These four reports look at a national project, initially supported by The Wallace Foundation, that aims to help principals devote more time to instructional matters by having them delegate administrative tasks to "school administration managers," known informally as SAMs. Schools have taken different approaches to the SAM position. In some cases, SAMs are newly hired, additional staff members. In others, they are current staff members who assume SAM duties on top of their regular jobs and receive the same salary or, in a few cases, additional compensation.
The first study, published in 2009, evaluates the early years of the project and concludes that the 75 principals who had participated in the program for at least one year were able to spend more time on education matters. The report also offers important caveats, including that more could be done to help principals develop their leadership skills. A follow-up implementation study in 2011 concluded that after two years, principals with SAMs spent an average of 8.5 hours more a week on instructional matters than they did before they had SAMs.
In a third study, from 2010, researchers gauged the effect of SAMs on student achievement: Of 54 SAMs schools examined, 13 experienced higher gains in student achievement than comparison schools.
Costs of using SAMs are explored in the fourth report, a 2011 research brief.