A Paradigm of Power and Possibility
Academic Leadership - Online Journal,
Vol. 8 No. 2 (2007): Vol-8-Issue-2-February-2007
At the base of the Principal’s leadership and professional responsibilities is the ultimate power to
create a model of ability and respect for every student. No matter the size of the school, age of the
students, tenure of staff or status of the community, every principal can create a potent paradigm
promoting ability over disability, and opportunities over impediments. The power of this paradigm can
impact students, staff, and the entire community, far beyond the school campus.
In schools and communities today we read about autistic students who are difficult to interact with and
autistic boys scoring winning baskets. We observe and classify learning disabled students struggling in
our classrooms and we listen to tales about referring behavior disordered students to alternative
schools. These descriptors are commonplace and tear apart our classrooms and schools. This
practice has continued for years. As school leaders, principals have a professional responsibility to
stop the use of language that relies on deficiencies or diagnoses to describe our students and schools.