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What We’re Learning About the Impact of Principal Turnover – And How to Reduce It4169GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​ <a href="https&#58;//journals.sagepub.com/stoken/default+domain/VNM6J3J8BIXRSXD9CEM3/full">The Impact of Principal Turnover</a> used statewide data from Missouri and Tennessee to measure the effects of principal transitions — including both promotions and demotions — on school performance and found that turnover lowered school achievement. Specifically, schools that changed principals saw lower achievement in math and reading and higher rates of teacher turnover. However, the effects varied by transition&#58; Schools with principals who exited saw larger negative effects, while schools with principals who were demoted saw no negative effects and in some cases, even positive effects. This variance is likely representative of the circumstances in the school leading up to the transition, the study notes; meaning, exits may have resulted from a declining school climate, while demotions may reflect district efforts to replace ineffective principals with higher-performing leaders. </p><p>The study’s authors, Brendan Bartanen from Texas A&amp;M University, Jason A. Grissom from Vanderbilt University, and Laura K. Rogers from the University of Utah, posit that, “While districts should seek to limit principal turnover in general…in some cases, the benefits of replacing a low-performing principal outweigh these costs.” Grissom is one of several researchers <a href="/news-and-media/press-releases/pages/wallace-foundation-commissions-reports-to-synthesize-state-of-knowledge-key-aspects-school-leadership-.aspx">commissioned by The Wallace Foundation</a> to update a landmark analysis of the link between school leadership and student achievement. &#160;</p><p>These latest findings underscore the need for a holistic approach to both cultivating and retaining effective school leadership, a strategy that The Wallace Foundation has been exploring for nearly two decades. <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">A recent study from the RAND Corporation</a> points to a way forward&#58; districtwide efforts to better prepare, support and evaluate school leaders—also known as principal pipelines—can lead to improved student achievement and principal retention, to the tune of eight fewer losses per every 100 principals in a district.</p><p>Jaime Whitfield-Coffen, a principal from Prince George’s County (Md.) Public Schools, one of six districts to implement a principal pipeline, shares her perspective on the approach in a recent episode of <em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/episode-8-building-principal-pipelines-improves-principal-retention.aspx">The Principal Pipeline podcast</a></em>. “It’s good to just have someone to lean on,” Whitfield-Coffen explains. “I think that that’s one of the reasons why I have stayed in Prince George’s County, is just because I know that there’s a network of people who are there supporting me along this walk, along this journey of being a principal.” </p><p>Click here to read The Impact of Principal Turnover in full&#58; <a href="https&#58;//journals.sagepub.com/stoken/default+domain/VNM6J3J8BIXRSXD9CEM3/full">https&#58;//journals.sagepub.com/stoken/default+domain/VNM6J3J8BIXRSXD9CEM3/full</a> </p><p>And, learn more about the link between pipelines and improved principal retention here&#58; <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">https&#58;//www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx</a></p>Wallace editorial team792019-08-13T04:00:00ZPrincipal turnover isn’t only costly and disruptive for school districts—it may also have a negative effect on student achievement, according to a new study.8/15/2019 2:15:52 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / What We’re Learning About the Impact of Principal Turnover – And How to Reduce It Principal turnover isn’t only costly and 86https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
What If Districts Focused Not Just on Preparing and Hiring Principals But Also Retaining Them4255GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>R <em>ecent <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">research</a> about Wallace’s <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/principal-pipeline-implementation.aspx">Principal Pipeline Initiative</a> found that when six large school districts carried out a systematic approach to cultivating effective school leadership, benefits for principal retention ensued. New York City was one of the pipeline districts, and in this guest column, Marina Cofield, senior executive director of the Office of Leadership at the New York City Department of Education, discusses why the nation’s largest school system decided that school leader retention mattered—and what steps to take in response.&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;</em></p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="marina.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/What-If-Districts-Focused-Not-Just-on-Preparing-and-Hiring-Principals-But-Also-Retaining-Them/marina.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;249px;" />Six years ago, I stepped into my current role heading the office responsible for ensuring that the school system has a strong pipeline of educational leaders—professionals well-prepared to fill all of our principal vacancies and lead our schools successfully. In a system of our size, with more than 1,600 schools serving 1.1 million children, this meant having well-qualified candidates for roughly 175 to 190 positions each year. As I thought about what the work entailed—developing stronger principal preparation programs and more strategic approaches to principal hiring—I reminded myself that our goal was to do more than fill empty slots. It was ultimately to provide every school in the system with a strong leader. </p><p>Perhaps, I thought, we should focus not only on increasing the number of well-trained educators ready to enter the principalship, but also on reducing the number of people who leave it.</p><p>Boosting principal retention made sense to me because of what we know about improving schools.&#160; In short, <a href="https&#58;//hbr.org/2017/09/research-how-the-best-school-leaders-create-enduring-change">research</a> has shown that meaningful, enduring school improvement doesn’t happen overnight, but rather takes at least three, and often more than five, years of strategic, sustained effort. Moreover, as a key driver of the change, school leaders must stay on the job more than just a few years in order to see their efforts all the way through—from visioning and strategic planning to piloting, school-wide scaling, monitoring and making adjustments over time.&#160; </p><p>We believe that we have landed on a way to help our principals not only survive but stay fully engaged in their roles over the long term. In the unique design of our New Principal Support program, we have found a strategy to increase retention for both early-career and more experienced principals.</p><p>Drawing on what we know about professional development generally, we decided the best approach was to provide individualized, job-embedded coaching for every new principal in the system. Our twist was who serves as the coach. We believe the people best positioned for this work are those who have very recently been successful principals in our system. These leaders understand the challenges and expectations of the position as they exist today, an especially important factor in a profession that is changing so rapidly. </p><p>We offered some of our best veteran principals three different ways to join our program team&#58; </p><ul><li>They could continue to lead their school and take on the responsibility of coaching just three new principals and receive a stipend; <br><br> </li><li>They could agree to leave their school for a year to participate in a full-time “coaching fellowship,” with the right to return to their principal position at the end of the year; or <br><br> </li><li>They could leave their school altogether and become a permanent member of our coaching staff.