Examining How Changes in Professional Development for Principals and Vice-Principals Improves Outcomes for Children with Special Education Needs

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Borkowsky, Keith, Ronald
School of leadership studies
This inquiry engaged principals and vice-principals in a school district in British Columbia to consider how could the Greater Victoria School District No. 61 further support principals and vice-principals who educate children with developmental disabilities. The action research engagement (ARE) model (Rowe et al., 2013) was used to identify existing challenges with professional development and preparation for in-school administrative leadership roles. This thesis shares the experiences of principals and vice-principals and their perceptions as to how their training and knowledge of special needs education impacts children with disabilities. The participants’ shared that: (a) professional development of principals and vice-principals in special education is inadequate for today’s schools; (b) generative dialogue as a professional development tool to address this knowledge gap has mixed results; (c) professional development for principals and vice-principals matters, as they influence special needs education outcomes; and (d) implementing recommendations for change in professional development practice can improve special needs education outcomes. Keywords: professional development, principals, vice-principals, generative dialogue, special needs education, inclusive education, engagement.
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