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With Equity in Mind, Districts Address State Budget Cuts29634GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​The financial fallout from the pandemic has left school districts facing several years of budget shortfalls and tough decisions. State and school leaders everywhere are learning how to do more with less and mitigate harm to their most vulnerable students. The Wallace Blog looked at some of the top priorities and challenges state leaders are facing, lessons learned from the Great Recession and how they are addressing budget shortfalls. </p><p>Revenue is down across the country because states are collecting less from taxes on sales and personal income. According to Daniel Thatcher, senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures, states are projecting an 11 to 12 percent decline in revenue, which informs their budget decisions for the upcoming fiscal year. </p><p>“Education is not escaping these cuts scot-free,” Thatcher says. </p><p>And while school districts across the board are facing cuts, some have more capacity to handle them than others. Even if all districts face the same state budget cuts, Thatcher says, property-wealthy districts could raise revenue on their own to make up for them. Districts that don’t have that capacity would be much more deeply affected by the cuts. </p><p>The consequences of these kinds of cuts are not entirely unknown. During the 2008 Great Recession, schools faced similar types of budget cuts, which significantly reduced student ELA and math achievement. These effects were <a href="https&#58;//cepa.stanford.edu/content/impact-great-recession-student-achievement-evidence-population-data">concentrated in school districts serving low income students and students of color</a>. Thatcher hopes states have learned from how cuts were handled during the Great Recession and that they will attempt to lessen negative effects on the most vulnerable students.</p><p>Robert Hull, president and CEO of the National Association of State Boards of Education, echoes these concerns, noting that while wealthier communities will see more damage in the next few years as property values shift, the poorest communities are being hit hardest now and need federal investment right away. </p><p>“The districts that really need the greatest resources, they’re going to see a greater dearth of resources right now because that money coming from the local level is drying up,” Hull says.</p><p>Besides the decrease in state revenue, districts are spending more because of the pandemic. Investment in technology, intensive school building cleaning, personal protective equipment, additional buses to allow for social distancing and professional development for teachers who are learning to teach online are driving up costs for schools, whether they start the year with a hybrid or online model. Additionally, Hull says, schools are continuing to provide meals to families in need, despite depleted nutrition funds. </p><p>There is also concern that some students are shifting from public schools to private schools or homeschooling, though it’s unclear how significant those numbers are right now. But fewer enrolled students would mean a decrease in funding for the next school year. Thatcher says it’s fair to say the parents with higher incomes are most likely to shift their children from public school to private schools or homeschooling.</p><p>“This is a concern for equity,” he says. “This is a concern for who is going to make it out of this pandemic in better shape than other students. It’s something that states need to be aware of.” </p><p>The more-equitable funding allocations that Thatcher would like to see would direct state dollars to low-wealth districts. However, he acknowledges, this is a politically difficult decision to make.</p><p>But states like Georgia have put in place systems to do just that. Georgia’s funding formula has a special carve-out of “equalization grants” for low-wealth and rural districts, which suffered the most during the Great Recession. These grants give more money to lower-wealth districts to bring them up to the same levels as the wealthier districts. In Colorado, state funding helps fill in gaps left by local funding from property taxes, to equalize funding across all districts. The recently passed Public School Finance Act created a way for the legislature to put more of the funding burden on local tax revenue, freeing up more state money for lower-income districts. </p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 3ca04ac0-4620-4be0-8d4b-22bf85fc9645" id="div_3ca04ac0-4620-4be0-8d4b-22bf85fc9645"></div><div id="vid_3ca04ac0-4620-4be0-8d4b-22bf85fc9645" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>“One of the other important things that we see states looking at, and that we suggest that states consider looking at, are the supports that help vulnerable students the most,” Thatcher says. Those include afterschool programs, reading supports, coaching and more. </p><p>In Utah, the state board has not only avoided school funding cuts—they actually increased education funding. The state board of education and legislative staff put together a document that illustrated education cuts at 2 percent, 5 percent and 10 percent. At 10 percent, Thatcher says, they would be making cuts to things like social emotional learning supports and professional development for teachers. But in August, Utah <a href="https&#58;//www.npr.org/2020/08/03/895386579/utah-lawmakers-use-savings-to-limit-cuts-to-education-and-social-services">lawmakers decided to dip into a rainy-day fund</a> and increased funding for K-12 education by 1.3 percent. </p><p>Many states had buoyed these sorts of reserve funds after the Great Recession, Thatcher says, lessening the more painful cuts for now because they have more cash on hand than they would have in the past.</p><p>“The other policy choice states are looking at is around the funding that comes through their categorical programs and trying to loosen the reins on these,” he says. Giving principals and district leaders more latitude in how they use this money can help them best meet the needs of their communities and schools. </p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read dd27bc36-1e38-4182-b987-86cc30232e55" id="div_dd27bc36-1e38-4182-b987-86cc30232e55"></div><div id="vid_dd27bc36-1e38-4182-b987-86cc30232e55" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>Hull and Thatcher noted the importance of school leaders as the key communicators and decision makers at the school level.</p><p>“Leadership matters. Communicate early and often, and be nimble as you’re making decisions,” Hull says of NASBE’s guidance for how to navigate these challenging times. He encourages leaders to be flexible and make changes as they know more, because we are learning more about the virus every day. </p><p>Thatcher agrees&#58; “At this time, school leadership is critical. They’re the key communicators to the community, to parents, and they are the ones who should make decisions based upon community input.” He urges parents to communicate with their principals and offer their support when and where they can. </p><p>Hull has also called for more research to help state boards of education and other education leaders make informed decisions. </p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 79458811-5b6f-46ac-8ec8-97a988a33f0f" id="div_79458811-5b6f-46ac-8ec8-97a988a33f0f"></div><div id="vid_79458811-5b6f-46ac-8ec8-97a988a33f0f" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>Thatcher’s hope is that the public health and financial crises become an opportunity to shift school funding to more reliable revenue sources, as well as to sources that are more fair to taxpayers and to students. He says&#58; “I’m just hopeful that we can take some good out of all this bad and reform our systems in this unprecedented time.”</p> Wallace editorial team792020-10-20T04:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.10/20/2020 3:54:30 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / With Equity in Mind, Districts Address State Budget Cuts Some see hope as state and school leaders shift funding options 588https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Today's Focus on Principal Effectiveness Breaks Sharply with the Past24364GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#02d6f4ae-88a2-4236-b1a9-1f37b2599002;L0|#002d6f4ae-88a2-4236-b1a9-1f37b2599002|District Policy and Practice;GPP|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;GP0|#8cf34914-7bff-4dc4-95c0-d6e59a295cba;L0|#08cf34914-7bff-4dc4-95c0-d6e59a295cba|Effective Principal Leadership<p>If you want to know about school principals, consider getting a data dump from Susan Gates. As a senior researcher at the RAND Corp., Gates has been key to numerous studies exploring the principalship, many commissioned by Wallace. The most recent, published in June, is a first-of-its-kind look at the prevalence in large and medium-sized school districts of comprehensive, systemic efforts—known as principal pipelines—to develop a large corps of effective school principals. &#160;</p><p>In a way, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/taking-stock-of-principal-pipelines.aspx"> <em>Taking Stock of Principal Pipelines&#58; What Public School Districts Report Doing and What They Want to Do to Improve School Leadership</em></a> brings Gates full circle. Close to two decades ago, she was the lead researcher on another Wallace-commissioned report, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/overview-of-school-administrators-and-their-careers.aspx"> <em>Who is Leading Our Schools&#58; An Overview of School Administrators and Their Careers</em></a>. Published in 2003, that study helped overturn the then-common view that the nation was facing a shortage of people certified to become principals. The report influenced Wallace’s decision to devote the foundation’s education leadership efforts to helping more principals work in a way that could improve schools, a move that eventually led to Wallace’s Principal Pipeline Initiative. With that came a <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/principal-pipeline-implementation.aspx">groundbreaking 2019 report </a>by Gates and her team finding that pipelines can have significant benefits for student achievement and principal retention. &#160;</p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Todays-Focus-on-Principal-Effectiveness-Breaks-Sharply-With-the-Concerns-of-20-Years-Ago/gates_9114-(002).jpg" alt="gates_9114-(002).jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;159px;height&#58;201px;" />We recently caught up with Gates to ask her to reflect on the “then” and “now” in the principal landscape, including what the COVID-19 crisis has meant for school leadership. The interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.