E-Mail news for the K-12 education profession | May 26, 2005
Leadership (Part II)
 
Principals play a crucial role in setting a positive tone that encourages hard work and innovation among teachers and other staff. Part II of this Special Report examines trends in principal preparation, the importance of instructional leadership and various management strategies. Part I, published on May 24, focused on teachers.
 
At A Glance 
Why support school leaders?
References to teachers in the No Child Left Behind Act outnumber references to principals seven to one. Although no one would argue the importance of high-quality teachers, those who are knowledgeable of their content and how to teach it have the greatest potential for improving student achievement. A recent study found that leadership is next in importance. Read this issue of Dr. Carter's editorial, Is It Good for the Kids?
Research finds 11 key leadership responsibilities
A study released April 14 by McREL identified 11 school leadership responsibilities that correlated with second-order changes in schools. Seven of those 11 were identified as very important: Change agent; Flexibility; Ideals and beliefs; Intellectual stimulation; Knowledge of curriculum, instruction and assessment; Monitor and evaluate; and Optimizer. The other four -- Communication, Culture, Input, and Order -- were more likely to suffer declines in schools trying to make second-order changes. Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (4/14)
Solid preparation crucial for principals
In Australia and many other places in the world, highly successful principals have inadvertently created the myth of a "superprincipal" who can handle tasks ranging from curriculum reform to computer networking. In reality, however, the job is so stressful and difficult that most teachers do not want to take it on. Researchers are encouraging universities and other education groups to promote better leadership development programs to help principals cope with the demands of the position.   The Australian (4/18)
Leadership resources
  • Teacher Leaders Network
  • Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning
  • Teacher Magazine blog written by 2003 National Teacher of the Year Betsy Rogers
  • The Wallace Foundation

  • Principal Preparation 
    Education schools assailed for failing to prepare school leaders
    A report led by Arthur Levine, president of Columbia University's Teachers College, finds the quality of administrator preparation programs woefully inadequate and unfocused. The study recommends eliminating the Doctor of Education degree, creating a professional-track program similar to an MBA and ending the practice of using financial incentives to encourage teachers to earn master's degrees in educational administration. Educational Leadership (May 2005),   Education Week (3/16),   The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) (3/25)
    Strong support network helps principals succeed
    With the principal turnover rate on the rise, it is crucial that higher education centers and school boards focus more on creating solid induction systems. If principals don't get the proper training and support in the beginning, the chance they will leave the job becomes far greater.   American School Board Journal (4/2005)
    Sustaining the Pipeline of School Administrators
    Diana Pounder and Gary Crow assert that systematically addressing a number of key issues can create a pipeline of effective school administrators. School principals should purposefully tap leadership talent by identifying those teachers or other educators who have clearly demonstrated leadership talent and by encouraging them to participate in selected leadership activities or administrator orientation programs. Educational Leadership
    U.S. Department of Education report explores alternative principal preparation routes
    The Innovative Pathways to School Leadership report reviews six principal preparation programs that primarily emphasize real-world experience rather than university-based training. Although each of the programs is distinct, they have some things in common, such as their highly selective admissions processes and team-oriented approach, the report says.
    Study looks at ways to improve principal internship programs
    A new report by the Southern Regional Education Board says principal internships often fail to give aspiring principals the authentic leadership opportunities they need to learn the ropes of the job. The report urges universities and school districts to work together to create internship programs that provide hands-on leadership experience, supervision by experienced leaders, constructive feedback and rigorous performance evaluations.
    Trial By Fire
    Elizabeth Chase Morrison reflects straightforwardly on the "trial by fire" of her first year as assistant principal at a K-8 school in Ohio. She found few of the courses she took while pursuing a master's degree in educational administration truly prepared her for experiences like discovering students were beaten at home or facing the media after a school safety crisis. Morrison strongly recommends that administrator preparation programs give students more "in-the-trenches" administrative experiences, letting them tackle tough situations and make decisions while interning at schools. Educational Leadership
    Instructional Leadership 
    Education Week reports on instructional leadership
    Education Week's Leading for Learning report, published in September 2004, explored the topic of instructional leadership. This page includes that report as well as other articles on the subject.   Education Week (5/8)
    Report measures impact of leadership on student learning
    A report by researchers from the Universities of Minnesota and Toronto says leadership is second to good teaching among in-school factors that influence student learning. The report says leaders can improve student learning by adopting an approach that sets high expectations, uses data to improve instruction and develops a supportive and stimulating work environment conducive to successful teaching. Click here to read a summary of the study.
    Growing Into Leadership
    After reviewing literature on effective leadership and leadership standards, Harvey Alvy and Pam Robbins discuss themes to guide new principals as they grow into their leadership roles. The article gives examples of how new principals can learn to keep students at the heart of decision-making; be learning leaders; put instructional leadership first; act ethically; build strong relationships; know what to expect; practice efficient management; and orchestrate school-community partnerships. Educational Leadership
    Book to help educators use data
    Harvard University's graduate school of education is working with a group of Boston public school educators on a book about using data to improve instruction. The project was born out the notion that using data properly is crucial to developing better practices but that schools too often don't use data productively. "Data Wise: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Assessment Results to Improve Teaching and Learning" is due out in November.   Education Week (4/27)
    Why data is crucial to good leadership
    Data is crucial to making good decisions about professional development and student learning, says Robby Champion, an educational consultant. She says the four types of data educators should focus on are demographic, student learning, perceptual and school process data. She adds that looking at the intersections among the types of data may yield the most accurate results. Journal of Staff Development (Spring 2005)
     
