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Building an Ecosystem of Talent Development for Principals 10375GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​In 2011, we launched the Principal Pipeline Initiative to test whether six large districts could put in place systems aimed at developing corps of effective school principals. Independent studies of the initiative’s implementation thus far have found that <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/perspective-building-principal-pipelines-update.aspx">building principal pipelines</a> proved both feasible and affordable in the six participating districts, and we’ll soon know more about how this work impacted student achievement. But when the initiative concluded&#58; the question of sustainability remained&#58; Would districts maintain these pipeline components—and if so, how? </p><p>Now a Policy Studies Associates team led by researchers <a href="/about-wallace/People/Pages/Leslie-Anderson-.aspx">Leslie Anderson​</a> and Brenda Turnbull has interviewed key decision makers and surveyed novice principals to understand to what extent they are still carrying out the four components of the pipeline, what changes they have made and if principals’ perspectives on their hiring and placement, evaluation and support are similar to previous findings. Their findings are published in a new study <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/sustainability-of-principal-pipeline-initiative.aspx">Sustaining a Principal Pipeline</a>. &#160;&#160; </p><p>We asked Anderson to elaborate on the report’s findings and what they mean for the sustainability of strong principal pipelines.&#160; </p><p> <strong>What are the most significant implications of these findings for districts that want to develop and operate principal pipelines?</strong></p><p> <em>It’s worthwhile&#58;</em> There is a real payoff that districts have seen from steady investment of time and thought in developing and refining several key ingredients for leader development&#58; standards; partnerships; succession planning; mentoring and coaching, and leader tracking systems. Moreover, principals’ survey responses indicate that newly placed principals see strengths in the preparation and support they have received. As of 2018, the principal pipeline shows staying power. </p><p> <em>It’s a process not a product&#58;</em> One district leader described their pipeline experience as a journey rather than a destination that one reaches through shortcuts. No one should think that one district is “the district to watch” and try to copy what that district does. Instead, building a pipeline is a developmental process that district leaders must grow into. </p><p> <em>It’s affordable&#58;</em> There is almost no cost associated with developing leadership standards. In addition, only moderate costs are associated with creating a standardized application for principal candidates. Yet this relatively low-cost upgrade to district hiring practices can quickly strengthen the pool of candidates qualified to fill school vacancies. Indeed, seven years after starting the Principal Pipeline Initiative, district leaders no longer report struggling to find highly qualified candidates to fill vacancies; they are impressed with the skills of the principals they are hiring. Moreover, over time, districts saw fewer principal vacancies, suggesting that principal turnover had declined and new principals were better prepared.<br> </p><p> <strong>What lessons does the study hold about how districts and universities can work together to improve preservice training for principals? What are the challenges and how can they be overcome? </strong></p><p>PPI districts saw real benefits from investing staff time in the care and keeping of their university partners. Denver, for example, assigned a staff person to meet with district partners regularly, often monthly or more, to co-plan the programming. The result, according to another district administrator, has been that “they're producing candidates that are highly qualified [to lead our] schools.” Similarly, principal supervisors in Charlotte-Mecklenburg spent years on a university partner’s board and worked together closely to identify gaps between the district’s leadership standards and the university’s preparation program coursework. Ultimately, as one district leader explained, if done right, the benefits of the partnership are shared&#58; “There is that mutual beneficial relationship that enables the university to have outstanding graduates and for us to have outstanding leaders.”&#160; </p><p>By 2018, district investments in their university partnerships had yielded dividends. Higher percentages of principals who had started on the job in more recent years (after March 2012) compared with those who had started earlier (before March 2012) reported that their preservice preparation emphasized competencies related to school improvement, including instructional leadership.&#160; Moreover, more recently prepared principals reported having started on the job with higher levels of preparedness for leadership. </p><p> <strong>The report mentions that there are some areas of confusion or overlap in the various systems of support for principals that the pipeline developed. &#160;What are these areas and how can schools and districts remedy them? </strong></p><p>Districts strive to coordinate principal support in a way that addresses principal needs but mitigates the risk of delivering conflicting messages. While principal supervisors, mentors and coaches are all necessary principal support, they need to be managed appropriately to avoid contradictory or confusing advice. A Denver principal supervisor described a novice principal getting four sets of guidance from four different people on a daily basis, for example.&#160; </p><p>Creating more lines of communication between support streams is a good first step toward mitigating conflicting messaging.&#160; Because people are busy, it’s often hard to know which support provider is helping principals develop which capacity or competency. A leader in Gwinnett County maintained that it was incumbent upon district leaders and support providers to work together to provide a coherent support structure that ultimately helps principals succeed. She suggested that districts should start by calibrating support providers in defining or diagnosing the needs of the school. And she cautioned that coordination does not mean standardization and that the support delivered to principals should vary in response to school contexts and needs.</p><p>Finally, there is a danger of overwhelming principals with support.&#160; First-year principals often feel as if they are “drinking from a firehose,” as an administrator put it, and they cannot absorb all of the support they receive. Prince George’s County has tried to address this problem by creating what it calls “a central office school support network” to coordinate all of the offices that impact the building so that the principal “didn't have to have 13 different meetings with 13 different offices at the beginning of the school year.”