</li></ul><p>Recognizing that even the best principals don’t necessarily have highly developed coaching skills, we also trained the coaches in a robust professional learning program that is aligned to International Coach Federation standards and incorporates a focus on coaching for racial equity.&#160; </p><p>Our New Principal Support (NPS) program has yielded significant results, some intended and some a welcome surprise. In the intended department&#58; New principals who receive coaching through our program are staying on the job through their first two years at higher rates than those who did not receive our coaching. They also report overwhelmingly that the coaching is a valuable support and helps alleviate feelings of isolation in their job. </p><p>What we did not expect is that the program also has a positive impact on retention of the principal-coaches. Successful principals who have been in their positions for five years or more are looking for opportunities to grow professionally, to be part of a learning community and to broaden their impact. Being able to join our team of coaches (all of whom are exceptional principals), to participate in our professional learning series and to aid colleagues new to the profession checks all those boxes. As a result, our coaches report feeling energized and excited to continue leading their schools. </p><p>As one veteran high school principal who serves as a coach told us, “Teaching an old dog like me new tricks is no easy task, but the professional learning around coaching skills and racial equity I engaged in with NPS to prepare me for my work the past two years coaching new principals really sharpened my own principal and leadership skills and also specifically motivated me to tackle long-standing racial equity issues that had been festering in my school over the recent past.”</p><p>Keeping principals like this one on the job will pay dividends for his whole school community. It’s well worth our investment.&#160; </p><p><em>Top photo&#58; Jolon Shields, assistant principal at Origins High School, Brooklyn, New York. Photo by Claire Holt.</em></p> <p></p>Marina Cofield982019-07-09T04:00:00ZYour 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.7/9/2019 3:52:21 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / What If Districts Focused Not Just on Preparing and Hiring Principals But Also Retaining Them New York City was one of the 1109https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Effective School Leaders Learn How to Solve Problems3645GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p> <em>​​​​​​​​​If you keep up with goings-on at Wallace, you know that we recently published a RAND </em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx"> <em>research report</em></a><em> with a groundbreaking finding&#58; A systematic approach to developing school principals can have a notably positive impact on student achievement and principal retention. RAND researchers examined what happened after six large school districts adopted this approach—known as building a principal pipeline.</em></p><p> <em>Principal pipelines consist of four components&#58; rigorous principal job standards, high-quality pre-service preparation, selective hiring, and aligned on-the-job support and evaluation. In occasional blog posts, we single out a different pipeline component and explore it through the eyes of one of the pipeline districts’ principals. Today, find out how pre-service preparation helped a high school principal in Georgia tackle a difficult problem. &#160;</em><br></p><p align="center">​*****<br></p><p>When Al Taylor became principal of Berkmar High School in 2013, one in three freshmen at the school in Lilburn, Ga., about 35 miles from Atlanta, was being held back. Taylor knew the research about ninth grade. Studies out of the University of Chicago have shown that performance in ninth grade is more predictive of a student’s odds of graduating than all other factors, including race and socioeconomic status, combined. If Taylor hoped to move the needle on Berkmar’s graduation rate—then 55 percent—the work needed to start in ninth grade.</p><p>To begin to solve the problem, though, Taylor had to first step back and draw on a lesson he had learned years before as a participant in the principal training program run by his employer, the Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Schools. That program, which was set up in 2007, seeks to ensure that the district has a steady supply of high-caliber professionals ready to take on the top job. The instruction is based on the district’s job standards for principals and gives aspiring leaders an opportunity to sharpen the critical skills they’ll need to make a positive impact in schools.</p><p>The lesson that came back to Taylor in his first year at Berkmar? An effective school leader empowers other to lead. </p><p>It was something Taylor learned by seeing it firsthand. As part of his yearlong training, Taylor had spent a month shadowing an experienced principal to observe leadership in action. Going into the training program, Taylor had thought a principal should be all knowing, all doing. Yet the principal he observed gave significant autonomy to his assistant principals. He was always available to guide them, but he let them make key decisions. As important, he didn’t berate them if their decisions didn’t pan out. His leadership style cultivated a spirit of trust and collective ownership of the school. </p><p>Remembering that experience as a trainee, Taylor concluded that improving ninth grade performance was not a task he should undertake alone. “I didn’t come in to save the day,” he recalls. “I came in to bring individuals together so that we could save the day.” </p><p>Taylor organized a committee of teachers and other staff members to study the ninth grade experience at Berkmar. The group reviewed data on achievement, attendance and other indicators. “They saw how their input could shape what Berkmar was to become,” Taylor recalls. He, meanwhile, worked on convincing the school’s strongest teachers that being asked to teach ninth graders instead of twelfth graders wasn’t a demotion but a recognition of their talents and importance at Berkmar. </p><p>In 2015, Berkmar implemented a redesigned ninth grade academy and introduced career-themed academies for upperclassmen. The changes apparently have been effective. Last year, Berkmar’s ninth-grade promotion rate was 78 percent, up from 67 percent in 2013. The graduation rate, meanwhile, reached 71 percent. Some of the biggest gains were among students with disabilities, whose graduation rate rose from 19 percent in 2014 to 41 percent last year. Taylor, now in his ninth year as a principal and his sixth at Berkmar, no longer qualifies as a novice, but he still looks for ways to improve his practice. “I thought I’d walk out of the training program with a how-to manual, but it doesn’t exist,” he says. “Every day, there’s a new challenge, a new opportunity.”</p>​ <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Effective-School-Leaders-Learn-How-to-Solve-Problems/190405_WallaceFoundation_PrincipalPipeline_final%20for%20ppt.jpg" alt="190405_WallaceFoundation_PrincipalPipeline_final for ppt.