or experience in special education. Findings The first question posed was: What is the training and experience of school leaders relative to educating students with disabilities?To identify the training and experience of the participants, responses from questions 3-13 of Section II of the PIS were analyzed using descriptive statistics.The analysis of the responses revealed that the training and experience of school leaders regarding special and inclusive practices were limited. The mean score for training and experience was 3.07 out of 6.0 with a standard deviation of 0.904. While 84% of the school leaders reported having some formal training in special education, the majority reported only having 1 to 9 credits. Additionally, 75.4% of the school leaders reported having no full-time special education teaching experience, only 34.1% of the school leaders reported having 25 or more in-service hours in inclusive practices, and 86% of the school leaders were not certified to teach special education. Table 1 offers a graphicalrepresentation ofthetraining and experience 63
  8. 8. KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN reported by the participants. Table 1 School Leaders’ Training and Experience Years of Full-Time Regular Education Teaching Experience N % 0 1-6 7-12 13-18 19 or more Total Years of Full-Time Special Education Teaching Experience 7 22 42 34 33 138 N 5.1 15.9 30.4 24.6 23.9 100 % 0 1-6 7-12 13-18 19 or more Total Years as a Principal or Assistant Principal 104 15 5 10 4 138 N 75.4 10.9 3.6 7.2 2.9 100 % 0-5 6-10 11-15 16-20 21 or more Total Approximate Number of Special Education Credits in Formal Training 53 44 26 9 6 138 N 38.4 31.9 18.8 6.5 4.3 100 % 0 1-9 10-15 16-21 22 or more Total Approximate Number of In-service Training Hours in Inclusive Practices 0 1-8 9-16 17-24 25 or more Total 22 74 14 3 25 138 N 2 39 40 10 47 138 15.9 53.6 10.1 2.2 18.1 100 % 1.4 28.3 29.0 7.2 34.1 100 64
  9. 9. KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN In terms of experience with students and individuals with disabilities, 39.1% of the school leaders reported that they did not have a personal experience with an individual with a disability. Regarding the types of experiences with students among the different disability categories, the school leaders reported more negative experiences or having no experience with students who were in the categories of emotional disturbance, autism, and traumatic brain injury. Figure 1 provides a graphical representation of the data regarding the types of experiences with students among the different disability categories reported by the school leaders. Figure 1. Type of experience for each disability category.This figure presents a graphical summary of the data regarding the type of experiences the participants reported having with students within the different disability categories. The second question posed was: What are the attitudes of school leaders toward the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education setting?The second concern of the researchers wasthe attitudes of school leaders toward the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education setting.To determine the attitudes of school leaders in the study, responses from Section III of the PIS were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Items 1-10 on the survey were analyzed. Of these items, 2, 4, 6, 7, and 10 were reverse coded. Responses on the individual items revealed that participants rated items 10, 5, 7, and 8 the highest and rated items 65
  10. 10. KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN 3, 9, and 2 the lowest.The mean total for attitudes toward inclusion was 2.46 out of 5.0 with a standard deviation of 0.666. Although the responses of the school leaders were contradictory, the overall attitudes of the school leaders were slightly negative. Figure 2 provides a graphical representation of the data regarding the attitude toward inclusion of students with disabilities. Note. The higher the score, the more positive was the attitude toward inclusion. 1 = Only teachers with extensive special education experience can be expected to deal with students with severe/profound disabilities in a school setting. 2 = Schools with both students with severe and profound disabilities and students without disabilities enhance the learning experiences of students with severe/profound disabilities. 3 = Students with severe/profound disabilities are too impaired to benefit from the activities of a regular school. 4 = A good regular educator can do a lot to help a student with a severe/profound disability. 5 = In general, students with severe/profound disabilities should be placed in special classes/schools specifically designed for them. 6 = Students without disabilities can profit from contact with students with severe/profound disabilities. 7 = Regular education should be modified to meet the needs of all students including students with severe/profound disabilities. 8 = It is unfair to ask/expect regular teachers to accept students with severe/profound disabilities. 9 = No discretionary financial resources should be allocated for the integration of students with severe/profound disabilities. 10 = It should be policy and/or law that students with severe/profound disabilities are integrated into regular educational programs and activities. Figure 2.Attitudes toward inclusion of students with disabilities.This figure presents a graphical summary of the data regarding the attitudes of the participants toward the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education setting. The third question posed was: What are the perceptions of school leaders regarding the most appropriate placement of students with disabilities?Our third concern was the perception of school leaders regarding the most appropriate placement of students with disabilities.To identify 66