</p><p> <strong>With the emergence of the principal supervisor role as a key element of the pipeline, how can districts ensure that supervisors are able to focus mainly on principal support and development? </strong></p><p> Districts used a variety of strategies to ensure that supervisors could focus on principal support. Several hired more supervisors, reducing their span of control and thereby increasing the time supervisors could devote to developing principals’ instructional leadership skills. One district removed any responsibility for operations management from principal supervisors’ span of control by creating a department of academic support and another department for school operations.<br></p><p>Another, less costly approach one district took was organizing supervisors into different buckets of responsibility. Leaders in this district recognized that their supervisors reflected an assortment of competencies, some uniquely qualified to guide principals’ growth in instructional leadership, and some not. They opted to divide the work of their eight supervisors so that five would be instructionally focused and three would be operationally focused.&#160; </p><p> <strong>What was surprising to you about these findings? </strong></p><p>That this initiative has real staying power. That is, seven years after the PPI began, districts still have their principal pipelines. Districts still use standards to shape their principal preparation, hiring, evaluation and support systems; hiring managers have well-stocked pools of vetted principal candidates as well as individual-level data for use in their succession planning. Mentors, coaches and supervisors continue to build principals’ skills on the job. All six districts continue working on strengthening and expanding the pipeline components in ways that further manage and support the career progressions of principals. For example, they continue to strengthen the principal supervisors’ skills in supporting principals. They also work on strengthening principals’ capacity to identify and develop the leadership talents of aspiring leaders, recognizing that sitting principals play a key role as mentors. </p><p>In summary, as we mention in the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/sustainability-of-principal-pipeline-initiative.aspx">sustainability report</a>, they are trying to build an ecosystem for talent development in which principals and principal supervisors regularly seek to identify and nurture the very best and brightest future leaders.&#160; </p><p><em>Leslie Anderson is&#160;a Managing Director at Policy Studies Associates (PSA).&#160;To read her full bio </em><a href="/about-wallace/People/Pages/Leslie-Anderson-.aspx"><em>click here​</em></a><em>.</em><br></p>Wallace editorial team792019-02-19T05:00:00ZStudy finds Principal Pipelines have staying power and big payoffs for districts.2/19/2019 2:55:47 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Building an Ecosystem of Talent Development for Principals Study finds Principal Pipelines are durable and have big payoffs https://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"> <em>Tennessee Leaders for Equity 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.2/12/2019 7:22:37 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 1369https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Helping Principals Support Social and Emotional Learning10568GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>Social-emotional learning (SEL) is a hot topic in schools across the nation—and for good reason&#58; A <a href="https&#58;//www.naesp.org/pre-k-8-school-leader-2018-10-year-study">recent survey</a> of elementary and middle school principals shows a high degree of concern about issues associated with student mental health and socioemotional needs. Principals and their teams of educators I’ve met across the country seem to agree, then, that sound development of SEL skills is imperative to students’ success in school and in life. </p><p>After becoming president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), I took a two-week, 4,800-mile, 28-school road trip across the United States to talk with other principals, school administrators and teachers to find out what they’re proudest of in their schools and what keeps them up at night. (Check out #PrincipalRoadTrip on Twitter to read about where I visited and what I learned on my Epic Ed-venture.)</p><p>The greater educational community understands that student success in the classroom and out of the school setting is predicated on the foundation SEL provides. Research shows that classrooms function more effectively and student learning increases when children are able to focus their attention, manage their negative emotions, navigate their relationships and persist in the face of difficulty. </p><p>SEL is a fairly new concept. In 2018, it ranked as the top concern among participating principals in the survey, which formed the basis of NAESP’s <em>Pre-K–8 School Leader in 2018&#58; A 10-Year Study </em>cited above. But issues such as self-management and mental health weren’t always a priority in schools. In the same survey, just 10 years prior, none of these student-related issues was identified as major concerns. </p><p>Despite SEL’s importance, child development, education and health care experts all agree that challenges remain as schools navigate the implementation process for their students. That’s why NAESP wanted to do something to help principals help their students. Enter longtime NAESP partner The Wallace Foundation, which has commissioned extensive research on SEL in recent years. The end result of this collaboration was <a href="https&#58;//www.naesp.org/principal-novemberdecember-2018-safe-healthy-schools/leading-lessons-social-and-emotional-learning"><em>Leading Lessons</em><em>&#58; Social and Emotional Learning</em></a>. </p><p>The guide addresses developing SEL instructional skills and strategies and ways for schools to work with out-of-school programs to keep the SEL continuum of learning going outside of the classroom. Principals can use the guide to identify the right SEL focus area—interpersonal skills, character, cognitive regulation, emotional processes and mindset—to ensure student growth in their schools.</p><p>Then, collaborating with their teachers and leadership teams, they can select an existing program whose primary focus matches what has been identified as a key focus area for that school. I know firsthand that it’s not as simple as just picking a program, though. Partnering with the<em> right</em> SEL program for your school can be the key to success. <em>Leading Lessons</em> offers a resource section that features 25 leading SEL and character development programs profiled in The Wallace Foundation’s <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/navigating-social-and-emotional-learning-from-the-inside-out.aspx"><em>Navigating SEL From the Inside Out</em> </a>report, with descriptions of the primary focus and other details of each program. </p><p>What else did I learn from my conversations with educators across the country? This is a nationwide initiative. It didn’t matter if I was visiting a rural school in Wisconsin or an urban school in Kentucky; educators spoke in unison about the need for systematic implementation of SEL opportunities for their students. </p><p><em>Eric Cardwell is a principal in Michigan and president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. </em></p> Eric Cardwell922019-01-03T05:00:00ZNew guide addresses systematic implementation of SEL opportunities to help kids succeed in school and beyond1/3/2019 3:00:29 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Helping Principals Support Social and Emotional Learning New guide addresses systematic implementation of SEL opportunities 2163https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Sunshine State Educators Look to a New Day in Principal Preparation16121GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>What happens when a Florida university principal preparation program, three local school districts, the state’s education agency and others make a commitment to work together to improve the way future school leaders are trained? </p><p>An explosion of ideas, tough work and innovation—if a <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/improving-principal-preparation-programs-live-stream-12-12-18.aspx">lively panel discussion</a> at a recent Wallace gathering is to be believed.