The National Institute on Leadership, Disability and Students Placed at Risk A collaboration between faculty of California State University, Roger Williams University, the Universities of Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Sam Houston State University
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Helping a Wider Range of Students Realize the Promise of Postsecondary Education
David T. Conley, University of Oregon
Julie Alonzo, University of Oregon

What knowledge and skills do today’s high school students need to be able to continue their education? What can schools do to better prepare all their students for life after graduation? This module presents findings from research that identifies the knowledge and skills required for success in entry-level college courses. If students can be working toward mastery of these knowledge and skills while in high school, they will be better prepared for postsecondary in a range of institutions, including community colleges and technical training programs. The module examines issues of equity and how high schools are organized to result in inequitable outcomes for students in terms of postsecondary readiness. The module leads learners through a process to analyze the ways in which their high school’s curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices promote or limit opportunities for postsecondary success for a wide range of students. The materials then suggest what school administrators can do to create school environments with high standards linked to postsecondary success that are applicable to essentially all students in the school.

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High-Performance, Low Fault-Tolerant Organizations
David T. Conley, University of Oregon
Julie Alonzo, University of Oregon

This module draws from literature on high reliability organizations, school reform, and leadership to present an overview of how administrators can make their schools more effective for all students. Applying lessons from high reliability organizations, the module discusses factors that enable administrators to enable their schools to improve continuously so that learning improves for all students. Students are guided through the process of identifying, explaining, and applying to their own schools the qualities of high performance, low fault-tolerant organizations through a series of readings; an interactive, structured lecture delivered via PowerPoint; and suggested individual and group activities. Notes on the PowerPoint slideshow provide instructors with suggestions for formative assessments and ways to increase the interactivity of the lecture. The module is appropriate for use in educational leadership courses and school administrator preparation programs where students seek to understand how to design schools where the needs of all students are met.

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Migration and Education: Linking Schools with the Needs of Latino Immigrants
Regina Cortina, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This curriculum module looks at the effects of migration on the school systems in the United States and the role that administrators can play in making school systems inclusive for immigrant populations. The aim is to help school personnel better understand the economic, social, cultural and family circumstances of immigrants, primarily those coming from Latin America, who work and live in the United States, and to learn how to work with these communities in their schools. This module on Migration and Education addresses 1) the current patterns of migration that bring immigrants to the United States; 2) the relevance of learning about the cultural backgrounds of Latino immigrants, that is, the fund of knowledge approach to ensure literacy for immigrant learners; and 3) parent-school relations. Each topic will have companion resources including additional readings and materials that could be utilized in a variety of courses, such as multicultural education, leadership and administration courses, and teacher education courses.

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Essential Components of a Comprehensive Schoolwide Reading Assessment System
Michael Coyne, University of Connecticut

This module describes how assessment of early literacy skills can help administrators and instructional leaders promote beginning reading success for all children, including children placed at risk, by improving instruction and intervention through early identification and monitoring response to intervention efforts. The module presents a conceptual framework for thinking about early literacy assessment across four distinct purposes: (a) screening; (b) diagnosis; (c) progress monitoring; and (d) measuring student outcomes. The module describes how developing a coordinated schoolwide system to assess students’ early literacy skills across each of these four purposes can facilitate informed and ongoing instructional decision making at the school, grade, and individual student level.

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Teaching All Students to Read: An Introduction to the Scientific Knowledge Base in Beginning Reading
Michael Coyne, University of Connecticut
Abraham DeLeon, University of Connecticut

This module introduces administrators and educational leaders to the extensive scientific knowledge base in beginning reading with the goal of providing every child with the opportunity and the support to become a successful reader by third grade. The module consists of content and learning activities focused on understanding why reading is essential to success in our society; identifying major sources of scientific knowledge in beginning reading; describing important conclusions from the extensive scientific knowledge base in beginning reading including why teaching reading is urgent, why teaching reading is complex, and how schools can teach almost all children how to read; and specifying ways that administrators can serve as instructional leaders for beginning reading improvement.

