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University's Revamped Principal Training Yields Changes for District, Too45694GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>W​​​​​​hen Henrico County Public Schools and Virginia State University began their partnership six years ago, their goal was to improve the university’s principal preparation program. Here’s what wasn’t on the horizon&#58; redesigning the district’s leadership professional development.&#160;</p><p>But what began as a Wallace-sponsored initiative to ensure that university training of future principals reflected research-based practices, ended up sparking a big rethink of leader prep within Henrico itself. The result? Changes to and expansion of professional development across the spectrum from teacher-leaders all the way up to principal supervisors. </p><p>“This was an opportunity for us to develop a new partnership, to strengthen our principal pipeline and to be involved in the work of the principal preparation program,” says Tracie Weston, director of professional development at Henrico County Public Schools, which serves about 50,000 students in suburban Richmond. </p><p>The&#160; “opportunity” in question was the University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI), in which seven universities in seven states each worked with a handful of local school districts and others to reshape their school-leader training programming to incorporate what research has found about everything from curriculum and clinical experiences to candidate admissions. Virginia State was one of those universities, and Henrico County was one of its partner districts, working, like all the other initiative districts, to ensure that the university programs responded to the needs and circumstances of the locales that hired program graduates. </p><p>An unexpected outcome, however, was that working to boost the university programming inspired the district to boost its own development efforts, according to a <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/district-partnerships-with-university-principal-preparation-programs.aspx">study</a> by the RAND Corp. The initiative “raised the visibility of school leadership in the district and created a window of opportunity where district leadership supported PD,”&#160; RAND reported, using the initials for “professional development.” A number of changes resulted. For example, some of the topics addressed in the refashioned district PD, including leadership dispositions and equity, reflected priorities that Virginia State and its partner districts had discussed in redesigning the university program, according to RAND’s <a href="/knowledge-center/Documents/redesigning-university-principal-preparation-programs-full-report.pdf">in-depth examination</a> of the initiative. And Henrico’s PD for sitting principals began pairings of district leaders with sitting principals to emphasize policy and practice–an approach used in the university program. </p><p>Henrico County works successfully with a number of pre-service preparation programs, Weston says. As a district with a highly diverse student population, the school system welcomed collaborating as well with Virginia State, a historically Black university with a strong commitment to educational equity. “Much of our work in the college of education has been to bring about greater equity in the face of teacher education, counselor education and K-12 administration,” said Willis Walter, the university’s dean of education. “We have a fairly simple conceptual framework that is deeply rooted in culturally responsive pedagogy, and I think that is, for the most part, what attracted Henrico to some of the concepts we were teaching. We come at education from the standpoint of everyone has strengths.”</p><p>When it started working with the university, the district had several different programs that looked at pieces of leadership, but not leadership as a whole. </p><p>“To strengthen the things Henrico was already doing well, we wanted to make sure they had the right people at the table and the most vetted and best practices that were out there. And the best way of doing that was us working together,” Walter said. </p><p>The school system and university representatives bonded quickly,&#160; according to Walter. “I think that's because there was a common passion and a common focus,” ​he said. “We had some real knock-down, dragged-out conversations, but because everyone in the room trusted and appreciated the point of view that the other was coming from, it was never taken to an extreme.”</p><p>At the start of the initiative, Henrico had a small team responsible for providing professional learning for school leaders. Because these team members had all been principals, they recognized the need for ongoing, job-embedded professional learning for all leaders, including teachers. Throughout the UPPI partnership, Weston recalls, there were conversations about additional areas that needed to be included in a principal preparation program to ensure that leaders understood the responsibilities of the position, and that they were prepared for those responsibilities. These conversations led to taking a closer look at what professional learning the partner districts themselves were providing for school leaders. </p><p>The “moment of magic” as Weston calls it–the moment that led to the district wanting to revamp its entire professional development process–occurred when Henrico visited Gwinnett County, Ga., whose school district, known for its leader-development endeavors, worked with Virginia State in the UPPI.&#160; </p><p>Within the first six months of seeing the work in Gwinnett (a participant in an earlier Wallace venture), Henrico had developed its Aspiring Leader Academy, a district program designed to help prepare those aspiring to leadership jobs for their future administrative positions. Henrico’s goal was to create a program that was “meaningful, relevant&#160;and sustainable,” according to Weston. The interest in that academy was so high that Henrico expanded and introduced some new features to it.&#160; </p><p>“In year two, not only were we looking to identify our next school leaders, but we also wanted to provide professional learning for teachers who wanted to lead from the classroom–those who wanted to stay but grow,” said Weston. So, Henrico introduced a track for&#160;teacher-leaders. Both aspiring principal and teacher-leader tracks were aligned with national model standards for school leadership, the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/professional-standards-for-educational-leaders-2015.aspx">Professional Standards for Educational Leaders</a>, and, while in training, the two groups came together for the morning sessions, which were led by the school system’s top administrative leaders–superintendents and directors–so that the candidates had the opportunity to “learn through the broader lens vision of how we work together to maximize student achievement.”</p><p>The afternoon sessions were tailored to the two different tracks, with the aspiring principals in one room and aspiring teacher-leaders in another.</p><p>District leaders also identified a gap in Henrico’s professional learning effort&#58; development for assistant principals. They created a third track based on the teacher-leader effort, called the Assistant Principal Learning Series. In this track, candidates participate in “action research,” where assistant principals look at a problem of practice at their school. In their second year of the program, they can tap into more personalized options–at present more than 17 to choose from.</p><p>“So in the year we kicked off the AP learning series, every leader in Henrico County was getting a minimum of one day of professional learning targeted to an area of leadership where they felt they needed growth,” Weston said.<strong> </strong></p><p>After adding APs, Henrico expanded the program yet again to include principal supervisors. That means that today the district has professional learning opportunities for aspiring leaders to assistant principals and principals all the way up to supervisors.</p><p>There may be more to come. “We're so excited about the work that we were exposed to and the connections we made, that we want to create a statewide cohort of principal supervisors so that principal supervisors across the state are receiving quality, relevant, practical professional learning for their positions,” Weston said.</p><p>Weston and Walter credit the partnership between the university and district for improving principal development on both sides. </p><p>“We were looking at best practice from a theory standpoint, and they were looking at best practice from an application standpoint,” Walter said. “I think the merging of those two benefited both of us. We were able to bring more relevant examples to our candidates that were about to graduate as well as to make sure that our faculty were on the right page when it came to the conversations they were having with prospective administrators in many of our surrounding communities.”</p><p>Although the grant from the University Principal Preparation Initiative has ended, Henrico and VSU have continued their strong partnership.</p><p>“It's an ongoing partnership where we lift one another, we share resources, we share experiences,” Weston said. “We're helping Virginia State see what the boots-on-the-ground challenges are, and how that can be reflected in the coursework that the students are being exposed to so that when they graduate, they are ready for the real-life challenges of K-12.”</p><p>Both Weston and Walter have advice for other districts and universities that wish to take on similar partnerships to revamp the way they develop and support school leaders. </p><p>“We always focused on the K-12 student, not on the personality, not on the administration,” Walter said. “It was all about what is best for the K-12 students in that community.”</p><p>Weston emphasized the importance of being willing&#160; to lean on partners for support. “Have conversations, reach out, make connections,” she said. “Because we learn from one another.”&#160;<br></p>Jenna Doleh912022-09-14T04:00:00ZYour 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.9/14/2022 2:10:49 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / University's Revamped Principal Training Yields Changes for District, Too How one school district looked to its university 368https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Five Takeaways for Developing High-Quality Principals39093GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​Effective principals are important—but they don’t grow on trees. Their preparation, development and support can make a major difference, not just for principals themselves but for teachers, staff and students as well. </p><p>Two new reports show how states, districts and universities all have a role to play in improving the quality of principal preparation across the board&#58; <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/developing-effective-principals-what-kind-of-learning-matters.aspx"><em>Developing Effective Principals&#58; What Kind of Learning Matters?</em></a> from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI), and&#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/redesigning-university-principal-preparation-programs-a-systemic-approach-for-change-and-sustainability.aspx"><em>Redesigning University Principal Preparation Programs&#58; A Systemic Approach for Change and Sustainability</em></a> from the RAND Corporation. </p><p>Authors from the two research teams recently <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsHGy7lCZLA&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank">presented highlights from their work​</a>, along with a panel of experts to help dig into the findings. Here are five key takeaways from that conversation&#58;</p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">Leveraging federal funding can help improve principal preparation</h3><p>Federal COVID relief funds can play an important role in supporting principal development, according to Peter Zamora, director of federal relations at the Council of Chief State School Officers. He cited examples from Florida, Illinois, Kansas and Nevada, all of which have created some sort of program to help train, mentor and develop principals. </p><p>Zamora pointed out how the new research from LPI and RAND can help states seeking to use federal funds for similar types of work. He referred to an earlier example shared by the RAND researchers, which notes how states can use Federal funds from ESSA Titles I and II, as well as the <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now.aspx">American Rescue Plan Act</a>, along with state funds, to create leadership academies and paid internships for school leaders.