</p><p>The meeting brought together participants in the Wallace-sponsored University Principal Preparation Initiative. The effort is centered at seven universities around the country that are seeking to redesign their principal prep programs to ensure that they help shape professionals ready for the demands of the often difficult jobs awaiting them, especially in high-needs schools. &#160;A centerpiece of the initiative is that the universities are revamping their programs in close partnership with other key players&#58; school districts that hire their graduates; state agencies that determine accreditation and other policies influencing university programming; and “mentor” programs, preparation programs that bring special expertise to bear on redesign. </p><p>The panel highlighted the work of Florida Atlantic University and its partners. Moderator Steve Tozer, professor of educational policy studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago, opened by making clear the stakes of the endeavor. “This initiative is based partly on fact that superintendents and universities alike are feeling the need to improve how we do principal preparation nationwide,” he said, along with a recognition that “if we don’t do better it’s going to make it much harder to expect improved learning outcomes for our kids in schools.” </p><p>Daniel Reyes-Guerra, a professor and director of the initiative at Florida Atlantic, outlined the many changes in programming that have taken place at his university since the redesign got under way about two years ago. Among other things, there are now close links between university and district in everything from program admissions to course content to the required practical leadership experiences students receive in schools. Driving the changes, Reyes-Guerra said, is this question&#58; “How do we go from the university doing their thing, the districts doing their thing … [to] producing the kind of leader that these districts want?”</p><p>One of the partner districts is Broward County, and another panelist, Ted Toomer, director of leadership development for that county’s school system, said that constant, open communications—including weekly video chats among the partners—had been an essential to making the “deep, messy work” of change possible. “Having everybody around the table talking about the work has been a major, major benefit,” he said. </p><p><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="AnnMarieDilbert_cropped3.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Sunshine-State-Educators-Look-to-a-New-Day-in-Principal-Preparation/AnnMarieDilbert_cropped3.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />Annmarie Dilbert, principal of Crosspointe Elementary School in Palm Beach County, another of the partners in the Florida effort, spoke about the role of mentoring would-be principals in preparation programs. Based on less-than-optimal mentoring she had seen in her career, Dilbert was inspired to join Florida Atlantic’s new approach this fall. Dilbert, like other principals taking part, acts as a mentor to a teacher in her own school. It’s a major commitment, she said, but Dilbert has been gratified by “the growth that I have seen in her—as well as myself.” She has hopes for the future, too. “I’m seeing results and I’m only one semester in,” Dilbert said. </p><p>In joining the initiative, state education officials have seen that the state, too, could have a substantial role to play in the cultivation of effective principals. Paul Burns, deputy chancellor for educator quality at the Florida Department of Education, said the initiative had spurred the establishment of a task force to examine the status of education leadership in the Sunshine State. Composed of representatives from a number of institutions with a stake in effective school leadership—from school teachers and prep program faculty members to principals, school boards, unions and others—the task force has examined, among other things, the extent that state policies and standards support effective leadership. </p><p>The idea, Burns said, is “to begin to dig deeply into this notion of educational leadership for the state of Florida—what it looks like, what our needs are, what our gaps are, to begin to identify what was going well.” A report on their findings is being finalized now, Burns said after the panel.</p><p>You can watch the full panel discussion <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/improving-principal-preparation-programs-live-stream-12-12-18.aspx">here</a> and see the latest findings from the University Principal Preparation Initiative <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/launching-redesign-university-principal-preparation-programs.aspx">here</a>. </p>Wallace editorial team792018-12-14T05:00:00ZPanel discussion sheds light on innovative new programs to better train and support school leaders12/14/2018 4:56:00 AMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Sunshine State Educators Look to a New Day in Principal Preparation Panel discussion sheds light on innovative new programs 527https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Making Principal Preparation a Team Sport16106GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>Educational leader, culture-setter, community liaison…The role of the principal has become more demanding in the twenty-first century, and principal preparation programs haven’t always been able to keep up. Part of the problem is that it’s rare for university-based programs to work closely with the school districts that hire their graduates. Starting in 2016, seven universities set out to change that as part of the Wallace-funded University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI). After year one of the four-year effort, the universities succeeded in forging strong partnerships with districts and other key players—the first step in overhauling their programs and sending out better-prepared principals.</p><p>How they did it is the subject of a new report by the RAND Corporation titled <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/launching-redesign-university-principal-preparation-programs.aspx?_ga=2.209301970.1951641179.1542038823-1057583374.1513009179"><em>Launching a Redesign of University Principal Preparation Programs&#58; Partners Collaborate for Change</em></a>. We spoke with Elaine Wang, one of the report’s authors, about the challenges and benefits of the collaborative approach.