American High School Principals Create a Caring Professional Learning Community in Serving Students with Disability in the Mid-Western Schools: A Basic Qualitative Study

Principals play a significant role in addressing school issues of service for students with disabilities in multicultural school contexts. This basic qualitative study explores how the U.S. high school principals create a caring professional learning community in delivering a high quality of service for students with a disability of ableism in Mid-West Michigan. This study could provide a clue to the principals, policymakers, teachers, and parents in offering support to the students with disabilities of ableism in their growth for their learning outcome and personal life integration. The semi-structural protocols were used to conduct a one-on-one in-person interviewing with a total of 12 participants, including principal (N=1), vice-principal (N=1), teachers (N=4), parents(N=3), and students (N=3) in this study. Findings show that principals face three major challenges, including (1) insufficient resources and lack of confidence; (2) lack of systematic and professional training; and (3) poor teamwork. Also, principals play three major roles, including (1) coordinator, (2) supervisor and evaluator, and (3) creator. Principals further use the three major strategies in serving students with a disability, including (1) holding discipline of justice, equality, respect, and collaboration in service; (2) a trust-based professional team; and (3) self-discipline and administration by regulation. Therefore, the future study uses the sequential mixed-method research design to investigate, describe, and interpret the principals’ experiences of leading students with disabilities in sustainable school growth.

Keywords: Communities of Practice, Disabilities, Principals, Qualitative Research, Special Education