</p><p> <strong>Since 2003, what changes have you seen in the discussions about school leadership? Are we at a different place from where we were 17 years ago—pandemic notwithstanding?</strong></p><p>I’ve seen a tremendous shift in the public discourse around school leadership in the last two decades.&#160; Twenty years ago, attention was focused on a pending wave of retirements and questions about whether there would be enough people to replace the retirees. Policymakers were also worried about high principal turnover rates—especially in more challenging high-needs schools. But the focus was really on whether there were sufficient numbers of people to fill vacancies. </p><p>Concerns about turnover and filling vacancies remain today, but the discussion is now focused on whether schools have effective principals. It’s not enough to simply put more people through principal preparation programs. There is growing recognition that the principal’s job is exceedingly complex and unpredictable. We’ve learned a lot over the past 20 years about how to prepare people for this important role. Research has identified features of good principal preparation. But we’ve also learned that prep programs can’t do it all. Twenty years ago, there was this notion that a person with two to three years of teaching experience could attend a good preparation program and at the end of it be ready to serve as principal in any environment with minimal support. Today, we understand that school leadership is itself a career with expectations for growth and development. This implies that good school leadership must be a shared responsibility of preparation programs and the school districts that hire and support principals. </p><p>The search for strategies to improve principal quality now focuses on improving preparation programs and the activities of districts. Are they hiring the right candidate for the job? Are they providing that person with the supports they need to be effective? Are they helping them identify their growth areas and supporting them in their professional development? And are they working in partnership with preparation programs to improve preparation?</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/taking-stock-of-principal-pipelines.aspx"><strong><em>Taking Stock of Principal Pipelines</em></strong></a><strong> is the first systematic look at the status of principal pipelines in large and medium size districts across the nation. Should readers be surprised by how much activity in pipelines is under way now—or be surprised about the gaps? How do you and your team see the findings? </strong></p><p>Pipeline activities are those related to the preparation, hiring, evaluation and support of principals. Districts employ principals and so it is natural to expect that all districts would be doing some if not most of these pipeline activities. And that is what we found. Districts of all sizes reported that they are devoting effort to the preparation, hiring, evaluation and support of principals. Not only that, the leaders in nearly all districts reported prioritizing school leadership as a lever for school improvement. There’s a pervasive understanding across the country that school principals matter. At the same time, less than half of districts reported moderate or high satisfaction with their pool of principal candidates. This suggests that districts see pipelines as an area for improvement.</p><p> <strong>What does the study tell us about differences in pipeline activities between large districts, medium districts and smaller districts?</strong></p><p>Districts of all size reported engaging in pipeline activities and there was substantial interest across districts of all sizes in doing more in each area. Medium districts reported engaging in fewer pipeline activities. &#160;They were less likely to have principal standards and a process to encourage or “tap” individuals to become school leaders. They were also less likely to use performance-based hiring metrics and standards-aligned evaluation and to have a position dedicated to school leadership.&#160; </p><p>These differences between medium and large districts were not terribly surprising. It takes some up-front effort to set up some of these activities—you have to develop standards, hiring processes, evaluation metrics. Smaller districts tend to have fewer schools and hence fewer principals. So the payoff to them from such up-front efforts may be smaller.&#160; </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Todays-Focus-on-Principal-Effectiveness-Breaks-Sharply-With-the-Concerns-of-20-Years-Ago/Percentage-of-10K-Districts-Reporting-Prevalence-of-Principal-Pipeline-chart.jpg" alt="Percentage-of-10K-Districts-Reporting-Prevalence-of-Principal-Pipeline-chart.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;600px;height&#58;568px;" /> <br> </p><p> <strong>The current study found that large numbers of the district officials you interviewed want to upgrade their pipeline activities, everything from pre-service principal preparation to on-the-job support. What do your study and other research suggest will be the easiest and most difficult areas to strengthen?</strong></p><p>Research on the principal pipeline districts suggests that efforts to strengthen principal preparation can be challenging because there is a long lag time before such efforts will result in improvements in principal quality. In contrast, efforts to improve hiring and professional development for current principals can have more immediate impact. Although nearly all districts in our study reported doing something with regard to on the job support, this is also an area where most districts also wanted to do more. What struck me as an important growth area was the use of performance-based hiring approaches. This is a pipeline activity with relatively low prevalence nationwide.&#160; </p><p> <strong>The COVID-19 crisis has placed huge demands on public school education. What role are school leaders playing in keeping education going during this time, and how should districts be thinking now about their principal pipelines? </strong></p><p>Even prior to the COVID-19 crisis there was a recognition that the principal’s job is exceedingly complex and unpredictable. National school leadership standards outline 10 areas that principals need to master&#58;&#160; mission, ethics, curriculum and instruction, student support, professional capacity of school personnel, professional community of school staff, community engagement, management and school improvement. It’s as if all principals need to have the same toolbox, along with the ability to figure out which tool to use at which time. When a principal first takes over a school, they have to spend time figuring out what prioritize and how. In other words, which tools to use and how best to use them. Then they make adjustments over time. </p><p>The COVID-19 crisis disrupted the landscape for all schools. All principals had to re-think how they were approaching each area. Some may have had to dig deeply into their toolbox to find tools that they hadn’t had to use in a while. </p><p>School principals tend to be highly dedicated to the communities and students they serve, and according to a recent <a href="https&#58;//www.pewresearch.org/politics/2019/09/19/why-americans-dont-fully-trust-many-who-hold-positions-of-power-and-responsibility/" target="_blank">Pew survey</a>, they are among the most trusted category of public officials, along with police officers and members of the military. Families and communities are stretched in so many ways, and they are turning to these trusted school principals for help. So while principals are still expected to be the instructional leader of the school (now with a focus on supporting virtual learning options), they are also&#160; in charge of providing meals to families, making connections to social services, developing contract tracing and virus testing plans, and developing options for classroom set-up and bathroom breaks that honor social distancing requirements. And the list goes on. No principal preparation program could have fully prepared a principal for all aspects of this crisis so district support will be critical. Even highly effective veteran principals may need guidance, support or respite in these challenging times. By providing such support this school year, districts might be able to limit burnout and turnover.