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The Birth of a Full Service Community School: Molly Stark Elementary School
Theodore Creighton, Sam Houston State University
Franci Roberts, Sam Houston State University

This module introduces school administrators to concepts and practices associated with a full service community school. The module is designed to educate students, teachers, and administrators how a full service community school can make a difference in student success, by becoming knowledgeable in the different components and models of a full service community school. This module is intended for use after viewing and discussing Module One: An Overview of Full Service Community Schools, narrated by Dr. Dean Corrigan. PLEASE NOTE THE DOWNLOAD TIME IS LONG DUE TO THE SIZE OF THE .ZIP FILE.

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Family Centered Community Schools
Theodore Creighton, Sam Houston State University
Franci Roberts, Sam Houston State University

This module introduces school administrators to concepts and practices associated with family-centered community schools. The module is designed around three principles of community schools including: (1) a commitment to family and community centered practice; (2) cultivating competence; and (3) collaborative learning. The module is comprised of three sections: a rationale and literature base for family centered community schools, (PowerPoints 1 and 2), and a student field activity.

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Improving Adolescent Literacy in Secondary Schools: Frameworks for Instructional and Organizational
Donald D. Deshler, University of Kansas

This module is intended for school leaders to understand the magnitude of the adolescent literacy problem and various instructional and organizational change strategies that can be used to address this challenge.

 

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Equity Audits for Social Justice
Cynthia Gerstl-Pepin, University of Vermont

This module explores the utility of conducting an equity audit as a way to examine whether a school and/or district supports social justice via equity in academic achievement. At a time when accountability is being framed as a tool to ensure justice-- evidenced in such policies as the landmark No Child Left Behind Act --the module provides practical tools for examining the degree to which schools are supporting equity. Equity audits directly address the issue of "achievement gaps" (inequitable academic achievement due to discrimination such as learning disabilities, poverty, racism, and/or sexism) which are related to structural forms of inequity (e.g., the link between social class and achievement) in schools.

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Moving Our Thinking About Family-School Relationships: From Deficit Oriented to Assets-Based
Madeline M. Hafner, University of Utah
Peter Miller, University of Utah

Deeply held beliefs and assumptions about students and families impact how school leaders engage in their work. In order to facilitate a genuine appreciation for the strengths each child and family brings to the school community, educational leaders must first recognize how "deficit thinking" (Valencia, 1997) influences their attitudes and beliefs about students and families, particularly students with disability labels and students placed at risk of academic failure. Once cognizant of how these assumptions influence family-school relationships we can move our thinking from a "deficit thinking" perspective to an "assets-oriented" view (Scheurich & Skrla, 2003). To this end, the Moving Our Thinking curriculum module provides participants the opportunity to: 1) recognize patterns of "deficit thinking" within family-school relationships; 2) identify an "assets-oriented" view of family-school relationships; 3) distinguish between parent involvement and parent-school collaboration; and 4) demonstrate specific leadership strategies to increase collaboration between families and school personnel.

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A School-Wide Model for Multi-Level Learning in an Inclusive School
Michael L. Hardman, University of Utah
Monica L. Ferguson, University of Utah

Today’s schools are more diverse than ever before, and include students from ethnically diverse backgrounds, those with disabilities, as well as children at-risk of educational failure. To meet the changing and complex instructional needs of these students, teachers need to recognize and accommodate differing learning rates, learning styles, skill levels, and interests (Haager & Klinger, 2005; Hardman, Drew, & Egan, 2005; Kameenui, Carnine, Dixon, Simmons, & Coyne, 2002; Lenz & Deshler, 2004; Peterson & Hittie, 2003). Inclusive, multi-level teaching challenges and supports academically diverse students to achieve within a diverse classroom and school. This module is designed to provide school administrators with the competencies to apply the principles and framework of multi-level instruction to elementary and secondary schools. Participants begin with a review of the research literature followed by an individual or group study session using the Study Guide. Participants respond to Essential Questions by engaging in four activities designed to apply basic principles through the use of case studies.