<br></p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“We do a thousand things in a day, make a thousand decisions in a day,” Tyson said. “So I appreciate those informal times, be it just a text message or a quick phone call.”​<br></p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">Mentorship matters</h3><p>Developing a cadre of mentors to support principals is important, Marjorie Wechsler, principal research manager at LPI, emphasized. These mentors are often retired, successful principals who, importantly, receive training, ongoing support and networks of other mentor principals to learn from. Strong mentorship programs take significant time to build a culture of trust, Weschler said. And she pointed to the importance of good matches between mentors and administrators. </p><p>Rashaunda Tyson, assistant principal at University High School of Science and Engineering in Hartford, Conn. shared her experience with a clinical supervisor who became her mentor, noting that the best part for her was the informal, in-the-moment support she received.<br> <br>“We do a thousand things in a day, make a thousand decisions in a day,” Tyson said. “So I appreciate those informal times, be it just a text message or a quick phone call.”</p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">Truly collaborative partnerships are critical</h3><p>Daniel Reyes-Guerra, associate professor at Florida Atlantic University and a project director for the University Principal Preparation Initiative’s work at FAU spoke about the importance of collaboration in the success of his program’s redesign. FAU’s principal preparation program partnered with the university’s local school district for co-construction. The program also collaborated with state policymakers so they could see firsthand what the needs were on the ground and incorporate them into state-level policies.</p><p>In Florida, policymakers created a new set of educational leadership standards and program approval standards for universities and districts. They also passed new legislation that governs how the state supports educational leadership professional development.</p><p>This kind of deep partnership takes time to cultivate, noted Reyes-Guerra, and requires a culture shift at the university.<br></p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“Just sitting in a room and lecturing doesn’t do it,” Domenech said.​<br></p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">Clinical experiences can make a big difference</h3><p>Dan Domenech, executive director of AASA, the superintendents association, underscored the importance of strong clinical experiences for pre-service principals.</p><p>“Just sitting in a room and lecturing doesn’t do it,” Domenech said. </p><p>He said that pre-service principals learn best by having the opportunity to practice the skills they’re learning and work closely alongside a principal. This hands-on experience also applies to developing current principals who can visit other schools and work with more experienced principals. And when it comes to these clinical experiences, strong partnerships between universities and districts continue to remain important. In one survey conducted by AASA, principals reported having less-effective clinical experiences when that strong partnership was not in place.</p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">Equitable access to high-quality support continues to be an issue</h3><p>The role of the principal is continuing to evolve, Domenech said. Districts should support and encourage leaders to participate in high-quality development programs because it has such an impact on performance and staff. But as the research from LPI points out, not all principals have equal access to those programs. With principals from higher-poverty schools reporting fewer quality professional development opportunities than those from lower-poverty schools, equity must continue to be at the forefront of improvement conversations.</p><p>“It’s a whole new ballgame today,” said Domenech. “What are the needs, what are the skills and how do we provide opportunity to our administrators so they have the leadership that can ensure all of our students have the quality education they’re entitled to.”</p><p>See the full webinar recording <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsHGy7lCZLA&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank">here</a>.<br></p>Andrea Ruggirello1142022-06-28T04:00:00ZBacked by new research, expert panel discusses how universities, districts and states can better prepare and support school leaders6/28/2022 12:00:48 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Five Takeaways for Developing High-Quality Principals Backed by new research, expert panel discusses how universities 1546https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Pandemic Recovery Cannot Happen Without Great Principals2799GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7;L0|#0b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7|News​<p>​​​J​​​ames Lane, assistant secretary of the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education, began his address on a recent webinar for education leaders with gratitude for principals. “You’ve stepped up in ways that none of us could have ever imagined,” he said, going on to thank principals for their dedication, perseverance and tenacity in keeping communities together during the pandemic.&#160;<br></p><p>Citing the report,&#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx">How Principals Affect Students and Schools</a>, Lane emphasized the importance of school leaders, quoting the report authors&#58; Principals really matter.</p><p>Indeed it is difficult to envision an investment with a higher ceiling on its potential return than a successful effort to improve school leadership. He underscored this point by reviewing the Department of Education’s priorities and its supplemental priorities.</p><p>The supplemental priorities include&#58;<br> </p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"> Diversifying the education workforce to reflect the diversity of students.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Addressing staffing shortages through measures such as encouraging states to increase compensation; improving teacher working conditions; supporting teacher-wellbeing; and building a cadre of substitute teachers.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">​Investing in an educator pipeline by establishing loan forgiveness, teacher development residencies and teaching as a registered apprenticeship.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Providing technical assistance to states and studying teacher shortages in order to provide researched guidance as to how to increase the number of teachers in the pipeline and improve retention.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Preparing and developing principals by expanding the definition of “educator” in certain grants to include not only classroom teachers but all those involved in education, including principals. These grants include the&#160;​<a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/offices/office-of-discretionary-grants-support-services/innovation-early-learning/education-innovation-and-research-eir/" target="_blank">Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant program</a>, and&#160;<a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/offices/office-of-discretionary-grants-support-services/effective-educator-development-programs/supporting-effective-educator-development-grant-program/#&#58;~&#58;text=The%20purpose%20of%20the%20SEED%2cenhance%20the%20skills%20of%20educators." target="_blank">Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grants</a>.</div><p>Lane also addressed the administration’s commitment of federal funds to meet the needs of students and educators trying to recover and reimagine schools.</p><p>“We have got to invest those dollars <em>now,</em>” Lane said, addressing education leaders across the country. Lane and his colleagues are meeting with district leaders nationally who are using their federal funding to support activities such as partnering with community organizations to provide holistic services to students, putting a health clinic on campus that is open to the entire community and others. </p><p>Lane ended his remarks urging district leaders to be bold about the actions they take to make sure every student has the support they need to be successful.</p><p>You can view the recording of the webinar <a href="https&#58;//vimeo.com/705801954/334fd7c94b" target="_blank">here</a>. </p>Andrea Ruggirello1142022-05-31T04:00:00ZU.S. Assistant Secretary of Education explains how the department is prioritizing educators now and in the future5/31/2022 5:30:34 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Pandemic Recovery Cannot Happen Without Great Principals U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education explains how the department 772https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Missouri’s Ongoing Effort to Develop Principals Pays Off39358GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​ <div><p>E​​​​​​​​ight years ago, officials at Missouri’s state education department reflected on all they’d accomplished with principal preparation—a highly-regarded leadership academy, mentoring for new principals—and wondered where they’d gone wrong.</p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/missouri-ongoing-effort-to-develop-principals-pays-off/Paul-Photo.jpg" alt="Paul-Photo.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;190px;height&#58;266px;" />“Why weren’t schools getting better?” they wanted to know, said Paul Katnik, assistant commissioner at the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. “Why were principal retention rates low? What were we missing here?”</p><p>In the end, they determined that there was nothing amiss with the content of their effort. “But it was being done at a scale that didn’t have any real measurable impact,” Katnik said&#58; Only 120 out of 300 new principals got mentoring each year. The 25-year-old Leadership Academy served only 150 principals annually out of 2,200 in the state. “We thought, we need to rethink this. We need something big and systemic.”&#160; </p><p>In 2016, when Missouri launched one of the nation’s most comprehensive statewide principal development initiatives, that something big happened. The <a href="https&#58;//dese.mo.gov/educator-quality/educator-development/missouri-leadership-development-system" target="_blank">Missouri Leadership Development System (known as “MLDS”)</a> now offers professional development to every principal in the state—aspiring to retiring—based on a common set of leadership competencies. Today, 45 percent of Missouri principals participate annually, and the retention of early career principals is rising. <br> </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/missouri-ongoing-effort-to-develop-principals-pays-off/missouri-blog-post-MLDS-Domains-small.jpg" alt="missouri-blog-post-MLDS-Domains-small.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> <br> </p><p>​Since 2018, the year-to-year retention rate for Missouri principals in their first three years on the job has grown steadily from 82 percent to 87 percent in 2021. And retention rates for those enrolled in the professional development system is even higher—a remarkable 98 percent annual retention rate over the past three years. <br></p><p>“When you’re a new principal, it’s a whirlwind, and in Missouri, we have a large number of rural districts so there’s really no one else to talk to,” said Michael Schooley, executive director of Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals. “MLDS gives them a knowledge specialist and a peer support network which is critical, so they don’t get overwhelmed.” </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“Our principals have had an incredibly tough job the last couple of years. We are going to be helping educators deal with the aftermath of the pandemic for a while.”​<br></p><p>Nationally, <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/New-Research-Points-to-a-Looming-Principal-Shortage.aspx">concerns over a principal shortage</a> are growing. The National Association of Secondary School Principals recently released a report finding that 4 in 10 principals planned to leave the profession in the next three years, many citing political tensions and other stressors related to the pandemic as reasons. At the same time, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-executive-summary.aspx">rigorous research</a> points to the principal as key to improving academic achievement schoolwide. While teachers have more influence on the learning of their own students, studies find, principals with strong instructional leadership skills can help improve learning in every classroom. Such research was the impetus behind MLDS, said Katnik, whose state participated in a years-long effort, sponsored by The Wallace Foundation, to&#160;assist teams from 11 states in developing and implementing plans to use federal dollars to support effective school leadership efforts. