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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 202https://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 2702https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Making a Wise Investment—in Principal Pipelines43957GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​ <p>​​​​​​An unprecedented level of federal financial support is flowing to schools as dollars from the COVID relief package known as the American Rescue Plan Act get distributed, along with education funding from conventional sources, such as the Title I program. So, here’s an idea for school district and state education officials. How about using some portion of&#160;the federal money for a too-often-overlooked factor in improving schools&#58; cultivating a corps of effective school principals?<br></p><p>That was one of the messages delivered by Patrick Rooney, director of school support and accountability programs for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, during a recent webinar. Rooney emphasized that Rescue Plan and other federal funding is available to support the development of effective principals, whose power to drive school improvement, he emphasized, has been confirmed by research.</p><p>“Principal pipelines and support for principals and leaders are certainly well within the realm of things you can spend your federal funds on,” Rooney said to an online audience of more than 400 education officials and others. “The research, again, is clear&#58; that having a strong and capable leader has a huge impact on how kids are doing in classrooms and how teachers are operating. </p><p>“It's a clear link to improving the performance of the school. So it is a clear opportunity for those of you who want to think about how your American Rescue Plan funds—and, then, moving forward in your Title I and Title II funds—can all be tailored together to meet this particular need.”</p><p>The webinar, <em></em> <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpHP4usFD_8"> <em>Paying for Principal Pipelines&#58; Tapping Federal Funds to Support Principals and Raise Student Achievement</em></a>,&#160; marked the launch of <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/strong-pipelines-strong-principals-a-guide-for-leveraging-federal-sources-to-fund-principal-pipelines.aspx">a guide</a> to inform school district and state education officials about the numerous sources of federal funding—both longstanding and new—for boosting school leadership. You can find a few expert tips from the new guide at the end of this post. </p><p>One approach districts are taking using to develop leaders is to build what Wallace has come to refer to as “comprehensive, aligned&quot; principal pipelines. These pipelines are “comprehensive” because they consist of key components (such as leader standards and strong on-the-job evaluation and support for principals) that together span the range of district talent management activities, and they are “aligned” because these policies and procedures reinforce one another. Jody Spiro, director of education leadership at Wallace, described the components and presented the results of a<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx"> 2019 study</a> of six districts that had put them into place&#58; Students at the elementary, middle and high school levels outperformed students in comparison districts in math. Students at the elementary and middle school levels also outperformed their peers in reading. Moreover, these improvements kicked in only two years after the pipelines were built.<br></p><p>​​<img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Making-a-Wise-Investment-in-Principal-Pipelines/ARPA-Federal-Funding-5-key-points.jpg" alt="ARPA-Federal-Funding-5-key-points.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> <br>Education officials interested in building such pipelines for their districts or states might assume, in error, that they will have to do so absent federal help. “Oftentimes, what we see is that districts use the funds for the same program from one year to the next because they know that they won’t get audited if they spend their money in this way or ‘this is how we spent it, so this is how we will continue to spend it,’” Rooney said. “But that doesn’t need to be the case. And you, actually, at the local level have a tremendous amount of flexibility with how you use your federal funds.”<br></p><p>Rooney also stressed the role of principals in recovery from the pandemic. “We are in a critical moment in time after the past year and a half of COVID,” he told listeners, noting that earlier in the day, he had attended a different webinar and heard about the impact on school districts in one state of the learning loss students have experienced as a result of the health crisis. “It just hit home how important it is to have strong and capable leaders to meet this moment in time,” he said.</p><p>Paul Katnik, assistant commissioner at the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, talked about the benefits of—and funding for—that state’s effort to develop effective principals. The Missouri Leadership Development System, which covers the gamut of principal development from aspiring to veteran school leaders, provides education and support to more than 1,000 principals in urban and rural districts, charter schools included. The effort is paying off, Katnik said, in, among other things, lowering principal churn. The retention rate for system principals is 10 percent higher or more, depending on the region, than for other principals in the state. How is this work paid for? Through about $4 million a year in federal Title I, Title IIa, American Rescue Plan, grant, and state funds, according to Katnik. “If you’re going to create a state system that functions at a high level in all different types of school communities, it takes a significant investment,” he said.&#160; </p><p>Michael Thomas, superintendent of Colorado Springs School District 11, concurred with Katnik’s overall point about the value of funding for efforts to promote principal effectiveness. “There’s never been a successful turnaround story without a strong leader at the helm,” he said. “And coming into District 11, it was very clear to me that, if we were going to really improve the district over time, we needed to make sure that we were bringing significant investment into our leadership.” Thomas, who oversees a district of about 24,000 students and 55 schools an hour south of Denver, spoke of using federal money not only to aid teachers facing unprecedented demands during the pandemic, but also to support new and aspiring principals. School leaders on the job from one to three years receive executive coaching from an outside vendor, and the district is cultivating an “Aspire to Lead cohort” of potential principals ready to step in when vacancies occur. “We want to make sure we’re holding [our leaders] <em>‘able,</em>’” he said. “That’s accountability with support.”</p><p>Beverly Hutton, senior advisor and consultant to the CEO at the National Association of Secondary School Principals, which represents more than 18,000 school leaders across the country, said she was heartened by state and district efforts to support principals. “The complexities of the job…have increased exponentially over the past decade,” she said. “And then the pandemic exacerbated that and highlighted those complexities in ways we had not imagined.” Hutton underscored the role of principal development work in promoting equity in education. “It is extremely important that ongoing training and investments need to focus on ensuring principals are equipped to address the systems and processes that need to change in order to honor the lived experiences of each student,” she said.</p><p>State and district leaders looking to follow the example of Missouri and Colorado Springs may need help figuring out where their principal pipeline work fits into today’s uncharted funding landscape. That’s where the new guide comes in. Prepared by EducationCounsel, a mission-based education consulting firm, and the research firm Policy Studies Associates,<em> </em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/strong-pipelines-strong-principals-a-guide-for-leveraging-federal-sources-to-fund-principal-pipelines.aspx"> <em>Strong Principals, Strong Pipelines&#58; A Guide for Leveraging Federal Sources to Fund Principal Pipelines</em></a> is designed to help districts ask good questions and test their assumptions about federal funding for principal pipelines.</p><p>Sean Worley, senior policy associate at EducationCounsel, walked webinar participants through the features of the guide. For each of seven key components of a strong principal pipeline, the guide specifies relevant activities and the federal funding sources that may be the best match for each. Funding information for activities in all seven categories is also compiled into a single “at-a-glance” table. Part 2 of the guide provides details about each relevant funding stream, including its purpose and allowable uses; how it is allocated (e.g., by formula or in the form of competitive or discretionary grants); and the primary recipients.​<br></p> <p>Worley’s colleague Scott Palmer, EducationCounsel’s managing partner and co-founder, left state and district leaders with five “big points”&#160; to chew on&#58;</p><ol><li>&#160;“There’s a lot of money on the table that can support principal leadership and principal pipelines,” he said. “I say that notwithstanding the unbelievable challenges we have and the needs that are existing right now.” The sources include stimulus funds and ongoing federal program funds.<br><br></li><li>“These funds are available over a period of years.” Palmer pointed out that American Rescue Plan Act funds are available at least through the 2024 school year. Districts and states are allowed to review and improve their initial plans to ensure funding is having the intended effect.<br><br></li><li>“Blending and braiding” funds is possible, and even encouraged. “If you find yourself in a place where dollars are siloed, staff are siloed,” Palmer said, “please try to…pull those funding streams together.”<br><br></li><li>“There may well be more funding coming.” Palmer noted that Congressional appropriations for the next fiscal year are likely to include significant increases in allocations to core programs like Title I, and the Build Back Better Act includes direct investments in principal development activities. “We may have to come out with a new version [of the guide] with yet another column [in the table],” he quipped. “So, stay tuned.”<br><br></li><li>Palmer’s fifth point regarded thinking beyond the immediate crisis. He urged state and district officials to work strategically and consider how federal funding could support improvements that can be sustained over time. Palmer acknowledged that this isn’t easy because education officials are focused on meeting urgent needs and want to avoid falling off a “funding cliff” when federal support ends. Still, he said, he is seeing places that are taking a longer-term approach—one that can “not just really fill those important holes but do it in a way that plants seeds for future change.”</li></ol>​<br>Wallace editorial team792022-01-11T05:00:00ZYour 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.1/12/2022 4:37:39 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Making a Wise Investment—in Principal Pipelines New guide and webinar explain federal funding opportunities for principal 230https://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 536https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