       
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    Management Strategies 
    Analysys: Business leaders and school leaders have a lot in common
    Patrick F. Bassett, head of the National Association of Independent Schools, reviews seven challenges of leadership business leaders face and compares them to challenges school leaders face. According to Basset, the most important role of leaders in businesses and schools is creating a work environment that helps employees make the right decisions with a minimum amount of oversight.   Education Week (3/16)
    Noel M. Tichy on leadership
    Dennis Spark, executive director of the National Staff Development Council, talks to Noel M. Tichy, a professor at the University of Michigan, about the qualities of inspiring leaders. Tichy discusses why principals are the key to creating a positive school school culture, the role of leaders as teachers and ways leaders can improve their overall vision and skills.   Journal of Staff Development (5/2005)
    Bridging the Generation Gap
    Principals face the challenge of unifying veteran teachers and beginning teachers around school goals. These two groups have differing goals and expectations, and school leaders need to understand the differences to ensure that they work together. Bridging the generation gap among teachers can provide support for new teachers, leading to better retention rates. Educational Leadership
    Canadian district studied by American school leaders
    American administrators have flocked to Edmonton (Alberta) Public Schools to get a close-up look at its highly regarded, unique school choice program and decentralized power structure. Superintendent Angus McBeath, however, says his district has been overhyped and, with lackluster graduation ratings and mixed test scores, still has room for improvement.   The Dallas Morning News (free registration) (5/6)
    Report: High expectations key to success at high-poverty schools
    According to a Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence study, eight successful high-poverty elementary schools in Kentucky share common traits, including high expectations for students and staff, frequent assessments and collaborative decision-making.   Lexington Herald-Leader (Ky.) (2/3)
    Q&A 
    Interview with 2003 OYEA recipient Jennifer Morrison
    ASCD SmartBrief posed questions about professional leadership to educators to gauge how practitioners are grappling with this issue. Jennifer Morrison, a language arts teacher and department chair at Piedmont Open IB Middle School in Charlotte, North Carolina, had this to say:

    "A good leader, I think, understands that people grow and develop personally and professionally in myriad different ways. The leader's job is to help people develop a vision of what's possible and then support their growth in that direction. Doing what's right, good, and [what] makes sense in education is a powerful motivator."

    Click here to read more of Morrison's thoughts on leadership.

    ASCD Resources 
    Books and other leadership resources
  • How to Thrive as a Teacher Leader
  • Linking Teacher Evaluation and Student Learning
  • Accountability for Learning: How Teachers and School Leaders Can Take Charge
  • Staffing the Principalship: Finding, Coaching, and Mentoring School Leaders
  • Leadership for Learning: How to Help Teachers Succeed
  • Leadership Capacity for Lasting School Improvement




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