Deconstructing Systems of Segregation: Leadership Challenges in an Urban School
Special education policies can create structures of segregation and inequality. School leaders are often tasked with dismantling these structures while meeting expectations related to accountability policies. This case study involves a new principal at an urban school in a district with a long history of segregation reassigned to work at one of the more challenging schools in the district. The district had just begun making special education reforms across the district to increase the amount of access students with disabilities have in the general education classroom. The new principal was directed to raise student scores on state-mandated tests and to increase the inclusivity of the school. The case explores issues related to special education law, social justice leadership, response to intervention, school administration, and developing school culture.