American Rescue Plan: Five Things State and District Leaders Need to Know Now14265GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p> <em>​​​​​​​​​​​Earlier this year, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, the federal government’s third major COVID-19 relief bill. The law provides nearly $2 trillion to support the nation’s efforts to reopen and recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Included is more than $126 billion for K-12 schools and additional funding for early childhood and higher education.&#160; </em></p><p> <em>These are historic levels of K-12 funding, far surpassing the amounts in previous pandemic relief bills, and they go well beyond annual federal K-12 education investments. Moreover, the relief package could have an impact well into the future, as districts and states are allowed to spend their allotments through September 2024—enabling them to identify and develop solutions that meet immediate needs and seed long-term, evidence-based shifts to better promote equity and improved outcomes. &#160;</em></p><p> <em>This description of the ARP, with considerations for states and school districts, was prepared for The Wallace Foundation by </em> <a href="https&#58;//educationcounsel.com/"> <em>EducationCounsel</em></a><em>, a mission-based education consulting firm. EducationCounsel&#160;advises Wallace and has analyzed the new law.&#160;</em></p><p> <strong>1. ARP provides at least $126 billion in K-12 funding to states and districts, building upon previous COVID-19 relief packages, to support school reopening, recovery&#160;and program redesign. </strong></p><p>The ARP includes $123 billion for the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund—nearly $109.7 billion (about 90 percent) for districts (or local education agencies) and nearly $12.2 billion (about 10 percent) for state education agencies. These funds can be used by states and districts directly or through contracts with providers from outside the public school system.&#160; </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now/ARP-Funding-Compared-ch.jpg" alt="ARP-Funding-Compared-ch.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;494px;" />The ESSER fund also includes $800 million dedicated to identifying and supporting students experiencing homelessness. While not included in the ESSER fund, an additional $3 billion is available under the law for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).</p><p>Further, the ARP provides $40 billion for colleges and universities (of which $20 billion must be used to support students directly) and more than $40 billion to support the child care and early childhood education systems.&#160; For additional information on the other funding provided by the ARP, please see <a href="https&#58;//educationcounsel.com/?publication=educationcounsels-summary-of-the-american-rescue-plan-act-of-2021">EducationCounsel’s fuller summary of the law</a>. </p><p>In addition, the ARP includes hundreds of billions of dollars in &#160;<a href="https&#58;//home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/coronavirus/assistance-for-state-local-and-tribal-governments/state-and-local-fiscal-recovery-funds">State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds</a> that can be used to support early childhood, K-12&#160;and higher education. This includes $195.3 billion to state governments and up to $154.7 billion to local governments and territories. Under the <a href="https&#58;//home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRP-Fact-Sheet-FINAL1-508A.pdf">U.S. Treasury Department’s guidance</a>, state and local governments are encouraged, among other possible uses, to tap the State and Local Recovery Funds to create or expand early learning and child care services; address pandemic-related educational disparities by providing additional resources to high-poverty school districts, offering tutoring or afterschool programs, and by providing services that address students’ social, emotional and mental health needs; and support essential workers by providing premium pay to school staff.&#160; </p><p> <strong>2. ARP funding for districts and states is intended to support a wide array of programs that use evidence-based practices to attend to matters including the academic, social, emotional&#160;and mental health needs of marginalized students. &#160;</strong></p><p>States and districts have substantial flexibility in how they can use their ARP ESSER funds to support recovery efforts and to seed fundamental shifts in their programs and services.&#160;Within the text of the ARP and the U.S. Department of Education guidance about the law, states and districts are encouraged to use funds in ways that not only support reopening and recovery efforts but also seek to address the unique needs of our most marginalized students. This emphasis is woven throughout the ARP, including in its state and district set-asides (discussed below) and the provisions focused on <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/files/2021/04/MOE-Chart_with-waiver-FAQs_FINAL_4.21.21Update.pdf">ensuring continued</a> and <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/files/2021/06/21-0099-MOEq-FAQs.-FINAL.pdf">equitable education funding</a> from state and local governments, particularly for highest poverty schools. This equity focus is also inherent in the U.S. Department of Education’s actions to implement the ARP, as evidenced by departmental requirements for state and district ARP plans as well as the department’s guidance regarding use of ARP funds. Equity considerations are meant to help drive state and district decisions to address the disproportionate impact that the pandemic has had on students of color, low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners and students experiencing homelessness. To accomplish this, the <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/files/2021/05/ESSER.GEER_.FAQs_5.26.21_745AM_FINALb0cd6833f6f46e03ba2d97d30aff953260028045f9ef3b18ea602db4b32b1d99.pdf">Department of Education has described several ways</a> in which the funds can be used. The ARP includes important <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/files/2021/03/FINAL_ARP-ESSER-FACT-SHEET.pdf">priority state and local set-asides as well</a>, as described below, all of which must be focused on attending to the academic, social and emotional learning needs of students, and must attend to the unique needs of marginalized youth. &#160;</p><p> <strong>States</strong>. Of their $12.2 billion in ARP ESSER funding, states must spend&#58;</p><ul><li>At least 50 percent (or roughly $6.1 billion) on evidence-based interventions to address the lost instructional time caused by the pandemic; </li><li>At least 10 percent (or roughly $1.2 billion) on evidence-based summer learning and enrichment programs; and &#160;</li><li>At least 10 percent (or roughly $1.2 billion) on evidence-based afterschool programs. </li></ul><p> <strong>Districts</strong>. Of their $109.7 billion in ARP ESSER funding, districts must devote at least 20 percent (or roughly $21.9 billion) to evidence-based interventions to address both the lost instructional time caused by the pandemic and the crisis’s disproportionate impact on certain students.&#160; Similar to the previous COVID-19 relief bills, the ARP allows districts to use funds for activities directly related to the pandemic, such as purchasing equipment and supporting and protecting the health and safety of students and staff, as well as for activities to address the unique needs of marginalized students and any allowable activity under major federal education laws, such as the Every Student Succeeds Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now/Full-Set-of-Allowable-Activities-for-ARP-ESSER-Funds-ch.jpg" alt="Full-Set-of-Allowable-Activities-for-ARP-ESSER-Funds-ch.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p> <strong>3. Funds are flowing to states and districts and will be available immediately, but they&#160;can also be spent through September 2024 to support recovery and redesign.</strong></p><p>In <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/files/2021/03/ARP_Letter_Sec_to_Chiefs_Final_03.24.2021-1.pdf">late March</a>, states received nearly $81 billion (about two-thirds) of the ARP ESSER fund. Although states and districts were allowed to spend this funding immediately to support efforts to reopen schools for in-person learning or to design and operate <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx">summer learning programs</a>, the remaining third of funding is conditioned on states submitting a plan for how they and their districts would use their ARP ESSER funds. Once the U.S. Department of Education <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/offices/american-rescue-plan/american-rescue-plan-elementary-and-secondary-school-emergency-relief/stateplans/">approves a state’s plan</a>, the Department will send the remaining funds to the state, and districts will receive their full shares of the funding (via Title I formula) when the state subsequently approves their district plan. The Department has approved plans from several states already&#160;and is expected to approve more over the coming weeks. Districts are currently developing their plans, and those should be submitted in the coming months, but timelines vary across states.&#160; </p><p>While ARP funds are available immediately to support relief and reopening efforts, <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/files/2021/05/ARP-ESSER-Plan-Office-Hours-5.6.21.pdf">states and districts can spend funds over several years to promote and support efforts to redesign</a> and improve K-12 education and supports for young people.&#160; In particular, districts have until September 30, 2024* to “obligate”<span style="background-image&#58;initial;background-position&#58;initial;background-size&#58;initial;background-repeat&#58;initial;background-attachment&#58;initial;background-origin&#58;initial;background-clip&#58;initial;">—</span>which means to decide on the funding’s use and plan for it through contracts, service-agreements, etc.<span style="background-image&#58;initial;background-position&#58;initial;background-size&#58;initial;background-repeat&#58;initial;background-attachment&#58;initial;background-origin&#58;initial;background-clip&#58;initial;">—</span>​their funding. States, in comparison, have a shorter timeline. Within one year of receiving funding from the U.S. Department of Education, states must obligate their funding; however, similar to the timeline for districts, states may spend those funds through September 30, 2024. This three-year period will be critical for states and districts in redesigning how they provide services and supports to students and staff, and states and districts are encouraged to think about this when developing their ARP ESSER plans.