Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




Day treatment classrooms, Distributed Leadership, Emergent Leadership, Nadler-Tushman Congruence Model, Appreciative Inquiry


Day treatment classrooms offer alternative educational programming for students who cannot attend regular classrooms due to their need for mental health care and treatment. The unique design of day treatment classrooms combines individualized educational programming provided by publicly funded teachers and mental health treatment provided by workers from a children’s mental health agency. The Problem of Practice (PoP) aims to increase the leadership capacity for an elementary teaching team providing day treatment services within a children’s mental health organization. The special education teacher and the academic programming of the student receives limited attention within the wider multidisciplinary team as the mental health treatment goals are prioritized, unintentionally overriding the educational goals. Too little is known about the current conditions under which this elementary teaching team in day treatment classrooms provide effective special education programming to its students. Emergent and authentic leadership approaches are examined within the existing distributed and team leadership style of the organization and critically analyzed through Nadler-Tushman’s Congruence Model. This Organizational Improvement Plan (OIP) utilizes Appreciative Inquiry (AI) as its guiding organizational change framework to communicate the need for change and implement the change plan to enhance networking, collaboration, and communication with both school-based and non-school based stakeholders.