Special education administration : perceptions of current practice

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Olson, Sheelagh
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 2004
The Alberta government has indicated that inclusion of special needs students is the preferred placement for children with disabilities. Inclusion refers to "the provision of services to students with disabilities including those with severe disabilities, in their neighborhood schools, in age appropriate regular education classes, with the necessary support services and supplemental aid for both children and teachers" (Kerzner-Lipsky and Gartner, 2000, p. 7). The purpose of this study is to examine the practice of inclusion through the perceptions of Resource Coordinating Teachers with respect to the support provided by the administration of the school. As an administrator myself, I hoped, through this research, to gain insight into those administrative practices that both help and hinder inclusion practices in schools. Twenty-six teachers responded to a questionnaire which covered such issues as the degree of support for inclusion from classroom teachers and administrators, the types of support that are in place, the successes and challenges of providing an inclusive education for special needs students, and the type of professional development that was occurring. In order to validate the responses given, follow up interviews were conducted with administrators. The results of the study indicate that there is support for inclusion at the administrative level, and that there is also support, with reservations, from classroom teachers. It was found that there are supports such as aide time in place for the benefit of both the students and the teachers and there are areas in need of improvement, such as more monetary and personnel support. Professional development was identified as an area which requires further planning and effective implementation in order to aid teachers in developing the expertise in educating students with special needs.
vii, 82 leaves ; 29 cm. --
Mainstreaming in education -- Alberta -- Evaluation , Inclusive education -- Alberta -- Evaluation , School administrators -- Alberta , Special education educators -- Alberta