* &#160;</p><p><strong><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Wang-photo.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Making-Principal-Preparation-a-Team-Sport/Wang-photo.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;167px;" />What is the problem that the University Principal&#160;Preparation&#160;Initiative is seeking to help solve?</strong></p><p>School district leaders around the country express concern about the quality of candidates applying for principalships. They’re just not ready to step into this important role. This is due in part to shifting (and many would argue increasing) expectations for school leaders.&#160;The job of a principal includes establishing a positive school culture, providing instructional leadership, hiring and supporting teachers, managing a budget, ensuring compliance with federal, state and local requirements, developing community partnerships, and the list goes on.&#160;Some principal preparation programs have struggled to keep up with the changing expectations and diverse needs of the schools served by their graduates. </p><p><strong>Why was it important for the seven participating universities to establish strong working relationships with the school districts that hire their graduates?</strong></p><p>UPPI refocuses principal preparation programs so they think of districts, rather than aspiring principals, as their “customers.” District leaders—superintendents, assistant superintendents, talent office directors—understand the skills their principals need to have and the situations they will likely face. By drawing on this knowledge, preparation programs can identify areas for improvement, so they can prepare more effective principals. When the program and district establish a strong working relationship, together they can ensure, for example, that candidates have strong mentor principals or that course instructors have relevant, practical expertise. We’re also beginning to see in some UPPI districts that the collaboration between universities and districts on principal preparation can grow into other mutually beneficial areas, such as preparing teachers to step into leadership positions and providing support after program graduates enter leadership positions.</p><p><strong>How did the universities and school districts go about forming and cementing their partnerships?</strong><br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;<br> The universities looked first to engage districts with which they already had a relationship. In some cases, this was a formal relationship—for example to support a district-specific cohort within the larger principal preparation program.&#160;In other cases, there were informal relationships because the preparation programs hired district officials as adjunct faculty or districts frequently hired program graduates. Some universities and districts established connections where there were none before. <br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;<br> There were several early activities that helped them build and deepen their partnerships. First, they worked to articulate and agree on what candidates graduating from the program should know and be able to do. For some teams, this was a very intensive process. Having a common objective helped them understand and work with each other even when there was disagreement. Next, they reflected on and identified the strengths and weaknesses of the existing program. Finally, they each developed a logic model to help guide change. This process allowed all voices to be heard, rallied everyone around the same goals, and secured a commitment on everyone’s part to help to reach those goals.</p><p><strong>What is the biggest challenge the universities and their partners have faced in redesigning the programming, and how are they tackling it?</strong></p><p>Universities and their partners are grappling with how to craft a set of coherent experiences that prepare candidates for an inherently complex job in a wide range of school settings. It’s an ambitious undertaking. For example, the teams used a research-based tool to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their existing programs and identify areas for improvement. They also worked together to develop learning experiences outside of traditional classroom instruction, such as modules linked to field-based experiences and milestone assessments that span multiple courses.</p><p>Several UPPI teams were confronted with turnover among the staff working on the initiative, as well as key supporters like university presidents, provosts, deans, and school district superintendents. Some teams prepared for this inevitable turnover by cross-training their staff, so that someone was always prepared to step in when a team member was unavailable. Some relied on strong documentation, to help onboard new team members and organization leaders. In all cases, the university-based project lead took time to brief new team members in order to smooth out the transition.</p><p><strong>What has surprised you in your research to date?</strong></p><p>One thing that has surprised us also surprised many of the universities and their partners&#58; how much they were able to learn from each other. Because they listened to district leaders, university leaders began to understand that principals—including their own graduates—needed more explicit guidance and practice in areas such as communication and cultural responsiveness. District leaders found that being authentically involved in shaping the principal program caused them to rethink their expectations for their school leaders. We heard repeatedly from district, university and state leaders that working closely with their partners has prompted them to fundamentally retool how principals are developed and supported. The UPPI programs are sharing their experiences, strategies—and in some cases revised syllabi and program materials—with programs across their state and beyond.</p><p><em>*This interview has been edited and condensed.</em></p> Wallace editorial team792018-11-20T05:00:00ZRAND’s Elaine Wang on how seven universities are learning to think of school districts as collaborators and “customers”11/20/2018 2:56:05 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Making Principal Preparation a Team Sport RAND’s Elaine Wang on how seven universities are learning to think of school 425https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
