Inclusive principal leadership is an approach to school leadership that builds a culture of inclusion and shared responsibility among staff to ensure that all students thrive. The move to inclusive principal leadership can happen anywhere with the right vision, strategy, and resources. (To read more about inclusive principal leadership and what it looks like in schools, you can read part 1 of this blog series.)
There are many ways for states and districts to encourage principals to foster an inclusive culture. Our recent work with The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Collaborative for Inclusive Principal Leadership (NCIPL) produced a website with many resources for states and districts to take action and make change.
As a parent, you might be wondering how you can play a role or push for more principals to take an inclusive approach to their school leadership. Here are ways that you can engage to help more schools become positive, inclusive environments for all learners:
- Reach out to your state’s education officials.
As your state and district are making important decisions about how to spend money, allocate resources, train educators, and serve students, they need to hear from parents. Check in with your local and state officials to find out what they are doing to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. Let them know what is important to you and that you believe it is important to invest in and provide professional development for principals on inclusive leadership. Offices you can reach out to include your state’s Chief State School Officer, Superintendent, or Commission. You can also talk to someone in your state’s office of Educator Effectiveness, Special Education office, or School Improvement office.
- Speak to your School Board
School Boards play an important role and make many decisions about your local education system. It is important for School Boards to hear from parents about what is working and what is not, and where change is needed. You can use these School Board Advocacy tips from Understood.org to ask your School Board to help make inclusive principal leadership a reality in more schools.
- Talk to your school’s principal
Some principals know how to effectively collaborate and regularly engage with families. However, for some, engaging with families of students with disabilities happens infrequently. Talk with your school’s principal about your vision for your child’s education and ways that you think your school or district could more actively engage with parents and invest in inclusive principal leadership.
Parent engagement and advocacy are essential to long-lasting school improvement for students with disabilities. It is critical for school leaders and state officials to hear from parents about the practices that are most essential to student success. With more principals fostering inclusive environments and prioritizing the needs of each unique learner, all students with disabilities can thrive.
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