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/missouri-ongoing-effort-to-develop-principals-pays-off/2Y8A9277.jpg" alt="2Y8A9277.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> <br>Today, Missouri is fueling an expansion of MLDS with American Rescue Act Plan funds, on top of other federal sources as well as state funding it had already applied to the system. “Making ourselves even more available to principals in the state is a great use of money” said Katnik. “Our principals have had an incredibly tough job the last couple of years. We are going to be helping educators deal with the aftermath of the pandemic for a while.” <br></p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“How do you keep a tent from blowing away in the wind? You put stakes in the ground.”​<br></p><h2 class="wf-Element-H2">Staying Power<br></h2> ​Thoroughness may be one key to the Missouri Leadership Development System’s success—and its staying power. School leaders throughout the state are invited to 15 hours or more of professional development annually offered through nine regional centers. Learning is provided at four levels—“aspiring” for those in education administration degree programs ; “emerging” for principals or assistant principals in their first two years on the job, which for principals comes with mentoring; “developing” for those in at least year three; and “transformational” for the most experienced. Early on, the state also aligned its principal certification requirements to the same set of competencies as its professional development. More recently, university education administration programs were encouraged to adopt the aspiring principal curriculum. Districts are encouraged to use a principal evaluation form aligned to those same competencies. And the statewide principals associations now offer 15 online, self-paced “micro-credentials” based on the competencies that count towards advanced state certification. <div> <br> </div><div>“How do you keep a tent from blowing away in the wind? You put stakes in the ground,” quipped Katnik, an official in a state that has had its share of stormy weather; the education commissioner lost her position in 2017 under a new governor but was reinstated a year later when the political winds shifted. Through the turmoil, the Missouri Leadership Development System endured. “When it’s embedded in that many places, it becomes ‘That’s just what we do here,’” he said. “That’s how you sustain it.”<br></div><div> <br> </div><div> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/missouri-ongoing-effort-to-develop-principals-pays-off/2Y8A9154.JPG" alt="2Y8A9154.JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> <br>The collaboration that went into the system’s design is another key to its success, according to Katnik. “When we first started, we said, ‘Everyone who works with a leader has to be a partner in this or it won’t work.’” <br></div><div> <br> </div><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“You’re in people’s turf and people had their own good ideas. We just kept bringing it back to the vision. Do we believe that we need a statewide system? If we do, we have to figure this out.”​<br></p><div> <br> </div><div>The partners who began their efforts in 2014 in a windowless basement conference room in Jefferson City included the statewide principals and superintendents associations, the Missouri Professors of Education Administration, and representatives from the state’s nine regional professional development centers.</div><div> <br> <p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/missouri-ongoing-effort-to-develop-principals-pays-off/Jim-Photo2.jpg" alt="Jim-Photo2.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;179px;height&#58;228px;" />If anyone had said a decade ago that the principals and superintendents associations would be working that closely with the state education department, “people would have laughed,” remarked Jim Masters, a former superintendent and now the education department’s coordinator of educator evaluation and training. “The department was seen as compliance driven and less of a partner in helping schools get better,” he explained, so coming together “was a little bit of a leap of faith.”</p><p>Collaborating wasn’t always easy, Katnik said. “You’re in people’s turf and people had their own good ideas. We just kept bringing it back to the vision. Do we believe that we need a statewide system? If we do, we have to figure this out.”</p><p>Within a year, the team had agreed on 41 principal competencies organized into five domains&#58; visionary, instructional, managerial, relational and innovative leadership. All were aligned to the <a href="https&#58;//www.npbea.org/psel/" target="_blank">Professional Standards for Educational Leaders</a>. </p><h2 class="wf-Element-H2">Hands-on Learning<br></h2><p>Crafting the professional development for each level was the next challenge. Busy principals needed engaging and relevant content, not “50 people in a room and a PowerPoint presentation,” said Mike Rutherford, a consultant who led the curriculum design and later trained the regional facilitators, all of them former principals. “From the outset, we thought about the experience that principals would have just as much as what kind decision-making model or what kind of theory of [school] change to include.”<br></p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/missouri-ongoing-effort-to-develop-principals-pays-off/2Y8A9202.JPG" alt="2Y8A9202.JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p>The content was also designed “to be put in the hands of people who have had experience with adult learning, motivational learning and instructional design,” Rutherford added, with enough flexibility to tailor it to the needs and interests of participants. “I can’t emphasize enough that the results that MLDS is getting is really due to that design.”<br></p><p>Content-wise, MLDS didn’t break much new ground, he said. Topics for emerging principals included strategies for getting the school year off to a strong start, such as by communicating expectations and leading effective meetings. New principals also delve into how to build relationships, shape school culture, develop effective instruction, manage time and make good decisions. But learning was active with readings, discussion, writing exercises, brainstorming, roleplay and field experiences, such as touring a school with peers to observe and analyze school culture. <br> <br>Travis Bohrer, now superintendent of Dixon R-1 School District, enrolled in MLDS the summer before he became a high school principal. “That first meeting was transformational,” he recalled.&#160; “I went from feeling anxious to feeling confident that I had the tools for that first day, first week and first month of school.</p><p>“That was just the tip of the iceberg,” he continued. “It became this really powerful network of mentors facilitating the learning and the network of colleagues attending these meetings who are experiencing the same challenges.”<br></p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“It [MLDS]&#160;had a profound impact on the culture of my own building when we started telling teachers, ‘You do this well and kids learn from it, and I hope you’ll share it with your team later today,’<span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">”</span>&#160;said Bohrer.<span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">​​</span>​<br></p><p>One of the most valuable experiences, he found, were the Coaching Labs. Small groups of principals visit a school with their regional facilitator, observe and analyze classroom instruction and then take turns providing teachers with “30-second feedback,” describing how the teacher’s instruction had a positive impact on student learning. </p><p>“While you’re doing this, your cohort and coach are listening to you,” he said. The group would offer on-the-spot feedback, such as, ‘This phrase is effective,’ or ‘You’re trying to give affirming feedback and you just canceled it by saying that.’”</p><p>The goal of 30-second feedback is to draw teachers’ attention to promising practices they can build on, according to Rutherford, who developed the technique based on research about effective coaching for teachers (which is timely and specific) and positive psychology, which focuses on developing strengths. Principals are taught to use the technique to build trust and open the door to more extensive craft conversations about instruction, another topic the curriculum covers. </p><p>The idea is to spread effective practices schoolwide. “It had a profound impact on the culture of my own building when we started telling teachers, ‘You do this well and kids learn from it, and I hope you’ll share it with your team later today,’” said Bohrer.<br></p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/missouri-ongoing-effort-to-develop-principals-pays-off/2Y8A9119.JPG" alt="2Y8A9119.JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p>Gabe Burris, an elementary school principal in Harrisburg, Missouri, credits both the Coaching Labs and the roleplaying of difficult conversations during workshops for strengthening his communication with teachers. “I was able to be successful at some things as a first-year principal that I wouldn’t have been without that resource,” he said. “From the first meeting on, it has been a tremendous experience.” </p><p>Mentoring during his first two years also improved his instructional leadership, said Burris. While mentor principals receive online training videos and a handbook with content to cover, they will still tailor their guidance to each new principal’s interests and needs. At his request, Burris went to his mentor principal’s school to observe how the problem-solving team tackled student learning and behavioral challenges. </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">&#160;“MLDS keeps us grounded in the work of being an instructional leader,” which helps participating principals keep from getting swept up in “the day-to-day logistics of managing a building.”​<br></p><p>Now in his third year, Burris said the mentoring continues informally. “I talk to him to this day. ‘I have this discipline situation, I’m going to handle it this way what do you think?’ or ‘How would you handle it?’”</p><p>Tabitha Blevins, an elementary school principal in St. Joseph, Missouri, said that “MLDS keeps us grounded in the work of being an instructional leader,” which helps participating principals keep from getting swept up in “the day-to-day logistics of managing a building.” </p><p>Currently she is working on developing a more “data-driven approach” for grade-level teams to analyze and strengthen instruction using an approach from a recent MLDS workshop for developing principals. She let her teachers know that their professional development was a byproduct of her own&#58; “I am essentially modeling that we are not stagnant in our professions and we should be seeking out the shared knowledge of our peers.” </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/missouri-ongoing-effort-to-develop-principals-pays-off/2Y8A9289.jpg" alt="2Y8A9289.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><h2 class="wf-Element-H2">Getting More on Board</h2><p>Partly because of the pandemic’s disruption to schooling and testing, it’s unclear whether the system has yet made a measurable impact on student learning—although annual external program evaluations find the system gets high marks for quality and relevance. </p><p>And not everyone across the state is on board with MLDS. “Many large suburban districts think they can do their own thing better,” said Schooley of the Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals, noting that some districts prefer to tailor training to local practices. And while some urban districts have signed on, including St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield, rural districts are the most likely to seek out the support. &#160;Still, he said, “There are more and more districts participating because they find out its good stuff.”</p><p>To expand professional development to more districts, the state education department tapped newly available federal COVID-19 relief, which paid for increasing the number of regional trainers from 18 to 27. The 2021 <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/making-a-wise-investment-in-principal-pipelines.aspx">American Rescue Plan Act</a> provides more than $126 billion for K-12 schools and additional funding for early childhood and higher education that states can tap into. Other blended federal funds that help support MLDS include Title I and Title IIA funds, depending on district eligibility, and early childhood funds. </p><p>Katnik’s team is also working to win over university education administration programs. Beginning in fall 2020, MLDS provided training for directors of educational leadership programs across the state interested in adopting the aspiring principal curriculum.