  11. 11. KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN the perceptions of school leaders regarding the most appropriate placement of students with disabilities, responses from Section IV of the PIS were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The scores for perceptions of school leaders regarding the most appropriate placement of students with disabilities ranged from 1.15 to 5.62 which was negative to somewhat positive. The mean score was 3.94 with a standard deviation of .666. The fourth question posed was:What is the relationship, if any, between the training and experience of school leaders and their attitudes toward the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education setting?To investigate the relationship between the training and experience of school leaders and their attitudes toward the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education setting, a fourth concern, Likert-type responses from Sections II and III, were placed on an interval scale and analyzed using Pearson‟s Correlation. According to Boone and Boone (2012), “Likert scale items are created by calculating a composite score (sum or mean) from four or more Likert-type items; therefore, the composite score for Likert scales should be analyzed at the interval measurement scale” (para. 9).Based on the analysis of the data, there was a significant, negative correlation between the training and experience of school leaders and their attitudes toward inclusion of students with disabilities, r = -.239, N = 138, p = .005, two-tails. Figure 3 provides a graphical representation of the data regarding the relationship between the training and experience of school leaders and their attitudes toward the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education setting. Figure 3.The relationship between the training and experience of school leaders and their attitudes toward inclusion. This figure presents a graphical summary of the relationship between the training and experience of school leaders and their attitudes. The fifth questionposed was:What is the relationship, if any, between the attitudes of 67
  12. 12. KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN school leaders and their perceptions of the most appropriate placement for students with disabilities?To investigate the relationship between the attitudes of school leaders and their perceptions of the most appropriate placement for students with disabilities, Sections III and IV were analyzed using Pearson‟s Correlation. To perform the correlation, the Likert-type responses in Section III were placed on an interval scale (Boone & Boone, 2012). With regards to the relationship between the attitudes of school leaders and their perceptions of the most appropriate placement for students with disabilities, the data analysis revealed that there was no significant relationship between the attitudes of school leaders and their perceptions of the most appropriate placement for students with disabilities. This finding suggests that the attitudes of school leaders are not directly related to their perceptions of most appropriate placement for students with disabilities. The sixth question posed was:What is the relationship, if any, between the demographic variables associated with school leaders and their perceptions of the most appropriate placement for students with disabilities? The final concern was the relationship between the demographic variables associated with school leaders and their perceptions of the most appropriate placement for students with disabilities. To investigate this relationship, responses from Sections I, questions 1 and 2, and from Section II, and IV were analyzed using multiple regression. Discussion of the Results Results of this study revealed six findings: 1) school leaders are limited in their training and experience relative to special education and inclusive practices; 2) the attitudes of school leaders are slightly negative; 3) school leaders support inclusive placements for students with disabilities; however, there are differences in their perceptions based on the disability category; 4) the more training and experience school leaders have, the more negative their attitudes are; 5) the attitudes of school leaders are not directly related to their perceptions of most appropriate placements for students with disabilities; and 6) the most appropriate placement for students with disabilities can be predicted by the approximate number of students with IEPs that are included in regular education classrooms for at least 75% of their school day. Finding 1.Overall, in this study, the training and experience of school leaders was limited. Of the 138 school leaders participating in this study, 34 reported having full-time special education teaching experience, and twenty (20) reported having certification in the area of special education. Additionally, discrepancies among the responses regarding