<br></p><p> *Per <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/files/2021/05/ESSER.GEER_.FAQs_5.26.21_745AM_FINALb0cd6833f6f46e03ba2d97d30aff953260028045f9ef3b18ea602db4b32b1d99.pdf">federal spending regulations</a>, states and districts have 120 days after a performance period to fully liquidate funds received. Accordingly, states and districts have until January 28, 2025, to liquidate their funding. Although this provides a slightly longer window to spend funding, we are using the September 30, 2024, obligation as the main deadline for states and districts to keep in mind for planning purposes.</p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now/Timeline-ARP-Implementation-ch.jpg" alt="Timeline-ARP-Implementation-ch.jpg" style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;margin&#58;5px;" /> &#160;</p><p> <strong>4. The U.S. Department of Education requires states, and districts, to develop plans for how they will use ARP ESSER funding and to revisit plans for periodic review and continuous improvement.</strong></p> ​As a condition of receiving their full ARP ESSER funds, <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/files/2021/04/ARP-ESSER-State-Plan-Template-04-20-2021_130PM.pdf">every state and district must produce a plan</a> that describes how they will use their share of the ARP ESSER funding, and districts must also produce school reopening plans. Although they are required to submit plans to the U.S. Department of Education only once, states and districts must periodically review and, if necessary, improve those plans. The requirement for states and districts to develop and submit plans is new; it was not a feature of the previous two pandemic relief bills. The requirement also has several noteworthy aspects. &#160;<p></p><p>For one thing, to complete the plans states and districts must evaluate and report out the needs of their students and staff, including their most marginalized student groups. For another, states must identify their top priority areas in recovering from the pandemic. In addition, states and districts must consult with key stakeholders such as students, families, educators, community advocates and school leaders.</p><p>Below is a list of the seven major areas that the U.S. Department of Education requires each state plan to address, <a href="https&#58;//educationcounsel.com/?publication=educationcounsels-summary-of-used-state-plan-template-for-arp-elementary-and-secondary-school-emergency-relief-esser-fund">each of which has several requirements</a>&#58; &#160;</p><ol><li>The state’s current reopening status, any identified promising practices for supporting students, overall priorities for reopening and recovery and the needs of historically marginalized students<br></li><li>How the state will support districts in reopening schools for full-time in-person instruction, and how the state will support districts in sustaining the safe operation of schools for full-time in-person instruction<br></li><li>How the state will engage with stakeholders in developing its ARP ESSER plans and how the state will combine ARP funding with funding from other federal sources to maximize the impact of the spending<br></li><li>How the state will use its set-aside funding to address lost instructional time, support summer learning and enrichment programs&#160;and support afterschool programs<br></li><li>What the state will require districts to include in their ARP ESSER plans, how the state will ensure that districts engage with stakeholders during the planning process,&#160;and how states will monitor and support districts in implementation of their ARP ESSER plans<br></li><li>How the state will support its educator workforce and identify areas that are currently experiencing shortages<br></li><li>How the state will build and support its capacity for data collection and reporting so that it can continuously improve the ARP ESSER plans of both the state and its districts&#160;&#160;</li></ol><p>Although they may provide valuable insight into how states and districts will approach using their ARP ESSER funds, the plans may not give the full picture of how the funds will be used—especially for some states and districts. That’s because the plans may not be the only governing documents for states and districts, and the plans can change. In fact, as noted above, the <a href="https&#58;//educationcounsel.com/two-opportunities-for-states-to-support-more-thoughtful-school-district-recovery-plans/">Department encourages—indeed requires in some aspects—states and districts to periodically review</a> and adapt the plans. Plans may also be limited because of current circumstances; that is, it may be difficult for districts and states to be plotting moves several years ahead of time while facing pressing and immediate summer programming and fall-reopening needs.&#160;&#160;&#160; </p><p> <strong>5. What possibilities and factors might state/district leaders consider when planning for using ARP ESSER funds? </strong></p><p>Education leaders and practitioners across the country have faced the pandemic with resilience and compassion for their students and families. They have overcome challenges unheard of only 18 months ago, and they will continue to face an uphill battle as our nation recovers from this pandemic.&#160;The funding from the ARP can help in this effort—to address immediate needs and transform our education systems based on evidence and stakeholder input, including what we know from the science of learning and development. &#160;<br> <br>Based on our long history at EducationCounsel of supporting state and district leaders in developing equity-centered approaches and policies, we provide, below, several considerations for sound planning and use of ARP funding.&#160;We hope these considerations will offer leaders insights into how they can think longer-term, best support their most marginalized students and those most severely affected by the pandemic, and develop strong systems of continuous improvement. &#160;</p><ul><li> <em>Don’t just fill holes, plant seeds. </em>The ARP gives leaders the opportunity to provide what their students and families need most immediately, but there is also great need and opportunity to create improved systems over the longer-term. Because funds can be obligated and spent through September 30, 2024, leaders have time to think about the potential of their systems in the next three to five years. While deciding on evidence-based programs that will support current reopening needs, leaders can simultaneously look ahead to how public school education and necessary comprehensive supports for young people can be redesigned and improved.&#160;Successful improvements may require additional state or local funding, if efforts are to be sustained long term. Accordingly, leaders may want to consider various strategies to blend ARP funding with other funding sources (including future funding sources) to avoid any funding cliff that may occur when ARP funding ends in 2024. Forming strategic partnerships, building and leaning on the full system of supports for students,&#160;and creating community investment will help plant and cultivate those seeds for future progress.<br><br></li></ul><ul><li> <em>Focus funding on programs and initiatives that will have the most direct impact on marginalized students. </em>The ARP is centered on equity and is designed particularly to attend to the needs of students who have been most severely affected by the pandemic. The <a href="https&#58;//www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/20210608-impacts-of-covid19.pdf">U.S. Department of Education has documented the level of trauma</a> such students faced over the course of the pandemic and how this trauma compounds the previous challenges and inequities our students were forced to confront. We encourage leaders to consider how to implement programs that will provide targeted relief and support to marginalized students and those programs that will have the greatest impact on those with the greatest need. This necessitates deep examination of the unique needs of low-income students, students of color, students with disabilities, English learners, LGBTQ+ students and students experiencing homelessness, and how those unique needs may require unique solutions.&#160;<br><br></li></ul><ul><li> <em>Support the academic, social, emotional&#160;and mental health needs of students and staff<span style="background-image&#58;initial;background-position&#58;initial;background-size&#58;initial;background-repeat&#58;initial;background-attachment&#58;initial;background-origin&#58;initial;background-clip&#58;initial;">—</span>in schools and across the various systems of student supports.</em>&#160;The level of trauma students <em>and</em> staff have faced these last 18 months is unprecedented. Given this, leaders can use ARP funds to create cultures and structures that address the whole spectrum of student needs. <a href="https&#58;//eb0b6ac7-8d5b-43ca-82bf-5fa89e49b5cb.usrfiles.com/ugd/eb0b6a_042c6c82a88144249223ca80bc9c2919.pdf">This could include designing school and other learning environments</a>, based on evidence, to best serve whole-child recovery and equity by fostering positive relationships, improving the sense of safety and belonging, creating rich and rigorous learning experiences, and integrating supports throughout the entire school. Implementing such efforts and building these cultures was <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/early-lessons-from-schools-and-out-of-school-time-programs-implementing-social-and-emotional-learning.aspx">beneficial to students before the pandemic</a> and will be even more important now. School and district leaders might do well to remember the needs of their staff members during this moment, including <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/evidence-based-considerations-for-covid-19-reopening-recovery-planning-the-importance-of-sel.aspx">how developing staff social and emotional learning skills is essential</a> to supporting students’ needs. (We’ve linked to design principles created by the Science of Learning and Development (SoLD) Alliance, on which Scott Palmer serves as a member of the leadership team and EducationCounsel is a governing partner in the initiative.)<br><br>Among the questions they might ask are&#58; What needs to be different about welcoming procedures? Do schools need additional support staff? Are teachers and school leaders equipped with the tools and resources they need to fully respond to the circumstances schools now face? How can out-of-school-time providers become full partners with schools, so that students find themselves fully supported in<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/stability-and-change-in-afterschool-systems-2013-2020-a-follow-up-study-of-afterschool-coordination-in-large-cities.aspx"> an ecosystem of school and out-of-school</a>-time supports?&#160; &#160;<br><br></li><li> <em>Develop current (and future) school leaders to meet the moment.