<br></p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“Why reinvent the wheel when they could take it [MLDS]&#160;from us and tweak it? I think our system could be a great launching pad for any state that was thinking of doing something like this.”​<br></p><p>“They actually did some activities as if it was a class and we were students,” said Jane Brown, director of the educational leadership program at Missouri Baptist University who participated in the curriculum development. She knows of at least five programs that have formally adopted the curriculum and others that done so to some degree at professors’ discretion. “Since it was designed collaboratively, I think a lot of people understood it and took it back to their universities,” she said.</p><p>MLDS is beginning to reach superintendents, too. As principals trained through the system move into district leadership, they are looking for a similar professional learning experience, said Katnik. In response, the MLDS team recently wrote new competencies for superintendents aligned to those for principals. This school year it piloted executive coaching for superintendents and also revised the rules for superintendent certification to align with the new standards.&#160; </p><p>“I’m not sure we’ll ever be done,” said Katnik, whose team often dreams up new ways to improve and expand the leadership development system. </p><p>For states wanting to get started, Schooley observed that all MLDS content is in the public domain. “Why reinvent the wheel when they could take it from us and tweak it? I think our system could be a great launching pad for any state that was thinking of doing something like this.”<br></p><p> <em>Photos courtesy of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education</em> </p></div></div>Elizabeth Duffrin972022-05-17T04:00:00ZYour 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.5/18/2022 3:02:17 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Missouri’s Ongoing Effort to Develop Principals Pays Off The state’s comprehensive system now offers professional 2085https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
How Principals (and their Bosses) Can Use Technology for Learning and Management37531GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​<p>​​​The timing was certainly not intentional, but shortly before the Omicron variant surged late last fall and sent schools across the country into another round of reliance on remote and hybrid learning, Wallace published a study titled <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-leadership-in-a-virtual-environment.aspx"><em>Principal Leadership in a Virtual Environment</em></a>. The report offers early considerations from a field of emerging research on how school districts can develop a large corps of principals adept at employing technology to manage their schools and keep students learning. It centers on the idea that high-quality, equitable education in the digital realm—described as “powerful learning”—emerges through the combination of three essentials&#58; meaningful use of technology; inclusive access to it; and, notably, the leadership of principals with the know&#160;how to implement both.<br></p><p>The report, commissioned by Wallace, was produced by <a href="https&#58;//digitalpromise.org/" target="_blank">Digital Promise</a>, a nonprofit that works with districts and schools nationwide on the effective use of technology. Recently, as the nation began what almost everyone hopes will be an emergence from the worst of COVID-19, the Wallace blog caught up with Stefani Pautz Stephenson, the publication’s lead author and director of educator community partnerships at Digital Promise. Through an email exchange, she discussed how the embrace of technology for learning and school operations during the pandemic may have a lasting influence on school leadership.&#160; <strong></strong></p><p><strong>Wallace Foundation&#58; What have school leaders learned over the last two years about leading in a virtual environment?</strong></p><p><strong>Stefani Pautz Stephenson&#58;</strong> In our report, we share the emerging finding that nimbleness and flexibility are essential traits for both principals and principal supervisors who are leading in a virtual environment. This continues to hold true today. School leaders have learned how to make decisions with limited information, or information that’s rapidly changing. They’ve learned how to be responsive with their own learning, by re-learning or upskilling their own leadership abilities. They’ve also learned a lot about how to lead people who aren’t physically in the same space. Just as teachers have learned to teach students who aren’t in the same classroom, school leaders have learned how to, for example, virtually observe a classroom and virtually model risk-taking and growth mindset.</p><p><strong>WF&#58; In a recent EdWeek Research Center</strong><a href="https&#58;//www.edweek.org/leadership/the-teaching-strategies-educators-say-will-outlast-the-pandemic/2022/03" target="_blank"><strong> survey</strong></a><strong>, principals and other educators listed pandemic-spurred changes that they thought would stick, and at or near the top were technologies, including teaching software and platforms to monitor students’ progress. What innovations do you think are here to stay, and what can principals and/or districts do to ensure they are used effectively?</strong></p><p><strong>SPS&#58;</strong> The survey states that educators believe the digital learning platforms most likely to stay are those that facilitate making assignments and monitoring progress. I think that’s an accurate assessment. Many school districts were already using a learning management system, at least in some capacity, prior to the pandemic. But the pandemic turned it from a<em> nice to have</em> to a <em>must have</em>. The learning management systems that integrate student learning, teacher feedback and communication with families are likely to have the greatest longevity because they support the school-to-home transparency that all stakeholders have grown accustomed to in the last two years.</p><p>To ensure technology is used effectively, school leaders must set clear expectations for use. As with any technology adoption, there will be innovators and early adopters who embrace it and want to use it to its fullest potential. There will also be those who are slower to adopt and want to know what the “must-dos” are. School and district leaders will see more successful implementation if they are clear about how the technology is supportive and set baseline expectations for how it is integrated. It has to be clear that it's not an add-on. Then, it’s critical to provide ongoing, growth-oriented feedback and to make professional learning and coaching readily available.</p><p><strong>WF&#58; EdWeek has also reported that educators who had scurried to learn about and then use digital tools were</strong><a href="https&#58;//www.edweek.org/technology/tech-fatigue-is-real-for-teachers-and-students-heres-how-to-ease-the-burden/2022/03"><strong> </strong></a><a href="https&#58;//www.edweek.org/technology/tech-fatigue-is-real-for-teachers-and-students-heres-how-to-ease-the-burden/2022/03" target="_blank"><strong>experiencing some tech fatigue</strong></a><strong>. How can principals keep the momentum for sound use of technology going?</strong></p><p><strong>SPS&#58;</strong> One strategy is to help teachers manage all of the incoming information, including the amount of technology they’re learning. Focus on a few&#160;critical pieces of technology and look to technologies that serve multiple functions and can be implemented across the board, like a learning management system. Aim for deep learning with those technologies, and give it the time it needs.</p><p>Attending to educators’ social-emotional needs is also essential. The Council of Chief State School Officers published<a href="https&#58;//docs.google.com/document/d/163ZNDs7sZ0FWOT7-1JFxQ9Lbo6zbQNJhaHSs0LbljCE/edit#heading=h.85w6zatiiauu" target="_blank"> guidance on fostering staff wellbeing and connection</a>, highlighting the importance of creating opportunities for staff to reconnect, heal, and feel safe and supported. School leaders can, for example, give staff an opportunity to engage in a community-connection activity prior to formal professional development on technology implementation. Creating those opportunities for connection, coupled with clear and realistic expectations for technology use, can help prevent burnout.</p><p><strong>WF&#58; One lesson from the pandemic seems to be that Zoom or similar conferencing technologies have allowed for more inclusive communications with families, enabling schools to maintain contact with parents and others who had previously found it hard to attend in-person meetings because of work or other circumstances. How do you think this lesson will influence principal-parent interactions once schools fully reopen?</strong></p><p><strong>SPS&#58;</strong> We continue to see positive responses from school administrators to the increased communication with families. Schools have seen the positive effects of conferencing technologies in breaking down barriers to participation, and they want that level of family engagement to continue. Parents have also gained a new insight into what and how their students are learning, and they value that transparency. We’ve heard these things consistently, across the country. This is here to stay.</p><p><strong>WF&#58; The report highlights considerations for districts that want to ensure that their principals can manage schools equitably and well in a virtual environment. Among them&#58;&#160; revising principal standards and updating principal preparation programming to take account of virtual learning and management. Have you seen movement in these areas? </strong></p><p><strong>SPS&#58;</strong> We haven’t seen movement on these fronts yet, and we still believe these recommendations are mission critical if we want to develop better leadership capacity for the virtual environment. There is increased funding going into broadband, and&#160;technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence are rapidly advancing in education. We haven’t prepared leaders for this. We need to take action so that school leaders can think both conceptually and practically about these topics and others like them.</p><p>Education officials can begin with advocacy. On the local level, they can start with human resources directors and offices of organizational effectiveness advocating for changes in standards for evaluation and principal preparation. At universities, they can make the case to deans and other officials who are making decisions about programming that leads to licensure. They can work with state departments of education that set certification requirements. Change starts by making people pay attention to the issues. </p><p>The pandemic drew everyone’s attention to virtual learning; now it’s time to draw attention to the changes needed for the future of education leadership.<br></p><p><br></p>Wallace editorial team792022-05-10T04:00:00ZSchool Leadership, principals, principal pipeline, school districts, technology, virtual learning, education research5/10/2022 3:27:02 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How Principals (and their Bosses) Can Use Technology for Learning and Management Co-author of study reflects on nimbleness 1590https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Three Districts, One Principal Pipeline2845GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>R​​ecent research has shown that <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/How-Principals-Affect-Students-and-Schools-A-Systematic-Synthesis-of-Two-Decades-of-Research.aspx?_ga=2.45912679.239897736.1650464379-225658064.1650464379">strong principal leadership is key to improved student achievement</a> and provided evidence of&#160;how building <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx?_ga=2.45912679.239897736.1650464379-225658064.1650464379">principal pipelines can work</a> to better support school leaders working in large urban districts. But how can smaller, rural districts achieve this kind of success as well?