the attitudes of school leaders imply limited knowledge and understanding of the intent and concept of inclusion as it relates to the law. These findings are consistent with research conducted by Petzko (2008) which indicates school leaders are inadequately prepared to lead and manage inclusive programs in their schools. Adding further support to the findings of this study, Katsiyannis (1994) found that principal preparation programs provide school leaders with only a small portion of the special education knowledge base deemed necessary by experts to effectively implement inclusive school programs and to fulfill the daily responsibilities of serving students with special needs. Additionally, Lasky and Karge (2006) found that many school districts have implemented professional development trainings to assist school leaders in serving the special education needs of students attending their schools. However, this training is limited and does not provide the 68
  13. 13. KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN skills necessary for school leaders to promote team building and collaborative practices required for the implementation of inclusion (Lasky & Karge). According to Wright and Wright (2004), IDEA does not mandate inclusion. However, it does mandate that school districts educate students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment to the maximum extent appropriated. This placement should be based on the individual needs of students. The intent of this requirement is to ensure that students with disabilities are not unnecessarily isolated from learning environments with their same age, nondisabled peers on the basis of their disabilities. While the assumption is that school districts are providing a full continuum of services, ranging from regular classrooms with support to special classes, and even special school placements, if required, the reality is that school leaders who have been selected to carry out these responsibilities may not be adequately trained or have the experience to implement the processes necessary to comply with the law. To address this need, perhaps changes to federal legislation should be considered. School leaders, principals and assistant principals, are critical in structuring schools for effective teaching and learning. Additionally, they set the tone for the school climate and are the lead innovators for practices that address the learning needs of all students. Consequently, it is logical to assume that the greater the special education knowledge and training of school leaders, the more likely they are to implement programs that effectively address and meet the needs of all students. Finding 2.Comprehensively, the data results indicatedthat the attitudes of school leaders toward the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education setting varied depending on the disability. School leaders endorsed the following items: 1) it should be policy and/or law that students with severe/profound disabilities are integrated into regular educational programs and activities; 2) in general, students with severe and profound disabilities should be placed in special classes or schools specifically designed for them; 3) regular education should be modified to meet the needs of all students, including students with severe and profound disabilities; and 4) it is unfair to ask or expect regular education teachers to accept students with severe and profound disabilities. Conversely, their attitudes toward placing students with severe and profound disabilities in regular classrooms indicated that students with severe and profound disabilities are too impaired to benefit from the activities occurring in those classes. Their attitudes regarding the provision of discretionary financial resources were also less than positive as they reported that no discretionary financial resources should be allocated for the integration of students with severe and profound disabilities. Also, analysis of the data revealed that school leaders did not believe that both students with severe and profound disabilities and students without disabilities enhance the learning experiences of students with severe and profound disabilities. These finding are consistent with the results of a study conducted by Praisner (2000) who reported that a majority of school principals in her study had either negative or ambivalent attitudes toward inclusion. According to Praisner (2003), most principals agree with the idea of inclusion when it is phrased in common terms and appears to be an optional practice. However, when inclusion is specifically discussed in a manner which implies mandatory compliance, rather than optional participation, less favorable attitudes are exhibited. Praisner (2003) contends this discrepancy in the item responses may have contributed to the uncertain attitudes of the principals in her study. In contrast to the findings of this study, a study conducted by Vazquez (2010) among 175 69