</em> School leaders are <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx">central to successful efforts to improve schools and outcomes for students</a>, but no current school leader has experienced a pandemic and interruption in learning at this scale, and principals&#160;more than ever&#160;need support from their state and district leadership. State and district leaders can use ARP funds to develop and provide guidance on reopening and recovery; provide professional development to support school leaders in meeting the academic, social and emotional health needs of their students; and involve school leaders in critical decision making. State and district leaders can also consider how to balance providing direction to school leaders with ensuring school leaders have the autonomy and flexibility to attend to their communities’ singular needs. Similar to the suggested approach above to consider the needs of the future, state and district leaders can use ARP funding to develop the next generation of school leaders and to support <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/principal-pipelines.aspx">principal pipelines</a> that can both develop talent and diversify the profession. They may also want to evaluate what changes are necessary to existing structures and systems so that future leaders can be prepared to address the long-term impacts of the pandemic. &#160;&#160;<br><br></li></ul><ul><li> <em>Regularly revisit plans to analyze impact, identify new needs and continuously improve over time.</em> Recovering from the pandemic and redesigning systems and programs will require ongoing leadership. State and district ARP ESSER plans and strategies should not be viewed as stagnant; instead, they can evolve to meet the needs of students and staff as we progress from reopening to recovery to reinvigorating. By periodically reviewing (and improving) their plans, leaders can help ensure that ARP funds are being used effectively to meet immediate needs, while also evaluating how improvements are aligning to the future. In other words, they can think about the seeds that are planted. To support periodic review efforts, state and district leaders can review data and evidence, consider lessons from implementation&#160;and develop feedback mechanisms so that stakeholders are continually engaged and are able to share how funds are (or are not) having the most impact on students’ experiences. It may be helpful for state and district leaders to reevaluate their plans each semester or every six months, at least to make sure that previously identified priorities and interventions are still pertinent to their communities and long-term goals. &#160;</li></ul> <br>Sean Worley, Scott Palmer1072021-08-04T04:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.10/13/2021 3:00:37 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / American Rescue Plan: Five Things State and District Leaders Need to Know Now The latest round of federal COVID aid can be 1755https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Think States Play No Role in Shaping Effective Principals? Think Again.14084GP0|#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 assuming a full role in improving principal quality. They are concerned, among other things, about overreach into an area—public education—where local authority is prized. But that doesn’t mean states have to be bystanders as interest in cultivating effective school leadership grows. Indeed, according to a RAND report published by Wallace last fall, states have seven key policy levers to consider pulling&#58;<br></p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Setting principal standards<br></div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Recruiting promising candidates into the profession</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Licensing new and veteran principals<br></div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Approving and overseeing principal preparation programs</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Supporting principals’ growth with professional development</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Evaluating principals</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Supporting “leader tracking systems,” online systems to collect and analyze data on aspiring and established school leaders.</div><p>The report,<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/using-state-level-policy-levers-to-promote-principal-quality.aspx"><em>Using State-level Policy Levers to Promote Principal Quality</em></a>, examines how seven states have pulled these levers, or not, as well as what helps and hinders effective use of the levers.&#160; A <a href="/knowledge-center/Documents/Infographic-Policies-Seven-States-Enacted-to-Promote-the-Quality-of-Principal-Preparation.pdf">new infographic​</a> also details what pulling the levers can entail as well as the degree to which the seven states have used each one. The states—California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia—are part of Wallace’s&#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/launching-redesign-university-principal-preparation-programs.aspx">University Principal Preparation Initiative</a>, an effort bringing together university-based preservice school leadership programs, school districts and states to improve principal training.&#160; </p><p>We spoke via email with Susan Gates, a senior researcher at RAND and the lead author of the report, to find out more about using state policy levers for better school leadership. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.</p><p><strong>What’s the main lesson of your study for states that may be eyeing the principalship and considering what steps to take to improve it?</strong></p><p>When setting policy priorities related to the principalship, states need to consider the mix of policy levers they are currently using compared with the full range of options we outline in the report. What are you doing that is working well? What is not working so well? Think about how your successes could be leveraged to improve upon the gap areas. For example, all of the University Principal Preparation Initiative states have leader standards and are using them to promote principal quality to some degree, but not consistently across all levers. Extending the use of leader standards to levers where they are not currently used—such as evaluation—to create coherence across the entire pathway is a good option for states to consider.</p><p>Another key insight is that the pathway to the principalship is more complicated than most people think, and it differs state to state. The seven levers our report highlights typically target specific stages of the pathway. The best levers for one state to focus on may be different from those for another because the two states may have dissimilar pathways.&#160;&#160;&#160; </p><p><strong>What else did you find out about the varying routes to becoming a principal among the states you examined?&#160; </strong></p><p>When people think about the pathway to the principalship, they often have something simple in mind. A teacher attends a graduate program, gets a license and becomes a principal. We found that the pathway to the principalship is much more complex than that. It is common for there to be multiple stages in the licensure process. In addition, some states have alternative pathways that allow candidates to bypass state-approved preparation programs. This was true in three of the seven initiative states—California, Kentucky and Virginia. These alternative pathways are really interesting. If used with restraint, they can allow states to increase the stringency of program regulation and oversight without unduly burdening specific districts—because there is a work-around districts can pursue when they want to hire a compelling candidate who did not attend a state-approved program. But if used excessively, these alternative pathways can render state-approved programs irrelevant. These alternative pathways have potentially important implications for the use of other levers, and states should gather and examine data about the prevalence and implications of their use.</p><p><strong>You emphasize that a change in one area of state principal policy can trigger changes in others. Why does that matter?</strong></p><p>Our study highlights that the seven policy levers are highly interconnected. By reinforcing the ties between and among levers, states can amplify their effectiveness. We saw numerous examples of this. For example, program approval requirements in most states include that programs engage in effective candidate recruitment practices such as getting input from districts. Another example is that principal licensure, as I suggested earlier, typically requires completion of a state-approved principal preparation program. As a result, licensure requirements drive aspiring principals into programs that are in turn shaped by state policy. This interconnectedness means that when new policies are implemented that target one lever, they can have downstream or upstream implications for other levers. For example, when states change the assessment they use for state licensure, state-approved principal preparation programs modify their programs to support the success of their students on these assessments—even when the state’s program approval requirements do not explicitly change.&#160; </p><p><strong>Of the various key levers states can pull to improve school leadership, one stands out for having received nearly universal agreement in the seven states that it was effective in promoting principal quality&#58; leader standards. Why are standards so powerful?</strong></p><p>Leader standards are important because they provide a way of communicating priorities and objectives about the principalship that is relevant to all stakeholder groups (aspiring and current leaders, principal preparation programs and districts) and across all stages of the pathway to the principalship. Standards help states reinforce the ties between and among levers. For example, stakeholders we interviewed reported that program approval and licensure requirements were viewed as more effective when clearly aligned with standards.<br> <br> <strong>On the other hand, few of the people you interviewed for the report thought the recruitment lever was being used effectively. What do you think might be keeping states from pressing this lever more forcefully?</strong></p><p>Recruitment is a particularly complex one for states because using it effectively involves influencing the behavior of all three groups of policy targets&#58; aspiring leaders, programs and districts. Aspiring leaders must be encouraged to enroll in a state-approved principal preparation program, programs must be encouraged to accept high-potential candidates and districts must encourage those with potential to pursue the pathway to the principalship. The decision to enroll in a particular program requires the aspiring leader to make a financial commitment to the principal pathway in general and to a particular program. That can be a dealbreaker even in situations where all three groups agree that a particular candidate would be a good leader and that a particular institution is a good fit for that candidate.</p><p>All of the states in our study establish pre-requisites for admission to state-approved principal preparation programs and most encourage these programs to collaborate with districts in the candidate admission process. But only one of the states has a state-funded effort that provides financial resources to promising candidates to attend designated preparation programs. I think this approach is not used more widely because of the costs associated with it and the political difficulty associated with allocating state funds to support an aspiring principal’s pre-service preparation at some but not all state-approved programs.