“Principals Under Pressure”: Preparation and Support Can Make a Tough Job Easier16111GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Schools were created for learning—from young kids mastering their ABCs to high-school students developing career skills and everything in between. A new <em>Education Week</em> series shows just how much principals are learning too.</p><p>In the recent special report <a href="https&#58;//www.edweek.org/ew/collections/principal-solutions/index.html?cmp=soc-edit-tw">“Principals Under Pressure,”</a> school leaders spoke candidly about the most challenging parts of the job—which <em>Education Week </em>argues is the most demanding and complex in the K-12 system&#58; “Six issues came up, over and over,” the series cites, “Safety, student mental health, dealing with toxic employees, handling the complex needs of special education students and their families, holding on to the best teachers, and time management and work-life balance.” </p><p>Over the years we’ve learned the extent to which <a href="/knowledge-center/Documents/How-Leadership-Influences-Student-Learning.pdf">high-quality principals are vital to the effectiveness of schools</a>. But <em>Education Week’s </em>articles underscore just how challenging the principalship can be, and point to a need for better preparation and support to help principals face the real-world demands of the job. </p><p>According to a 2016 survey, many district and university leaders <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/improving-university-principal-preparation-programs.aspx">agree</a> that most university-based preparation programs have not adequately prepared principals for today’s challenges. To test how these training grounds can change to better prepare future leaders, we launched the four-year University Principal Preparation Initiative in 2016. Seven universities are seeking to redesign their programs to reflect the research on what constitutes high-quality principal training. A key aspect of the redesign is immersing principal candidates in school life. The participating universities are boosting internships and field experience to offer genuine leadership experience, and they’re closely tying these real-world experiences to what’s taught in courses.</p><p>Importantly, the universities are doing this work through partnerships. Partnerships between principal training programs and school districts are rare, but they can help training programs respond to district needs and are <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/improving-university-principal-preparation-programs.aspx">essential</a> to high-quality instruction. Each university training program in the initiative has partnered with at least three school districts that hire its graduates, a state education office and a mentor university training program. </p><p>At the outset of the initiative, the universities worked with their partners to agree upon expectations for their graduates. They examined their current programs to identify strengths and weaknesses, and then they mapped their goals and strategies. Curriculum changes vary by the university but include an emphasis on special education and instruction in building school culture—two issues closely related to the top challenges identified by <em>Education Week</em>. RAND Corporation recently released its first of three reports on the initiative, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/launching-redesign-university-principal-preparation-programs.aspx"><em>Launching a Redesign of University Principal Preparation Programs</em></a>, which looks at the initiative’s implementation and suggests that this type of redesign process is doable. </p><p>University programs are just one piece of the pipeline to help principals lead effectively. Since 2011, our <a href="/knowledge-center/Documents/Building-a-Stronger-Principalship-Vol-5-The-Principal-Pipeline-Initiative-in-Action.pdf">Principal Pipeline Initiative</a> has been testing whether district-managed principal pipelines can produce large corps of principals who can improve teaching, learning and student achievement in schools. We’ve been working with six large, urban school districts across the country to help them develop strong principal pipelines by improving principal training, hiring and on-the-job support and evaluation. Independent studies have found that building principal pipelines is feasible and affordable, and forthcoming reports will offer more about the impact on student achievement and school improvement.</p><p>We’ve also been working to improve the support principals receive while on the job through our Principal Supervisor Initiative. As part of this work, six districts are shifting the principal supervisor role from a focus on operation and compliance to a focus on developing principals to be effective instructional leaders. Thus far, the districts have reported that <a name="_Hlk529184236">principals were able to develop more productive relationships with their supervisors and a </a> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/a-new-role-emerges-for-principal-supervisors.aspx">study of their efforts</a> demonstrates the feasibility of making substantial changes to the principal supervisor role.</p><p>Clearly, principals have a tough job—and the role is changing rapidly to meet increasing the demands on school leaders. Better preparation and support can help school principals navigate the challenges they face every day and ensure that they are continuously honing their own skills too. &#160;</p> Wallace editorial team792018-11-13T05:00:00ZEducation Week series on principals underscores the need for training that reflects the real-world demands of the job11/13/2018 2:59:23 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / “Principals Under Pressure”: Preparation and Support Can Make a Tough Job Easier A new Education Week series shows just how 233https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Congressional Briefing Addresses the Vital (and expanding) Role of School Leaders10295GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#8cf34914-7bff-4dc4-95c0-d6e59a295cba;L0|#08cf34914-7bff-4dc4-95c0-d6e59a295cba|Effective Principal Leadership;GPP|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;GP0|#0cd55c08-6cf5-4ae7-a735-f8317421308a;L0|#00cd55c08-6cf5-4ae7-a735-f8317421308a|ESSA;GP0|#184b3b02-1dae-4ee1-9ac9-9704ebd0b823;L0|#0184b3b02-1dae-4ee1-9ac9-9704ebd0b823|State and Federal Policy<p>​​​​​Encompassing, evolving, critical—that’s how principals described their roles during a recent congressional briefing to highlight <a href="https&#58;//www.principalsmonth.org/event/national-principals-month-capitol-hill-briefing/">National Principals Month</a>. National education leaders and congressional staff had convened on Capitol Hill to discuss federal support for principals, focusing on funding opportunities for school leadership in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). </p><p>“We know a lot from evidence and experience about the vital role of principals and other school leaders in terms of getting the opportunity, the systems, the outcomes we need,” said Tiara Booker-Dwyer, executive director of leadership development and school improvement for the Maryland State Department of Education. Next to classroom instruction, principals are the second most important factor that impacts student learning, she added, alluding to a landmark Wallace-funded <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-leadership-influences-student-learning.aspx">examination of school leadership</a>.</p><p>In describing the importance of principals’ work, panelists detailed an overwhelming list of job duties&#58; managing operations and finance, engaging parents, implementing policies, evaluating instruction, overseeing student behavior, encouraging students’ social and emotional health, supporting their staff and fostering a positive school climate. This prompted moderator Scott Palmer, managing partner and co-founder of EducationCounsel, to suggest, “Maybe if Congress could find a way to stop time, that would be really helpful.”