</p> <p> <em>Lead photo by Claire Holt</em></p>Wallace editorial team792020-09-15T04:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.9/15/2020 4:44:31 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Today's Focus on Principal Effectiveness Breaks Sharply with the Past RAND’s Susan Gates reflects on the changed discourse 628https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Keeping a Focus on Equity as Schools Reopen During the Pandemic24463GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a harsh spotlight on the inequities that fester in almost every sector of our nation, including K-12 education. Recently, we spoke with Hal Smith, senior vice president of education, youth development &amp; health at the National Urban League, about how districts and state departments of education can address those inequities as they move into a new school year and face the unprecedented challenge of educating students while keeping schools safe during a pandemic. Smith is a member of the steering committee for Wallace’s ESSA Leadership Learning Community, a group of staff members and chiefs from 11 state departments of education, leadership from urban districts and Urban League affiliate CEOs. The group is considering how federal education law and the resultant state and local policies and investments could be used to promote evidence-based school leadership practices focused on achieving educational equity. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.</p><p> <strong>What did we learn about remote learning after school buildings closed last spring, and what lessons should districts be applying in the coming school year?</strong></p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Hal_Smith.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Keeping-a-Focus-on-Equity-as-Schools-Reopen/Hal_Smith.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;245px;height&#58;184px;" />Nobody was prepared to move online. That’s not a criticism—nobody could have anticipated it—but the quality of instruction varied widely. You had very few prepared to do in-person instruction that transferred easily to online settings. And some never attempted to move instruction online, and education became a series of workbooks and cobbled-together approaches done on the fly.&#160; </p><p>This year, as the school year opens, we should have had time to prepare for remote instruction. That would mean professional development for teachers and support for parents to take advantage of remote learning. Even if you provide the broadband internet access and devices that we’ve clamored for, there is still a question as to how families, caregivers and students themselves can use digital and remote learning to greatest effect. It’s one thing to turn on the computer and sit in front of the screen; it’s another to know how to best take advantage of digital learning and platforms. How do you grow and maintain relationships in a virtual environment? </p><p>Also, how do you understand screen time not just as a passive experience where you are pushing buttons, but as time to do serious inquiry into what interests you as a learner? While there is certainly a need for instruction, there is certainly room for student-led inquiry into what is happening in the world around them. Their interests, their hobbies, the things they wanted to know more about—all of those things should be acknowledged as we return to more formal instruction this school year. We are hoping that districts are thinking of students as more than passive recipients of digital learning, [and seeing them] as co-creators of their learning, of their sense of inquiry and development. That was not happening in in-person instruction either. So this was an opportunity to think differently about students and their own learning and development. </p><p> <strong>Are urban schools prepared to reopen?</strong></p><p>Right now everyone’s plans seem to hit the high notes in general terms because they’re not asked for specifics. But the next six weeks will bear watching. Publicly released plans focus on children’s safety and wellness. But we also want to know your strategy for reaching high school students who never logged on in the spring, in the summer, and have no ability or intention for logging on in the fall. Those strategies are not clearly articulated in reopening plans. Those plans assume that everyone will show up every day, and that’s not the case. </p><p><img alt="COVID-19-Costs-to-Reopen-Schools.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Keeping-a-Focus-on-Equity-as-Schools-Reopen/COVID-19-Costs-to-Reopen-Schools.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br>&#160;</p><p> <strong>How should districts and schools approach social and emotional learning during this school year?</strong></p><p>Every district named social and emotional learning as an important part of their CARES Act plan [<em>the federal relief package that has provided funding for, among other things, public education</em>]. Is it real or is it political speak that doesn’t change the way we invest in public schools? It’s very common now for social-emotional learning to be dropped as a marker of educational care. You have to have it there. The language doesn’t mean you changed a single way that you operate. We’ll see that play out in the investments, the partnerships, the staffing decisions, the scheduling. Do you have room in your schedule for one-on-one and small group contact with young people, or have you simply replicated your block schedule online? </p><p>There was certainly trauma, financial uncertainty, but we want to acknowledge that young people are thoughtful and resilient and did some things outside the building we call school that will contribute to their education and growth. Having adults that can help them process what happened is important. </p><p>We had young people in Urban League programs who were essential workers. They worked in retail, they worked in fast food, and they were asked to take that on at 16, 17. That’s ripe for learning and reflection—the inequities in experience, the maturity that was accelerated by that. What have we learned in this moment about ourselves, our society? </p><p> <strong>What inequities has the pandemic laid bare and how should districts address them? </strong></p><p>There is no hiding the impact of inequity on education now. Inequity of food security, of housing, social economic status, racism, access to laptops and high-speed internet access—those have been made clear. These are not things that all cities, all communities were paying attention to in a connected manner. We are in a different place in that people have acknowledged these inequalities exist. I don’t know as we are in a different place as far as doing things differently.</p><p>We think it’s necessary for people to envision a longer-term set of solutions [that address] remote and distance learning, that upend inequity and establish a more high-quality education for all students. There will be a tendency [in the coming year] to focus on remediation and not acceleration. Some students need to catch up. But this doesn’t mean we have to stay there for the whole year. Because they missed four months of instruction doesn’t mean they are incapable of higher-level work. I do not believe that the highest-achieving students in the highest-achieving schools are going to receive a basic education. So the same kinds of imagination and energy that are going into educating high-achieving students, why not give that to all students? </p><p>I also think there’s a real of parents, caregivers and community stakeholders. I say funded very specifically because sustained engagement costs money. The funded nature means there are some resources dedicated to make sure it’s robust. You structure meetings, you structure people’s professional time, so someone is responsible for getting parent feedback and include them meaningfully in your strategy and planning. Anything that’s sustained has to have resources dedicated to it.</p><p>Often engagement is understood as a communications effort&#58; We are going to make sure that everyone hears the message, that the tweet, the flyer goes out there—but that’s not engagement. You really want to engage parents and stakeholders around what you want to happen and anticipate pushback and questions as you shape what your priorities and your strategies are [for remote or hybrid instruction]. Having parents, caregivers, stakeholders and even students themselves, where possible, be a part of the planning, the implementation, and most importantly a part of the reflection, is essential. </p><p> <strong>You've talked about regarding this school year as one that lasts 18 months, through summer 2021. What would that look like?</strong></p><p>We should think of summer 2020 through summer 2021 as one school year, one educational time period, rather than parse out our plans in three distinct time periods, so that we have time to think about recovery and acceleration and some new innovation. The investments we made this summer and what we learned are going to be applied to this school year. And the things we learn this school year will certainly shape what is necessary next summer. So rather than create artificial barriers, there’s an opportunity to think about an 18-month period where we are going to work with parents, children and educators in a more connected way compared to the typical school year. </p><p>I do look forward to what this fall will bring. We have very talented educators in this country and there will be no shortage of new approaches. I think much of what we will learn will dramatically shape what school looks like after the pandemic. Maybe we’ll no longer accept 40 kids in a classroom. Maybe more teachers will take on a hybrid approach where student projects live online. I don’t imagine education going back to the way it was before. </p><p><em>&quot;What Will It Cost to Reopen Schools?&quot; image is reprinted with permission of the Association of School Business Officials International® (<a href="https&#58;//www.asbointl.org/">www.asbointl.org</a>) and is non-transferable. Use of this imprint does not imply any endorsement or recognition by ASBO International and its officers or affiliates.