Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Educating a diverse student population is a core principle of international school education. Historically, many international schools have had admissions policies that excluded students with special learning needs. However, admission policies have changed to require more inclusiveness and school support for a wider range of students and for effectively meeting their needs. The study was based on change theory. Of interest was how school leaders best supported the change process to create the conditions for success in the context of changing admissions policies. Research questions targeted strategies that supported change and student success that were used to change the culture of a school to be inclusive of students with special learning needs. A bounded case study approach was used, selecting an international school that has successfully gone through this change. Interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of 9 school leaders and teachers from those who volunteered and based on criteria to have a balanced group of types of positions and experience with inclusion. Findings were supportive of understanding the change process in context and were focused on ensuring common understandings among all stakeholders, creating systems and resources to support inclusive practices, ensuring ongoing and embedded professional learning, and understanding the diversity challenges inherent in the international school context. A project was developed to provide international school leaders with professional development based on the findings so they can effectively assist teachers and school personnel in making changes towards inclusion. The project contributes to social change by providing access and support to international schools for students who previously may have been excluded based on their special learning needs.