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;" /> <div> <br> <br> </div><p> <br> </p> <br>Jennifer Gill832019-06-04T04:00:00ZSee how one Georgia principal used his leadership training to increase graduation rates.6/4/2019 3:19:01 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Effective School Leaders Learn How to Solve Problems See how one Georgia principal used his leadership training to increase 455https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Knock-Knock Jokes, Broken AC Units, Classroom Instruction: The Realities of Being a Principal20935GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​W​hat makes a good day in the life of a novice principal or AP? For answers, look no farther than&#160;a video​, posted recently by the Delaware Department of Education. &#160;A good day “starts off with about 500 high-fives as the kids come into the building,” says John Lynch, principal of Jennie E. Smith Elementary School in Newark, Del. “It includes a little time sitting on the carpet with the kindergartners. Some knock-knock jokes at lunch. A great science lesson. Seeing somebody smile. Seeing the ways my teachers innovate.”<br></p><p>View the rest for yourself in this series of reflections from some of the 75 participants in Delaware’s Induction Program for New Building Administrators&#58; ​<br></p> ​ ​<a href="https&#58;//youtu.be/sNtjiCvvBZY" target="_blank"><img alt="delaware-dept-video.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Delaware-Videos-The-Realities-of-Being-a-Principal/delaware-dept-video.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />​​</a> <br>&#160; <p>&#160;</p><p>​The induction program brought together novice school leaders monthly over the 2018-2019 school year to learn about such matters as ways of working that adhere to the national <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/professional-standards-for-educational-leaders-2015.aspx">Professional Standards for Education Leadership</a>. They also shared common ​​​str​uggles and successes.</p><p>The program has proved so popular, according to Michael Saylor, education associate in school leadership at Delaware’s education department, that what was originally intended as a single-year program has been expanded to a second year of coaching and other activities for selected APs.&#160;</p><p>The efforts of these new school leaders and their peers throughout the state&#160;have received some high-level recognition. Watch this video shout out from a recent event celebrating their work&#58; </p><p><a href="https&#58;//youtu.be/zEPSBCsD93U" target="_blank"><img alt="gov-carney-video.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Delaware-Videos-The-Realities-of-Being-a-Principal/gov-carney-video.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />​</a><br><br></p>Wallace editorial team792019-05-23T04:00:00ZDelaware Videos Celebrate Joys and Challenges of School Leadership6/4/2019 1:38:46 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Knock-Knock Jokes, Broken AC Units, Classroom Instruction: The Realities of Being a Principal W​hat makes a good day in the 181https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
How School Leaders Can Create Conditions for Teacher and Student Success3448GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Two veteran principals and a leading researcher from the RAND Corporation explored both the role principals play in student achievement and the positive effects of building principal pipelines at the Education Writers Association’s recent National Seminar in Baltimore. The annual event brings together journalists and education experts from across the country.<br><br> The discussion focused on the results detailed in a new RAND report, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx"> <em>Principal Pipelines&#58; A Feasible, Affordable, and Effective Way for Districts to Improve Schools</em></a>. Moderated by Matt Barnum, a reporter for <em>Chalkbeat</em>, the panel featured Susan Gates, a senior economist with RAND and co-principal investigator of the evaluation; Mary Beck, principal of Nicholas Senn High School in Chicago; and Robert Motley, principal of Atholton High School in Columbia, Md.<br><br> The RAND research examined the impact of The Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative, which supported six large school districts in developing the four major components of a principal pipeline. The districts were not creating a new program, Gates emphasized. Rather, by setting rigorous standards for school leaders, ensuring high-quality preservice preparation, being selective in hiring and placement, and providing aligned on-the-job support and evaluations, the districts were “doing regular and routine work strategically and effectively,” Gates said. “And they had to develop systems to sustain these improvements over time.”</p><p> <strong>The Benefits of Pipelines</strong><br> The districts, researchers found, were able to build pipelines and to do so at an affordable cost. Better still, the RAND study concluded that the pipelines were effective, benefiting districts, schools and students. Schools with new principals in pipeline districts outperformed matched non-pipeline schools with new principals in the same state by 2.87 percentile points in math and 6.22 percentile points in reading after three year or more years. (They also saw gains after two years.) Further, the districts saw less turnover among principals, Gates explained.<br><br> “This is a great study showing this program appears to be effective,” commented Barnum. He asked Gates whether national and state policymakers had been wise in focusing so much attention on teachers, rather than principals.<br><br> “The number one factor driving teacher turnover is the quality of the school leader,” Gates answered. “At the end of the day, people don’t want to go to work for a [bad] boss. If we could get stellar school leaders in every school, teachers would be happier and more effective.”<br><br> Beck agreed, saying that working for an ineffective principal had spurred her own interest in becoming a school leader. “It comes down to motivation and dedication and commitment to kids,” she said. “In the Chicago Public Schools we’re high poverty, and we are really successful. And it’s because principals believe in social justice and the transformative power of education.”<br><br> Motley concurred, noting that, among other things, he has bought a “rolling desk” that he pushes around school hallways so he can stay in touch with teachers and students.</p><p> <strong>What Principals Do</strong><br> Asked by Barnum to describe a typical day for a principal, Beck and Motley also agreed&#58; There isn’t one.<br><br> “You walk in each day with a schedule, but you’re dealing with kids, so every day something comes up and the schedule gets thrown out the window,” Motley said. “Meeting with a parent. Making the observation schedule for teacher evaluations. Lunch duty. Mandatory state testing. Covering for my [assistant principals]. Sports activities in the afternoon. Award recognitions for kids who are getting scholarships.”<br><br> Pressed by a reporter to be more specific about what effective principals do, Beck said they don’t let things slide, addressing problems right away and setting a tone for the school. “I often view my staff as my students,” she explained. “I approach coaching 108 adults the same as I would approach teaching a class with a lesson plan.”<br><br> “I see my role as helping my teachers become better teachers,” added Motley, a 13-year veteran of the job. Participating in professional learning opportunities also refreshes and sustains him.<br><br> For Gates, such answers struck a familiar note. “It’s interesting, because those responses are well aligned with our research study,” she said. “It effectively shows that if districts can create the conditions for success, then principals will stay, and schools will be successful.”