Fostering inclusive schools for students with special education needs By Steve Sider
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Lead t include Fostering inclusive schools for students with special education needs By Steve Sider
I have been involved with navigating the sometimes murky waters of special education as a student, teacher, consultant, administrator, parent and researcher. One common factor in these experiences has been the influential role of the school principal in fostering a welcoming and supportive class and school environment. In the vast majority of my personal experiences, I have benefited from principals who cared deeply for students with special education needs and for those who supported them at home and at school. For example, as a teacher of a congregated class of grade 7 and 8 students with 20 Fall 2019
Illustration by Cornelia Li
significant behavioural needs, I always remember, and appreciate, the principal who regularly stopped by my class to check in on the students (and me) with a high five and a comment like, â€œlooking forward to hearing great things about your day.â€? As I have thought about that principal, and others, I have contemplated the question: How can principals foster inclusive schools for students with special education needs? This has led to multiple nationally funded research projects over the past 10 years that have taken me across Canada as I engaged with principals and those with whom they work.