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Political Influence and Governance

Political Influence and Governance Philosophy Statement

            At the heart of my political influence and governance philosophy is the inclusive school governance model.  Weishaar, Borsa, and Weishaar (2007) define this type of governance model as "a school organization that focuses its governance on providing a seamless instructional format that assists all educators to work effectively with children displaying a wide range of abilities and disabilities" (p. 17).  In this model, a child would receive assistance without being singled out or labeled as needing special services (Weishaar, Borsa & Weishaar, 2007).  This model definitely has its challenges associated with implementation, but I do believe that the field of education is ultimately moving in this direction.   

            This change in direction has been evident in policy shifts at both the state and federal levels.  According to Weishaar, Borsa, and Weishaar (2007), "the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 supported the idea of providing effective, research-based instruction to all children, a mandate to focus on outcomes for all children, promoted flexible use of funds to benefit all children, and emphasized that all teachers should be highly qualified" (p. 19).  Furthermore, in 2004, when the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was reauthorized, "it emphasized (1) prevention and early intervention by promoting research-based approaches in the instruction of all children, (2) whole-school approaches and interventions to limit the need for labeling, and (3) highly qualified teachers in special education" (Weishaar, Borsa, & Weishaar, 2007, p. 19).  Both policy shifts emphasized meeting the needs of all children, which is the goal behind the use of the inclusive governance model. 

            In order for an inclusive governance model to operate effectively, stakeholder groups will need to be involved throughout the development and implementation process.  Educational leaders need to elicit input from stakeholder groups and look for trends in the data to prioritize needs.  Effective educational leaders will then take the identified needs and put together an action plan to address the needs.  In addition to involving stakeholder groups, education leaders must also work closely with social agencies and human services.  Collaboration among agencies is essential in order to support the academic achievement and healthy social-emotional development of children (Adelman & Taylor, 2006).  Therefore, in order to truly reach the goal of inclusive school governance model - meeting the needs of all children, educational leaders must develop strong working relationships with other agencies.

References

Adelman, H. S., & Taylor, L. (2006). The school leader's guide to student learning supports: New directions for addressing barriers to learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Weishaar, M.K., Borsa, J.C., & Weishaar, P.M. (2007). Inclusive educational administration: A case-study approach (2nd ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc.

E. Political Influence and Governance

  1. exhibit an understanding of school districts as a political system, including governance models;
  2. demonstrate the ability to involve stakeholders in the development of educational policy;
  3. understand the role and coordination of social agencies and human services;
  4. demonstrate the ability to align constituencies in support of priorities and build coalitions for programmatic and financial support.

Artifacts

The following artifacts demonstrate my competency in the area of political influence and governance:

This artifact demonstrates my understanding of school districts as a political system, including governance models (E1).  Throughout my field experiences, I was able to witness first hand how the governance models of the St. Croix River Education District and Chisago Lakes School District function.  By attending meetings with the different stakeholder groups and through my discussions with my supervisors, I gained a solid understanding of the two different organizational structures.

This artifact demonstrates my understanding of the role and coordination of social agencies and human services (E3).  By participating in multi-disciplinary meetings, I worked collaboratively with the county on challenging cases and have developed an overall understanding of the county services available to students and families.  As an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team member, I have also worked with social agencies and human services to ensure consistency of programming and effective transitioning of services for students with disabilities.

 
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