</p><p> <strong>Future Research </strong> <br> Reporters asked whether the RAND study looked at effects of the pipeline on diversity, which it didn’t. But Gates said research shows school principals come from the ranks of teachers, “and there is a dramatic diversity gap when you compare the teacher workforce relative to the student population. This is an area where a concerted effort needs to be made with the teacher pipeline.”<br><strong></strong><br> Gates offered reporters a tip&#58; “Pose questions to the senior leadership in school districts. Ask what their standards are, how they are defining what is a good principal and what are they looking for to assess the leaders in every school. Ultimately, that’s what the principal pipeline initiative was trying to do.”<br></p><br>Wallace editorial team792019-05-16T04:00:00ZVeteran principals and researcher dig into principal pipeline findings at gathering of education writers5/16/2019 2:30:32 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How School Leaders Can Create Conditions for Teacher and Student Success Veteran principals and researcher dig into 323https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Systematic Approach to Developing School Leaders Pays Off for Principal Retention 3797GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​​​​​​​Wallace recently released a research report that contained a welcome—and unusual—finding for those interested in improving public K-12 schools&#58; A change initiative had succeeded in moving the needle on student achievement. The report, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx"> <em>Principal Pipelines&#58; A Feasible, Affordable, and Effective Way for Districts to Improve Schools</em></a>, detailed RAND Corporation research into what happened when six large school districts introduced a systematic approach to developing school principals. <div> &#160;&#160; <br>But a bit overlooked in the initial burst of news and social media accounts of the achievement findings was another important nugget from the report. The approach to developing principals, known as building a principal pipeline, was a boon to school leader retention, too.</div><div> &#160;&#160; <br>​Specifically, newly placed principals in the six districts were almost 8 percentage points more likely to remain in their schools for at least three years than newly placed principals in comparison schools in other districts. That means that for every 100 newly placed principals, pipeline districts experienced eight fewer losses than the comparison districts.</div><div>&#160;</div><div><img alt="3-Principal-retention.png" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Principal-retention-findings-from-PPI-report/3-Principal-retention.png" style="margin&#58;5px;" />&#160;</div><div> This matters because principal churn is a problem for many districts. The annual turnover rate of principals in U.S. public schools was about 18 percent in the 2015-2016 school year, according to U.S. Department of Education figures cited in the report, and higher still for schools with large numbers of disadvantaged students. There’s a price to be paid for this. Replacing a principal costs about $75,000, the report says, pointing to research on the topic. The cost in disruption to schools, teachers and students is high as well. Why? In part because rapid turnover undermines a simple necessity—the actions that principals take to try to improve student performance need time to be carried out and bear fruit, according to other research the report points to.&#160;&#160;</div><div>​<br>​<img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="gates_9114-(002).jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Principal-retention-findings-from-PPI-report/gates_9114-(002).jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;152px;" />The effects of the pipeline on retention could not be measured with as much precision as student achievement, but when the six pipeline districts are pooled together in one analysis, “we find a robust, statistically significant result,” says Susan Gates, lead author of the RAND report. Variation in retention across these districts could possibly be attributed to such factors as how many principal vacancies each district faced year-to-year in the five-year initiative, which began in fall 2011, and the different ways the districts approached principal reassignment. For example, some districts may have been inclined to move a new principal who had performed well in two years to another school with greater needs.<br></div><div><br>Additionally, the pipeline’s positive effect on retention seems to have generally increased over time. Principals newly placed in pipeline-district schools in the initiative’s fourth year, the 2014-2015 school year, had a three-year retention that was close to 17 percentage points higher than the retention of newly placed principals in the comparison schools in other districts. “That’s encouraging evidence and what I would have expected to see,” Gates says.</div><div>&#160;</div><div>The reason, she explains, is that the pipeline approach to developing effective principals consists of&#160;implementing&#160;a set of policies and practices—such as high-quality pre-service training, data-informed hiring and appropriate on-the-job support—and some these likely needed more time than others to unfold and have an impact on cohorts of newly placed principals. Changes in hiring procedures or job support, for example, could have yielded results almost immediately. Improving pre-service training, on the other hand, would likely have had a delayed effect because candidates who completed revamped programs would not typically have been hired as principals for several years. “I would expect that with retention, in particular, that over time, those outcomes would improve—as districts build a more robust hiring pool through revised pre-service, candidates are selected based on a more rigorous approach and principals are supported more effectively,” Gates says.</div><div> &#160;&#160; </div><div>The RAND report was part of a wide-ranging study of the Principal Pipeline Initiative conducted with Policy Studies Associates, which in a <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/building-a-stronger-principalship.aspx">series</a> of reports examined the initiative’s implementation in the participating districts—Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C.; Denver; Gwinnett County, Ga. (outside Atlanta); Hillsborough County (Tampa), Fla.; New York City; and Prince George’s County, Md. (outside Washington, D.C.).</div><div> &#160;&#160; </div><div>A follow-up study by Policy Studies Associates, published in February this year, provides additional evidence of the benefits of pipelines for retention. In <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/sustainability-of-principal-pipeline-initiative.aspx"> <em>Sustaining a Principal Pipeline</em></a>, which looks at the pipelines’ status two years after Wallace support for the initiative ended, officials from three districts reported they were keeping tabs on turnover to gauge the results of the pipeline work and determine how many principal vacancies would likely need to be filled.</div><div>&#160;</div><div><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Turnbull headshot (002).JPG" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Principal-retention-findings-from-PPI-report/Turnbull%20headshot%20(002).JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;124px;" />All three—Charlotte, Denver and New York—said they had seen improved principal retention, according to the report. That’s a good result as far as the districts’ leaders are concerned, according to Brenda Turnbull, who co-led the Policy Studies Associates research.