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Reculturing Schools to Foster Inclusive Learning Communities: What School Leaders Need to Know and be Able to Do
Kristina Hesbol, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Doug Gardner, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Barth (1990) indicates that he would like to work in a school "characterized by a profound respect for and encouragement of diversity, where important differences among children and adults were celebrated rather than seen as problems to remedy" (p. 10). To that end, this module introduces the understanding necessary to lead schools in a reculturing process leading to the development of genuinely inclusive learning communities. An inclusive, participatory leadership model is built into the module, reflecting distributed leadership, analogous to the inclusion of all constituents as valued members of the learning community. Current research on practices which support authentic learning in the preparation of innovative instructional leaders supports the hands-on, interactive, inquiry-based processes. The scenarios included build in opportunities to individually and collectively reflect on both past and current practice and to purposefully develop a systemic process to shift their cultural paradigms to support inclusion, both philosophically and pragmatically.

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Social Justice and Inclusion: An Epistemological View of Disability and Educational Opportunity
David R. Johnson, University of Minnesota
Nicola Alexander, University of Minnesota
Christopher Johnstone, University of Minnesota

The foundations of social justice are predicated on a set of values and beliefs that ensure that school environments, curriculum, and instruction are based on respect for all students and are grounded in their inclusion and full participation in their community and school settings. Educational leaders need an opportunity to explore this foundation of values and beliefs regarding students and families and their participation in schools and their communities. This module examines the historical, contextual, and philosophical meanings of disability and what it means to be placed at risk. Central to the module are underlying assumptions and contemporary examples that promote positive values and beliefs toward inclusion, integration, and social justice. The module is comprised of four sections -- Historical Perspectives on Disability, The Federal Role in Serving School-Age Children with Disabilities, Inclusion: Values, Perspectives and Practices, and Leadership for Inclusive Schooling. A case study with questions, reading assignments, and PowerPoint file, including instructor's notes, reflective questions, and references are also included.

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“We Don’t Do Inclusion Here…,” And Other Blunders
David R. Johnson, University of Minnesota
Christopher Johnstone, University of Minnesota

School leaders face a series of challenges every day. Parents, teachers, and students place demands on educational leaders to make sound, quick decisions. Pressures on leaders increase when they attempt to address the complex issues of students with disabilities and those placed at risk. While many educational leaders thrive on making decisions under pressure, untimely and poorly considered decisions can cost leaders headaches, legal problems, or even their jobs. This module examines real-life “blunders” that educational leaders have made concerning issues of inclusion, parental contact, and student behavior. The module uses a case study approach to unpack the fallout of hasty decisions and provides leaders with practical tools to prevent (or undo) “blunders.”
Central to the module are underlying assumptions and contemporary examples that promote positive values and beliefs toward inclusion, integration, and social justice. The module is organized around four “blunders” entitled “You’re child is too disabled for regular education classes,” “If you would just discipline your child at home life would be easier at school,” “I don’t care if your child has a disability, rules are rules,” and “Those supports are not going to be provided because we simply can’t afford it.” Case studies with questions, reading assignments, and PowerPoint file including instructor’s notes, reflective questions, and references are included for each “blunder.”

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Using Surveys to Assess Perceptions of Justice in the School Setting
Tammy Kolbe, University of Maryland
Kieran Killeen, University of Vermont

This instructional module introduces students to a variety of organizational assessment tools designed to inform leaders about issues of justice in their organizations. The module is appropriate for a variety of foundations courses or introductory quantitative methods or statistics classes tailored for school and instructional leaders. The module includes presentation materials designed to review core concepts in survey methods, issues of reliability and validity, and item scaling. The module introduces students to a series of survey instruments designed to assess procedural and distributive justice issues in organizations, including general procedural fairness, performance feedback, promotion issues, the solving of work-related problems, input and involvement in decision making. The module contains background readings appropriate for the examination of distributive justice generally, and as applied to the preparation of educational leaders.

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Conceiving and Measuring Equity
Kieran Killeen, University of Vermont

This instructional module is designed for an introductory quantitative methods or statistics class tailored for school and instructional leaders. The assignment borrows statistical tools traditionally used in the field of school finance to measure and discuss equity within a school setting. These tools are designed to stimulate conversation among a school-based data analysis or leadership team about issues of inequity in student performance outcomes. Attention is focused on underachieving students, as well as students with disabilities. The module includes a case, an assignment, a datafile, guiding questions for the instructor, and a PowerPoint presentation. Students will analyze a datafile and compile a professional memorandum prior to a second class session where the findings are discussed and linked back to issues of equity reviewed in the assigned readings. The module assumes knowledge of Microsoft Excel and includes criteria for assessing the student-work.