  14. 14. KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN school principals in Florida revealed that the administrators demonstrated high levels of support for inclusion, as the mean score for attitudes toward inclusion was 41.95) out of 50. Additionally, over 90% of the principals who participated in the study responded positively to questions regarding the education of students in the general education setting, as well as to the benefits of inclusion for all students. School leaders, principals and assistant principals, are responsible for every function of the school environment. Thus, it is practical to assume that the attitudes of school leaders are critical, not just for the success of inclusive school practices, but the success of all school programs. School leaders must exhibit attitudes that permit them to persuade and guide the practices of their followers. Additionally, they must exhibit attitudes that allow them to lead decision-making efforts based on the intent of the law and the needs of students, rather than their personal or professional biases. Further, their attitudes must be such that they are able to solidify the support required to facilitate the organizational changes necessary to provide a continuum of special education services to address the needs of all students. Finding 3. School leaders in the study were in support of inclusive placements for students with disabilities. However, theirresponses indicated differences in their perceptions of placement between disability categories. With regards to students with orthopedic impairments, speech or language impairments, and other health impairments,they reported believing that these studentsshould be placed in the most inclusive educational environments. However, they reported believing that students with emotional disturbance, deaf-blindness, intellectual disabilities, and multiple disabilities should be placed in the least inclusive educational environments. Supporting this finding, Barnett and Monda-Amaya (1998) found that school leaders appeared to believe that certain disability categories, such as those without emotional or social needs, were considered mild to moderate and were more appropriate for inclusion programs. In a more recent study regarding the attitudes of school leaders and other educators, Hsu (2010) also found that the perceptions of appropriate educational placements for students withdisabilities differed depending on the severity of the disability. Responses from the participants in the study conducted by Hsu indicated that less restrictive or integrated learning settings were more appropriate forstudents with mild disabilities and more restrictive or segregated learning settings were mostappropriate for students with moderate to severe disabilities. In each of the previously cited studies, including the current study, the findings suggest that school leaders support inclusion in general education settings for the disability categories that they perceive require less support and fewer services.Conversely, for students requiring more extensive supports and services, school leaders perceive less inclusive settings are more appropriate. Relative to the intent of the law, this presents a problem as the law mandates that all students with disabilities be placed in the least restrictive environment with the supports and services required to accommodate their needs. Finding 4. The data analysis revealed a significant negative relationship between the training and experience of the school leaders and their attitudes toward inclusion. This correlation suggests that the training and experience of school leaders is directly related to their attitudes toward inclusion. Based on the data analysis, the more training and experience school leaders had, the more negative their attitudes were toward inclusion. Adding support to this 70
  15. 15. KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN finding, Brown (2007) found that administrators with fewer years of experience and training agreed more with inclusion than those with more years of experience and training. Adding more support is a study conducted among 110 elementary school leaders in Israel.In this study, Avissar (2007) found a similar correlation. According to the results of this study, prior experience, tenure, and seniority affected the willingness of school leaders to implement inclusive practices. School leaders reporting more experience and time on the job were less likely to support inclusion (Avissar). Correspondingly, Horrocks (2006) also found a negative correlation between the length of service of principals in their current districts and their positive attitudes toward inclusion. The most significant factor in predicting positive attitudes toward inclusion of students with disabilities and higher levels of inclusion for students with autism was the principals‟ belief that students with autism could be included in the general education setting(Horrocks). In contrast, Center, Ward, Parmenter, and Nash (1985)found that school leaders assigned to elementary or multilevel positions who had more in-service training in the area of special education, more experience with students among the different disability categories, and were involved with inclusive programs for the longest period of time, exhibited significantly higher scores on the indicators related to positive attitudes toward inclusion. Praisner (2003) also found that principals who had positive experiences with students with disabilities and exposure to special education concepts had more positive attitudes toward inclusion. The findings of the aforementioned studies support the researchers‟ assumption that the training and experience of school leaders influences their attitudes toward inclusion. Results of this study reveal that as the training and experience