</div><div> &#160;&#160;&#160;<br>&#160;“What districts want, not surprisingly, is to put good principals into schools that are a good fit, have them stay in place for years, and then maybe transfer them to another school that needs them or promote them to a principal supervisor position,” she says. “From the perspective of a responsible district leader, a struggling principal who quits or isn’t renewed is a sign that something has gone wrong with preparation, selection and placement, or ongoing support.&#160;So when retention was increasing, these pipeline districts saw that as validation of their pipeline efforts.&#160;It was something that they had been working toward.&#160;Of course some turnover is inevitable and can be healthy, but no district really wants to have revolving doors in its principals’ offices.”&#160;</div><div> &#160;&#160;&#160;<br>&#160;One note for those interested in pursuing pipelines as a retention strategy&#58; A recent <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/essa-evidence-review-of-the-principal-pipeline-initiative.aspx">analysis</a> finds that RAND’s retention research is strong enough to meet federal evidence-of-effectiveness criteria for funding under the Every Student Succeeds Act, including its Title I stream.</div><div> &#160;&#160;&#160;<br>&#160;To see a collection of resources about principal pipelines and the related research, check out <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/principal-pipeline-implementation.aspx">this page</a>.</div>Wallace editorial team792019-04-26T04:00:00ZYour 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.4/26/2019 5:15:29 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Systematic Approach to Developing School Leaders Pays Off for Principal Retention recently released a research report that 536https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Systematic Approach to Principal Development Can Benefit Students4810GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​The RAND Corporation’s new groundbreaking report, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx"><em>Principal Pipelines&#58; A Feasible, Affordable, and Effective Way for Districts to Improve Schools</em></a>, presents strong evidence that student achievement benefits when large&#160;districts invest in hiring, developing and supporting high-quality principals. But what does it take for a school district to build a sturdy pipeline of talented principals and sustain it? Superintendents from four districts shared insights during a panel discussion marking the publication’s launch at Baruch College in New York City. </p><p>The panelists—Richard Carranza, chancellor of the New York City Department of Education; Jeff Eakins, superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools, Florida; Monica Goldson, interim CEO of Prince George’s County Public Schools, Maryland; and J. Alvin Wilbanks, CEO and superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools, Georgia—engaged in a lively conversation moderated by Sonja Santelises, chief executive officer of Baltimore City Public Schools. The panelists’ districts, along with Denver Public Schools and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, North Carolina, participated in Wallace’s Principal Pipeline Initiative, which helped fund their pipeline-building activities from 2011 to 2016. The RAND report examined the results of the effort and found that across the districts, student math and reading achievement in schools with new principals outpaced achievement in similar comparison schools elsewhere in the districts’ states. The impact was notable. “We found no other comprehensive district-wide initiatives with demonstrated positive effects of this magnitude on student achievement,” RAND’s lead research on the project, Susan Gates, has said.</p><p>The panel discussed the importance of building all four components of a comprehensive principal pipeline—rigorous leadership standards, effective pre-service training, selective hiring and placement, and on-the-job support—to see results. Here are a few key takeaways from their conversation&#58;</p><p><strong>Creating a principal pipeline takes a village.&#160; </strong> <br> Every district department has to get behind the work, and to succeed “all parts of the pipeline have to be in alignment, from beginning to end,” Eakins said. In Hillsborough, this has meant examining the work of principal supervisors, the district staff members who support and evaluate principals. The district created standards for supervisors and re-interviewed everyone in the position to ensure they were the right fit to develop principals as instructional leaders. </p><p>These efforts resonated with Valerie Wanza, chief school performance and accountability officer for Broward County Public Schools, Florida, who attended the event. Broward (as well as Santelises’ Baltimore) is one of six schools districts in Wallace’s Principal Supervisor Initiative, which aims to refashion the supervisor job so it focuses less on administration and more on work with principals &#160;to boost instruction. “As a supervisor of principal supervisors, what was reported today reaffirms that we’re going in the right direction,” she said.&#160; </p><p><strong>Principal burnout is real. On-the-job support combats it.</strong> <br> The RAND report found that pipeline activities had a profound effect on retention, with new principals in the Pipeline districts more likely to stay in their jobs for at least three years than new principals in comparison schools. On-the-job support is critical to reducing turnover, the panelists noted, especially for principals leading schools in disadvantaged communities. “We just don’t pat them on the back and tell them, “Oh, you have the tools in your toolkit to handle that,” said Goldson from Prince George’s County Public Schools. Instead, the district figures out how to help. One strategy&#58; Staff at-risk schools with a community resource advocate who can address students’ social and emotional needs, allowing the principal to stay focused on improving instruction. </p><p><strong>Be a data-driven matchmaker.</strong> <br> New York City’s Carranza likened hiring a principal to online dating. “Look at it as an eHarmony moment,” he suggested. “You have to match the right leader with the right community, and couple that with the right types of support.” <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/leader-tracking-systems-turning-data-into-information-for-school-leadership.aspx">Operating a leader tracking system</a>, essentially an electronic collection of profiles of aspiring and current principals, has made finding the best qualified candidate much easier for the Pipeline districts. It also ensures that great people don’t slip through the cracks. Not every graduate of Gwinnett’s internal training program becomes a principal immediately, noted Wilbanks. Using the leader tracking system, the district can review the skills and experiences of all potential candidates when a position opens. </p><p><strong>Your future principals are in the classroom.</strong><br> The panelists also noted that the pipeline work has made them more attentive to their leadership pools. Gwinnett, for instance, recognized it had few male principals and assistant principals who are African American. In response, it plans to launch a formal program to identify high-potential African American male teachers who might step up to the job. Hillsborough actively mines its classrooms, too—a big departure from pre-pipeline days when the district typically waited for individuals to express interest in school leadership. Today, it seeks out talented teachers, gives them opportunities to demonstrate leadership, and then gets “in their ear” about becoming a principal, said Eakins. </p><p><strong>Take advantage of partnerships.