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Middle School Principal and Special Education

Title: The Middle School Principal and Special Education: Are Principals Prepared to Support Special Education Teachers in Leading Their Students in Achieving AYP?.
Name(s): Jones, Paula Kaye, 1969-, author
Irvin, Judith, professor directing dissertation
Menchetti, Bruce, outside committee member
Brooks, Jeffrey, committee member
Rutledge, Stacey, committee member
Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2006
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: The purpose of the study was to investigate the differences in the type and amount of principal administrative support offered to special education teachers in middle schools achieving Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and middle schools not achieving Adequate Yearly Progress for students with disabilities. Principal and special education teacher perceptions of principal administrative support were investigated and compared. The extent of preparation/prior knowledge in special education (university preparation, inservice training, prior experience in special education and exposure to persons with disabilities) and principals' perceptions of preparation were also analyzed. Furthermore, the special education support provided by the district level to principals, teachers and students with disabilities, were examined (Figure 1.1). A Review of Literature was conducted to determine needs of study in the area of educational leadership in special education, and to formulate the research questions. Key issues arising from the review were: Principals are finding it difficult to achieve Adequate Yearly Progress with students with disabilities and face "Corrective Action" for lack of achievement over time; Principals receive very little preparation/training for leadership in special education in Educational Leadership graduate studies; and lack of administrative support for special education teachers is linked to increased teacher attrition and related factors. The Twelve Domains of Administrative Support were established and provided structure for investigating the type and amount of administrative support given by middle school principals. The study included three instruments used to investigate the research questions. First, the Administrative Support of Special Education Teachers (ASSET) (Appendix A) was constructed and administered to 180 principals to measure their perceptions of the principal administrative support given to their special education teachers. The ASSET also questioned principals on their preparation/prior knowledge/experiences in special education, and their perceptions on the usefulness of such methods to their leadership of special education. Second, the Perception of Administrative Support of Special Education Teachers (PASSET) (Appendix B) was developed and administered to 360 special education teachers to measure their perceptions of the principal administrative support given to them by their principal. Third, the Interview of District Administrative Support (IDAS) questionnaire (Appendix C) was created and administered to 10 Special Education (SE) directors, in districts showing greater success in achieving AYP for middle school students with disabilities, to gain a deeper understanding of what special education preparation/training/support school districts were providing principals. Results of the ASSET revealed the majority of principals had no educational background in special education including special education teaching experience and certification. A majority (53.1%) of the responding principals had taken at least one college level special education course, but the majority (55.3%) indicated no special education courses being required in their administrative coursework. Descriptive statistics indicated that the two methods ranked highest as being "critical to leadership in special education" or "very useful" by the principals were District Professional Development and Special Education District Support, both relating to district level support. Colleagues were also considered important methods of special education information as 67% ranked this as "critical" or "very useful." Interviews, with special education directors from districts having greater success in achieving AYP, indicated that special education support given to principals from the district included heavy support in curriculum and instruction, as well as legal support. Districts perceived people and material resources at the school sites as very important in supporting the middle school principals. On the other hand, principals did not consider University Coursework to be as useful, as it was reported as "critical" or "very useful" by only 27.1% of principals. Principals were asked questions related to their perceptions of college level preparation for administration. A little over 75% of principals felt university administrative coursework had prepared them "very little" or "not at all" for leadership over special education. However, 90.1% of principals reported "somewhat" or "much more" special education training should be included in administrative coursework; and 70.6% of principals responded that college level training in special education would benefit administrators in leading students with disabilities in making AYP "somewhat" or "extremely." Survey responses indicated that the majority of university preparation focused on legal issues in special education. The Twelve Domains of Administrative Support (Figure 3.1) was established through an extensive review of literature. Descriptive statistics were used to describe and compare principal and special education teacher perceptions of principal administrative support given to special education teachers. Results of data indicated that principals perceived themselves providing support to special education teachers much more frequently than special education teachers perceived receiving support, in all twelve domains. However, when considering school status (whether or not participants were from schools achieving AYP for students with disabilities), no statistically significant difference existed in perceptions of principal administrative support. Further ANOVA testing was conducted to investigate whether or not perceptions of administrative support changed with the level of principal experience. Results indicated no statistically significant difference, in perceptions of principal administrative support, between principals with experience in special education and those without except in one domain. In the domain of Special Education Teacher Empowerment, principals with no special education experience rated themselves as providing greater support than principals with special education experience. Conclusions drawn from the study were formulated and presented. Recommendations based on conclusions were established for universities, districts, and principals. Recommendations for further research were also presented.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-3447 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Fall Semester, 2006.
Date of Defense: September 15, 2006.
Keywords: Special Education Knowledge, Principal Special Education Training, Principal Support, Principal Training, Administrative Support, Middle School, Middle School Principal, Commitment, Job Dissatisfaction, Burnout, Teacher Attrition, Special Education Teacher Attrition, Special Education Teacher, No Child Left Behind, NCLB, Adequate Yearly Progress, Ayp, Special Education Teachers, Students With Disabilities, Special Education, Administration Leadership, Principal, Administrator, Recognitions, Discipline, Established Support, District Support, District District Training, Special Education Support, Expernience In Special Education, Educational Leadership, Interview Of District Administrative Support, Corrective Action, Twelve Domains Of Administrative Support, PASSET, IDAS, ASSET, Administrative Support Of Special Education Teacher, Special Education Preparation, Mainstreaming, Teacher Empowerment, Special Education Teacher Empowerment, Collaboration, Collegiality, Curriculum Support, Resources, Materials, Professional Development, Classloads, Caseloads, Instructional Planning Time, Paperwork, Feedback, Perceptions Of Administrative Support Of Special Ed
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Judith Irvin, Professor Directing Dissertation; Bruce Menchetti, Outside Committee Member; Jeffrey Brooks, Committee Member; Stacey Rutledge, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Education
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

Choose the citation style.
Jones, P. K. (2006). The Middle School Principal and Special Education: Are Principals Prepared to Support Special Education Teachers in Leading Their Students in Achieving AYP? Retrieved from