Document Type



Special Education

First Advisor's Name

Elizabeth Cramer

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Patricia Barbetta

Third Advisor's Name

Peter Cistone

Fourth Advisor's Name

Louis Manfra

Fifth Advisor's Name

Diana Valle-Riestra


Inclusion, Special Education, Leadership, Administration, Principal

Date of Defense



Programs require strong support and guidance from those in leadership positions to ensure proper implementation (Fullen, 2001). Consequently, school site principals must rely on the training they have received to support them in making appropriate decisions. It is the school site principal’s leadership that is pivotal in the success of students with disabilities (DiPaola & Walther-Thomas, 2003; Monteith, 2000). In fact, the principal has a moral obligation to provide an environment that supports social justice in schools (Grogan & Andrews, 2002). The inclusion of students with disabilities does just that—it ensures that these students are not segregated to a “separate but equal” education. This study utilized a participant survey to collect data on principals’ beliefs and training in special education. This information was compared to the percentage of time students with disabilities spent with their non-disabled peers in the principals’ respective schools. An analysis was conducted to identify if a linear relationship exists between the selected variables and the inclusion percentages. Open-ended questions were included in the original survey which allowed for a thematic analysis of the responses. These responses were utilized to allow participants to further express their thoughts on the identified variables. Results indicated that there were no statistically significant relationships identified between the beliefs and training of secondary school site principals and the percentage of time that their students in special education spend with their non-disabled peers. Although the original research questions were not supported, further post hoc analysis indicated that the results obtained did support that the principals believed inclusion had a social benefit to students. Additional investigation into the academic benefits of inclusion is still needed. In addition, principals who indicated that they had some type of training in special education indicated a higher percentage that the individual student should be the focal point when making placement decisions. These results support the need for further research in the area of principal preparation programs and their relationships to the daily practice of school site principals.





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