<br></p><p>Three&#160;districts in central Nebraska–Grand Island Public Schools, Hastings Public Schools and Kearney Public Schools–are hoping to address this question by pooling their talent and resources to implement systemic improvements to the preparation, hiring, support and management of principals. Working together they have developed a model for an intensive internship and contextually-driven experience for teacher-leaders who are interested in becoming principals, called the Tri-City ASCEND Academy. Combined, Grand Island, Hastings and Kearney serve more than 19,000 students. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/three-districts-one-principal-pipeline/Tawana_Grover.jpg" alt="Tawana_Grover.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;150px;height&#58;210px;" />“We asked ourselves, how can we come together to ensure that we have high-quality educators ready to serve in the principal role where they feel confident?” said Tawana Grover, superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools. </p><p>The ASCEND Academy is a shared leadership program that offers teachers who are ready to take on administrative roles the opportunity to get hands-on experience. It is aligned with leading national <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/Pages/principal-pipeline-implementation.aspx?_ga=2.45912679.239897736.1650464379-225658064.1650464379">research</a> on the elements necessary to building&#160;and maintaining a&#160;pipeline of high-quality&#160;school leaders, including&#160;leader standards that guide all aspects of principal development and support;&#160;rigorous&#160;preservice preparation&#160;for aspiring&#160;principals; selective hiring and placement of these professionals; and on-the-job induction, evaluation and support. </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“We asked ourselves, how can we come together to ensure that we have high-quality educators ready to serve in the principal role where they feel confident?”&#160;<span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;"><em>—</em></span><em>​&#160;Tawana Grover, superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools.​</em><br></p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/three-districts-one-principal-pipeline/Toni_Palmer.jpg" alt="Toni_Palmer.jpg" class="wf-Image-Right" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;154px;height&#58;192px;" />“When we think about leadership standards—the competencies that our leaders need to have in order to influence people to move the continuous improvement process forward—building [the participants’] level of understanding of the knowledge and scope of that leadership capacity has to be in place in order to make that happen,” said Toni Palmer, chief of leadership and learning at Grand Island Public Schools. “We were really focused on equity-driven leadership and how we can build their level of knowledge and understanding of how to lead through that lens.” </p><p>The effort&#160;emerged in part from Nebraska's involvement in a Wallace-sponsored community of 11 states seeking to bolster the principalship. ASCEND participants ​were assigned and able to learn from their own home districts, and they were also given the opportunity to intern in the other two districts within one semester. After graduating, they can be hired in any of the Tri-City districts. </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“When you are a teacher, or in my case an academic support coach, you don't always see what goes into a principal's day. The ASCEND internship gave me that opportunity.”&#160;<span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;"><em>—</em></span><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">&#160;</span><em>​Jessica Schroeder, &#160;academic support coach at Grand Island Public Schools</em>​<br></p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/three-districts-one-principal-pipeline/Jessica_Schroeder.jpg" alt="Jessica_Schroeder.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;250px;" />Jessica Schroeder, currently an academic support coach at Grand Island Public Schools, was one of the first three graduates of the program, which was launched in fall 2021. She had the opportunity to intern as a principal in Kearney and Hastings as well. </p><p>“Seeing all the hats a principal wears was so valuable,” Schroeder said. “When you are a teacher, or in my case an academic support coach, you don't always see what goes into a principal's day. The ASCEND internship gave me that opportunity.”</p><p>Leaders in all three of the districts hypothesized&#160;that program participants&#160;would benefit by interning in different spots, although they realized that the logistics of arranging for this variety of placements&#160;would be complex.&#160;&#160;​​<br></p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/three-districts-one-principal-pipeline/Kent_Edwards.jpg" alt="Kent_Edwards.jpg" class="wf-Image-Right" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;148px;height&#58;222px;" />“We knew our overall goal and objectives, but bringing structure to it took an investment of thought and time,'' said Kent Edwards, superintendent of Kearney Public Schools. “Involving three separate school districts and three separate school boards brought forward the importance of communication and coordination between all of our districts.”</p><p>The districts’ boards approved the use of funds, and with a highly selective process, they chose their first three candidates. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/three-districts-one-principal-pipeline/JeffSchneider.JPG" alt="JeffSchneider.JPG" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;150px;height&#58;226px;" />“We hoped the candidates would get a feel for what it is like to be in an actual administrative position rather than just learning about administrative positions,” said Jeff Schneider, superintendent of Hastings Public Schools. “We also wanted them to learn the best practices of the district they were interning in and share these best practices with their home district.”</p><p>The three participants who were chosen kept weekly journals of their experiences to track progress and also met regularly with other educators&#160;from the districts they were interning with to work on professional development. “Each intern was exposed to three different leaders, three different structures, and three different practices and protocols to accomplish the mission of education,” said Edwards. “Each of the interns also were able to inventory and apply their own respective styles and ideas. Practically, a far better experience than any coursework could provide.”<br></p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“We hoped the candidates would get a feel for what it is like to be in an actual administrative position rather than just learning about administrative positions,”<em style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">—</em>&#160;<em>Jeff Schneider, superintendent of Hastings Public Schools.​</em><br></p><p>Schroeder, along with the other two participants, met with the district supervisors and learned about local principal performance&#160;standards, as well as how to process the&#160;problems of practice that one might experience as a first-year principal. </p><p>“There are many situations that you discuss in your college classes, but to experience them and have someone else to process through was very beneficial,” she said. “You were also able to see how the principal prioritized different situations that came up during the school day. Deciding what needed immediate attention versus something that could wait was a valuable lesson. I was also able to develop relationships with the principals I worked with. I feel because of this internship, I have two exceptional principals I can reach out to if I need advice or support.”<br></p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“Just being in central Nebraska, there's going to be some things that are unique to us and how we have to go about solving those problems.<em><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">”&#160;</span>​—</em><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;"><em>Tawana Grover, superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools.​</em></span><em>​​</em><br></p><p></p><p> Representatives from all three districts said the communication and partnership among them&#160;became essential&#160;for the work to succeed. “The relationship between the superintendents included trust and respect,” said Grover. “We found ourselves relying on each other, asking each other ‘what are you doing, how are you going to handle this?’ Our bond became so strong at that point, and I think it allowed us to be very candid about what our needs are as an individual district, and how we're going to work on that together.” ​</p><p>The three districts had something key in&#160;common&#58;&#160;the circumstances of being relatively small and&#160;located in a&#160;rural community.&#160;<br></p><p>“Just being in central Nebraska, there's going to be some things that are unique to us and how we have to go about solving those problems,” Grover said. “The bigger challenge for us compared to some of the larger systems is that we’re not surrounded by all that support. We don’t want these students to think for one minute that they don’t deserve what a larger school district may have to offer. We may have to think differently about how we do it, but the goal of having that highly effective principal should be at the forefront, for us as leaders.”​</p><p>Working together and sharing resources and ideas across all three districts was a way to overcome this challenge. And it could be possible for similar smaller, rural districts to replicate this partnership in their own areas. <br></p><p>“We came to it with the common understanding that every student deserves to have a highly effective principal leading their building–no matter their zip code, no matter where they are.” said Grover. “And I think what we've demonstrated is there is power in collaboration. We've demonstrated that we were not going to let location or size be an excuse for us. We’re going to pull our resources together to provide these rich experiences so that we can have high-quality principals available for all of our students.”</p><p>Grover’s advice for districts that&#160;want to take on similar work is to look for opportunities for collaboration,&#160;which proved&#160;beneficial to the Tri-City effort&#160;in a number of&#160;ways. Among other things, the three districts were able to split costs of the program, and they were able to have extra support, with multiple staff members from each district dedicated to the work.&#160; </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“We came to it with the common understanding that every student deserves to have a highly effective principal leading their building–no matter their zip code, no matter where they are.”&#160;<em style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">—</em><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;"></span><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;"><em>Tawana Grover, superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools.​</em></span><em style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">​​</em><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;"></span><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">”&#160;</span><br></p><p>In the first year of the academy, all participants were elementary-school placements. For the 2022-2023 school year, the participants will remain in elementary schools, and&#160;the districts are considering&#160;expanding to the secondary level. Another change is likely to be the number of schools where the participants serve; the districts learned&#160;from the candidates’ feedback that sending the interns&#160;to two different buildings in the same semester was a difficult task. </p><p>“While we liked the exposure to two different leaders, it was also very challenging for them to build relationships with two different sets of staff,” Schneider said. “So this year, they will just intern at one of the other districts as opposed to both.”</p><p>According to Edwards, the districts hoped to develop a stronger&#160;leader pipeline to meet the needs of the respective districts. The districts were able to ascertain if the participants ultimately would&#160; have&#160;the skills and traits of the kind of leadership they needed for their schools. And even if a&#160;match ends&#160;up not working, districts stand&#160;to gain from the&#160;endeavor. “Should they [the participants] elect not to pursue a formal leadership position, however, the district would still benefit, informally, from their decision to remain in their current position,” he said. “They would have a completely different perspective.”</p><p>Schroeder offered up some advice for future participants in the program, noting that her experience as one of its first three participants was both challenging and rewarding.