of school leaders increased, their attitudes toward inclusion declined. Thus, the extent to which training and experience influences the attitudes of school leaders may depend more on the basis, content, and quality of their training and experiences, rather than the quantity. Further, the resistance among school leaders toward inclusive practices may be due to their lack of training and relevant experiences, rather than their negative perceptions or attitudes toward inclusion. For school leaders to implement inclusive practices in their schools, they must, at minimum, understand the historical background and legal mandates of special education, current trends in inclusive education, and the characteristics of the different disability categories. Finding 5. Analysis of data from this study revealed that the attitudes of the school leaders were not directly related to their perceptions of the most appropriate placement for students with disabilities. This finding conflicts with the research conducted by Hesselbart (2005), which found a strong correlation between the attitudes of school leaders and their placement decisions for students with disabilities. According to Hesselbart, as the attitude scores of school leaders increased, there was also a corresponding increase in their perceptions regarding the most appropriate placement for students with disabilities. Correspondingly, McAneny (1992) found that principals who had positive attitudes toward inclusion perceived that the lessons and activities provided for general education students would also be appropriate for students with disabilities. However, in contrast, Avissar (2007) found that even with positive attitudes, the placement perceptions of school leaders depended on the severity of the disabilities.This finding is promising to the future of inclusive practices, as it implies that school leaders are not basing their decisions regarding special education services and placements on their personal feelings or beliefs toward inclusion or educating students with disabilities. Finding 6.The researchers found that the approximate number of students with IEPs 71
  16. 16. KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN included in regular education classrooms for at least 75% of their school day was the only demographic variable that was significantly related to the perceptions of school leaders relative to the most appropriate placements for students with disabilities. This finding suggests that most appropriate placements for students with disabilities can be predicted bythe approximate number of students with IEPs that are included in regular education classrooms for at least 75% of their school day. In summary, there is support in the literature for these six (6) findings (Carter and Hughes, 2006; Theoharris , 2007; Brown, 2007; Horrocks , 2006). These studies report that principals utilize inclusive practices in their schools generally because they believe that inclusion programs have substantial benefits for students with disabilities. Additionally, principals implemented social justice strategies such as inclusion because they believed it is the right thing to do. Conclusions and Implications According to the results of this study, there is a relationship between the training and experience of school leaders and their attitudes. Also, the training and experience of school leaders in the study was limited. Additionally, their attitudes toward the inclusion of students with disabilities were slightly negative. While the school leaders in this study were in support of inclusive practices, their perceptions of the level of inclusiveness differed among the different disability categories. These findings indicate that the most appropriate placement for students with disabilities can be predicted bythe approximate number of students with IEPs included in regular education classrooms for at least 75% of their school day. Although the training and experience of school leaders was shown to influence their attitudes toward the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education setting, there was no relationship established between the attitudes of school leaders and their perceptions of the most appropriate placement for students with disabilities. Thus, the attitudes of school leaders are important for inclusive practices, but not as important as the training and experience of the school leaders charged with implementing these practices. The finding of this study offers promise toward inclusion reform, as they suggest that more school leaders are considering the individual needs of the students when making placement decisions and implementing special education programs. Future Research The researchers acknowledge that there is a need to gain more insight regarding the training and experience, attitudes, and perceptions of school leaders relative to inclusion.Given the results of this study, further investigation of the relationship among the training and experience of school leaders relative to special education and inclusive practices and their perceptions of most appropriate placements for students with disabilities are warranted. There is also a need to gain an in-depth understanding of the dispositions and beliefs of school leaders relative to educating students with disabilities in the general education setting and how school leaders define inclusion. A qualitative study investigating school leaders who have implemented inclusive practices within their schools is recommended. Finally, an investigation of the competency, training, and experience of special education supervisors and directors, professional development trainers, and principal preparation instructors relative to special education 72