</p><p>While Congress doesn’t have the power to stop time, panelists were unequivocal in urging Congress to support principals in another way&#58; funding support for&#160;school leadership. Palmer pointed to increasing attention paid to school leadership at the federal level, including through <a href="/knowledge-center/Documents/School-Leadership-Interventions-ESSA-Evidence-Review.pdf">ESSA</a>, which expands the opportunities for states and districts to use federal funding for school leadership improvement. Title II, Part A of ESSA allocates about $2.3 billion per year to improve the quality of principals, teachers and other school leaders. States may reserve up to an additional 3 percent of the amount set aside for district subgrants for school leader support. </p><p>“It’s important that you understand the critical role of principals and other school leaders and that funding for Title II—full funding, more funding—is essential to the work we do each and every day,” said Christine Handy, president of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and principal of Gaithersburg High School in Maryland. </p><p>Panelists identified principal supervisors as an important driver of improved leadership. Laura Mastrogiovanni, principal of M.S. 137 in Queens, said her leadership skills “came through my support, through having a mentor, a coach, a consultant. I’ve had all three at one point in my 13 years [as a principal].” </p><p>Eric Cardwell, president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and principal of Besser Elementary School in Alpena, Mich., noted that 56 percent of NAESP’s members have zero to five years of experience. “What that’s telling me is that people get in, they might get overwhelmed, and they get out—either back into teaching or into another job,” he said. “What we need to do a better job with is that mentorship, that collaboration, that time for those folks to ask the questions that they have and not just turn the keys over.”</p><p>After the panelists answered questions from teachers, principals and congressional staff, Palmer asked panelists what point they thought was most important to end on. Cardwell said, “I would encourage you to go into schools and ask principals what Title II means to them. It is everything.”</p><p>You can watch a<a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6CKK3IKqJk"> video</a> of the full Capitol Hill briefing hosted by NAESP, NASSP and the American Federation of School Administrators, check the full calendar of events for <a href="https&#58;//www.principalsmonth.org/event/national-principals-month-capitol-hill-briefing/">National Principals Month</a>, follow the conversation on Twitter with #ThankAPrincipal and learn more at the <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/default.aspx">School Leadership</a> section of our Knowledge Center.</p>Wallace editorial team792018-10-15T04:00:00ZNational education leaders and congressional staff convened on Capitol Hill earlier in October to discuss federal support for principals.10/25/2018 8:47:45 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Congressional Briefing Addresses the Vital (and expanding) Role of School Leaders A National Principals Month event hosted 1558https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Helping Principals Spend More Time with Teachers and Students16090GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Late last week, the<em> Atlanta Journal Constitution</em>&#160;published a piece highlighting&#160;a recent effort&#160;at&#160;Atlanta Public Schools to hire 17 &quot;school business managers.&quot; These managers would handle the business side of school operations,&#160;things like transportation, food service, budgeting, etc., which would then free principals from overseeing these tasks.&#160;Principals&#160;would also receive coaching and training to help them spend more time with teachers and students.&#160;</p><p><br> The program is an outgrowth of Wallace's <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/making-time-for-instructional-leadership.aspx">earlier SAM work</a>&#160;and underscores the&#160;core findings of so&#160;much of our school leadership work&#58;&#160;&#160;<br> </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout"><br> Principals who have time to guide teachers and strengthen instruction can dramatically influence a school. How well principals lead is a top factor in whether teachers stay or leave, and the principal’s role is second only to teachers in terms of the impact on student learning, said Jody Spiro, director of education leadership for the Wallace Foundation. </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout"><br> &quot;Principals are really, really crucial for school improvement and student achievement, but that means not being a superhero. A lot of people have this image in their head of the principal being a superhero. That’s what Hollywood portrays, and that, in fact, is a sure route to burnout,&quot; said Spiro. &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </p><p><br> You can read the full article <a href="https&#58;//www.ajc.com/news/local-education/aps-school-business-managers-let-principals-focus-education/eqMGG4aqdKHSGtV05qrBGK/" target="_blank">here</a>&#160;and, as always, learn more at the <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/default.aspx">School Leadership</a> section of our Knowledge Center.&#160;</p> Wallace editorial team792018-10-01T04:00:00ZNew Atlanta program provides funds to hire managers and add professional development for principals.10/1/2018 7:39:39 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Helping Principals Spend More Time with Teachers and Students New Atlanta program provides funds to hire managers and add 664https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Three Questions About Education Leadership Research16123GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​R<em>ecently, </em>Education Week<em> columnist Rick Hess handed over the reins of his blog for a </em><a href="http&#58;//blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rick_hess_straight_up/2018/08/three_questions_about_education_leadership_research.html" target="_blank"><em>post </em></a><em>on current research in education leadership. We were happy to see the piece refer to&#160;our University Principal&#160;Preparation Initiative, among other sources,&#160;and received permission&#160;to republish the post. The authors are Anna Egalite, assistant professor of leadership and policy at North Carolina State University, and Tim Drake, who's also at NC State. The two are collaborating on a project (supported through the Wallace initiative)&#160;to redesign NC State's principal training program and share lessons learned with others.</em> <br></p><p>A commonly cited <a href="https&#58;//hechingerreport.org/why-school-leadership-matters/" target="_blank">statistic</a> in education leadership circles is that 25 percent of a school's impact on student achievement can be explained by the principal, which is encouraging for those of us who work in principal preparation, and intuitive to the many educators who've experienced the power of an effective leader. It lacks nuance, however, and has gotten us thinking about the state of education-leadership research—what do we know​ with confidence, what do we have good intuitions (but insufficient evidence) about, and what are we completely in the dark on? With this in mind, we've brainstormed three big questions about school leaders. The research in this area is incomplete, but a recent development makes us hopeful that better data are on the horizon.