<br></p><p>“The best advice I have is to ask questions,” she said. “I asked lots of questions to understand what the principal's thought process was for the decisions they made. My other piece of advice is to enjoy this experience. It was definitely an experience that challenged me. Becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable to learn and to grow through this experience truly helped me develop more confidence in myself as an instructional leader.”&#160; </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">​“When we're able to lift up leaders across the state, ultimately we're going to have a national impact.”&#160;<em style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">—</em><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;"></span><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;"><em>Tawana Grover, superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools.​</em></span><em style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">​​</em><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;"></span><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">”&#160;</span>​​<br></p><p>As the Tri-City ASCEND Academy prepares for its second year, educators in smaller districts and rural areas elsewhere&#160;might take notice.&#160;​“When we're able to lift up leaders across the state, ultimately we're going to have a national impact,” Grover said. “Kids all across the country can benefit from the seeds that are sown right here in the heartland.”<br></p><p> <em>Lead photo above&#58; ​Educators involved in the first year of the Tri-City ASCEND Academy included (from left to right)&#58; Kent Edwards, superintendent of Kearney Public Schools and Shannon Blaschko, selected as an intern from that district; Tawana Grover, superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools, and Jessica Schroeder, selected as a Grand Island intern; and Tamisha Osgood, an intern selected from Hastings Public schools and Superintendent Jeff Schneider.</em></p>Jenna Doleh912022-04-26T04:00:00ZAn inside look at how three rural districts worked together to train, develop and support principals4/28/2022 12:00:54 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Three Districts, One Principal Pipeline An inside look at how three rural districts worked together to train, develop and 2632https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
New Research Points to a Looming Principal Shortage44693GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​<p>​​Teacher burnout and shortages have been<a href="https&#58;//www.nea.org/sites/default/files/2022-02/NEA%20Member%20COVID-19%20Survey%20Summary.pdf" target="_blank"> making headlines </a>for months now as schools have struggled to adequately staff their classrooms. But what about the school leaders who are managing the constant changes and crises, and facing sometimes hostile criticism of their decision making? Turns out they’re not immune to the burnout their colleagues are reporting, and experts say the fallout could severely impact the principal pipeline for years to come.</p><p>The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has released an&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.nassp.org/news/nassp-survey-signals-a-looming-mass-exodus-of-principals-from-schools/" target="_blank">alarming report</a> based on their national survey of secondary school principals, the results of which indicate a looming exodus of principals from preK-12 schools. A staggering 4 out of 10 principals surveyed expect to leave the profession in the next three years, and the pandemic and increased political tensions are among the factors they cite for accelerating this decision.</p><p>“It’s going to shock the education system,” says Aman Dhanda, chief engagement officer at NASSP says of the findings. But she also noted that, while alarming, the results of the survey were not surprising.</p><p>Brian Cox, a principal at Johnson Middle School in Cheyenne, Wyo., agrees. “Issues have compounded from the pandemic, the political climate,” he says. “Nothing has been calm from 2019 to the present.”</p><p>Indeed, beyond managing significant changes in running their schools as the pandemic continues, some principals have also encountered hostile reactions to their mitigation efforts. More than one-third of principals surveyed said they had been threatened in response to the steps they have taken to stop the spread of COVID in their school.</p><p>“Seeing what’s happening at school board meetings, that’s wearing on our leaders,” says Nancy Antoine, principal of Bridgewater Elementary School in Northfield, Minn. Twenty-six percent of survey respondents reported receiving in-person threats from their local community members, with 20 percent reporting that these threats have made them much less likely to continue as a principal.</p><p>Besides the new challenges that have emerged in the last two years, principals surveyed reported that more commonly known factors like heavy workloads and state accountability measures are most likely to cause them to leave the profession.</p><p>The consequences of the loss of experienced principals cannot be understated.&#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx?_ga=2.221791832.1941763541.1645546322-1352763000.1643649010">Recent research</a> tells us that principals are even more important than previously believed. Besides their strong impact on student achievement, effective principals also have positive impacts on teacher satisfaction and retention.</p><p>The ripple effects of losing effective principals could have devastating effects on already resource-scarce schools. “When there is rapid turnover at the principal level a school can lose momentum and any gains in student achievement,” says Kaylen Tucker, associate executive director, communications at the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). Dhanda at NASSP agrees, adding that students of color and those from low-income families could stand to lose the most. </p><p>What can be done now to prepare for—or better yet, mitigate—a mass exodus of principals over the next few years?</p><p><a href="https&#58;//www.naesp.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/LWNNEvolutionofPrincipalship.pdf" target="_blank">A new report</a> from NAESP’s&#160;<em>Leaders We Need Now</em> series suggests that the role of the principal has evolved significantly over the past two years, but no corresponding support has followed. This has resulted in a triage effect where principals put important responsibilities, such as equity and school improvement, on the back burner in favor of more immediately pressing tasks like COVID tracing.</p><p>“I hear from principals a lot that they are hyper-focused on keeping their school community safe—and that includes attending to [the community’s] social and emotional needs,” says Tucker.</p><p>The NAESP report points to implications of the evolving role for the principal pipeline, with the biggest impact on job standards and pre-service training. The research shows that crisis management and communications management will be important areas of expertise for principals in the future and both current and new principals will need additional training and support in these areas.</p><p>“The <em>Leaders We Need Now </em>research elevates why investing in principal pipelines takes on even greater urgency now,” says Tucker. “The research demonstrates that all phases of the continuum must be prioritized.”</p><p>Dhanda, too, encourages school districts to invest in the long-term health of their principal pipelines by preparing their school leaders of tomorrow and training their principals today. She points to Atlanta Public Schools as one district that is already addressing this issue by investing in salary increases and staff retention bonuses to attract and retain leaders. District leaders also plan to convene educators on the topic of mental well-being—for students and for the adults in the building too.&#160; </p><p>The NAESP report suggests that besides improving support and professional development for school leaders, redistributing some responsibilities to assistant principals, teacher-leaders and central office staff could help address the changes they’ve identified in the role.</p><p>The principals we spoke to agreed with the redistribution of responsibilities and also emphasized the importance of elevating the voices of principals early on in the decision-making process, not just after new ideas have been implemented. “Building a team or networking system that will embrace leaders and make them feel trusted, listened to and empowered can assist in addressing and taking the next steps to greater success,” says Lisa Higa, principal of Nānākuli Elementary School in Honolulu.</p><p>Many principals themselves are helping to nurture the school leaders of the future. In Minnesota, Antoine teaches graduate-level courses for future school administrators and encourages her fellow principals to identify and support educators to become school leaders, despite all of the challenges the role entails.</p><p>Higa hopes to do the same someday. “There are great leaders out there,” she says. “What message do we ignite in them to empower the field of the principalship?”&#160; </p>Andrea Ruggirello1142022-02-23T05:00:00ZSchool leaders discuss how the role is changing, why 4 in 10 principals might soon leave the profession and what to do about it2/23/2022 3:11:09 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / New Research Points to a Looming Principal Shortage School leaders discuss how the role is changing, why 4 in 10 principals 3724https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Why States Might Want to Play a Stronger Role in Developing Principals265GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​<p>​​​States often tread lightly when it comes to strengthening the principals corps. That may be a mistake, says Paul Manna, the Hyman Professor of Government and director of the Public Policy Program at William &amp; Mary. In his new report,<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-can-state-policy-support-local-school-districts-develop-principal-pipelines.aspx"> <em>How Can State Policy Support Local School Districts as They Develop Principal Pipelines?</em></a>, he writes that states could do much to encourage the development of the types of pipelines that, according to<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx"> recent research</a>, can fortify school leadership. These pipelines have seven parts, or “domains”—including rigorous leader standards, high-quality pre-service principal training, strong on-the-job support and evaluation, and “leader tracking systems” with data on the career paths of aspiring and sitting principals—and they are distinctive for being<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipeline-self-study-guide-for-districts.aspx"> “comprehensive” and “aligned.”</a> That is, they cover the range of talent management activities under a district’s purview and their parts reinforce one another. </p><p>States and local school districts working at the nexus of their intersecting policy responsibilities could build these sorts of pipelines, Manna writes, especially if states recognize that locales vary greatly and, thus, insert reasonable flexibility into policy. Few think this work will be easy, he concludes, but the payoff would be pipelines capable of producing “formidable leaders” who could “transform school communities for the better.” </p><p>In this interview, conducted by email, Manna discusses major themes from his report, which was commissioned by Wallace. </p><p><strong>The Wallace Foundation&#58; You say that states can be reluctant to focus specifically on principals to help advance K-12 education. Why is that? And what’s the argument for states assuming a stronger role?</strong> </p><p><strong>Paul Manna&#58;</strong> In general, principals don’t feature as largely in overall discussions about education. Learning standards, student testing and especially teachers tend to be topics that gather more attention.&#160; Several reasons exist for this disparity. There are many more teachers out there in the world than principals, for example, making them a much larger constituency for politicians. </p><p>Why should states take on a stronger role when it comes to principals? For one thing, states possess much formal authority in areas relevant to principals like setting standards for principal preparation programs, principal licensing and evaluation. State officials, especially those new to their positions, sometimes overlook these powers and responsibilities. Another reason for states to engage is the multiplier effect that principals have on excellent teaching and learning.&#160; Ensuring that schools have excellent principals, then, can help states achieve numerous goals that they have in education.