A Principal’s Guide to Special Education

Guest post by David Bateman:

I sincerely wish there was not a need for this presentation in Dallas. I wish that ALL students learned their subject matter easily, that no students had difficulty getting along with others, and that no students had disabilities preventing them from fully participating in school. I also wish that all teachers understood exactly what they needed to do for students who struggle with learning, and that parents of students with disabilities understood their roles and responsibilities in making sure all students receive a sound education.

But this is not the case. There are students who have great difficulty with learning. There are students who require aides or paraprofessionals to make it through the day, and there are students who will require life-long supports. There are also teachers who do not want to work with students with disabilities because of concerns that such students may get in the way of their lessons or take more time than other students to learn material.

Students with disabilities do no wake up every morning thinking about ways to make the jobs of educators more difficult. This presentation at NASSP is based on a book designed to help principals meet the needs of students with disabilities, and to make sure the services necessary are provided. It is also designed to help principals lead teachers, work with parents, and understand the different rules relating to discipline that apply specifically to students with disabilities. I realize many principal training programs do not include much specific content related to students with disabilities, and this book is designed to help fill that void.

The book is organized around eight very important themes. Each theme will be addressed in greater detail in the presentation and in the book.

  1. The principal is responsible for the education of all children in the school
  2. The principal needs to know special education
  3. The principal needs to make sure that staff know what is necessary for special education
  4. The principal needs to check on staff to make sure they are implementing services for students with disabilities
  5. The principal should lead efforts for data collection
  6. The principal should make sure ALL staff are aware of the process for identification of students with disabilities
  7. The principal may have to lead meetings related to services for students with disabilities
  8. The principal needs to know all students in the building and be ready to talk about them.

David Bateman will be presenting A Principal’s Guide to Special Education: Helping All Students on Saturday, February 8th at Ignite ’14.  For more and to register, visit www.nasspconference.org.


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