A multiple case study on elementary principals' instructional leadership for students with learning disabilities
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Using a multiple gating procedure, five elementary principals were identified as special education leaders. This descriptive study uses a multiple-case study design to explore principal’s (a) understanding and perceptions of instructional strategies associated with improved outcomes for students with learning disabilities (LD), and (b) their instructional leadership practices utilized to promote educators’ instruction of students with LD. Findings reveal that the majority of participants (n = 4) expressed at least a moderate understanding of effective instruction for students with LD, perceived implementation of these practices as necessary (n = 5), but reported mixed perceptions regarding feasibility. As expected, the five participants also described different levels of utilizing instructional leadership practices to promote educator’s instruction of students with LD. However, the two participants with advanced special education degrees were distinct from the others with respect to their combined high understanding, positive perceptions, and instructional leadership practices utilized to promote educators’ instruction of students with LD. Overall propositions indicate: (a) principals in this study who possessed higher understanding of effective instructional practices for students with LD and were interested in improving this understanding, were more apt to engage in instructional leadership practices to promote effective instruction for students with LD, (b) principal’s prioritization of developing a collaborative vision and practices among educators to promote effective instruction of students with LD may be beneficial to improving instruction for students with LD, and (c) principal’s intentional interaction and support with both general and special educators may lead to higher levels of collaboration among educators as well as more effective instruction for students with LD.