</em> <br> </p>Elizabeth Duffrin972020-08-25T04:00:00ZThe Urban League’s Hal Smith sees pitfalls and, yes, educational opportunities—including more student-led inquiry8/26/2020 4:50:08 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Keeping a Focus on Equity as Schools Reopen During the Pandemic The Urban League’s Hal Smith sees pitfalls and, yes 1277https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Universities and Districts Team Up to Better Prepare Principals4226GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​Research confirms that principals influence student learning—but many district and university leaders agree that most university-based leadership programs aren’t preparing principals for the challenges of today’s schools. In fact, Michelle Young, executive director at the University Council for Educational Administration says there are about 700 university preparation programs right now, and “there is a significant amount of variability in the quality.”</p><p>There are exceptions, however, including the universities and school districts profiled in a four-part video series, <strong><em><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/uppi-video-series.aspx">Principal Preparation&#58; A Roadmap for Reform</a></em></strong>. The videos explore why and how universities and local school districts are working together to better prepare principals for the rigors of the job, illustrating the early steps in a complex process that requires fundamental change.</p><p>“Principals have always played a significant role in their schools, but now the complexities of the job have increased,” says Beverly Hutton, deputy executive director at the National Association of Secondary School Principals in the introductory video. “Now principals are not only responsible for developing a vision and nurturing a school culture. Now we’re instructional leaders. That means now we’re driving student achievement. We’re tracking teacher performance.&#160; We’re looking at the culture as a whole, all while thinking about what is best for students.” &#160;</p><p>The videos are based on lessons from <strong><em><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/launching-redesign-university-principal-preparation-programs.aspx">Launching a Redesign of University Principal Preparation Programs&#58; Partners Collaborate for Change</a></em></strong>, a 2018 report from the RAND Corporation on the first year of a Wallace initiative to support seven sites across the nation as they rethink principal preparation. The universities had established a firm foundation of partnerships, shared a common vision, and had developed structures, tools and processes to make progress. With that groundwork, they were able to begin the process of redesigning their curriculum and field experiences. The findings suggest the feasibility of a complex redesign process, through comprehensive interdependent partnerships, the study concludes.</p><p>In each location in the University Principal Preparation Initiative, four institutions are involved&#58; a university principal training program; at least three school districts that hire its graduates; a “mentor” principal training program considered exemplary for practices the university plans to redesign; and the state office responsible for matters such as program accreditation. </p><p>At each site, the redesign work includes&#58;</p><ul><li>Using leader standards to align features of the program and expectations for graduate performance</li><li>Conducting evidence-based “self-assessments” to identify strengths and growth areas</li><li>Using “logic models” to support team building and to guide change</li><li>Grounding curriculum and instruction in real-world experience in schools</li><li>Ramping up clinical instruction and recruitment and selection of principal candidates</li><li>Exploring systems to track graduate performance and to fill vacancies for principals </li></ul><p>See the whole series, <strong><em><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/uppi-video-series.aspx">Principal Preparation&#58; A Roadmap for Reform</a>, </em></strong>or go directly to the individual episodes below&#58; </p><ol dir="ltr" style="text-align&#58;left;"><li>An introductory video, <strong><em><a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4V7RNeM01Y&amp;t=214s">The Case for Change</a></em></strong>, that explains why universities and school districts are coming together to prepare principals&#160;&#160;and the research on effective programs. &#160;</li><li>A profile of <strong><em><a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShSqTE8d8SU&amp;t=3s">North Carolina State University</a></em></strong> in Raleigh and its work with local school districts, with a focus on its partnership with the Wake County Public School System. It explains how the university and its partners came together to jointly agree on what school leaders should know and be able to do, what changes were made to the university curriculum, and how the partners jointly select candidates for the principal preparation program </li><li>A profile of <strong><em><a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=346znX74_HE&amp;t=10s">Florida Atlantic University</a></em></strong> in Boca Raton and its work with four large countywide school districts in South Florida. This video shows how FAU and its partners consulted the Richie Program for School Leaders at the University of Denver as they rewrote curriculum and explains how they used the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/quality-measures-principal-preparation-program-assessment.aspx">Quality Measures</a> self-study toolkit to guide the redesign process. Their goal was to prepare school leaders who can lead change. &#160;</li><li>The final video, <strong><em><a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7ck5rqDo9g&amp;t=5s">Profile of a Mentor&#58; The Ritchie Program for School Leaders</a></em></strong>, explains how the Ritchie program at the University of Denver served as a “mentor program” to universities and school districts and explains Ritchie’s longstanding partnership to prepare principals with the Denver Public Schools. &#160;</li></ol><p>The videos were produced by award-winning filmmaker Tod Lending.</p><br>Wallace editorial team792019-09-24T04:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.9/24/2019 4:49:09 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Universities and Districts Team Up to Better Prepare Principals A four-part video series shares early lessons from seven 1243https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Panel Highlights Role of States in Developing Effective Principals24098GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>After hearing results from a recent study on the successful strategic development of school leaders, Lance Clow, an Idaho state representative serving on the state’s education committee, said the research confirms what his wife, a public school teacher, often told him—bring in a good principal and everything improves. “Just like a rising tide raises all boats, a good principal raises everybody up, the students and teachers,” he said. </p><p>Clow was one of the state legislators and staff members attending an early morning panel at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) in Nashville, Tenn., to hear results from a recent Wallace-funded initiative on building principal pipelines. Principal pipelines, which a team of researchers from RAND and Policy Studies Associates studied in six large school districts over eight years, are a strategic approach to preparing and supporting school leaders to develop a consistent and adequate supply of effective principals. </p><p>Ty Wilde, a senior research officer at Wallace, along with NCSL’s Ashley Idrees and Paul Fleming, former assistant commissioner for the Teachers and Leaders Division at the Tennessee Department of Education, detailed the good news of the study—principal pipelines were found to have a positive impact on both principal retention and academic achievement—and provided a deep-dive into how states can implement principal pipelines in their home districts. </p><p>The NCSL, which provides resources and research about key issues like school leadership to legislators, thought it was important to share the Wallace-supported research with its members, who are always looking for connections to expertise and evidence-based solutions. “The research is timely and applicable,” said Idrees, a<em>policy specialist in NCSL's education program</em>. “Every state throughout the nation hopes to provide invaluable school leaders to guide and support teachers and students.” </p><p>The results of the principal pipeline study were so positive that they surprised Wilde, who managed the project at Wallace. She joked with the breakfast group gathered at the Nashville Music City Center that for the first time in almost 20 years of conducting or managing research, she stopped to call her mother. She was that bowled over by the findings—both the results and their magnitude.&#160; </p><p>Researchers found that schools in pipeline districts outperformed comparison schools in other districts in both <u><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">reading and math</a></u>. Surprisingly, academic benefits were largest for the lowest performing schools, which often pose the biggest challenges to improvement. Principal turnover was reduced, and the cost of implementation remained low when compared with other district-wide improvement efforts, like teacher professional development. Among studies of district interventions, few had shown such strong results. </p><p>“Principal pipelines are feasible, affordable and effective,” Wilde told the group. “We hope you consider ways to support principal pipelines in your state.”