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AN EXPLORATION OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS’ PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR ROLE IN CREATING INCLUSIVE SCHOOL ENVIRONMENTS

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dc.contributor.author Wells, Fidel V
dc.date.accessioned 2019-07-24T17:49:11Z
dc.date.available 2019-07-24T17:49:11Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12262/199
dc.description.abstract Maffuz, Fidel, An Exploration of Elementary School Principals Perceptions of Their Role in Creating Inclusive School Environments. Doctor of Education (Educational Leadership) May 2019, Houston Baptist University, Houston Texas. Purpose The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of elementary school principals in southeast Texas public schools regarding their role in creating inclusive learning environments, specifically strategies and supports school principals have implemented, if any, in order to foster inclusiveness for diverse groups. Methodology In this descriptive study, the researcher used a phenomenological qualitative research methodology. The researcher gained knowledge as the participants shared their feelings and described their perceptions from their own experiences. A total of 12 current elementary school principal participants addressed most questions on the survey and returned it to the researcher. Five of the twelve participants responded to ten additional written open-ended questions to have an opportunity to expand on their survey questions. Findings The overall findings based on the responses to survey questions and open-ended questions by elementary school principal participants indicated that five themes embedded in four categories emerged. The categories were identified as follows: a) Role; b) Strategies and Procedures; c) Barriers; and d) Support. The themes for role included limited experience working with diverse population and limited comfortableness. The Strategies and Procedures category themes included teaching and modeling acceptance, appreciation for differences, workshops for parents/guardians on family diversity, trainings on welcoming all types of families, including topics such as divorce, multiracial families, same-sex parents, grandparent-headed families, and immigrant families and continuous efforts to accept everyone. The themes for the category of Barriers included lack of trainings, lack of resources and parental dissatisfaction and inappropriateness to discuss outside the home. The Support category included themes of district trainings, modeling acceptance, willing parents, learning the needs of diverse population, workshops for educators inclusive of gender roles and gender stereotypes and written policy protecting students from harassment, violence and discrimination about actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Conclusions The need for creating inclusive elementary school learning environments is evident based on the participants’ responses in this study. The researcher learned that elementary school principals and their role in creating inclusive school learning environments is still a serious issue. Findings from the study data provided a clear understanding of the need and willingness of acquiring education in order to understand and support the diverse student population and their families at the elementary school level. Elementary school principals are open to receive professional development trainings that prepare them to foster and create inclusive environments for diverse students. Not having appropriate trainings was mentioned as a major barrier. Many elementary school principals feel that they need further professional development in topics related to diversity, gender and sexual orientation needs. Fable-Lindquist in Sadowski (2016) believes the district needs to move beyond its broad-based approaches to cultural competence and provide targeted professional development about gender identity issues. The district also lacks coordinated program for the inclusion of gender identity issues in curriculum. The study also discovered that building diverse inclusive learning environments in elementary schools requires the support of all staff and the community. Not only physical safety is important but also emotional safety. Most elementary school principal participants in this study agreed that the support from all school staff members and the community is necessary in creating inclusive learning environments for diverse students. Professional development and training for teachers and staff must be provided throughout the school year. As Miller and Mikulec (2017) indicated, despite the improvements that we may see in schools today, current research shows that most teachers are still not equipped to meet the needs of LGBTQ youth. LGBTQ youth are still at significant risk, and teachers and other school staff have the ability to create an environment that is safe and affirming. Teacher education programs and in-service professional development are needed to prepare future teachers to know how to address anti-LGBTQ behaviors. Regardless of the excuses and backlash a school or individual may face, it is the school personnel's responsibility and legal obligation to ensure the safety of every learner. It is, therefore, teacher education programs' obligation to ensure that pre-service teachers and other personnel have the necessary skills to make school safe.
dc.title AN EXPLORATION OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS’ PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR ROLE IN CREATING INCLUSIVE SCHOOL ENVIRONMENTS
dc.date.updated 2019-07-20T10:01:04Z
dc.language.rfc3066 en


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