</p><p> <strong>1. Do principals impact student performance?</strong></p><p>Quantifying a school leader's impact is analytically challenging. How should principal effects be separated from teacher effects, for instance? Some teachers are high-performing, regardless of who leads their school, but effective principals hire the right people into the right grade levels and offer them the right supports to propel them to success.</p><p>Another issue relates to timing&#58; Is the impact of great principals observed right away, or does it take several years for principals to grapple with the legacy they've inherited—the teaching faculty, the school facilities, the curriculum and textbooks, historical budget priorities, and so on. Furthermore, what's the right comparison group to determine a principal's unique impact? It seems crucial to account for differences in school and neighborhood environments—such as by comparing different principals who led the same school at different time points—but if there hasn't been principal turnover in a long time, and there aren't similar schools against which to make a comparison, this approach hits a wall.</p><p>Grissom, Kalogrides, and Loeb carefully document the trade-offs inherent in the many approaches to calculating a principal's impact, <a href="http&#58;//journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.3102/0162373714523831?journalCode=epaa" target="_blank">concluding</a> that the window of potential effect sizes ranges from .03 to .18 standard deviations. That work mirrors the conclusions of Branch, Hanushek, and Rivkin, who <a href="https&#58;//www.educationnext.org/school-leaders-matter/" target="_blank">estimate</a> that principal impacts range from .05 to .21 standard deviations (in other words, four to 16 percentile points in student achievement).</p><p>Our best estimates of principal impacts, therefore, are either really small or really large, depending on the model chosen. The takeaway? Yes, principals matter—but we still have a long way to go to before we can confidently quantify just how much.</p><p> <strong>2. What skills are needed to ensure success as a modern school leader?</strong></p><p>The fundamentals haven't changed, as a quick read of Dale Carnegie's classic<a href="https&#58;//www.amazon.com/How-Win-Friends-Influence-People/dp/0671027034" target="_blank"> text</a> will reveal—smile; don't criticize, condemn, or complain; show appreciation. Specific applications to the field of education administration are obvious&#58; Be a good manager, be organized, and follow the policies you set. These are concrete skills that can be taught in a preparation program and their value has been quantified. See, for instance, <a href="http&#58;//journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.3102/0002831211402663?journalCode=aera" target="_blank">Grissom and Loeb</a>, who point to the importance of practical managerial skills; <a href="http&#58;//www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentId=12742" target="_blank">Hess and Kelly</a>, who write about the principal's role in supporting curriculum and instruction; and <a href="http&#58;//journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.3102/0013189X13510020?journalCode=edra" target="_blank">Grissom, Loeb, and Master</a>, who demonstrate the value of teacher coaching.&#160;</p><p>But there are also intangible skills that cannot be easily taught—being visionary and motivating, showing compassion, being a force for good, keeping children at the center of the work, and being cognizant of whether civil rights are being advanced or inhibited by the culture you build. This latter list highlights the skills that principal candidates need to bring to the table before their preparation program even begins, and it's this latter list that matters the most in our current context.</p><p> <strong>3. What are the characteristics of high-quality principal preparation programs?</strong></p><p>Principal preparation programs have two primary responsibilities&#58; Identify and admit the most promising candidates, then provide them with concrete skills that will equip them to be successful upon graduation. <a href="https&#58;//www.amazon.com/Preparing-Principals-Changing-World-Leadership/dp/0470407689" target="_blank">Studying</a> exemplary programs offers a roadmap for how to do this well, but data limitations restrict how closely we can actually monitor their success in meeting these responsibilities.</p><p>We can show that there is sufficient <a href="http&#58;//journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0013161X18785865?journalCode=eaqa" target="_blank">systematic variation</a> between programs in terms of test-score growth, for instance, that allows us to sort them into high, medium, and low performance categories. But we know too little about differences in the actual training received across programs. Administrative datasets rarely allow us to link principals to the specific program from which they graduated. Most programs can't even self-evaluate because they don't have data systems to track their graduates.</p><p>So what are we doing about all this?</p><p>With support from the Wallace Foundation's <a href="/news-and-media/press-releases/pages/wallace-announces-seven-universities-to-participate-in-47-million-dollar-initiative.aspx" target="_blank">$47 million initiative</a> to improve the quality of principal preparation, NC State has been engaged in redesigning our program to train principals who are ready to meet the demands of a constantly changing job. We joined forces with local school leaders to identify the skills and attributes of effective school leaders. We then developed our program selection criteria, curricula, assessments, and internship to align with this framework. We're now partnering with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and SAS to develop a leadership-development dashboard that tracks the career pathway and performance of our graduates, with a vision of scaling the system state-wide to include all North Carolina-based principal preparation programs and school districts.</p><p>The data don't exist yet to answer the most pressing questions about the relationship between principal preparation and leadership effectiveness. It's our hope that's about to change.</p><p>—<em>Anna Egalite and Tim Drake</em></p>Wallace editorial team792018-09-11T04:00:00ZWhat we know confidently from evidence, what we have good intuitions about and what we still need to learn about education leadership.9/11/2018 6:11:47 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Three Questions About Education Leadership Research What we know confidently from evidence, what we have good intuitions 865https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Principals Need Coaches Too10269GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#8cf34914-7bff-4dc4-95c0-d6e59a295cba;L0|#08cf34914-7bff-4dc4-95c0-d6e59a295cba|Effective Principal Leadership;GPP|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;GP0|#d4c2da24-0861-47f9-85bd-ee1c37263157;L0|#0d4c2da24-0861-47f9-85bd-ee1c37263157|Principal Supervisors;GP0|#f86ec85e-a137-43e2-8c12-5ce0b67efe8e;L0|#0f86ec85e-a137-43e2-8c12-5ce0b67efe8e|Principal Training<p>Is it feasible for districts to reconceive the role of those who supervise principals so less time is spent on compliance and more time on coaching to help principals strengthen teaching and learning in their schools? Is there an inherent conflict between supervising and evaluating principals and being a trusted coach?