What is inclusion and why is it important?
Page 3: Why Should School Environments Become Inclusive?
To better meet the diverse needs of all students, school personnel should work toward making their school more inclusive. Bringing about such changes, however, will require strong leadership. As school leaders, principals can encourage and inspire the entire school community to work in extraordinary ways, are uniquely situated to guide the process of creating an inclusive school, and are generally best able to foster the conditions necessary for this change to occur. School leaders who contemplate major school changes such as creating a more inclusive school environment often consider several imperatives: legal, professional, and moral.
|To build an inclusive school, leaders must have a thorough knowledge of legislation related to the education of children. Implicit in that legislation is the expectation that education will occur in inclusive settings. Toward that end, the law outlines what school personnel must do in regard to educating students.
Adapted from Postsecondary Education Consortium (2005).
|Whereas legislation outlines what school personnel must do in regard to educating students, professional standards help guide school leaders in how to effectively educate all students in an inclusive school environment. These standards, by which principals are evaluated and ultimately held accountable, support creating a school in which the needs of all students are met.
In general, professional standards are intended to guide school leaders in creating effective schools in which all students are viewed as capable of learning and are challenged. These professional standards for school leaders promote the creation of inclusive school environments. Three national organizations that support principals or provide guidance regarding such standards are highlighted in the table below.
Listen as Joseph Murphy and John Nori discuss how professional standards reflect the role of the modern principal as an instructional leader rather than a manager.
Joseph Murphy, PhD
Frank W. Mayborn Chair of Education
Director, Program Development
National Association of
Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
|Moral imperatives are actions that must be undertaken because of their inherent rightness or correctness, and despite whatever hardships or difficulty their undertaking might involve. School leaders who believe that all students can learn and should have access to and be able to participate in instructional and extracurricular activities given the appropriate supports want to create an inclusive environment because they believe that it is the right thing to do.|
Two key researchers in school leadership, Michael Fullan and Thomas J. Sergiovanni, stress that nothing is more powerful in creating school change than a school leader who responds to a moral imperative.
Moral purpose accompanied by a powerful pedagogy is unstoppable.
Moral leaders concentrate on doing the right thing, not on doing things right. Moral leadership transforms a school from just an organization to a learning community—one that can inspire the kinds of commitment, devotion, and service from all stakeholders it takes for all students learn and grow.
Listen as a panel of experts discusses the moral imperative related to creating an inclusive school environment.
Mel Riddile, EdD
National Association of Secondary
School Principals (NASSP)
Parent of a child
with a disability
Evans Elementary School