&#160; </p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">The pieces of the pipeline </h3><p> School leadership is a concern for many states, and 36 states passed some kind of legislation to improve school leadership in 2018. But the six districts that the study focused on—Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C.; Denver; Gwinnett County, Ga. (Atlanta area); Hillsborough County, Fla. (Tampa area); New York City; and Prince George’s County, Md. (Washington, D.C., metro area)—all addressed reforming principal leadership using principal pipelines. The pipeline refers to four, mutually reinforcing components the districts put into place&#58; rigorous standards that spell out what their principals need to know and do; high-quality pre-service training for aspiring principals; selective hiring and placement; and well-aligned on-the-job support and evaluation of principals, especially newcomers to the job.</p><p>In addition, pipeline districts invested in system supports, such as a maintaining a “leader-tracking” database of updated information on both current and possible future school leaders and reshaping the principal supervisor role to bolster on-the-ground support of principals. </p><p>Within this framework, flexibility is key, Wilde said, and each study district adapted the pipeline components to their own needs. </p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">On the ground in Tennessee</h3><p> When it comes to training and hiring school leaders, the state of Tennessee—though not one of the six districts in the pipeline initiative—was all in on developing a program based on the four principal pipeline criteria. In 2017, the state awarded $1 million in <u><a href="https&#58;//www.tn.gov/education/news/2017/8/1/tdoe-awards-over-1-million-to-support-school-leader-development.html">Principal Pipeline Partnership</a></u> grants under ESSA’s Title II, Part A, funds, designed to help schools and districts improve teacher and principal quality. The provision allows states to set aside 3 percent of Title II funding for state-level activities supporting principals and other school leaders. Tennessee used the money to help create comprehensive leader training programs, becoming one of the first states to do so. The grants, given to partnerships between districts and universities, businesses or nonprofits, were distributed by the newly formed Tennessee Transformational Leadership Alliance (TTLA). TTLA managed the competitive application and awarding process, giving priority to partnerships that had a four-year plan for either a new or improved model for principal improvement. </p><p>Fleming, the former assistant commissioner who led the state’s leadership development initiative, said that when building Tennessee’s pipeline, the state chose to lean in on four areas specifically&#58; aligning principal preparation programs to the state’s leadership principal standards with a focus on equity; building high-quality residency experiences into the programs; providing bridge support for participants after they complete a program but before they are hired as a principal; and ensuring appropriate induction for new leaders.</p><p>The TTLA helped scale the pipeline across the state through nine regional preparation programs, helping districts maintain a focus on aligning training with the state leadership standards throughout training. Tennessee also developed a statewide evaluation model for school leaders to ensure that, once they began their jobs, principals were meeting standards and using their training in such areas as providing culturally responsive and equitable practices for their students and families. </p><p>Additionally, Tennessee created a principal residency, a semester-long mentorship program in which aspiring leaders work with an on-the-job principal, not only shadowing and learning from a leader, but also getting to participate hands-on in day-to-day work. And for assistant principals, the state offers the Governor’s Academy for School Leadership, which brings together a cohort of 25 aspiring leaders and focuses on training for leadership. </p><p>Fleming stressed that in order to be effective, the leader pipeline shouldn’t be considered just another program or an add-on to what states are already doing. Creating a pipeline to train and support great leaders is a cohesive approach that should influence the entire way of thinking about developing future school leaders, from establishing principal standards to finding a great fit between principal and school. <br> <br> <img alt="Tennesseegroup.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Panel-Highlights-Role-of-States-in-Developing-Effective-Principals/Tennesseegroup.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> </p><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption" style="text-align&#58;left;"> Tennessee's Governor's Academy of School Leadership cohort, a partnership between the Governor's office, Vanderbilt University, the Department of Education and local districts. </p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3"> The path ahead </h3> Even with the positive study results, Wilde and Fleming both said that building and maintaining the pipelines are not without their challenges. One of the biggest challenges, Fleming said, is the changing nature of the principal’s job itself. “Principals were once responsible for books, boilers and buses, then it moved to an instructional leadership mindset,” Fleming said. “Now the shift that’s occurred, to reach every student and every teacher, is you have to be a shared instructional leader.” That alone, he said, is a great reason for more and better training. <p>&#160;</p><p>There’s also an urgent need for a more diverse body of leaders. In Tennessee, for example, 40 percent of school children are students of color, while only 20 percent of leaders are. The state found, positively, that prospective leaders trained through the TTLA pipeline were more diverse than the state average. When adopting a principal pipeline, “The state can be very deliberate to build that into the application,” Fleming said. “How are you addressing the identification, selection and retention of diverse candidates—race, gender, culture—into the program?” </p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">Lessons for other states </h3><p> The presentation and research gave some officials from states that don’t currently have a principal pipeline something to think about. Sydnee Dickson, superintendent of public instruction in Utah, said that local schools and districts in her state are engaged with leadership strategies that start with their own teachers. But she’s interested in creating a more integrated system. “What I liked about the research is that it shows how investing can get a sustainable return—instead of just one and done, ‘hey, we did this initiative,’ versus this very integrated, systemic approach to leadership.” </p><p>The integrated, systematic approach to school leadership is one of the keys to the pipeline’s success. Fleming said that he hoped that other states would follow Tennessee’s lead and “build into the DNA of the district principal leadership that is consistent as a foundational element of success.” And even though pipelines face the inevitable challenges, the researchers and Fleming agree that, after seeing the pipelines in action on the road to school improvement, the challenges are well worth it.</p> Holly Korbey1012019-09-10T04:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.9/10/2019 1:45:34 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Panel Highlights Role of States in Developing Effective Principals At the National Conference of State Legislatures, a look 993https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
The Long and Winding Road to Better Principal Preparation4280GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>From 2001 to 2010, following more than a decade of Wallace-supported research and experience learning what makes for effective school leaders, we helped support a handful of districts and states seeking to improve pre-service training and support for new principals. As part of that effort we worked with the Center for the Study of Education Policy (CESP) at Illinois State University to help create a new model for statewide principal preparation. </p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="professional-picture-copy2.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/the-long-and-winding-road-to-better-principal-preparation/professional-picture-copy2.jpg" style="margin&#58;0px;width&#58;206px;" />Now a group of policy analysts from CESP <a href="https&#58;//www.routledge.com/Reforming-Principal-Preparation-at-the-State-Level-Perspectives-on-Policy/Hunt-Hood-Haller-Kincaid/p/book/9781138299221">has published a book</a> that chronicles the multiyear effort, showing how an unlikely alliance of Illinois school districts, universities, state education agencies, teachers unions, early childhood experts, business leaders and professional associations were knitted together to strengthen principal preparation through reform of state policy. The hope was to use the state’s oversight of university and other programs to ensure that principal preparation in Illinois reflected the research-based hallmarks of high-quality school leader training&#58; mutually beneficial school-university partnerships; selective admissions to preservice programs; course content aligned with national principal standards; and performance-based assessments tied to job-embedded internships.<br><br> We caught up with Erika Hunt, one of the book’s editors (along with Alicia Haller, Lisa Hood&#160;and Maureen Kincaid), to learn more about the book and the work that inspired it.&#160; </p><p> <strong>You were the narrator of what we at Wallace refer to as <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/series-shows-how-illinois-successfully-revamped-requirements-for-principal-preparation.aspx">“The Illinois Story,”</a> our four-part video series on the state’s bold changes in policy and practice. Can you give a brief overview of the story?