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Instructional Leadership for Special Education in Small to Mid-Size Urban School Districts

Leading Small and Mid-Sized Urban School Districts

ISBN: 978-1-78441-818-2, eISBN: 978-1-78441-817-5

ISSN: 1479-3660

Publication date: 2 April 2015


Instructional leadership has taken center stage in recent years as the emphasis on school leaders’ role in improving instructional programs and impacting student learning has increased under the pressures of the accountability movement. While there is a growing literature that has highlighted the indirect impacts of effective instructional leadership on student learning, little is known about these effects in the area of special education. Because this direct involvement in instructional and curricular matters has typically fallen outside the traditional roles of principals and other school leaders, the need for purposeful focus on developing these skills is paramount in a climate that is calling for leaders who can facilitate growth and improvement in student learning, particularly in the area of special education. This chapter explores instructional leadership in the context of special education with a focus on small to mid-sized schools. We identify a set of factors that are critical to the effective implementation of instructional leadership in the area of special education which include, communication, teacher evaluation and supervision, staff development, instructional programing, and instructional design. The chapter goes on to discuss how school leaders can cultivate growth and improvement in special education programming through the use of coaching models and distributed leadership. Lastly we explore the implications for practice including discussions of reforming principal preparation programs and shared leadership.


Cale, M.C., Delpino, C. and Myran, S. (2015), "Instructional Leadership for Special Education in Small to Mid-Size Urban School Districts", Leading Small and Mid-Sized Urban School Districts (Advances in Educational Administration, Vol. 22), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 155-172.



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