  17. 17. KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN leadership would provide a better understanding of the basis of training and experience of school leader. References Ajzen, I. (2005). Attitudes, personality, and behavior (2nd ed.). Milton-Keynes, UK: Open University Press / McGraw-Hill. Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M. (1980). Understanding attitudes and predicting social behavior.Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Anderson, R. J., & Decker, R. H. (1993). The principal‟s roles in special education programming. National Association of Secondary School Principals Bulletin, 77(550), 1-6. Avissar, G. (2007). School principals and inclusion: Views, practices, and possible signs of burnout (Unpublished manuscript). Retrieved from: http://www.phludwigsburg.de/html/9e-aaax-s-01/seiten/SymposiumBB2/Avissar.pdf Barnett, C.,& Monda-Amaya, L. E. (1998). Principals‟ knowledge and attitudes toward inclusion. Remedial and Special Education, 19(3), 181-192. Boone, H. N., & Boone, D. A. (2012). Analyzing likert data. Journal of Extension,50(2). Retrieved from: http://www.joe.org/joe/2012april/index.php Brown, L. A. (2007). Attitudes of administrators toward inclusion of students with disabilities. Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations & Thesis database. (UMI No. 3270468) Carter, E. W., & Hughes, C. (2006). Including high school students with severedisabilities in general education classes: Perspectives of general and special educators, paraprofessionals, and administrators. Research & Practice forPersons with Severe Disabilities, 31(2), 174–185. Center, Y., Ward, J., Parmenter, T., & Nash, R. (1985). Principals‟ attitudes towards the integration of disabled children into regular schools. The Exceptional Child, 32(3),149161. DiPaola, M. F., & Tschannen-Moran, M. (2003). The principalship at a crossroads: A study of the condition and concerns of principals. National Association of Secondary School Principals Bulletin, 81(634), 43-65. DiPaola, M. F.,& Walther-Thomas, C. (2003). Principals and special education: The critical role of school leaders (COPPSE Document No. 1B-7). Gainesville, FL: University of Florida,Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education. Education of All Handicapped Children Act. (1975). Pub. L. No. 94-142. Edmonds, R. (1979). Effective schools for the urban poor. Educational Leadership, 37(1), 15-24. Friend, M. D., & Bursuck, W. D. (2011). Including students with special needs:A practical guide for classroom teachers (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ:Pearson Education. Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Gameros, P. (1995). The visionary principal and inclusion of students with disabilities. NASSP Bulletin,79(568), 15-17. Gates, S., Ross, K., & Brewer, D. (2001). Leading to reform: Educational leadership for the 21st century. Oak Brook, IL: North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. 73
  18. 18. KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN Green, R. L. (2005). Practicing the art of leadership: A problem based approach to implementing the ISLCC standards (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn &Bacon. Greyerbiehl, D. (1993). Educational policies and practices that support inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education classroom. Charleston, WV: West Virginia Developmental Disabilities Planning Council. Halvorsen, A. T., & Neary, T. (2005). Building inclusive tools and strategies for success.Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Hesselbart, F. (2005). A study of principals’ attitudes toward inclusion: The impact of administrator preparation. Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database. (UMI No. 3177598) Heubert, J. (1994). Assumptions underlie arguments about inclusion. HarvardEducation Newsletter, 10(4), 4-12. Horrocks, J. L. (2006). Principals' attitudes regarding inclusion of children withautism in Pennsylvania public schools. Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database. (UMI No. 3203817) Hsu, T. (2010). A comparison of Taiwan educators' attitudes knowledge, andperceivedbarriers toward the inclusion of students with disabilities. Retrieved fromProQuest Dissertations &Theses database. (UMI No. 3414267) Hughes, L. W. (1999). The principal as leader. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004, P.L. No. 108-446, 20 U.S.C., § 611-614. Kasser, S. L., & Lytle, R. K. (2005). Inclusive physical activity: A lifetime of opportunities. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. Katsiyannis, A. (1994). Individuals with disabilities: The school principal and Section 504. NASSP Bulletin, 78(565), 6-10. Klinger, J.K., Arguelles, M.E., Hughes, M.T., & Vaughn, S. (2001). Examining the school wide “spread” of research-based practices. Learning Disability Quarterly, 24(4),221-234. Lasky, B., & Karge, B. D. (2006). Meeting the needs of students with disabilities: Experience and confidence of principals. NASSP Bulletin,90(1), 19-36. Leithwood, K. (1994). Leadership for school restructuring. Educational Administration Quarterly, 30(4), 498-518. McAneny, F.X. (1992). The impact of school principals attitudes toward mainstreaming on student referrals (Doctoral dissertation). Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. Monteith, D. S. (2000). Professional development for administrators in special education: Evaluation of a program for underrepresented personnel. Teacher Education and Special Education, 23(4),281-289. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 107-110, § 115, Stat. 1425 (2002). Patterson, J., Bowling, D., & Marshall, C. (2000). Are principals prepared to manage special education dilemmas? National Association of Secondary School Principals Bulletin, 84(613), 9-20. Peterson, K.,& Deal, T. (1999). Shaping school culture: The heart of leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Petzko, V. (2008). The perceptions of new principals regarding the knowledge and skills important to their initial success. NASSP Bulletin, 92(3), 224-250. Praisner, C.L. (2000). Attitudes of elementary school principals toward the inclusion of students with disabilities in general education classes. (Doctoral dissertation). Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA.UMI ProQuest Digital Dissertation, DAI- A 61/07, p. 2661. 74
  19. 19. KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN Praisner, C. L. (2003). Attitudes of elementary school principals toward theinclusion of students with disabilities. Exceptional Children,69(2), 35-145. Purkey, C.S., & Smith, M.S. (1983). Effective schools: A review. Elementary School Journal, 83(4), 427-452. Ramirez, R. C. (2006). Elementary principals‟ attitudes toward inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education setting. Retrievedfrom ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database. (UMI No. 3216381) Sage, D., & Burrello, L. (1994). Leadership in educational reform: An administrator’s guide to changes in special education. Baltimore, MD: Brookes. Salend, S. J. (2007). Creating inclusive classrooms: Effective and reflectivepractices (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall. Senge, P.M. (1990). The fifth discipline: The art and science of the learning organization. New York, NY: Currency Doubleday. Singer, J.D., & Butler, J.A. (1987). The education for all handicapped children act: Schools as agents of social reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57(2), 125-152. Stainback, G. H. (1986). Attitudes of division superintendents toward theintegration of students with severe and profound handicaps into educational programs in regular schools. Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertation & Theses database. (UMI No. 8716979) Theoharis, G. (2007). Social justice educational leaders and resistance: Toward atheory of social justice leadership. Educational Administration Quarterly, 43(2), 221–258. Turnbull, A. P., Turnbull, H. R., & Wehmeyer, M. (2007). Exceptional lives:Special education in today's schools (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall. Valesky, T.C.,& Hirth, M.A. (1992). Survey of the states: Special education knowledge requirements for school administrators. Exceptional Children, 58(5), 399-406 Vaughn, S., Klinger, J. K.,& Hughes, M. (2000). Sustainability of research-based practices. Exceptional Children, 66(2),163-171. Vazquez, M. (2010). Inclusionary practices: Impact of administrators’ beliefs onplacement decisions. Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database. (UMI No. 3415053) Vernon-Dotson, L. J. (2008). Promoting inclusive education through teacher leadership teams: a school reform initiative. Journal of School Leadership, 18(3), 344-73. Washington, J. (2006). Middle-level inclusionary practices: A consideration of therelated influences that predict the attitudes of selected South Carolinamiddle school principals regarding inclusive education. Retrieved fromProQuest Dissertations & Theses database. (UMI No. 3224485) Williamson, P., McLeskey, J., Hoppey, D., & Rentz, T. (2006). Educating students with mental retardation in general education classrooms: An analysis of national and state trends. Exceptional Children, 72(3),347–361. Wright, P. W. D., & Wright, P. D. (2004). Wrights law: Special education law(2nded.). Hartfield, VA: Harbor House Law Press. Yell, M.L., Rogers, D., & Rogers, E.L. (1998). The legal history of special education. Remedial and Special Education, 19(4), 219-228. 75
  20. 20. KAREN BALL and REGINALD LEON GREEN Authors Karen Ball,EdD is Attendance and Discipline Official for Shelby County Schools, a suburban school district located in the Western area of Tennessee. In this role, Dr. Ball assists school administrators with policy issues related to student discipline and attendance. Dr. Ball has also served as a special education teacher, assistant principal, and an alternative school administrator. Reginald Leon Green, EdD is Professor of Educational Leadership in the College of Education at the University of Memphis. Dr. Green teaches courses in educational leadership with a focus on instructional leadership, school reform, and models for turning around low performing schools. His research interests include school leadership, team building for effective teaching and learning, superintendent/board relations, school district restructuring, and the effects of nurturing characteristics on the academic achievement of students. 76

×