</strong> <br> University partnerships, too, have proven beneficial to Hillsborough’s pipeline, added Eakins. After recognizing that the district lacked principals with the skillset to lead struggling schools, it worked with the University of Tampa and the University of South Florida to develop a master’s degree in educational leadership for turn-around schools. Four years later, nearly 50 Hillsborough principals are now graduates of the program.&#160; </p><p><strong>Federal dollars could be available to build principal pipelines.</strong> <br> An independent analysis of the RAND report found that RAND’s research about student achievement and principal retention is of sufficient quality to meet evidence standards required (or encouraged) for certain pockets of funding under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, including the major Title I funding stream. &#160;Will Miller, president of The Wallace Foundation, took note of that at the event. <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/essa-evidence-review-of-the-principal-pipeline-initiative.aspx">Evidence from the RAND study</a>, he said, “suggests that the creation of principal pipelines, aligned with the evidence base, deserves serious consideration by large districts, understanding that they can adapt the approach to their local context and use Title I funds to do so.” </p><p>Goldson advised districts to examine their system data to make the case for change, then use RAND’s research to show why building a pipeline is money well spent. “For $42 per child [per year], you have an opportunity to invest in human capital that will deliver improvements in student achievement,” she said.&#160;&#160; </p><p><strong>Learn from your peers.</strong> &#160;<br> Wilbanks offered advice to districts starting to build their pipeline&#58; Don’t do it alone. Reach out to other districts, learn from them, then share you own strategies. In fact, he plans to call on fellow Pipeline districts that are excelling in particular areas to find out “how I can catch up with them.” After all, the RAND report confirms that they’re on to something. The findings, he added, are “proof positive that the efforts and cost in both human resources and physical resources can and does make a difference to student achievement.” </p><p>And for those who missed the official report launch, fear not. You can catch the recorded livestream<a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/principal-pipeline-implementation.aspx"> here</a>. You can also see more behind-the-scenes coverage of the event in this <a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/376102262278/posts/415103819282029">Facebook Live video</a>. </p>Jennifer Gill832019-04-09T04:00:00ZSuperintendents discuss what leads to success in building principal pipelines4/15/2019 2:39:17 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Systematic Approach to Principal Development Can Benefit Students Superintendents discuss what leads to success in building 232https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
“Lean on Me”: The Power of Principal Mentorship and Support3431GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Given the important role principals play in school success, how can districts promote their effectiveness, especially in improving teaching? A new article in ASCD’s <em>Educational Leadership</em> magazine details how district-led efforts to increase on-the-job supports like mentoring and coaching are helping principals become better leaders.</p><p>The article, <a href="http&#58;//www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar19/vol76/num06/Lean-on-Me.aspx">“Lean on Me,”</a> is part of an issue devoted to <a href="http&#58;//www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar19/vol76/num06/toc.aspx">“The Power of Instructional Leadership”</a> in ASCD’s flagship publication, which reaches a global audience of educators dedicated to achieving excellence in learning, teaching and leading. <br> </p>On-the-job support for principals has <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/support-for-instructional-leadership.aspx">traditionally been a low priority</a>, but districts are increasingly viewing supports like mentorship as critical to promoting instructional leadership, the article notes. In 2011, six large districts committed themselves to improving on-the-job support for principals as part of Wallace’s Principal Pipeline Initiative , and in 2014, Wallace launched the Principal Supervisor Initiative &#160;to support district-led efforts to focus the supervisor role more heavily on improving instruction. “Lean on Me” takes a closer look at how these efforts are playing out in both the pipeline initiative and supervisor effort districts.<div><br></div><div>To read the full article, <a href="http&#58;//www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar19/vol76/num06/Lean-on-Me.aspx">click here</a>.</div><div><br></div><div><em>Above photo&#58; Tommy Welch of Meadowcreek High School in Norcross, Georgia, one of the principals featured in the story. Photo by Claire Holt.</em><br><br></div>Wallace editorial team792019-03-13T04:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.3/12/2019 7:31:39 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / “Lean on Me”: The Power of Principal Mentorship and Support A new article in Educational Leadership looks at district-led 289https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Building an Ecosystem of Talent Development for Principals 10375GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​In 2011, we launched the Principal Pipeline Initiative to test whether six large districts could put in place systems aimed at developing corps of effective school principals. Independent studies of the initiative’s implementation thus far have found that <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/perspective-building-principal-pipelines-update.aspx">building principal pipelines</a> proved both feasible and affordable in the six participating districts, and we’ll soon know more about how this work impacted student achievement. But when the initiative concluded&#58; the question of sustainability remained&#58; Would districts maintain these pipeline components—and if so, how? </p><p>Now a Policy Studies Associates team led by researchers <a href="/about-wallace/People/Pages/Leslie-Anderson-.aspx">Leslie Anderson​</a> and Brenda Turnbull has interviewed key decision makers and surveyed novice principals to understand to what extent they are still carrying out the four components of the pipeline, what changes they have made and if principals’ perspectives on their hiring and placement, evaluation and support are similar to previous findings. Their findings are published in a new study <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/sustainability-of-principal-pipeline-initiative.aspx">Sustaining a Principal Pipeline</a>. &#160;&#160; </p><p>We asked Anderson to elaborate on the report’s findings and what they mean for the sustainability of strong principal pipelines.&#160; </p><p> <strong>What are the most significant implications of these findings for districts that want to develop and operate principal pipelines?