&#160;&#160;&#160; </p><p><strong>The report describes a number of ways to encourage change—coupling mandates with support, for example, or engaging early on with the variety of people and institutions that have a stake in the policy at hand. But you note that “among the most significant” policy changes you saw were those that emerged from efforts that had piggybacked on earlier K-12 education reforms. What’s an example? Why does this approach work?</strong></p><p>There’s a lot going on at the state level when it comes to education policy, and the principalship is often what is called a “low agenda status” topic in this space. It’s just not on the radar of a lot of people. This can make it difficult for principal quality to bubble up to the top of the priority list for policy change. One way to get principal quality initiatives on the agenda and successfully implemented is to link them clearly to a broader state education priority. Even better is to craft principal quality initiatives that piggyback on prior initiatives targeting teachers. For example, if the state revamps the teacher evaluation system or assessment for aspiring teachers, it can leverage that work and advance related efforts to revise principal evaluation systems or assessments for aspiring leaders. By leveraging the prior efforts, the costs of developing the system or assessment itself may be lower and some of the political legwork needed to achieve buy-in will have already been done. <br> <br> <strong>State policymakers—like their counterparts on the federal, local and school-district level—find themselves in an unprecedented moment. They are facing not only the pandemic’s dire effects on education but also the nation’s long overdue reckoning with racial justice. Is there a way in which state school leadership policy can help provide a beneficial response to these developments?</strong></p><p>The challenges facing our nation’s schools and school districts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and reckoning with racial justice pose deep questions for state policymakers that go well beyond school leadership policy. Within the school leadership space, the base of evidence about how to effectively address these challenges is relatively thin. Our study found that policy lever use is perceived as effective when it is grounded in evidenced-based, rigorous requirements. We also found that stakeholder engagement allows states to leverage expertise from across the state and expand and or supplement state capacity in order to push forward on a change agenda.</p><p>So as a first step, states could support knowledge-building about equity-centered and crisis-oriented school leadership, tapping a wide range of stakeholders to inform next steps.&#160; This could take the form of support for learning communities, or the development of templates for districts or preparation programs to use as they engage with community groups on these complex issues.</p><p>Another idea would be for states to orient their support for principal professional development toward these issues. Our study found that PD was being&#160;<em>used&#160;​</em>by all states, but stakeholders in only three states felt that it was being&#160;&#160;<em>used effectively</em> to promote principal quality. Professional development was a real focus of new state activity during the study time frame, with most states launching efforts to expand PD support. Orienting these efforts toward these pressing concerns is something states could consider.​<br><br></p>Wallace editorial team792021-07-22T04:00:00ZResearcher discusses seven policy levers states can pull to improve school leadership7/22/2021 5:00:29 AMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Think States Play No Role in Shaping Effective Principals Researcher discusses seven policy levers states can pull to 727https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Lessons in Virtual Hiring for School Leaders9596GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​The COVID-19 pandemic has upended a great number of systems and processes in the K-12 education system, including the hiring of principals and school leaders. More than a year into the pandemic, school districts are once again facing a remote hiring season. What can we learn from their experience last year? And what might be improved in the virtual hiring process for both district leaders and job candidates going forward? <br></p><p>The Wallace Blog caught up with Maggie K. Thomas, deputy chief of talent development at the District of Columbia Public Schools, to investigate the challenges and possibilities of remote hiring based on the district’s emergency pivot to virtual operations last year. Despite all the technological and other difficulties facing it, the district school system was able to fill all its school leader slots well before the fall 2020 school term began. The following interview has been edited for length and clarity. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Lessons-in-Virtual-Hiring-for-School-Leaders/50996660963_16497d132b_k.jpg" alt="50996660963_16497d132b_k.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> <br> </p><p> <strong>What kind of strategies did DCPS use to effectively carry out virtual hiring amidst the challenges of the pandemic?</strong></p><p>Virtual hiring requires strategy, systems....and more strategy.&#160;The pandemic has been a great opportunity for us to strategically think more creatively around how each stage of our interview process effectively assesses our core values and necessary competencies for each role. For example, we had to re-imagine the role of performance tasks so that they would elevate a candidate's awareness and intentionality around equity-centered leadership. Similarly, to assess candidates’ ability to meet the needs of today's climate, we had to purposefully craft questions that encourage candidates to explicitly describe how they have navigated change, ambiguity and socio-emotional challenges in their previous roles. </p><p>We also leaned into the convenience of virtual hiring by leveraging cross-team collaboration throughout the interview process.&#160;In the instances in which we collaborated with our equity team, our chiefs of schools, and our strategy and performance management teams—to have them serve on a panel, craft questions and/or review performance tasks—the different perspectives helped to better support candidate selection.<br></p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Lessons-in-Virtual-Hiring-for-School-Leaders/50617472368_121cd8661d_b.jpg" alt="50617472368_121cd8661d_b.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p> <strong>Speaking even more practically, how did you go about hiring principals virtually?</strong></p><p>One of the pieces that can easily be overlooked is the need to be intentional about preparing the technology needed to execute virtual interviews.&#160;While the world was quickly transitioning into working from home and getting more accustomed to using tech tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, we were surprised at some of the small snags that our team had to uncover and plan around (think&#58; breakout rooms, waiting rooms, mute buttons). To remedy this, we took a sandbox approach where our team leads set up Zoom rooms and worked through any of our anticipated hiccups.&#160;This made our first and subsequent interview days run so much smoother.&#160;We sent a comprehensive email to interviewers a week in advance that included stepper documents and videos for using Zoom, a candidate profile, all of the necessary rubrics for the interview, and supports-in-place for the actual day.</p><p>On the candidate side, we also learned that they needed guidance and coaching on bringing their best self to a virtual interview space.&#160;Whereas cues for dress, body language and even background were either not applicable or normed in-person, there was a need to establish best practices for virtual settings.&#160;Things like posture, lighting and position in front of the camera quickly became coaching points after feedback from our interviewers suggested that candidates looked disinterested or uninvested. What we found was that some candidates were taking a more relaxed approach to their virtual interviews and abandoning tried and true practices that would be more commonplace in person.&#160;Helping our candidates to envision how they would be received on the other end of a screen provided them with the necessary perspective to change their approach.</p><p> <strong>How about the virtual onboarding process? </strong></p><p>Our virtual onboarding for principals and new principals was successful, albeit very different from orientations in years past.&#160;One of the unique challenges we faced, and are planning around for the summer ahead, is the appropriate design for content delivery and engagement.&#160;For our New Principal Orientation, we have eight days’ worth of critical content from our central services partners that new school leaders need in order to be day-one ready.&#160;With that said, it becomes incredibly challenging to retain and apply that information if you're in front of a screen for eight hours per day.&#160;</p><p>For this year, we're trying to be more intentional about how we design our week, as well as individual days for programming.&#160;Early ideas include creating clear, equity through-lines with content facilitators each day and ensuring that we include content connected to the larger district priorities centering on becoming an anti-racist organization that centers on the whole child. </p><p> <strong>What has been your biggest success, or what are you most proud of?</strong></p><p>This past year, in a cross-office teamwork effort, the talent development division was able to secure a $30 million Teacher and School Leader Incentive Program grant from the Department of Education to support educator effectiveness in our highest need schools. This grant—the highest amount awarded to all recipients across the entire nation—will allow DCPS to provide targeted professional development opportunities, performance-based compensation awards, specialized instructional coaching, school leader residencies, and a reimagined novice teacher experience. We are incredibly proud of how we’ll be able to utilize this investment to strategically get, grow and keep teachers and school leaders in our schools most impacted by past and present systemic bias.</p><p>Additionally, in terms of key talent milestones, we filled 100 percent of our school leader vacancies shortly after schools closed for the summer and, in an intentional effort to ensure our educator work force is representative of our student population, 18 percent of our new hires were males of color (surpassing the national, 2 percent average). This is our benchmark for success each year, and the team reached this goal amidst a pandemic and a complete shift to virtual processes.</p><p>Lastly, one of the things I am also proud of is our team intentionally planning a virtual onboarding process that addressed relevant topics around race, equity, bias and social justice. On our survey data from onboarding sessions, candidates expressed the highest levels of satisfaction with engaging in candid conversations that supported healing and awareness of the contributing factors of the opportunity gap.