</strong></p><p>The Illinois story is an example of a collaborative partnership that brought all stakeholders to the table to envision what principal training would look like if the student was at the center…if we tried to design programs around what schools need in order to strengthen teaching and learning for all of our students. We aligned this work to evidence-based research showing what kind of practices could produce these results. The work produced transformational policy changes in Illinois that have made a difference in our university preparation programs and are now making a difference in Illinois public schools.&#160; </p><p> <strong>That collaborative partnership is at the heart of your book as well. Why was it important to include so many different people and perspectives on the work? </strong></p><p>The work was all done in partnership. Our role was more of a facilitator bringing people to the table. We knew what the research said. We could point to a few effective preparation programs and district partnerships in the state, but we really didn’t have the answers. We had to bring all the different stakeholders and different voices to the table to try to figure out what would be the best strategy to do this work in Illinois. The policy development of this work took five years and involved so many people who all needed to be represented. The results have paid off because this is now in the water supply in Illinois. This is just the way we do things. We’re starting to see turnover of faculty in universities, but the new faculty don’t know any different. </p><p> <strong>In his introduction to the book, former education secretary Arne Duncan mentions the challenges and missed opportunities that were part of the ultimate path to success. Can you give an example of a challenge? </strong></p><p>When we first came to the table, policy change was a last resort. The first thing we wanted to do was try to incentivize universities to redesign their programs. A couple did, but when one university would raise its requirements, the principal candidates would just go down the street to the next university. The consumers of the program were choosing where to go based on convenience or ease. It was hard for us to get all universities to put in more rigorous requirements. </p><p>Our next approach was to go to the districts and say, “Can you push on universities to make these changes? Can you be a bigger voice?” Many of them were reluctant to do that. They would tell us behind closed doors that universities weren’t doing enough, but nobody wanted to vocalize that. </p><p>The last resort was the legislative approach, and it worked because everybody had to do it. I think some universities valued that it came through a policy change, because otherwise they might not have gotten the buy-in they needed. We did get pushback from some of the bigger universities that depended on enrollments for revenue. </p><p> <strong>How did you handle the pushback?</strong></p><p>We were able to show evidence. We created a website with minutes and documents from every meeting. We were able to show legislators all of the people who were giving voice to this and point to the research showing this wasn’t just anecdotal information or a trend. This change could make a positive impact on our schools.</p><p>Another challenge was in the first year of implementation. Universities did see their enrollments drop—and they needed to drop, because we committed to preparing only candidates who wanted to be principals and assistant principals. There were fears of shortages. Fears about what the candidates would look like when they came out. Then once the first candidates of these programs graduated and districts saw the difference, we started to get a lot more supporters. </p><p><img alt="New-book-CSEP-image2-640x425-2.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/New-book-CSEP-image2-640x425-2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;583px;" />&#160;</p><p> <strong>How do you think other practitioners and policymakers can make use of the lessons that you’ve all learned to help inform their own practices and policies?</strong></p><p>There are a lot of examples now of states doing this work. I don’t think others will need to take as much time and attention as we did because there is more of a common acceptance and understanding that leadership matters. The key, though, is to bring all of the stakeholders to the table. We were very instrumental in Illinois because it wasn’t done by one agency. We had the State Board of Education, the Board of Higher Education. We had the Governor’s Office. When you have agencies align to support an effort from the highest level, that says it’s a priority for the state. </p><p> <strong>Are there any of the essays that you would point to specifically if a state was not as evolved in its thinking yet?</strong></p><p>Probably the first two, because they show how we experienced so many challenges in the beginning. The first two chapters are all about grit. We did not give up every time we hit a roadblock but instead we would pause, regroup and then look for other opportunities or doors that would open. </p><p>That’s why we never felt like we could write the book ourselves, because the story had to be told by everybody who was at the table. The book doesn’t even catch everybody, but we wanted to make sure that people understood that any policy that brings different perspectives into it is just so much richer. It can bring you to a place that you didn’t initially anticipate. That’s also the way we should be thinking about supporting our schools now. </p><p> <em>*This interview has been condensed and edited.</em></p><p> <a href="https&#58;//education.illinoisstate.edu/csep/aboutus/faculty_staff/elhunt_bio.php">Erika Hunt is a senior policy analyst and researcher in the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University. </a> <br> <br></p>Wallace editorial team792019-08-20T04:00:00ZNew book shows how a coalition worked to strengthen Illinois policy about pre-service principal training8/20/2019 3:37:08 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / The Long and Winding Road to Better Principal Preparation New book shows how a coalition worked to strengthen Illinois 938https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
“Lean on Me”: The Power of Principal Mentorship and Support24084GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Given the important role principals play in school success, how can districts promote their effectiveness, especially in improving teaching? A new article in ASCD’s <em>Educational Leadership</em> magazine details how district-led efforts to increase on-the-job supports like mentoring and coaching are helping principals become better leaders.</p><p>The article, <a href="http&#58;//www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar19/vol76/num06/Lean-on-Me.aspx">“Lean on Me,”</a> is part of an issue devoted to <a href="http&#58;//www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar19/vol76/num06/toc.aspx">“The Power of Instructional Leadership”</a> in ASCD’s flagship publication, which reaches a global audience of educators dedicated to achieving excellence in learning, teaching and leading. <br> </p>On-the-job support for principals has <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/support-for-instructional-leadership.aspx">traditionally been a low priority</a>, but districts are increasingly viewing supports like mentorship as critical to promoting instructional leadership, the article notes. In 2011, six large districts committed themselves to improving on-the-job support for principals as part of Wallace’s Principal Pipeline Initiative , and in 2014, Wallace launched the Principal Supervisor Initiative &#160;to support district-led efforts to focus the supervisor role more heavily on improving instruction. “Lean on Me” takes a closer look at how these efforts are playing out in both the pipeline initiative and supervisor effort districts.<div><br></div><div>To read the full article, <a href="http&#58;//www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar19/vol76/num06/Lean-on-Me.aspx">click here</a>.</div><div><br></div><div><em>Above photo&#58; Tommy Welch of Meadowcreek High School in Norcross, Georgia, one of the principals featured in the story. Photo by Claire Holt.</em><br><br></div>Wallace editorial team792019-03-13T04:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.3/12/2019 7:31:39 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / “Lean on Me”: The Power of Principal Mentorship and Support A new article in Educational Leadership looks at district-led 485https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