</p><p>A <a href="http&#58;//www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Documents/A-New-Role-Emerges-for-Principal-Supervisors.pdf">new Vanderbilt University–Mathematica Policy study</a> offers answers to these questions by examining how six districts participating in <a href="http&#58;//www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/principal-supervisors.aspx">The Wallace Foundation’s Principal Supervisor Initiative</a> have reshaped the role.</p><p>The study concludes that in those urban districts — Baltimore; Broward County, Florida; Cleveland; Des Moines; Long Beach, California; and Minneapolis — it was feasible for principal supervisors to focus on developing principals. This important and complex work was done in less than three years and has resulted, to date, in principals feeling better supported. In addition, the role change has led to the districts’ central offices becoming more responsive to schools’ needs.</p><p>Principals felt better supported and saw no tension between the supervisor’s role as both evaluator and coach. The principal supervisor is a continuous presence in the school — a member of the community, not a visitor. Learning is continuous.</p><p>This role is relatively new on the scene — in fact, five years ago, there was no common term for it. Sometimes called principal managers or even instructional leadership directors, the people in these positions oversaw large numbers of principals and traditionally handled regulatory compliance, administration, and day-to-day operations.</p><p><img alt="74-Million-Blog-lg-feature.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/74-Million-Blog-lg-feature.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />&#160;</p><p>They rarely visited a school more than once every few months and therefore did not work directly with principals. A 2013 <a href="http&#58;//www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Documents/Rethinking-Leadership-The-Changing-Role-of-Principal-Supervisors.pdf">Council of the Great City Schools survey</a> of principal supervisors in 41 of the nation’s largest districts also identified other problems, including insufficient training, oversight of too many principals, mismatches in assignments to schools, and a lack of agreement about job titles.</p><p>Wallace launched the Principal Supervisor Initiative in 2014 to see whether and how districts could reshape the job. An important step was the development of the first-ever voluntary <a href="http&#58;//www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/pages/model-principal-supervisor-professional-standards-2015.aspx">national model standards for supervisors</a> in 2015, a process led by the Council of Chief State School Officers. These standards emphasize developing principals as professionals who “collaborate with and motivate others, to transform school environments in ways that ensure all students will graduate college- and career-ready,” rather than focusing on compliance with regulations. In the new study, the participating districts pointed to the importance of having standards for the job as a foundation for the position’s redesign.</p><p>That study suggests that “substantial, meaningful change is possible” across five areas. “After three years, we saw substantial change in all districts,” says Ellen Goldring, the study’s lead author. “They came up with efficient and effective ways to position supervisors so they could fill the coaching and supporting gap.” Specifically, the districts&#58;</p><ul><li>Revised principal supervisors’ job descriptions, relying on the national model standards that emphasize instructional leadership.</li><li>Reduced the number of principals whom supervisors oversee by almost 30 percent, from an average of 17 to 12.</li><li>Trained supervisors to support principals.</li><li>Created systems to identify and train new supervisors.</li><li>&#160;Restructured the central office to support and maintain the changed supervisor role.</li></ul><p>Following the redesign, most principal supervisors in the six districts reported that they now spend most of their time — 63 percent — in schools or meeting with principals. This shift means supervisors are working directly with principals, engaging in new routines and practices, such as participating in classroom walk-throughs, coaching, leading collaborative learning, and providing ongoing feedback.</p><p>Across districts, the principals emphasized that they trusted their supervisors to function as both supporters and evaluators. As one Cleveland principal explained&#58; “You don’t feel as though it’s your boss evaluating you. So it’s very comfortable. He’ll come in, he’ll have a conversation with you. … He always asks, ‘How can I support you? What do you need from me?’” It’s more of that than a formulated check-the-box.”</p><p>The districts also trained the supervisors to recognize high-quality instruction or better coach principals. For many, it was the first time they were provided with professional instruction specifically for their role. After two years, 80 percent of the supervisors reported participating in such opportunities.</p><p>In addition to offering professional development, districts began to identify more promising principal supervisor candidates and restructured central offices to support the new role and redistribute some noninstructional duties from supervisors to others in those offices.</p><p>Still, districts face some challenges. Goldring notes that the districts are continuing to refine the way they revamp the supervisor role, including defining what instructional leadership means, finding the right balance between supervisors’ time in school versus the central office, and providing uniformly high-quality training.</p><p>“It’s a heavy lift,” says Goldring. “But this study represents an incredibly positive example of the power of the supervisor role and a hopeful story about the power of district reform.”</p><p>Vanderbilt and Mathematica are planning two more reports to be published in 2019&#58; One will measure the initiative’s impact on principal effectiveness, and the other will compare principal supervision in the six districts in the study with peers in other urban districts.</p><p><em>This article first appeared in <a href="https&#58;//www.the74million.org/article/spiro-principals-need-coaches-too-what-a-new-study-of-6-large-school-districts-reveals-about-the-shifting-role-and-value-of-principal-supervisors/" target="_blank">The 74 Million</a> and is reposted with permission.</em></p>Jody Spiro142018-08-28T04:00:00ZPrincipals Need Coaches Too: What a New Study of 6 Large School Districts Reveals About the Shifting Role, and Value, of ‘Principal Supervisors’8/29/2018 3:10:43 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Principals Need Coaches Too What a New Study of 6 Large School Districts Reveals About the Shifting Role, and Value, of 3892https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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