Elementary School Principals as Leaders of Inclusion for Students With Exceptionalities
McInnis, James R.
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Inclusion promotes equality, provides opportunities, breaks down barriers, and ensures accessibility for all members of a community. Consequently, elementary-school administrators should become inclusion leaders who introduce and maintain inclusive learning environments. This qualitative study profiled and discussed practices and beliefs of 4 elementary school principals in southern Ontario who are recognized leaders of inclusion for students with exceptionalities. The researcher used multiple instruments for triangulation, thematic qualitative data analysis (constant comparative method) of interview responses and reflective field notes, and data from the Principal and Inclusion Survey to interpret qualitative findings. Findings revealed distinct leadership profiles reflective of empathy and compassion among participants who all regard accommodation of students with exceptionalities as a moral obligation and view inclusion as a socially just pedagogical framework. The researcher recommends that senior school board administrators screen and secure principals who value inclusion to create and maintain school cultures that ensure students’ access to inclusive education.