What Leading for Equity Can Look Like3330GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​My question hung in the air at a conference for rural school and district leaders&#58; How many of you have heard common misconceptions about equity-related issues for students, like chronic absenteeism and access to diverse teachers? Slowly a principal raised his hand and shared that he, as a school leader, until recently believed that at-risk families (those living below the poverty line and/or facing significant financial or emotional hardships) value school less and therefore do not believe in the importance of regular attendance. I found his honesty remarkable, and it spurred a conversation about the importance of shifting to what’s been identified as an “equity mindset”—where we value the life experiences of all students and their families by identifying and removing misconceptions and barriers so we can provide differentiated supports and services to those most at-risk. </p><p>Shifting to an equity mindset on attendance, to use this example, means that we assume all of our families equally value the importance of their children’s education. Rather than accept the status quo, we therefore focus on understanding what might get in the way of their children’s attendance, and try to remove those barriers. And when we succeed, we can dramatically accelerate the trajectory of a student’s pathway towards postsecondary opportunities. For example, when low income elementary students attend school regularly, they can see outsized literacy gains, eight percent more growth in kindergarten and seven percent more growth in first grade than their higher income peers (Ready, 2010). By the time they hit sixth grade, students attending more than 90 percent of the time have significantly greater chances of graduating on time (Balfanz, Herzog, &amp; Maclver, 2007). The key is helping to make sure students at risk attend – something that begins with an equity mindset. </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">In the struggle to create great schools for all students, equity often rides at the back of the bus. The Tennessee Leaders for Equity Playbook provides a powerful framework to change that dynamic. It is an especially thoughtful and actionable tool to bring equity to center stage in classrooms and schools. <br><em>—Dr. Joseph F. Murphy, Associate Dean, Peabody College of Vanderbilt University </em></p><p>Evidence-based equity shifts of this sort are part of the <a href="https&#58;//www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/education/reports/Tennessee-Leaders-for-Equity-Playbook.pdf" target="_blank"> <em>Tennessee Leaders for E​quity Playbook</em></a>, a publication developed by the Tennessee ESSA Leadership Learning Community (ELLC) team as part of its participation in a collaborative effort of the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Council of the Great City Schools, the National Urban League and The Wallace Foundation, funded by Wallace. The initiative brings together teams from 10 participating states—each working on its own state’s priorities for and approaches to building the capacity of principals and other school leaders to support schools and students most in need of improvement—to help them develop their plans and to learn from each other’s work. Our playbook in Tennessee was developed by a statewide team of school, district, community, higher education and state leaders, with substantial feedback received from a comprehensive set of stakeholder groups. It features seven equity commitments, all selected for their strong research base that correlates with improved student outcomes, and corresponding actions for school, district, school board and community leaders&#58; </p><ul><li>Decrease chronic absenteeism</li><li>Reduce disproportionate suspension and expulsion rates</li><li>Increase early postsecondary opportunities</li><li>Provide equitable access to effective teachers</li><li>Recruit and retain a diverse teaching force</li><li>Embed cultural competence in school practices</li><li>Partner with community allies </li></ul><p>The use of the word <em>commitments</em> is intentional to signal the importance of taking deliberate and specific action to advance equity. Other sections of the playbook include an action plan framework to assist leaders in the selection, implementation and monitoring of the most relevant equity commitments for their community; an “equity shifts continuum” describing the common misconceptions that must be examined and discussed for each equity commitment before moving to an equity mindset; and a list of key terms defined, including “equity” and a “leader for equity.” </p><p>My interaction with the rural principals demonstrates the importance of viewing equity through two lenses&#58;<strong> improving outcomes for all students is not an exclusively urban problem </strong>and <strong>equity needs to be embedded into the DNA of school and district policies and practices</strong> if we want to successfully move our collective thinking about equity from an <em>initiative</em> to a necessary and enduring <em>systematic approach</em> for reaching every student. This shift requires us as leaders to grapple with the powerful notion that student outcomes will not improve until adult learning and behaviors change. </p><p>Since the release of the Playbook in the spring of 2018, I have been fortunate to see both rural and urban districts in Tennessee use it as a training and support tool to help shift adult learning and behaviors towards equity. For example, Bobby Cox, superintendent of rural Warren County, uses it as part of a comprehensive district approach for training all employees, from district leaders and principals to cafeteria workers and bus drivers on the importance of learning strategies—such as providing meditation and counseling for disciplinary infractions rather than relying exclusively on out-of-school suspensions. This approach helps increase the social and emotional well-being of students. And it’s paying big dividends so far with significant increases in student attendance; the chronic absenteeism rate is 3 percent this year compared with 14 percent last year, with decreases in out-of-school suspensions. </p><p>I am convinced the equity shifts and commitments we’ve articulated in the <em>Tennessee Leaders for Equity Playbook</em> can play a role in accelerating the urgency and summoning the collective courage we need to make educational equity no longer a dream deferred in our state. We hope it can help provide a guide for others across the country, as well. &#160;<br></p><p>Paul Fleming is the Assistant Commissioner for the Teachers and Leaders Division at the Tennessee Department of Education. See his full bio <a href="/about-wallace/People/Pages/Paul-Fleming.aspx">here​</a>. ​​ <br> </p><p> <em>Lead photo&#58; Principal James Nebel of Sweetwater Middle School; Gwinnett County, Georgia</em></p>Paul Fleming942019-02-12T05:00:00ZStatewide collaboration and new “Leaders for Equity Playbook” are helping schools and districts in Tennessee better support all students.4/19/2019 6:48:28 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / What Leading for Equity Can Look Like Statewide collaboration and new “Leaders for Equity Playbook” are helping schools and 5358https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Students’ Mental and Emotional Health Top Concerns for Elementary Principals15700GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>The top concerns of elementary and middle school principals have shifted dramatically in the past 10 years, according to a new survey, with nearly three quarters of those polled saying they are worried about an increase in the number of students with emotional problems. The top issues that survey respondents noted in 2008—student assessment, instructional practices and providing a continuum of services to students at risk—didn’t rank among their top concerns in the new <a href="https&#58;//www.naesp.org/pre-k-8-school-leader-2018-10-year-study">study</a> by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. </p><p>The association has surveyed pre-K-8 school principals every 10 years since 1928. The study gauges the characteristics, concerns and conditions of elementary and middle school principals, and it tracks how these change over time. The 2018 survey, which was not nationally representative, received responses from almost 900 elementary and middle school principals.</p><p>This year’s survey marked the first time that students’ mental and emotional issues topped principals’ concerns. Those surveyed selected an “increase in the number of students with emotional problems” (74 percent), “student mental health issues” (66 percent) and “students not performing to their level of potential” (62 percent) as issues of “extreme or high” concern in their schools.</p><p>“While these findings are significant because they quantify the concerns of principals nationwide, they are somewhat foreseeable given the uptick in predictors like an increase in poverty and a need for mental health supports,” said Earl Franks, the association’s executive director. </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">&#160;42% of the survey respondents reported a large increase in involvement with “student mental health issues” and 38% reported a moderate increase. </p><p>When asked what concerned them about their students, principals cited poverty, behavior management, lack of effective adult supervision at home, safety and security, bullying over social media, homelessness and absenteeism, among other issues. </p><p>Addressing the socioemotional needs of students ranked as one of the top five matters the principals reported spending time on. Asked about areas in which their level of involvement has changed in recent years, 42 percent of the survey respondents reported a large increase in involvement with “student mental health issues” and 38 percent reported a moderate increase. “Student socioemotional well-being” ranked fourth on the list of matters with which the principals said they are increasingly involved. &#160;</p><p>Franks described principals’ roles as supporting teachers’ efforts in the classroom, cultivating leadership and “shaping a vision” for school cultures that make student well-being, including social and emotional health, a priority.</p><p>“Addressing the social and emotional needs of students isn’t necessarily a new responsibility for principals,” Franks explained, but the increasing interest in incorporating social and emotional learning (SEL) in schools “has provided a language and a construct to help principals think about how they can marshal and leverage resources and support for teachers and students.”</p><p>To do this, principals need more support in the form of training and guidance, Franks said. Franks suggested that their professional development needs to shift to address the growing need for social and emotional learning. “This type of learning should not feel like an add-on,” he said.&#160; </p><p>Wallace recognizes the importance of SEL and has invested in research that provides credible and useful knowledge on the topic. This includes an edition of the journal <a href="/how-we-work/our-work/pages/social-emotional-learning.aspx"><em>The Future of Children</em></a>&#160;on SEL and <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/navigating-social-and-emotional-learning-from-the-inside-out.aspx"><em>Navigating SEL from the Inside Out&#58; Looking Inside &amp; Across 25 Leading SEL Programs&#58; A Practical Resource for Schools and OST Providers.