&#160; </p><p>State involvement can also help advance the goals of equity in education. Compelling research shows that just as students from underrepresented groups tend to lack access to excellent teachers, they also lack access to excellent principals. Addressing that persistent and pressing need will require state and local leadership. School districts cannot address it alone. </p><p><strong>WF&#58; How should states decide which domains to focus on?</strong> </p><p><strong>PM&#58;</strong> Identifying an area for focused attention and energy depends entirely on the policy and political landscape within a state. Some states have made more progress in some areas than others.&#160; That’s okay and to be expected in a nation as vast as the United States with its fragmented systems of education governance within each state. Picking topics where there is interest and a critical mass of political support could be one way to decide. It might be challenging in a state, for example, to muster support for overhauling principal preparation, a key element of principal pipelines. But it might be easier to adjust processes for principal licensing or license renewal. Or take the role of data use and leader tracking systems. The complexity of getting different data systems to talk with one another to support principal pipelines can be overwhelming. Determining which improvements to state systems can have the most leverage or be done most rapidly to support pipeline work could be one way to set priorities, rather than tackling everything at once. Dialogues between state and local leaders and other principal pipeline supporters will be essential for charting paths forward. </p><p><strong>WF&#58; Are there one or two key actions that every state should look at closely?</strong> </p><p><strong>PM&#58;</strong> Yes, two things seem very promising and, fortunately, are not that expensive either. A first state action would be to adopt and <em>put into practice</em> (that’s the most important part!) standards that drive state policy and, in turn, help bolster comprehensive and aligned principal pipeline efforts at local levels. That means when states adopt standards for principals those standards are then reflected in the areas of preparation, licensing, evaluation and professional development, for example. The standards are actually used to steer people across the state towards positive activities and behaviors that will help principals succeed on the job. In other words, standards don’t just live as unused documents—“dead letters”—in dusty binders or hidden away on agency websites where nobody will see them or use them. They are critical for organizing conversations, and helping to align state policy and local pipeline efforts in productive ways.&#160; </p><p>A second state action would be to take seriously the state’s power as a convener. States can help foster networks between school districts that are contemplating or developing comprehensive and aligned principal pipelines. That can be an especially valuable contribution for rural districts, which typically lack economies of scale and capacity to begin initiatives like this on their own. Additionally, the convening power of the state also can come into play when states serve as switchboards for collating and distributing valuable information about best practices in principal pipelines. There is a burgeoning research literature in this area that a state could make available to its districts in various ways. That could help districts that find this work overwhelming, or are new it, learn from the experiences of others. </p><p><strong>WF&#58; We were struck by one creative possibility for state action that you mention—using principal licensure renewal as a way to cultivate principal mentors. How would that work?</strong> </p><p><strong>PM&#58;</strong> This idea of leveraging the licensing process to promote mentorship is motivated by a couple of findings that come out of the literature. One is that the principalship can be a very lonely job and that strong mentoring is something that principals crave. The other is that good mentoring or professional development around mentoring that is grounded in research-based practices can be expensive and often is the first thing to be cut from state or district budgets when money is tight.&#160; </p><p>How to get principals more great mentoring, then? The idea here would be to tie the development of mentors and the practice of mentorship to the licensing that veteran principals need to pursue after they’ve been on the job for a while. To be clear, I’m not referring to the initial license that a new principal receives, but the process of re-licensing. Across education, for teachers, principals and other school professionals, renewing one’s license often amounts to a box-checking exercise where people accumulate some number of continuing education credits or hours, which often involves grabbing whatever opportunities people can get. The result is a license renewal process that often lacks coherence and meaning and, sadly, does not contribute to improved practice. But because we know that principal mentoring is such a valuable activity, state policies that govern licensing could create opportunities (the convening role, again) or incentives for current principals to consider pursuing training to become mentors and then serving as mentors either in their own district or in other districts across their state. The hours principals devote to these activities then could count as hours that go toward the hours required for renewing their licenses. The result would be a much more productive, coherent and relevant set of activities tied to the license renewal process. Such activities also would help enhance the work of comprehensive and aligned local principal pipelines, which could benefit from an overall broader availability of principal mentors across a state. </p><p><strong>WF&#58; A </strong><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/using-state-level-policy-levers-to-promote-principal-quality.aspx" target="_blank"><strong>2020 study from RAND</strong></a><strong>, considering principal preparation in seven states, found that none of the states had a statewide leader tracking system. Why should states consider developing these systems to help advance work on principal pipelines?</strong> </p><p><strong>PM&#58;</strong> Pretty much everyone in state policy-making positions or in school district or school leadership positions today will proudly state that they are “data driven” in their work. One of the big challenges for using data to guide practice, though, is that data systems frequently live in silos that rarely talk with one another. (That is not only a problem in education, by the way, but it is common in many fields.) Such silos can create problems for a state or for local school districts that want to support the work of comprehensive and aligned principal pipelines. It would be ideal, for example, to have a data dashboard that could reveal the pre-service preparation and learning experiences of principals; the venues where they’ve worked as principals and levels of success they’ve enjoyed; the particular skills and knowledge they bring to the work based on prior teaching, personal characteristics or other work experience; their continuing education experiences; and their proximity to retirement age. That could help school districts, and the state as a supporting partner, forecast emerging needs and make targeted efforts to help develop principals with high-demand skill sets.&#160; </p><p>The unfortunate reality today is that many of these data exist, but they live in separate systems that are firewalled from one another. In situations where those barriers can safely come down in ways that ensure data integrity and security, it would go a long way toward seeding the development of tracking systems that local school districts could use. States have potentially big roles to play here because the world of data governance is tightly tied to state policies and regulations, including state regulations that interpret federal policy. It also is asking quite a lot to simply leave the construction of these tracking systems and data dashboards entirely to local school districts. There is a ton of complexity and expense involved, which is beyond the reach of school districts that lack the technical capabilities and people power required to stand up these systems on their own. Partnerships with the states over data governance and use are essential, then. </p>Wallace editorial team792021-11-17T05:00:00ZAuthor of new report says states can do much to help districts cultivate “formidable leaders” who can transform schools.11/17/2021 1:00:11 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Why States Might Want to Play a Stronger Role in Developing Principals Author of new report says states can do much to help 689https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Powerful Partnerships and Clear Focus: Two Keys to Equity-Centered Leader Development46978GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​What does it take to build a large corps of high-quality principals who can improve schools and promote equitable education within them? Partnerships and a clear focus might be a good way to begin. That was a key message from a recent meeting of Wallace’s ESSA Leadership Learning Community, which brings together teams from 11 states working to see how federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) funding could be used to support evidence-based ways to develop effective school leadership. </p><p>“No amount of money, flexibility or investment is likely to make a difference for students if we just follow the familiar path,” said one of the participants in the virtual event, Hal Smith, a senior vice president at the National Urban League. “The work is complex, though the aim is clear. We can get there together.”</p><p>The Urban League, along with the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Council of the Great City Schools, helps oversee the learning community, whose members generally include representatives from the education departments of the participating states, school districts within the states and Urban League affiliates that represent local community concerns.&#160;&#160;&#160; <br> The convening featured presentations by four state teams—Nebraska, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—to describe the work they’ve done for the learning community, share lessons learned and discuss what comes next. </p><p>The Pennsylvania team has focused on developing and supporting a diverse education pipeline for both teachers and leaders, with an emphasis on maximizing opportunities for all Pennsylvania students, especially those most in need.&#160; “As educators we know that in order for students to do their very best, students need to learn in an environment that is safe and empowering to them,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Noe Ortega. “It’s critically important as educators that we take advantage of the opportunities to strengthen and expand that awareness.”</p><p>A central&#160; goal of the team has been diversifying the educator workforce in the state. “There remain nearly 1,500 Pennsylvania schools and 184 entire school districts that employ zero teachers of color,” said Donna-Marie Cole-Malott,&#160; a consultant to the Pennsylvania team. Only five percent of teachers in the state are of color, according to Cole-Malott. </p><p>Efforts by the team have included holding two convenings about the Black male educator workforce—one focused on recruitment and the other on developing, supporting and retaining Black male educators. The team has also engaged stakeholders to learn about how others doing similar work have been successful and how they can work together.</p><p>In Minnesota, meanwhile, the learning community team has worked to support the development of a Minnesota equity framework for schools and communities. The partners are the Minnesota Department of Education, the Urban League Twin Cities and the Minneapolis Public Schools.</p><p>Marquita Stephens, vice president of strategic engagement and chief strategy officer for the Urban League Twin Cities, launched her presentation with an expression used by Hal Smith of the National Urban League&#58; “Schools are made for communities and not the other way around.”&#160; She said the phrase “helped us center the reason for involving all of the partners together to make sure that the outcomes for children were exactly what we intended for them to be. All three partners were drawn back to this as a centering understanding of why we needed to work together. ”</p><p>The creation of the Minnesota Equity Framework is the result of all three partners being in the room together, constantly being in discussion and building relationships, said Marcarre Traynham, director of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Center at the Minnesota Department of Education. </p><p>“Equity is really about consensus,” she said.