&#160;This is often a conversation that is glossed over and possibly not addressed in some districts, but we were committed to not using the limitations of virtual hiring as an excuse to not address these topics, especially on behalf of our most marginalized students.&#160; </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Lessons-in-Virtual-Hiring-for-School-Leaders/50997356351_8cade26f9a_k.jpg" alt="50997356351_8cade26f9a_k.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p> <strong>What are you still figuring out?</strong></p><p>We're still trying to figure out how to bring some of the more intimate components of an interview process into our virtual processes. One of the pieces that we've adjusted thus far is our vision presentation for principals.&#160;Prior to this year, candidates submitted a PowerPoint as a performance task and then presented it at the in-person interview. This year, we're planning to have candidates film themselves delivering their vision presentation prior to the virtual interview.&#160;Again, we're hoping to have as many opportunities as possible to get a more holistic pulse on our candidates throughout the process given the limitations of a virtual approach.</p><p>At a deeper level, another area that we are still figuring out is how to ensure our leadership development programming is thoughtfully aligned to the larger, district-wide priorities. For example, at last year’s Summer Leadership Institute (which is attended by all school and central office leaders), we invited Professor Ibram X. Kendi, author of <em>How to Be an Anti-Racist</em>, as our keynote speaker to share his profound insight on elevating and examining our DCPS value of equity. We want to ensure that all leadership development opportunities connect to these agency-wide PDs so that there is a clear professional learning arc for critical technical matters, as well as for meaningful adaptive matters, such as anti-racism and whole child development. </p><p> <strong> <em>Finally, for a few quick tips for other districts and school leaders, here’s a condensed shortlist on virtual hiring, based on this conversation.</em></strong></p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Preparation is key.&#160;Determine your 3-W's as early as possible—who, what and when. Whom do you need to hire and who is an ideal candidate? What will your hiring process entail? When do you need to make your hires by and when should you start vetting candidates?&#160;</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Invest in sustainable systems.&#160;Virtual hiring is here to stay, so evaluate your current platform and investigate whether or not it will continue to work for your organization in the long run. Depending on your budget, consider the feasibility of investing in a platform more tailored to your needs or to an advanced version of whatever you're currently using.&#160;</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"> Appeal to people in your target demographic and let them know who you are and what you believe.&#160;The workforce is changing and, with the myriad of challenges over the past year, candidates will want to know how your district is adapting and who you are as an organization. That said, as author Simon Sinek argues, “People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” As districts are trying to compete for top talent across the nation, candidates have to connect to what you believe in order to be inspired to join you on your mission. ​<br></div><p><em>Photos courtesy of DC Public Schools</em></p>Rochelle Herring362021-05-25T04:00:00ZAn inside look at how D.C. Public School District has re-structured its principal hiring process5/25/2021 6:16:31 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Lessons in Virtual Hiring for School Leaders Deputy chief of talent development at D.C. Public Schools offers an inside 828https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Shining the Spotlight on Assistant Principals22056GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​​ <p>​​​​​​​​​They are second in command in a school, and yet assistant principals often are not given opportunities to strengthen leadership skills that are vital to their effectiveness in the role as well as in the principal post many will assume one day. That is one of the main takeaways of <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/the-role-of-assistant-principals-evidence-insights-for-advancing-school-leadership.aspx"> <em>The Role of Assistant Principals&#58; Evidence and Insights for Advancing School Leadership</em></a>, a major new research review that synthesizes the findings of 79 studies about APs published since 2000 and includes fresh analyses of national and state data. The review found that the number of APs has grown markedly in the last 25 years and that the role has become a more common stop on the path to the principalship. At the same time, the researchers found disparities in the composition of the leadership workforce. Educators of color are less likely to become principals and more likely to become APs than white educators. Women are less likely than men to become either APs or principals.</p><p>Recently, the Wallace Blog spoke with the report’s authors, Ellen Goldring and Mollie Rubin of Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development, and Mariesa Herrmann of Mathematica, about their findings and the implications for district policies and practices. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.<br></p><p> <strong>The number of APs has grown six times faster than the number of principals in the last 25 years. Why do you think that is?</strong> </p><p> <strong>Herrmann</strong>&#58; We looked into whether it was due to an increased number of students in elementary schools and found that explained some but not all of the increase. You’re still seeing an increase in the assistant principal-student ratio in elementary schools over this time period.</p><p> <strong>Goldring&#58;</strong> That’s important, because at least officially, districts might have a funding formula that says if a school is of a particular size, it gets an AP position. But we also surmise that local districts can certainly fund positions differently. They might combine a coaching position with a teacher-leader position and turn that into an AP position. We have no idea why [the increase] is happening, the implications vis-à-vis other staffing decisions and what the rationale might be for a district or principal to think that the AP position is a better role to help fulfill the needs of a school as compared to other positions.</p><p> <strong>The synthesis found uneven opportunities for advancement for educators of color and women in the leadership pipeline. Does the research suggest reasons why? What measures could be taken to promote equitable opportunities?</strong></p><p> <strong>Herrmann&#58;</strong> For educators of color, the research mentions things like differences in access to mentoring, particularly for Black women. It also suggests hiring discrimination, such as people of color not being considered for suburban schools or schools with predominately white student populations. One African American female educator in a study had a nice quote about this; she was not hired and informed that she wasn’t the right “fit.” She said, “Most of the [African American female administrators in our district]…are placed in high-poverty schools. Perhaps this is where we fit?” There’s also some evidence of differences in assigned leadership tasks by race, which could prevent people’s advancement. For women, there are a bunch of explanations—differences in access to mentorship, differences in assigned tasks, family responsibilities and the time commitments of being an assistant principal or a principal, differences in aspirations or confidence, and also discrimination.</p><p> <strong>Goldring&#58;</strong> The point about not being a “good fit” is something to emphasize. There’s probably a lot of both explicit and implicit bias about where leaders of color want to be placed, should be placed and the implications for their career trajectories. We suggest using equity audits and leader tracking systems [which compile data on the backgrounds and careers of potential and sitting school leaders] to bring patterns to light and show how they play out in different types of schools. It’s an important first step but beyond that, districts need to create spaces for people to have really honest and open conversations about the patterns. That is key to addressing them.</p><p> <strong>Hermann&#58;</strong> Besides just understanding the patterns, I think addressing this requires mentoring people of color and women. Someone who is already a principal can help them understand how to be a leader in that particular district. Maybe to the extent that they share similar backgrounds or experiences, they can relate to that person.</p><p> <strong>Rubin&#58;</strong> It’s also about making space to hear the experiences of people who are facing differential outcomes and how they’re experiencing the roles that they’re in. We often assume that we know what we’re trying to fix, but we don’t necessarily understand it at a deep level. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Shining-the-Spotlight-on-Assistant-Principals/FIGURE-7-2-Emerging-Framework-Connecting-Equity-in-Principal-Leadership-to-Equitable-Outcomes-ch.jpg" alt="FIGURE-7-2-Emerging-Framework-Connecting-Equity-in-Principal-Leadership-to-Equitable-Outcomes-ch.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p> <strong>Principals today are more likely to have served as assistant principals than in the past. Many say that the experience was pivotal to their leadership preparation. What makes a strong principal-assistant principal mentoring relationship?&#160;</strong></p><p> <strong>Herrmann&#58;</strong> One study mentioned areas where assistant principals found advice and mentoring useful. One was skills development, such as building strong relationships, honing decision-making skills, having strong communications skills. This suggests that principals need to have strong leadership skills themselves, so that they can model them for the assistant principal.</p><p> <strong>Goldring&#58;</strong> We noted in our report that there are no studies on how principals think about or conceptualize the role of assistant principals. We don’t know why an assistant principal might spend more time on task A or task B, or what principals consider when they hire assistant principals. There are gaps in terms of the research as well. &#160;</p><p>Your question brings out the important notion of the relationship between the assistant principal role and their evaluation, and the extent to which there is systematic, competency-based formative feedback that’s built into both the role of and the relationship between the assistant principal and the principal. In most cases, principals and assistant principals are evaluated on the same rubric. The few studies that talk about the assistant principal experience with evaluation note a lot of ambiguity. In one study, the assistant principals did not even know if they were formally evaluated or how. Another study mentioned the complexity of using the same rubric&#58; If I’m an assistant principal and evaluated on the same rubric as the principal, does that mean I can never be exemplary because that’s only for principals? What does this mean for the types of tasks and leadership opportunities that an assistant principal has?