</em></a></p><p>You can learn more about our ongoing <a href="/knowledge-center/social-and-emotional-learning/pages/default.aspx">social and emotional learning initiative</a> on our website. </p>Wallace editorial team792018-08-07T04:00:00ZNew study shows principals’ increasing attention to social and emotional development and other student issues8/7/2018 1:59:39 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Students’ Mental and Emotional Health Top Concerns for Elementary Principals The top concerns of elementary and middle 4381https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Making the Most of the Principal Supervisor Role24089GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p> I<em>n many urban school districts, principal supervisors have a daunting task. Overseeing an average of 24 principals, they are also accountable for numerous administrative and other responsibilities, from monitoring supplies to ensuring government forms get completed on time. This makes concentrating on school leaders and their needs close to impossible. Wallace’s Principal Supervisor Initiative is seeking to see if that picture can be changed. It is funding a four-year effort in six districts that are working to reshape the supervisor job so it can focus on supporting principals to be as effective as they can be, especially in guiding schools to high-quality instruction. </em></p><p> <em><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Ellen_Goldring.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Making-the-Most-of-the-Principal-Supervisor-Role/Ellen_Goldring.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;208px;" />Recently, Wallace published </em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/a-new-role-emerges-for-principal-supervisors.aspx">A New Role Emerges for Principal Supervisors</a>, <em>the first report in a study looking at the effort, and it showed some promising findings, concluding that over the first three years of the initiative the six districts were able to make substantial progress in giving the supervisor job a makeover. </em></p><p> <em>We caught up with the researcher leading the study, </em> <a href="https&#58;//peabody.vanderbilt.edu/bio/ellen-goldring"> <em>Ellen Goldring</em></a><em>, the Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor and Chair in the department of leadership, policy and organizations at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, to see if she could tell us more. </em></p><p> <strong>What was the problem that districts in this initiative were seeking to address? </strong> <br> School districts continually strive to support and develop their principals and improve their effectiveness. Most often, this occurs through professional development.&#160;But, most urban districts have a central office structure that includes principal supervisors.&#160;Typically, supervisors focus on administration and bureaucratic compliance. The initiative has a straightforward question&#58; Can districts transform the role of principal supervisors from compliance officers to coaches and developers of principals?&#160;What does it take to make this change? And, does this change&#160;help develop effective principals?&#160;This report addresses the first two questions. <strong> </strong></p><p> <strong>Do we&#160;have a sense—understanding it's early—about the benefits and challenges of the changes the districts were tackling?</strong><br> We have learned a great deal about the&#160;changes districts have made to support the new role, and what the new role entails. </p><p>The daily work of supervisors has changed. The clear benefits include supervisors spending time in schools and working with networks of principals on instructional leadership.&#160;Supervisors engage&#160;in walkthroughs, coaching and providing more ongoing feedback to principals;&#160;they have a deep sense of the context of each principal’s school and develop closer relationships. Supervisors are able to evaluate principals based on their ongoing, firsthand knowledge and understanding of each principal.&#160;Principals report productive relations with their supervisors. </p><p>The change in the role occurred as a result of revising job descriptions and reducing the span of control—the number of principals each&#160;supervisor works with—to about 12, on average.&#160; For the first time supervisors received dedicated, unique training to develop the skills needed to be effective in their roles. This training often involved shared visits to schools where supervisors observed each other&#160;coaching and providing feedback to principals. Supervisors worked together to develop a shared set of practices and common approaches. </p><p>To support this new role, other central office roles and responsibilities needed to shift, and some departments were reorganized.&#160;Work previously handled by supervisors needed to be reallocated; as a result communication patterns had to change. Investing other central office departments in the change is a challenge and an ongoing process.&#160; </p><p>Other challenges include continuing to clarify the new role and to balance expectations; deepening and further developing&#160;consistent and effective practices for supervisors;&#160;and differentiating supports for principals.&#160;There are resource implications as well. </p><p> <strong>What are districts learning about making decisions on what supervisors to assign to what schools?</strong><br> First,&#160;they learned that this is a really important decision.&#160;Most districts consider a combination of school level, geography and feeder patterns.&#160;Others take into account performance levels, principal experience and school themes. The decision helps the districts think strategically about principal networks and learning communities as tools for support, sharing and development.&#160;The decision also helps districts think through matching supervisors’ skills, experiences and expertise to schools strategically. Districts learned that they also need to think about not only the average span of control, but balancing the span of control for each supervisor with the unique needs of each school. </p><p> <strong>How are the districts understanding the concept of &quot;instructional leadership&quot;—and what role do principal supervisors play in supporting it?</strong><br> Districts understand instructional leadership entails a deep understanding of the conception or framework of high-quality and rigorous instruction used in the district,&#160;and then what principals do to&#160;support and propel teachers in their instructional quality.&#160;Instructional leadership also entails developing the school culture and community for academic and social learning. &#160;&#160;</p><p>The link between the district’s instructional quality framework and instructional leadership is central. Some districts are further along in articulating this link than others.&#160;Principal supervisors work with principals on instructional leadership by coaching them&#160;through analyzing data, providing feedback to teachers, observing classrooms together, and creating principal learning communities, to name a few of their core activities. </p><p> <strong>What should districts contemplating revising this role think about?</strong><br> They should know that changing the role of the principal supervisor is a district-wide effort with multiple components, and requires communication and coordination throughout the district; it is not “simply” a role redesign.&#160; In fact, all the districts realized early on that making changes to the work of the central office would be necessary to facilitate the change to the supervisor role. &#160;</p><p>As in every large-scale change effort, the leadership of the district should be clear about how this change contributes to the overall strategic goals of the district.&#160; Buy-in from core constituencies is key, especially because there are resource implications in terms of reducing the span of control, and the whole district will be involved.</p><p>Lastly, I would say that simply reducing the span of control will not lead to role change. Paramount are a clear vision and expectations for the role, a delineation of instructional leadership expectations for principals and a strategy for supervisor training and support. </p><p> <strong>What surprised you in your research to date?</strong><br> I was surprised by the depth of understanding and excitement about the need to change the principal supervisor role. </p><p>I think this is a very powerful example of district reform that rallied around a specific focus&#58; changing the principal supervisor’s role.&#160;It is a very hopeful story—one that suggests when change initiatives have clarity, alignment and focus, districts make important changes. </p><p>I was surprised about the extent to which the role before the initiative really was a catch-all for everything and anything schools needed, and it was very idiosyncratic within the same district.&#160;We saw how important it is to develop shared understanding and specific skills of supervision, such as implementing specific coaching models, or using protocols for walkthroughs. Developing a collaborative, professional culture amongst supervisors helped them in turn work with principals in professional learning communities. </p>Wallace editorial team792018-07-16T04:00:00ZCo-Author of Study Discusses ‘Very Hopeful Story’ of How Districts Are Changing7/16/2018 3:27:45 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Making the Most of the Principal Supervisor Role Co-Author of Study Discusses ‘Very Hopeful Story’ of How Districts Are 2726https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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