Principals of high-needs schools face tough challenges in supporting new teachers, retaining high-quality veteran instructors, ensuring staff diversity reflects student diversity and minimizing faculty attrition. This report from researchers at the University of Washington looks at four urban school districts and recommends that, instead of taking each funding need individually, school and district leaders adopt a more coherent and sustainable approach to staff investment. It also finds that several conditions play an important role in shaping decisions about staffing resources, such as fiscal conditions, sources of staffing supply, collective bargaining agreements, and the district’s human resources system and accountability system. Effective, learning-focused leadership involves taking strategic actions, at various points in a school system, that, among other things, encourage innovation and flexibility in responding to unique needs, create webs of support for instructional leadership, and sustain coalitions necessary for maintaining a focus on improving outcomes for all students.
This report is one of four in a series by the University of Washington examining the role of the central office, principals and other school leaders in improving instruction in urban schools.