&#160; </p><p> <strong>Rubin&#58;</strong> A principal might assign tasks to their assistant principal to fill in for their own weaknesses. Together they make one really powerful team, but when it comes to the assistant principal’s evaluation, what does it say? They may not have the opportunities to do or learn certain things.</p><p> <strong>The pandemic has upended education and created unprecedented challenges for school leaders this year. Has it heightened awareness of the role of assistant principals? Could it lead to lasting change to the job and if so, how? </strong></p><p> <strong>Goldring&#58;</strong> During National Assistant Principals Week, I facilitated a webinar with a panel of four assistant principals about their role during COVID. The most important point they wanted to bring home was that they are school leaders in their own right and that this year highlighted their overall importance as part of the leadership team. They are not assistants to their principals. It was a nice link to the importance of assistant principals having opportunities to really be school leaders and not necessarily be the assistant principal of X—of student affairs, of curriculum and instruction, of a particular grade level. COVID put the focus on the complexity of school leadership and the need for partners in that work. You really need more than one leader.</p><p> <strong>Rubin&#58; </strong>I worry that in some ways, assistant principals may once again slip through the cracks. I keep hearing that assistant principals have become COVID contact tracers. That says a lot about how nebulous the job is. “<em>Who’s going to do contact tracing? Oh, the AP can!”</em> Principals who have lost their assistant principals, perhaps in the last recession, will be the first to tell you how important they are. But at the same time, there seems to be a lack of recognition and attention paid to the role. Perhaps it needs to be more deliberate.</p><p> <strong>Your report found that assistant principals have been seriously under-studied. If money and time were no object, what would you study about the role? </strong></p><p> <strong>Rubin&#58;</strong> I would love to watch the changes that happen when districts decide to invest in the assistant principal position—how they define the role to align with their vision and goals, and how it plays out in schools in terms of interpersonal dynamics, such as the relationships between assistant principals and principals, assistant principals and teacher leaders.</p><p>There’s also a study I want Mariesa to do because I don’t do this kind of work. We don’t know a whole lot about the effects of assistant principals or the effects of serving as an assistant principal on leader performance. I hypothesize that’s because the role is so nebulous. My question is, what are the leadership tasks that lead to the outcomes we’d like to see, both in terms of evaluation performance as an assistant principal and later as a principal, as well as outcomes for students, school and staff. If you could really figure out what matters most, then you could create a model of an assistant principalship that’s constant at a district level.</p><p> <strong>Herrmann&#58;</strong> Mollie did a really good job there! Assistant principal roles vary considerably and I think we need to better understand what aspects are most important for improving student learning and well-being. Are there ways the role can be better leveraged to improve outcomes for students? I don’t know if the role actually has to be constant across a district. I think you could investigate how it should be different, based on the local context, and what to take into account when developing the role.<br> <br> <strong>Rubin&#58;</strong> I wish I could fund you, Mariesa. </p><p> <strong>Goldring&#58;</strong> One of our big problems is that we have very blunt measuring instruments. We say that assistant principals’ tasks vary, but the way in which that has been measured is very unsatisfactory and leading to misunderstanding and misreporting. Researchers typically ask assistant principals how they spend their time, but no two studies ask that question similarly. In some studies, time is reported for a typical week, sometimes it’s not even clear what the timeframe is. We also need to rethink categories of tasks. Why is student disciplinary work not considered instructionally focused? If you’re working with a student to be more focused in class, isn’t that core instruction work? This is deep conceptual work that could greatly enhance the field.</p><p>The second thing that has emerged for me is trying to understand how and why some assistant principals choose to make the role a stepping-stone to the principalship while others choose to stay in the role and make it their own leadership position in its own right, alongside the principal. Is it an individual preference, a district preference, something in the school context and the way that leaders are developing teams? If we understood this, we would be better able to counsel and speak about the options to teachers who are coming up through the ranks. </p>Jennifer Gill832021-05-18T04:00:00ZAs an increasing presence in schools, APs merit more attention and study, report authors say5/18/2021 6:00:12 AMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Shining the Spotlight on Assistant Principals As an increasing presence in schools, APs merit more attention and study 782https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Assistant Principals, Overlooked No More26205GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​They go by many titles—assistant principal, vice principal, associate principal—and their ranks are growing. The number of assistant principals has increased nearly six times faster than the number of principals in the last 25 years, surging 83 percent to more than 80,000. Roughly half of U.S. public schools today have at least one AP, up from one-third in 1990. As it proliferates, the AP role has the potential to promote racial and gender equity in school leadership and contribute to better outcomes for students.</p><p>That is a key finding of <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/the-role-of-assistant-principals-evidence-insights-for-advancing-school-leadership.aspx"><em>The Role of Assistant Principals&#58; Evidence and Insights for Advancing School Leadership</em></a>, a major new research review that synthesizes the findings of 79 studies about APs published since 2000 and includes fresh analyses of national and state data. The report was written by researchers Ellen Goldring and Mollie Rubin of Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development, and Mariesa Herrmann of Mathematica. They presented their findings at a recent <a href="https&#58;//zoom.us/rec/play/h1I-3eOj2LMRaJ7JTzQ10qvI_3i3ATzPY65aWDcYZuRoeQ4KXPuQBlelMcWkHByRGGBDlnolsM-KcWXU.AKzSK_iq6zUg3gsa">webinar</a> that also featured a panel discussion among education experts moderated by Nicholas Pelzer, a senior program officer in education leadership at Wallace.</p><p>Principals are more likely than ever to spend at least some time in their career as an AP, making the role an important “stepping stone” to leading a school, the authors found. The job varies considerably, with most APs engaging in a mix of instructional leadership, management and student discipline tasks. “APs wear many hats,” said panelist Debra Paradowski, an associate principal of 22 years who was named Assistant Principal of the Year in 2020 by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).&#160;</p><p>Yet despite being one​​ chair away from the principal’s seat, APs are often overlooked for opportunities that would develop and strengthen essential skills needed to lead a school. “In short, assistant principals are not given systematic, sequential or comprehensive leadership-building opportunities or ongoing evaluative feedback in preparation for the principalship,” said Rubin.&#160;</p><p>School districts must think of APs as “principals-in-training” and encourage principals to assign challenging, hands-on leadership work that will best prepare them, said panelist Beverly Hutton, chief programs officer at NASSP. The shift to remote learning during the pandemic—and the many new leadership challenges and responsibilities it presented—underscored the fact that the job of running a school effectively is often simply too big and complex for one person. “Distributing leadership and allowing others to stretch, grow and contribute is the formula for success for everybody,” Hutton said. “It’s the key to succession, preparation, equity and even longevity in the [principal] role—you just can’t do it alone anymore.”</p><p>The research synthesis also found uneven opportunities for advancement in the school leadership pipeline. Across six states examined by the authors, 24 percent of APs were people of color compared with 19 percent of principals and 34 percent of students. Women accounted for 77 percent of teachers but only 52 percent of both principals and APs. Some research suggests that hiring discrimination and less access to mentoring may contribute to racial and gender disparities in advancement. Many educators are “tapped” for administrative jobs by school and district leaders, noted Hutton, and that could&#160;result in inequitable outcomes. “You don’t tap people that you can’t see,” she said.&#160;</p><p>A lack of mentors is common among APs working in urban schools, said panelist Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, which represents larger urban school districts. A survey of APs by the organization a few years ago “found that there was very little coaching and mentoring for assistant principals, little professional development for principals on how to mentor assistant principals,” he noted. Hutton pointed out that the Professional Standards for Education Leaders (PSEL), which outline job expectations, clearly state that principals have a responsibility to develop staff members, including APs. Principals need to fulfill that mentoring role, she said, and APs must advocate for it.&#160;</p><p>The report’s authors suggested several ways to design the AP role as a stop along the way to the principalship, including developing job standards specifically for the position. Rather than creating separate standards, Hutton suggested that districts gather input from practitioners and further define PSEL to address the nuances of being an AP. “We need the voices of APs to help define their rightful place in the educational ecosystem,” she said.&#160;</p><p>There’s also the need for more research on APs to inform policy and practice. The authors cited numerous areas for deeper study, including how APs are assigned to schools, how well preservice programs prepare them, and which AP roles are most related to improved student and school outcomes. Paradowski said she hopes the new report brings heightened attention to the integral role that she and her peers play in schools. “We’re not the principal’s assistant but rather an assistant principal to help lead, guide and serve the community.”