 

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The Special Education Law Landscape: A Guide for School Leaders
Laura McNeal, Georgia State University

This curriculum module focuses on helping school leaders obtain a broader understanding of how to create better educational environments for students with disabilities. According to the U.S. Department of Education, nearly 6 million children currently receive special education services in secondary schools. A series of curriculum activities will provide school leaders the opportunity to critically examine and discuss the broader context of leadership for social justice and inclusive schooling for students with disabilities. This module will also examine the major special education laws as well as recent case law impacting the education of students with disabilities.

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Ethical Decision Making for School Leaders
Rosemary Papa, University of Connecticut

Ethical decision making is critical for understanding and demonstrating values that are inclusive for all students. Ethical decision making is underscored by philosophical, social and moral standards and codes, and these form the basis for understanding the relationship between one’s values and decisions made in the organizational setting. This module intends that the school leader apply normative ethical theories to their educational setting and thus ensure the school leader’s “moral compass” serves as the guide to complex decision making.

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Collaboration and Teaming I: An Introduction in Collaboration and Its Essential Characteristics
Katharine Shepherd, University of Vermont

In spite of their importance and complexity, collaborative principles and practices are often assumed rather than explicitly taught in pre-service education programs. The purpose of this module is to introduce school principals and other administrators to critical elements of collaboration as identified in the literature. Specifically, the module introduces participants to the origins of collaboration, its underlying principles and relationship to issues of social justice, and specific structures, processes and practices that promote effective collaboration in team settings. Following an introduction to its historical roots, the module uses discussions, small group activities, and a case study approach to develop participants’ knowledge and skills in collaboration. The module emphasizes the importance of collaboration within the context of school and family partnerships. It concludes by having participants assess a team with which they are associated to determine the degree to which elements of effective collaboration are demonstrated.

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Collaboration and Teaming II: Stages of Team Development and Effective Communication for Collaboration
Katharine Shepherd, University of Vermont

Module I in Collaboration and Teaming introduced participants to the critical elements of collaboration as identified in the literature, using a case study approach and an applied analysis to develop participants’ skills in identifying the strengths and challenges of specific teams. In Module II, participants will be introduced to four stages of team development, which are recognized in the literature as a framework for understanding the ways in which collaboration tends to evolve over time in a team settings (Friend & Cook, 2003; Villa, Thousand, Stainback, & Stainback, 1992; Tuckman & Jensen, 1977; Wheelan, 1999). Participants will apply theories of team development through a case study activity, and will use this as a springboard for a discussion of ways in which school leaders can support teams in working through difficult situations to further their growth towards optimal development. In addition, participants will engage in a series of role play activities to help develop individual skills in communication and collaboration, including the skills of listening, clarifying information, and asking questions that support proactive problem-solving in challenging situations. The role play activities will center on situations in which school leaders need to respond to parent and teacher concerns regarding students with disabilities and those at-risk of school failure. Rubrics will be used to assess participants’ skills during the role play scenarios, and to identify areas for individual improvement.

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Leadership as Praxis: Empowering At-risk Students of Color and Their Families
Linda C. Tillman, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

This module provides current and future leaders opportunities to review the literature and to discuss and reflect on the impact of race, ethnicity, culture, social class and disability on students of color in the school and the larger society. Activities in this module are designed to encourage participants to think about leadership from a praxis-oriented perspective that will allow them to combine critical leadership theory with action (Foster, 1986) in their work with teachers, students, parents, and the community. Future school leaders will be encouraged to critically reflect on their assumptions about leadership relative to working with at-risk students of color and their families. Additionally, participants will investigate and make recommendations about strategies that enhance the participation of families of color in the education of their children.

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Teachers as Leaders for Inclusive Schooling: Why, What, and How
Jennifer York-Barr, University of Minnesota

Purposes of this Module: To recognize the essential leadership contributions of teachers in the realization of inclusive schooling and to identify conditions and actions that support the work of teacher leaders.

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