Inclusion: Not a School Problem but a Community Issue.Report as inadecuate

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This paper addresses the role of rural special education administrators when placing disabled students in regular classrooms. When dealing with inclusion, problems are intensified in rural areas because administrators, teachers, parents, and students come into contact with each other at the grocery store, church, and community events. Because school administrators typically have multiple roles in the community, they are highly visible and under constant public scrutiny. Four real-life examples illustrate the multiple roles of a special education administrator in a small rural school district. The special education director found herself placed in difficult positions, personally as well as professionally. Strategies that the administrator used to promote successful inclusion involved allowing general education teachers to volunteer in the development of inclusive classrooms; linking regular and special education teachers before placement in order to locate adequate resources and explore possible problems; ensuring that regular and special education teachers had time to meet; making resources available and identifying training needs; and having a plan in place to assist team members in solving problems. Additionally, the literature provides general suggestions for administrators that rural special education directors can apply, including focusing on the end product, paying attention to tasks such as returning phone calls and following up on requests, knowing strengths and weaknesses, being visible and observant, communicating effectively, attending to relationships, learning to deal with criticism, and keeping conflict to a minimum. (LP)

Descriptors: Administrator Role, Administrators, Collegiality, Conflict Resolution, Elementary Secondary Education, Inclusive Schools, Mainstreaming, Regular and Special Education Relationship, Rural Areas, Rural Schools, School Community Relationship, Special Education, Student Placement, Teacher Administrator Relationship, Teacher Role

Author: Schroth, Gwen; Moorman, Mary Ann


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