</p>Jennifer Gill832021-04-20T04:00:00ZLively panel discussion follows release of new findings on APs and how to make the most of the role4/20/2021 2:01:56 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Assistant Principals, Overlooked No More Lively panel discussion follows release of new findings on APs and how to make the 1057https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Why should school districts invest in principals?9783GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​​<p>T​hey are items on every school district’s to-do list&#58; Reduce chronic absenteeism. Improve teacher satisfaction and retention. Bolster student learning. Now a major new research review points to the person who can have a positive impact on all of these priorities—the school principal. The groundbreaking study, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx"> <em>How Principals Affect Students and Schools&#58; A Systematic Synthesis of Two Decades of Research</em></a>, finds that replacing a below-average principal at the 25th percentile of effectiveness with an above-average principal at the 75th percentile increases the average student’s learning by nearly three months in math and reading annually. Schools led by strong principals also have higher student attendance and greater teacher retention and satisfaction, according to the report. </p><p>Recently, the Wallace Blog caught up with the report’s authors, Jason A. Grissom, the Patricia and Rodes Hart professor at Vanderbilt University; Anna J. Egalite, associate professor at North Carolina State University; and Constance A. Lindsay, assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to discuss their findings and implications for the field. The interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity. </p><p> <strong>After the release of the report, some people were asking on social media if a great principal is more important than a great teacher and you had a great response. Can you share it with us? </strong></p><p> <strong>Grissom&#58;</strong> You can’t directly compare the effects of teachers and principals because the effects of a principal are largely through their work to expose kids to great teachers. It’s helpful to think about it from different points of view. From the student’s point of view, the teacher is clearly the most important person because he or she has the most direct effect on what I learn and my other outcomes. For the life of a school, the principal is certainly among the most important people, maybe the most important person, in part because principals are the ones who hire great teachers, ensure that great teachers stay in the building, and set the conditions for teachers to be able to teach to their full potential. </p><p>The report tries to emphasize how large the impacts of principals are and also what the scope of those effects are. Even if you just focus on student test scores, the report uses this size-plus-scope-of-effect to argue that we really should be investing in principal leadership. We’d go so far as to say that if you could only invest in one adult in the school building, then that person should pretty clearly be the principal. </p><p> <strong>Given the research evidence showing the positive effects that a principal can have on student learning and other important outcomes, how can the field help less-effective principals improve? </strong></p><p> <strong>Egalite&#58;</strong> That’s the question we tried to answer in the second part of the report, which identifies the four leadership behaviors of great principals&#58; engaging in instructionally-focused interactions with teachers, building a productive school climate, facilitating collaboration and professional learning communities, and managing personnel and resources strategically. If you were designing professional development for below-average principals, these are the four areas you could lean on that the evidence shows are associated with better outcomes in the long run. </p><p> <strong>Which instructionally-focused activities appear particularly effective—and which ones not so much?</strong></p><p> <strong>Egalite&#58;</strong> One effective activity is the use of data. Principals can encourage teacher buy-in by using data to monitor student progress and demonstrate changes in student achievement. Another is teacher evaluations, which have become more sophisticated in recent years. They no longer just analyze student test scores to say if someone is a good teacher or a bad teacher, but marry that information with other data points collected through classroom observations and other measures. </p><p> <strong>Grissom&#58;</strong> We tried to highlight engagement with instruction as separate from a more general, and maybe ill-defined notion, of what it means to be an instructional leader. Some principals have internalized the message that instructional leadership means being in classrooms. But simply being present is not associated with greater student growth. It may even have negative effects because having the principal in the classroom is distracting for both the students and the teacher. Maybe that distraction is worth it if the principal follows up with support for the teacher’s work and uses data from the observations to help drive the instructional program. But on its own, it’s not enough to move the needle. <br> </p><p> <strong>The report found that principals can have an important impact on marginalized populations, including students from low-income households and students of color. How does an equity-focused principal exhibit the four leadership behaviors?</strong></p><p> <strong>Lindsay&#58;</strong> They infuse all the activities they usually do with an equity focus. With regard to instruction, it would mean working with teachers to adopt a more culturally responsive pedagogy. It means making sure that teachers are engaging in practices that are relevant to all students in the school. In building a productive school climate, it means working with families and thinking about the community context. </p><p> <strong>Grissom&#58;</strong> Thinking about how equity can be infused into these domains of behavior is clearly an area we need to know more about. The report offers lots of examples from the research base that exists, but the evidence is still developing.<br></p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Why-should-school-districts-invest-in-principals/FIGURE-7-2-Emerging-Framework-Connecting-Equity-in-Principal-Leadership-to-Equitable-Outcomes-ch.jpg" alt="FIGURE-7-2-Emerging-Framework-Connecting-Equity-in-Principal-Leadership-to-Equitable-Outcomes-ch.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p> <strong>You also found widening racial and ethnic gaps between principals and the students they serve. What are some tactics that districts can use to diversify the principal workforce? </strong></p><p> <strong>Lindsay&#58;</strong> The key is diversifying the teacher workforce, because principals start as teachers. In terms of district actions, there are strategies like “grow your own” programs where districts identify and develop individuals in-house who are well-suited to meeting the needs of their community. Districts can also examine different stages of the educator human capital pipeline to identify places where people of color drop out and then work to shore up those stages. </p><p> <strong>Grissom&#58;</strong> We’ve had concerns for a long time that access to the principalship in a lot of areas is driven by who you know within a district. That likely disadvantages people who are not in power. In response, districts are increasingly formalizing leadership programs with predefined selection criteria, ensuring that people are getting into the principal pipeline on the basis of their capacity for leadership. And at the end of the pipeline, there has to be an equitable hiring and selection process. Diversifying the pipeline is an area we have to learn more about—where is it happening successfully and how, so that those practices can be taken to other places to ensure greater principal diversity. </p><p> <strong>Based on your report’s findings, what aspect of school leadership would you study right now if money and time were no object?</strong></p><p> <strong>Lindsay&#58;</strong> A lot of the research on equity that we drew from is very localized and context specific. I would study equity in a more systematic way. Just as we have rubrics for other things, I think it would be nice to have one about culturally responsive pedagogy that’s been tested and validated at a wide scale. </p><p> <strong>Egalite&#58;</strong> I’d like to know more, from a measurement perspective, about defining effective principals. I went through a Catholic teacher training program and for a brief moment considered its leadership training program. Their approach to leadership training is very much centered on building the school culture. Test scores are a much later part of the conversation. Private Catholic schools are obviously a different context than public schools, but how a principal sets the tone in a school and gets everyone rowing in the same direction is still relevant. How do you measure that? We rely on test scores to gauge principal effectiveness because they are easily collected by states, but it’s really just one piece of the pie. A more multidimensional view of principal effectiveness would be helpful.</p><p> <strong>Grissom&#58;</strong> I’m interested in how to measure capacity for the skills and behaviors we discuss in the report, so that we can do a better job identifying future leaders, developing their capacities and ensuring they are ready to lead when they enter the principalship. Historically, we have not done a great job of assessing people’s future potential. Maybe this is because we didn’t have the opportunities to develop the tools that measure those capacities. The same tools could also be used once a person is in leadership to identify areas for growth and target professional learning. They could also help us identify excellent leaders so we can draw on their excellence to help other people behind them in the principal pipeline. There are a lot of opportunities to think about how we identify, measure and assess both potential and strength at all phases of the pipeline. </p><p> <strong>Your report is the first of three research syntheses to be released by Wallace this year. A second will examine the role of the assistant principal and a third will look at the characteristics and outcomes of effective principal preparation programs and on-the-job development. How does it feel to be first out of the gate?</strong></p><p> <strong>Grissom&#58;</strong> We’ve done a few presentations about our report and people have asked how our findings apply to assistant principals and the implications for pre-service preparation and in-service professional learning. </p><p>It will be very interesting to see the conversations following the release of the other two reports and how they build on the conversation we’ve been having with the release of ours. Stay tuned. </p>Jennifer Gill832021-03-23T04:00:00ZYour 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.4/5/2021 8:19:43 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Why should school districts invest in principals Authors of major new research review on school leadership discuss the 544https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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