</strong></p><p> <em>It’s worthwhile&#58;</em> There is a real payoff that districts have seen from steady investment of time and thought in developing and refining several key ingredients for leader development&#58; standards; partnerships; succession planning; mentoring and coaching, and leader tracking systems. Moreover, principals’ survey responses indicate that newly placed principals see strengths in the preparation and support they have received. As of 2018, the principal pipeline shows staying power. </p><p> <em>It’s a process not a product&#58;</em> One district leader described their pipeline experience as a journey rather than a destination that one reaches through shortcuts. No one should think that one district is “the district to watch” and try to copy what that district does. Instead, building a pipeline is a developmental process that district leaders must grow into. </p><p> <em>It’s affordable&#58;</em> There is almost no cost associated with developing leadership standards. In addition, only moderate costs are associated with creating a standardized application for principal candidates. Yet this relatively low-cost upgrade to district hiring practices can quickly strengthen the pool of candidates qualified to fill school vacancies. Indeed, seven years after starting the Principal Pipeline Initiative, district leaders no longer report struggling to find highly qualified candidates to fill vacancies; they are impressed with the skills of the principals they are hiring. Moreover, over time, districts saw fewer principal vacancies, suggesting that principal turnover had declined and new principals were better prepared.<br> </p><p> <strong>What lessons does the study hold about how districts and universities can work together to improve preservice training for principals? What are the challenges and how can they be overcome? </strong></p><p>PPI districts saw real benefits from investing staff time in the care and keeping of their university partners. Denver, for example, assigned a staff person to meet with district partners regularly, often monthly or more, to co-plan the programming. The result, according to another district administrator, has been that “they're producing candidates that are highly qualified [to lead our] schools.” Similarly, principal supervisors in Charlotte-Mecklenburg spent years on a university partner’s board and worked together closely to identify gaps between the district’s leadership standards and the university’s preparation program coursework. Ultimately, as one district leader explained, if done right, the benefits of the partnership are shared&#58; “There is that mutual beneficial relationship that enables the university to have outstanding graduates and for us to have outstanding leaders.”&#160; </p><p>By 2018, district investments in their university partnerships had yielded dividends. Higher percentages of principals who had started on the job in more recent years (after March 2012) compared with those who had started earlier (before March 2012) reported that their preservice preparation emphasized competencies related to school improvement, including instructional leadership.&#160; Moreover, more recently prepared principals reported having started on the job with higher levels of preparedness for leadership. </p><p> <strong>The report mentions that there are some areas of confusion or overlap in the various systems of support for principals that the pipeline developed. &#160;What are these areas and how can schools and districts remedy them? </strong></p><p>Districts strive to coordinate principal support in a way that addresses principal needs but mitigates the risk of delivering conflicting messages. While principal supervisors, mentors and coaches are all necessary principal support, they need to be managed appropriately to avoid contradictory or confusing advice. A Denver principal supervisor described a novice principal getting four sets of guidance from four different people on a daily basis, for example.&#160; </p><p>Creating more lines of communication between support streams is a good first step toward mitigating conflicting messaging.&#160; Because people are busy, it’s often hard to know which support provider is helping principals develop which capacity or competency. A leader in Gwinnett County maintained that it was incumbent upon district leaders and support providers to work together to provide a coherent support structure that ultimately helps principals succeed. She suggested that districts should start by calibrating support providers in defining or diagnosing the needs of the school. And she cautioned that coordination does not mean standardization and that the support delivered to principals should vary in response to school contexts and needs.</p><p>Finally, there is a danger of overwhelming principals with support.&#160; First-year principals often feel as if they are “drinking from a firehose,” as an administrator put it, and they cannot absorb all of the support they receive. Prince George’s County has tried to address this problem by creating what it calls “a central office school support network” to coordinate all of the offices that impact the building so that the principal “didn't have to have 13 different meetings with 13 different offices at the beginning of the school year.”</p><p> <strong>With the emergence of the principal supervisor role as a key element of the pipeline, how can districts ensure that supervisors are able to focus mainly on principal support and development? </strong></p><p> Districts used a variety of strategies to ensure that supervisors could focus on principal support. Several hired more supervisors, reducing their span of control and thereby increasing the time supervisors could devote to developing principals’ instructional leadership skills. One district removed any responsibility for operations management from principal supervisors’ span of control by creating a department of academic support and another department for school operations.<br></p><p>Another, less costly approach one district took was organizing supervisors into different buckets of responsibility. Leaders in this district recognized that their supervisors reflected an assortment of competencies, some uniquely qualified to guide principals’ growth in instructional leadership, and some not. They opted to divide the work of their eight supervisors so that five would be instructionally focused and three would be operationally focused.&#160; </p><p> <strong>What was surprising to you about these findings? </strong></p><p>That this initiative has real staying power. That is, seven years after the PPI began, districts still have their principal pipelines. Districts still use standards to shape their principal preparation, hiring, evaluation and support systems; hiring managers have well-stocked pools of vetted principal candidates as well as individual-level data for use in their succession planning. Mentors, coaches and supervisors continue to build principals’ skills on the job. All six districts continue working on strengthening and expanding the pipeline components in ways that further manage and support the career progressions of principals. For example, they continue to strengthen the principal supervisors’ skills in supporting principals. They also work on strengthening principals’ capacity to identify and develop the leadership talents of aspiring leaders, recognizing that sitting principals play a key role as mentors. </p><p>In summary, as we mention in the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/sustainability-of-principal-pipeline-initiative.aspx">sustainability report</a>, they are trying to build an ecosystem for talent development in which principals and principal supervisors regularly seek to identify and nurture the very best and brightest future leaders.&#160; </p><p><em>Leslie Anderson is&#160;a Managing Director at Policy Studies Associates (PSA).&#160;To read her full bio </em><a href="/about-wallace/People/Pages/Leslie-Anderson-.aspx"><em>click here​</em></a><em>.</em><br></p>Wallace editorial team792019-02-19T05:00:00ZStudy finds Principal Pipelines have staying power and big payoffs for districts.2/19/2019 2:55:47 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Building an Ecosystem of Talent Development for Principals Study finds Principal Pipelines are durable and have big payoffs 624https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