&#160; “It’s about having conversations, understanding where people are at, understanding what the point of view is, listening for understanding in order to make shifts in your own belief systems.”</p><p>The team was committed to creating shared understanding about equity, and helping people to think about what creating equity in their areas would mean, Traynham said. Discussion about this helped the team members build authentic relationships across the board, she added.</p><p>“Doing the equity work and living the equity work are intertwined,” said Kandace Logan, who served as executive director of equity and integration for Minneapolis Public Schools. “This work is hard and it must be done with authentic partnership and relationships.”</p><p>Forging strong partnerships has proved crucial for Nebraska’s team members, too.&#160; Kim Snyder, statewide teacher and principal support director at the state’s education department,&#160; said that participation in the learning community “taught us a lot about making sure we’re all at the table together.”</p><p>A big part of Nebraska’s work has focused on developing nontraditional rubrics for teachers and principals that align with the Nebraska teacher and principal performance standards, according to Snyder. </p><p>“They’re nontraditional in the sense that they’re designed to be a lever for growth versus the traditional rubrics that are used maybe once or twice a year for an evaluation process,” she said. “The rubrics are meant to strengthen the educator effectiveness lens through which districts can really create a portrait of the whole teacher and whole principal in their buildings.”</p><p>But how can stakeholders ensure that these standards have impact? </p><p>Through a grant from Wallace and work with The Leadership Academy, an organization that promotes principal effectiveness, the Nebraska team created an equity task force to support, among other things, their ability to work toward equity-driven leadership development.</p><p>The team supports the notion of fully integrating equity considerations into efforts to develop&#160; effective principals and other school leaders. “We’re trying to embed an equity lens into the leadership support that already exists,” said Ryan Ricenbaw, Nebraska Leadership &amp; Learning Network Specialist at the Nebraska Department of Education. “We’re able to learn from one another, work with one another and make sure that communication is consistent and ongoing.”</p><p>Wisconsin team members agreed that powerful partnerships and a common goal can help advance the work. </p><p>The Wisconsin team was focused “from the get-go” on using&#160; federal ESSA dollars to support the development of principals statewide in order to “ensure they had the skills and capabilities to really address the inequities they saw every day in their schools,” said Mary-Dean Barringer, a facilitator for the Wisconsin team. </p><p>With a grant from the state’s&#160; Department of Public Instruction, the team was able to help the five largest districts in Wisconsin work with consultants to identify and begin to address the unmet needs of the schools.</p><p>“The project was so exciting—that we have a strong partnership from the Department of Public Instruction to make this a sustainable model that would also leverage community connection to help empower schools and bring solutions forward by using the connections and networks that already existed in our community,” said Ruben Anthony, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison.<strong></strong></p><p>Barringer also stressed the importance of sustaining the work.</p><p>“As we look ahead, we would like to harness the power of this partnership and its action orientation to address other critical challenges in addition to supporting equity-centered school leaders,” she said. </p><p>The ESSA Leadership Learning Community, established in 2016, has been extended&#160; through December 2022, so the participating teams can use the partnerships they developed during the past five years to address today’s challenges.<br></p>Jenna Doleh912021-11-11T05:00:00ZFour states share best practices and lessons learned after five years of working to build a corps of effective school principals.11/11/2021 8:07:23 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Powerful Partnerships and Clear Focus: Two Keys to Equity-Centered Leader Development Four states share best practices and 643https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
How Principals have Survived (and Thrived!) During the Pandemic10739GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​ <p>​​​​​​​Another school year is well under way, and we can’t imagine getting through the trials and tribulations of the last twenty months without our principals. School leaders have always been incredibly committed to ensuring that our students grow, learn and play in a safe, nurturing space—not to mention their support of the entire staff, faculty, parents and larger school community. While they deserve recognition every day for their commitment and hard work, we are delighted to join in the celebration of&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.principalsmonth.org/about/" target="_blank">National Principals Month</a> this October.</p><p>To get a clearer picture of principals’ challenges and successes right now, as well as insights into how they can best be supported, we spoke with Beverly Hutton, chief programs officer of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP,) along with Gracie Branch, associate executive director, professional learning, and Danny Carlson, associate executive director, policy and advocacy, both of the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).</p><p> <strong>Principals Need Support, Inclusion and Encouragement</strong></p><p>“To address principals’ various needs, they need support from a myriad of sources in a myriad of ways,” says Carlson. He points to research from the just-released report, <em><a href="https&#58;//www.naesp.org/leaders-we-need-now/" target="_blank">Leaders We Need Now​</a></em>, which indicates that the pandemic has changed the profession.</p><p>“Principals have become mail deliverers, bus drivers, contract tracers and more,” Hutton says. “Things are changing every single day. They need some grace and real support.”</p><p>One such support noted in the report is long-term funding, including funding to support in-school mental and physical health for students. While incoming American Rescue Plan funding is crucial in the short-term, many of the issues principals are facing are here for the long-term. Investing in the principal and teacher workforce infrastructure can help principals confront any underlying systemic challenges. Additionally, educator shortages due to low morale and early retirements continue to be a problem.</p><p>Hutton noted that principals also need to be included in important conversations about American Rescue Plan funding, as they will need to strategically manage those funds when they come in.</p><p>“Principals know their schools better than anyone,” Carlson says. “They have unique insight into what will be the most beneficial resources for their school communities.”</p><p> <strong>The Role of Principal Supervisors</strong></p><p>Principal supervisors <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/changing-the-principal-supervisor-role-to-better-support-principals.aspx">play an important role</a> in providing the support that many principals need,so Hutton urges them to be present with their principals. “Be on the front lines with them to see what they really need,” she says.</p><p>Branch, too, encourages principal supervisors to make it clear to their principals that their physical and mental well-being is being prioritized. Supervisors must remember that principals can’t do everything, she notes. As new initiatives emerge or are passed down from the state level, responsibilities must be delegated.</p><p>“The job cannot be bigger than the person asked to do the job,” she says.</p><p>Principals need access to preparation and professional learning, and that learning must be up to date. Moreover as their role shifts and they are forced to confront a neverending parade of new challenges, principals can only step up to the plate if they are equipped and empowered to do so. Because principals often feel tied to their school buildings, they need encouragement from their supervisors to not only find opportunities for ongoing learning but also to engage with those opportunities.</p><p> <strong>Principals are Leading Communities into the Future</strong></p><p>All three people we spoke to said that principals have used the challenges of the last 20 months as opportunities to innovate. Many principals have secured access to digital hardware and broadband internet for their students. They've also encouraged creative approaches to teaching in the classroom and online to transform students’ learning experiences.</p><p>“We’re blazing trails that will make school much more inclusive, equitable and relevant moving forward,” says Hutton.</p><p>Principals are building out their communities as well. According to Branch, they are eager to connect with their peers and learn from each other, using social media platforms, book groups and other venues to understand how others are coping with the fallout from the pandemic.</p><p>Branch also points to new roles that principals are creating within their school community that may have never existed before. They include attendance liaisons, wellness coaches for adults and students, instructional coaches, SEL coaches and more.</p><p>“Principals know they need extra supports,” says Branch. “They currently have the funding to put people resources in place. However, principals also fear these critical positions will go away when their funding goes away.”</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/default.aspx">Research</a> can help support a school’s or district’s advocacy for additional funds. It can also help amplify best practices and provide exemplars of infrastructure and programs that effectively support principals, so they, in turn, can be more effective at their jobs. Just as importantly, these findings can also help districts and schools improve principal retention.</p><p>“The <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx">research is clear</a> about the impact of school leaders on the school environment,” says Hutton. “Any investment should be considered a highly cost-effective approach to school improvement.”</p><p> <strong>Principals Matter</strong></p><p>While it’s only October, Branch told us that principals are reporting feeling as exhausted as they usually do in March during a typical school year. That’s why pausing to acknowledge and appreciate their work now—and on a regular basis—is important.</p><p>“Principals are on the front lines,” Branch says. “They are the ‘boots on the ground’ for their school, and many are at the lowest points in their careers [right now]…people stay where they are cared about and appreciated.”</p><p>Hutton vehemently agrees, stating that celebrating principals could help with the burnout she is seeing in the profession across the country&#58; “We have to recognize that school leaders, along with hospital workers and educators, have taken us through this pandemic on their shoulders. Buildings closed but schooling continued. That alone is a reason to celebrate principals this year in particular.”</p><p>Branch hopes that through all they’ve weathered, principals will remain hopeful.</p><p>“They are part of the most amazing profession,” she says. “And the country desperately needs their expertise, their courage, their resilience and their compassion.” Principals, too, do not need to go through their journey alone, she says, reminding them that national associations like NAESP and state organizations are here to help.</p><p>Hutton adds that NASSP is also here for principals, to help provide safe spaces for school leaders to connect with each other regularly. “Get the emotional support that you can, so you can get through this,” she urges all principals. “And hang in there.”<br></p><p> <em>Photo by Claire Holt. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, 2018.​</em>​​<br></p>Andrea Ruggirello1142021-10-26T04:00:00ZRecognizing our school leaders’ as essential workers during National Principals Month—and every month of the year10/27/2021 7:30:40 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How Principals have Survived (and Thrived!) During the Pandemic Recognizing our school leaders’ as essential workers during 1109https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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