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Educator’s Role in Policy Development

The Learning Resources for this module identify the individuals or stakeholders, involved in the policy process. Readings illustrate how stakeholders influence what problems become policy issues and policy issue solutions. Stakeholders also influence what policy issues gain attention on an agenda and what policy issues result in adopted policy. Special education leaders have the option to participate as policy actors who influence the development of informed local, state, and federal policy. However, following policy formulation and adoption, leaders must participate in the process of its implementation at the appropriate level(s).

In this Discussion, you will examine the role of a special education leader when a federal policy must be implemented in a local setting. Successfully implementing a federal policy into local practice is affected by how well local leaders develop and sustain two critical features: resource support (or capacity) and the motivation (or will) of the responsible implementers activating the policy locally. You will base your discussion post on an interview you will conduct with a special education leader who has implemented a federal policy in their local setting, and the experiences and actions the leader provided to assure resource support and motivation to successfully implement the policy.

To prepare:

  • Review the module Learning Resources related to policy development and implementation.
  • Identify and interview a special education leader who has participated in policy development, policy implementation at the local, state, or federal (country) level, or both.
    • What is your role in the field of special education?
    • What problem(s) led to the development of the special education policy with which you were involved?
    • What role did you play in ensuring effective development or implementation of the policy at the local, state, or federal level?
    • What advice could you provide about the policy development or implementation process and the successful implementation of policies at the local, state and/or federal level?

Then, answer the following:

  • In what ways did their experience align with the readings and resources in this module as it relates to policy development, implementation processes, or both? In what ways did it not align and how?
  • What do you believe was the most important piece of advice the special education leader shared that you believe would benefit future special education leaders in policy development, implementation, or both?

By Day 3 of Week 6

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings. As you read their responses, note those to which you would like to respond with advice, questions, or comments.

Respond to two or more of your colleagues’ postings by comparing and contrasting the responses of your interviewee with the responses of their interviewees. Address the following in your response:

  • Compare the roles your leader in developing or implementing local policy with those of your colleagues.
  • Support or refute the advice offered by your colleague using evidence from the readings to substantiate your response.
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  • (1st Collegue) Kimberly Walker DIscussion Educator’s Role in Policy Development: Interview:

            For this assignment I was able to conduct my interview with one of the head members of the special education department in my county. As was lucky enough to be selected to attend a special education teacher seminar that focused on the changes, we have seen in the last two years. After this seminar I met with Mrs. B and we discussed many topics. Mrs. B has worked hard to ensure all our special education students are identified earl and placement is priority, so the proper level of support can begin for our students.

Mrs. B was sure to emphasize her role in supporting special education teachers. Mrs. B was once a special education teacher herself and remembers the value of early intervention and proper placement for the special education population. Mrs. B assist schools in the process of identifying our students with needs and guides ne teachers and administration in collecting proper data to ensure the placement will have a positive impact on each students learning. Mrs. B takes the time to outline the needed information for the RTI process in order to ensure there is no time wasted in the early intervention process. Mrs. B has outlined who and what needs to be a part of this process. Mrs. B implanted a process checklist to make sure to guide those who are new. Mrs. B firmly believes that the proper process will be followed by the greatest success.

Mrs. B visits the local schools to ensure that the process of early intervention is being followed. Mrs. B does not hesitate to be part of meetings to ensure that all staff and parents are aware of the process and steps that will be taken to support each student that is identified. Mrs. B makes a point to make sure that during this process teachers remember that not all our students benefit from being in the general education classroom and that many times slowing this process only takes away from the effectiveness of the curriculum. Riley-Tillman et al., (2020) explains, students who do not benefit from the regular curriculum and instruction require a more in-depth examination. Mrs. B comes prepared with research and the ability to make the RTI and intervention process clear and straight forward as she explains her ideas for identifying the student, collecting data, and determining supports. Fowler et al., (2011) states, research is a key source of fresh ideas.

The advice I would provide about identifying students, collecting data, and determining supports would be very similar to Mrs. B’s. Setting a routine that can be followed by all teachers and help move the process along in order to ensure proper supports for our students is key to creating a successful platform. Developing a practice that can uniformed and easy to follow can create a well-oiled machine of helping our students that are struggling. Mellard et al., (2011) reminds us, a unified RTI approach that encourages shared knowledge among all school-based practitioners about intervention intensity, roles and duties, as well as constructive and productive interactions between general and special education. Forming a routine that can quickly identify a student with needs means that supports can be offered to help the student reach their full academic potential and build a foundation that allows for future academic success.

Fowler, F. C., Hulett, K. E., & Kieff, J. E. (2011). Leadership, advocacy, policy, and law (Walden University, LLC, custom ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Mellard, D. F., Stern, A., & Woods, K. (2011). RTI school-based practices and evidence-based models. Focus on exceptional children43(6).

Riley-Tillman, T. C., Burns, M. K., & Kilgus, S. P. (2020). Evaluating educational interventions: Single-case design for measuring response to intervention. Guilford Publications.


(2nd colleague)Emily Stafford  Discussion – Module 3

Educator’s Role in Policy Development

            For this assignment I had the benefit of interviewing a behavior specialist/ special education coordinator in our county.  Mrs. O is one of the most knowledgeable and impactful people in regards to special education that I have ever had the privilege of meeting.  She was previously the special education director in a neighboring county who chose to retire, but was very young in retirement and decided to come back to work in our county.  We are so very lucky that she did!  Her behavioral trainings are powerful, breaking down the science behind the brain and why students have the behavior triggers that they do, and she spearheaded local special education policy changes within our district regarding growth measurement and data collection.

            Upon entering our school system, Mrs. O found that there was a problem at the high school level with data collection and monitoring growth effectively.  She scoured through different programs to find one that would be effective at the high school level, and through many upper level meetings developed a plan to implement a district wide policy to use the i-ready diagnostic test for reading and math for all students who receive special education services.  This diagnostic is used for measurement three times per year for each student, and it gives an individualized “next-step” program to each student in order to encourage growth and proficiency in areas of struggle based on test results.

            To ensure effective implementation of the policy occurred, Mrs. O visited every high school and held a meeting to explain the importance of consistency with the use of the new program, and explained to the teachers how to use the embedded tools to promote student growth and development.  As Kiarie stated in The Role of Policy in the Development of Special Education, “Though much remains to be done in the field of special education as a whole, it is clear that through the comprehensive special education policy and follow-through activities on behalf of students with disabilities in the United States, many children and youth with disabilities have gained access to the educational environment and to the curriculum and due attention is directed toward their educational outcomes” (2014, p. 8).  Mrs. O has worked tirelessly to ensure that the students best interest comes first, and that schools and teachers within the district are being held accountable for their student learning outcome and pushing for appropriately paced growth.

           Mrs. O left me with some advice that really stuck with me.  She said to get to know your kids on a personal level, and after that your advocacy and passion for them will always lead you to fight for the development and implementation of policies to protect them and to maximize their growth.  As educators, our end goal is to produce productive citizens in our communities that will thrive independently.  In order to do that, we have to successfully implement education policy to support these students effectively.  The most effective implementations of educational policy have been evidenced in districts where there is coherence, stability, peer support, training, and engagement (Cerna, 2013).  No matter the level of implementation, local, state, or federal, all it takes is one person to recognize a problem, advocate for change, and initiate action for the best outcome possible in our future generations.  To me, Mrs. O has been a powerful change-maker in our district, and a knowledgeable and impressive role model to all of us in her charge.



Cerna, L. (2013). The nature of policy change and implementation: A review of different theoretical approaches. Retrieved from

Kiarie, M. (2014). The role of policy in the development of special education. Retrieved from