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Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program

Education (also CAGS)

Year Degree Awarded

2015

Month Degree Awarded

September

First Advisor

Mary Lynn Boscardin

Subject Categories

Disability and Equity in Education | Special Education Administration

Abstract

ABSTRACT

SPECIAL EDUCATION LEADERSHIP PRACTICES THAT SUPPORT POSTSECONDARY AND TRANSITION SERVICE DELIVERY FOR STUDENTS WITH SEVERE DISABILITIES

SEPTEMBER 2015

LAUREL A. PELTIER, B.A., GORDON COLLEGE, WENHAM

M.A., UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND, KINGSTON

C.A.G.S., UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST

Ed.D. UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST

Directed by Dr. Mary Lynn Boscardin

In the past decade, researchers have made new forays into understanding educational leadership and the connections between leadership practices and outcomes for students. While evidence-based leadership practices at the building and district level are critical to the success of students in general and special education settings as a whole, the need for effective leadership in special education as a unique discipline within the field has also received significant attention over the past decade. Another area of special education practice that has received significant attention over the past decade is transition service delivery for secondary students with intellectual disabilities. The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the intersection of special education leadership priorities and effective transition service delivery for high school students with severe disabilities. Specifically, this study addresses the research question, “What skills and knowledge do special education leaders prioritize when leading transition programs for secondary students with severe disabilities?” Using a demographic questionnaire, a Q-sort and follow up questions, this dissertation gathered information from 17 special education leaders in Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Advisory Groups and 17 special education leaders who have not participated in Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment to identify differences in each group’s priorities for educational leadership activities. This study of the nexus between specific leadership activities and secondary transition services for students with severe disabilities has the potential to address long-standing barriers to college access and success for this student population and serve as a guide for professional practice and policy decisions.

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