Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Sara Hahn-Huston, DE.d.

Second Advisor

Jenelle Stone, Ph.D.


This improvement science dissertation in practice (ISDiP) was aimed at increasing 17 school- based administrators’ perceptions of their preparedness and capacity for supervising special programs, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, by providing responsive and differentiated professional development (PD). In this study, I evaluated the impact of targeted PD and support on participants’ perceptions over the course of the study in seven categories related to students with disabilities. In addition, I sought to determine what PD and support school-based administrators felt they needed to supervise programs for students with disabilities successfully and which method of delivery worked best for their learning. The implementation of differentiated and responsive PD and support over the course of the study had a statistically significant and positive change on the perception of participants’ preparedness and capacity for supervising special programs. In addition, I found school-based administrators who participated in the study overwhelmingly preferred face-to-face meetings over group PD and other resources as a method of delivery. The increasingly rigorous requirements for federal and statewide accountability in providing a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in a more inclusive educational setting for students with disabilities demand a greater depth of preparedness and capacity from school-based administrators. The delivery of targeted PD in administrative training programs and school districts, coupled with differentiated assistance at the individual school level, is essential for the success of administrators and improved student outcomes.

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