Title: Workforce watch
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090862/00006
 Material Information
Title: Workforce watch
Series Title: Workforce watch
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education, College of Education, University of Florida
Publisher: Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education, College of Education, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: February 2004
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00090862
Volume ID: VID00006
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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School Leadership and Special


What Principals Should Know

Recruitment and retention of qualified
and certified principals are among
the greatest challenges confronting
school districts. A national survey con-
1 ducted in 2000 found that nearly half
of urban, rural, and suburban school
wide districts report shortages of interested
ified candidates for principal positions, even
though the number of individuals hold-
Is affect ing administrative licenses or endorse-
programs? ments exceeds the number of vacancies
each year. If U.S. Bureau of Labor Sta-
tistics predictions hold true, the need for
school administrators will increase by as
much as 20 percent by 2005.
To address shortages, some school dis-
tricts have employed uncertified individu-
als, or employed candidates who come
from outside education (e.g., industry,
the military). Some states have instituted
fast-track alternative certification routes.
While these responses have filled admin-
FEBRUARY2004 istrative openings, too often these new
PB-6 principals have little or no formal prepa-
Fr ration and/or school-based experience.
The shortage of qualified building prin-
cipals affects everyone, but there are
particular implications for the delivery of
ON PERSONNEL special education. The most significant
JDIES IN SPECIAL concerns center on the following areas
EDUCATION of competency:

* Do principals understand special
education? The principal's role is
pivotal in ensuring that students with
disabilities participate in standards-
based reform efforts. It can be difficult
for individuals with little or no prior
experience to understand and appre-
ciate the diverse needs of learners.
Even those principals who have prior
school experience may not have an
adequate understanding of how to
plan, coordinate, and deliver services
to meet the needs of students with
* Are principals prepared to support
special education personnel? The
potential exists for unqualified princi-
pals to exacerbate the current nation-
wide shortage of special educators.
It is estimated that as many as half
of all new special educators leave
the field within the first three years as
a result of issues related to school
leadership-inadequate administra-
tive support, insufficient preparation,
complex job responsibilities, and
overwhelming paperwork require-
At a time when principals must address
increased job complexity, rising stan-
dards, and greater demands for account-
ability, they also are being asked to take

H- ow will nation
shortages of qual
building principal
special education



on additional responsibilities re-
lated to special education. What
is the principal's role as it relates
to special education? What do
principals need to know about
special education? Read on to
gain insights from the research.

Did You Know That the
Principal's Role Is Critical to
Ensuring That Students with
Disabilities Achieve High
Specific duties associated with the
special education process vary
from district to district. Typically,
principals are responsible for
communicating with families and
teachers about special educa-
tion services, promoting disability
awareness, monitoring and evalu-
ating special education decisions
and services, and ensuring legal
compliance. Federal laws such
as the Individuals with Disabili-
ties Education Act (IDEA) and
No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
have expanded principals' roles
to include leadership related to,
among other things, ensuring that
students with disabilities have ap-
propriate access to the general
education curriculum, receive ef-
fective instructional support, and

-- he Interstate
School Leaders
Consortium has
developed unified
standards and
a professional
process for
Effective student
learning for all
students is the
primary focus.

their progress
through partici-
pation in large-
scale assessment

The importance
of effective in-
structional lead-
ership as it re-
lates to support-
ing special edu-
cation personnel
is well docu-
mented. Admin-
istrative support

affects the extent to which teach-
ers and specialists develop and
implement interventions designed
to improve student performance.
Principals may enhance outcomes
for students with disabilities by
demonstrating administrative sup-
port for special education in the
following ways:
* Focusing attention on instruc-
tional issues that result in the
success of all students.
* Fostering a school culture that
values inclusion.
* Facilitating the development of
appropriate student placements
and specialist assignments.
* Providing quality professional
development for teachers.
* Ensuring that policies and pro-
cedures support collaboration.
* Fostering family participation.
* Making resources available.
* Offering opportunities for spe-
cial education personnel to
share leadership.

Did You Know That
Knowledge of Special
Education May Enhance
a Principal's Leadership
Principals identify getting help and
information about implementing
special education programs as
their greatest needs. This is not
surprising, given that most prin-
cipals lack the necessary course-
work and field experience to cre-
ate learning environments that
emphasize academic success for
students with disabilities.

Principals should have knowledge
and skills that enable them to per-
form special education leadership
tasks. Examples include:
* The relationship between prin-
cipal leadership and special

education, especially as it re-
lates to student achievement
and teacher attrition.
* Unique learning and behavior-
al challenges of children with
* Laws that protect the educa-
tional rights of students with
disabilities, especially IDEA
and NCLB.
* Professional support needs of
instructional personnel (e.g.,
manageable caseload respon-
sibilities, opportunities to col-
laborate, etc.).
* Elements of inclusive schools.

For More Information
Information reported in this brief
was based on the COPSSE is-
sue brief, Principals and Special
Education: The Critical Role of
School Leaders, prepared by
Michael F. DiPaola and Chriss
Walther-Thomas. This document
can be found on the COPSSE web
site at www.copsse.org.

The Center on Personnel Studies in Spe-
cial Education is funded by the Office of
Special Education Programs of the U.S.
Department of Education [cooperative
agreement #H325Q000002]. COPSSE
research is designed to inform scholars
and policymakers about beginning teach-
er quality, effective initial preparation, and
the effects of preparation alternatives. The
Center is directed by Drs. Paul Sindelar
and Mary Brownell. The policy briefs were
produced by Warger, Eavy & Associates.
University of Florida, 300 Norman Hall,
PO. Box 117050, Gainesville, FL 32611
352-392-0701 (X283), www.copsse.org

Opnonsexpressed here
do not necessarily reflect the
views the U S Department
;hMr-'j of Education

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