Adapted Physical Educators Navigating Relationships With School Administrators

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly

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Kevin Andrew RichardsDepartment of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3045-6001*
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Scott McNamaraDepartment of Kinesiology, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4459-8633
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Alyssa M. TradDepartment of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

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Lauren HillDepartment of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

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Sarena AbdallahDepartment of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

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School administrators represent key agents of socialization for teachers within their schools, including adapted physical educators who design and implement instruction for youth with disabilities, often across multiple school sites. The purpose of this study was to understand how adapted physical educators navigate and build relationships with administrators in the schools where they teach. Data were collected through semistructured interviews with 24 adapted physical educators from the U.S. state of California and analyzed using a multiphase approach. Analysis suggested both the importance of and challenges with building effective relationships with administrators. Themes included the following: (a) Administrators do not understand adapted physical education, which impacts programs and students; (b) the importance of relationship building in cultivating principal support; and (c) relationship development requires intentionality, but results in trust and motivation. Results are discussed using role socialization theory, and recommendations for the preparation of both adapted physical educators and school principals are discussed.

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