What Leading for Equity Can Look Like3330GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​My question hung in the air at a conference for rural school and district leaders&#58; How many of you have heard common misconceptions about equity-related issues for students, like chronic absenteeism and access to diverse teachers? Slowly a principal raised his hand and shared that he, as a school leader, until recently believed that at-risk families (those living below the poverty line and/or facing significant financial or emotional hardships) value school less and therefore do not believe in the importance of regular attendance. I found his honesty remarkable, and it spurred a conversation about the importance of shifting to what’s been identified as an “equity mindset”—where we value the life experiences of all students and their families by identifying and removing misconceptions and barriers so we can provide differentiated supports and services to those most at-risk. </p><p>Shifting to an equity mindset on attendance, to use this example, means that we assume all of our families equally value the importance of their children’s education. Rather than accept the status quo, we therefore focus on understanding what might get in the way of their children’s attendance, and try to remove those barriers. And when we succeed, we can dramatically accelerate the trajectory of a student’s pathway towards postsecondary opportunities. For example, when low income elementary students attend school regularly, they can see outsized literacy gains, eight percent more growth in kindergarten and seven percent more growth in first grade than their higher income peers (Ready, 2010). By the time they hit sixth grade, students attending more than 90 percent of the time have significantly greater chances of graduating on time (Balfanz, Herzog, &amp; Maclver, 2007). The key is helping to make sure students at risk attend – something that begins with an equity mindset. </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">In the struggle to create great schools for all students, equity often rides at the back of the bus. The Tennessee Leaders for Equity Playbook provides a powerful framework to change that dynamic. It is an especially thoughtful and actionable tool to bring equity to center stage in classrooms and schools. <br><em>—Dr. Joseph F. Murphy, Associate Dean, Peabody College of Vanderbilt University </em></p><p>Evidence-based equity shifts of this sort are part of the <a href="https&#58;//www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/education/reports/Tennessee-Leaders-for-Equity-Playbook.pdf" target="_blank"> <em>Tennessee Leaders for E​quity Playbook</em></a>, a publication developed by the Tennessee ESSA Leadership Learning Community (ELLC) team as part of its participation in a collaborative effort of the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Council of the Great City Schools, the National Urban League and The Wallace Foundation, funded by Wallace. The initiative brings together teams from 10 participating states—each working on its own state’s priorities for and approaches to building the capacity of principals and other school leaders to support schools and students most in need of improvement—to help them develop their plans and to learn from each other’s work. Our playbook in Tennessee was developed by a statewide team of school, district, community, higher education and state leaders, with substantial feedback received from a comprehensive set of stakeholder groups. It features seven equity commitments, all selected for their strong research base that correlates with improved student outcomes, and corresponding actions for school, district, school board and community leaders&#58; </p><ul><li>Decrease chronic absenteeism</li><li>Reduce disproportionate suspension and expulsion rates</li><li>Increase early postsecondary opportunities</li><li>Provide equitable access to effective teachers</li><li>Recruit and retain a diverse teaching force</li><li>Embed cultural competence in school practices</li><li>Partner with community allies </li></ul><p>The use of the word <em>commitments</em> is intentional to signal the importance of taking deliberate and specific action to advance equity. Other sections of the playbook include an action plan framework to assist leaders in the selection, implementation and monitoring of the most relevant equity commitments for their community; an “equity shifts continuum” describing the common misconceptions that must be examined and discussed for each equity commitment before moving to an equity mindset; and a list of key terms defined, including “equity” and a “leader for equity.” </p><p>My interaction with the rural principals demonstrates the importance of viewing equity through two lenses&#58;<strong> improving outcomes for all students is not an exclusively urban problem </strong>and <strong>equity needs to be embedded into the DNA of school and district policies and practices</strong> if we want to successfully move our collective thinking about equity from an <em>initiative</em> to a necessary and enduring <em>systematic approach</em> for reaching every student. This shift requires us as leaders to grapple with the powerful notion that student outcomes will not improve until adult learning and behaviors change. </p><p>Since the release of the Playbook in the spring of 2018, I have been fortunate to see both rural and urban districts in Tennessee use it as a training and support tool to help shift adult learning and behaviors towards equity. For example, Bobby Cox, superintendent of rural Warren County, uses it as part of a comprehensive district approach for training all employees, from district leaders and principals to cafeteria workers and bus drivers on the importance of learning strategies—such as providing meditation and counseling for disciplinary infractions rather than relying exclusively on out-of-school suspensions. This approach helps increase the social and emotional well-being of students. And it’s paying big dividends so far with significant increases in student attendance; the chronic absenteeism rate is 3 percent this year compared with 14 percent last year, with decreases in out-of-school suspensions. </p><p>I am convinced the equity shifts and commitments we’ve articulated in the <em>Tennessee Leaders for Equity Playbook</em> can play a role in accelerating the urgency and summoning the collective courage we need to make educational equity no longer a dream deferred in our state. We hope it can help provide a guide for others across the country, as well. &#160;<br></p><p>Paul Fleming is the Assistant Commissioner for the Teachers and Leaders Division at the Tennessee Department of Education. See his full bio <a href="/about-wallace/People/Pages/Paul-Fleming.aspx">here​</a>. ​​ <br> </p><p> <em>Lead photo&#58; Principal James Nebel of Sweetwater Middle School; Gwinnett County, Georgia</em></p>Paul Fleming942019-02-12T05:00:00ZStatewide collaboration and new “Leaders for Equity Playbook” are helping schools and districts in Tennessee better support all students.4/19/2019 6:48:28 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / What Leading for Equity Can Look Like Statewide collaboration and new “Leaders for Equity Playbook” are helping schools and 2841https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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