Date of Award

May 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education and Human Development

Committee Member

Hans Klar

Committee Member

Michelle L Boettcher

Committee Member

Angela Carter

Committee Member

Natasha N Croom


There are numerous pieces of legislation in the United States that mandate all students (e.g. English as a Second or Other Language/ESOL students, special education students, gifted students, and 504 Accommodation Plan students) are included in the general education classroom as much as is appropriate based on each student’s strengths and needs. Legislation such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Lau v. Nichols (1974), and the Every Student Succeeds Act and their impact on the equity for all students in general education classrooms are discussed. According to available research, principal and teacher training programs are not adequately preparing these personnel to create inclusive educational environments.

Using the appreciative inquiry framework, the aim of this study was to determine the perceived supports that two South Carolina high school principals provide to general education teachers in meeting the needs of all students within their classrooms. I conducted individual interviews with three general education teachers, an ESOL teacher, a special education teacher, a 504 coordinator, a gifted teacher, and the principal at each school site. I found that both principals engaged in many instructional leadership practices, but that these practices alone did not create an inclusive environment. Staff at the two high schools reported that principals provided support by creating a vision of inclusion, sharing resources, providing professional development opportunities related to meeting the needs of various learners, and creating structures in the school that allowed for collaboration.



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