Wallace Blog Search Results

Search Blogs by Keyword
Browse by Date
clear all

 

 

Making Principal Preparation a Team Sport16106GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>Educational leader, culture-setter, community liaison…The role of the principal has become more demanding in the twenty-first century, and principal preparation programs haven’t always been able to keep up. Part of the problem is that it’s rare for university-based programs to work closely with the school districts that hire their graduates. Starting in 2016, seven universities set out to change that as part of the Wallace-funded University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI). After year one of the four-year effort, the universities succeeded in forging strong partnerships with districts and other key players—the first step in overhauling their programs and sending out better-prepared principals.</p><p>How they did it is the subject of a new report by the RAND Corporation titled <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/launching-redesign-university-principal-preparation-programs.aspx?_ga=2.209301970.1951641179.1542038823-1057583374.1513009179"><em>Launching a Redesign of University Principal Preparation Programs&#58; Partners Collaborate for Change</em></a>. We spoke with Elaine Wang, one of the report’s authors, about the challenges and benefits of the collaborative approach.* &#160;</p><p><strong><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Wang-photo.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Making-Principal-Preparation-a-Team-Sport/Wang-photo.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;167px;" />What is the problem that the University Principal&#160;Preparation&#160;Initiative is seeking to help solve?</strong></p><p>School district leaders around the country express concern about the quality of candidates applying for principalships. They’re just not ready to step into this important role. This is due in part to shifting (and many would argue increasing) expectations for school leaders.&#160;The job of a principal includes establishing a positive school culture, providing instructional leadership, hiring and supporting teachers, managing a budget, ensuring compliance with federal, state and local requirements, developing community partnerships, and the list goes on.&#160;Some principal preparation programs have struggled to keep up with the changing expectations and diverse needs of the schools served by their graduates. </p><p><strong>Why was it important for the seven participating universities to establish strong working relationships with the school districts that hire their graduates?</strong></p><p>UPPI refocuses principal preparation programs so they think of districts, rather than aspiring principals, as their “customers.” District leaders—superintendents, assistant superintendents, talent office directors—understand the skills their principals need to have and the situations they will likely face. By drawing on this knowledge, preparation programs can identify areas for improvement, so they can prepare more effective principals. When the program and district establish a strong working relationship, together they can ensure, for example, that candidates have strong mentor principals or that course instructors have relevant, practical expertise. We’re also beginning to see in some UPPI districts that the collaboration between universities and districts on principal preparation can grow into other mutually beneficial areas, such as preparing teachers to step into leadership positions and providing support after program graduates enter leadership positions.</p><p><strong>How did the universities and school districts go about forming and cementing their partnerships?</strong><br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;<br> The universities looked first to engage districts with which they already had a relationship. In some cases, this was a formal relationship—for example to support a district-specific cohort within the larger principal preparation program.&#160;In other cases, there were informal relationships because the preparation programs hired district officials as adjunct faculty or districts frequently hired program graduates. Some universities and districts established connections where there were none before. <br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;<br> There were several early activities that helped them build and deepen their partnerships. First, they worked to articulate and agree on what candidates graduating from the program should know and be able to do. For some teams, this was a very intensive process. Having a common objective helped them understand and work with each other even when there was disagreement. Next, they reflected on and identified the strengths and weaknesses of the existing program. Finally, they each developed a logic model to help guide change. This process allowed all voices to be heard, rallied everyone around the same goals, and secured a commitment on everyone’s part to help to reach those goals.</p><p><strong>What is the biggest challenge the universities and their partners have faced in redesigning the programming, and how are they tackling it?</strong></p><p>Universities and their partners are grappling with how to craft a set of coherent experiences that prepare candidates for an inherently complex job in a wide range of school settings. It’s an ambitious undertaking. For example, the teams used a research-based tool to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their existing programs and identify areas for improvement. They also worked together to develop learning experiences outside of traditional classroom instruction, such as modules linked to field-based experiences and milestone assessments that span multiple courses.</p><p>Several UPPI teams were confronted with turnover among the staff working on the initiative, as well as key supporters like university presidents, provosts, deans, and school district superintendents. Some teams prepared for this inevitable turnover by cross-training their staff, so that someone was always prepared to step in when a team member was unavailable. Some relied on strong documentation, to help onboard new team members and organization leaders. In all cases, the university-based project lead took time to brief new team members in order to smooth out the transition.</p><p><strong>What has surprised you in your research to date?</strong></p><p>One thing that has surprised us also surprised many of the universities and their partners&#58; how much they were able to learn from each other. Because they listened to district leaders, university leaders began to understand that principals—including their own graduates—needed more explicit guidance and practice in areas such as communication and cultural responsiveness. District leaders found that being authentically involved in shaping the principal program caused them to rethink their expectations for their school leaders. We heard repeatedly from district, university and state leaders that working closely with their partners has prompted them to fundamentally retool how principals are developed and supported. The UPPI programs are sharing their experiences, strategies—and in some cases revised syllabi and program materials—with programs across their state and beyond.</p><p><em>*This interview has been edited and condensed.</em></p> Wallace editorial team792018-11-20T05:00:00ZRAND’s Elaine Wang on how seven universities are learning to think of school districts as collaborators and “customers”11/20/2018 2:56:05 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Making Principal Preparation a Team Sport RAND’s Elaine Wang on how seven universities are learning to think of school 468https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Congressional Briefing Addresses the Vital (and expanding) Role of School Leaders10295GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#8cf34914-7bff-4dc4-95c0-d6e59a295cba;L0|#08cf34914-7bff-4dc4-95c0-d6e59a295cba|Effective Principal Leadership;GPP|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;GP0|#0cd55c08-6cf5-4ae7-a735-f8317421308a;L0|#00cd55c08-6cf5-4ae7-a735-f8317421308a|ESSA;GP0|#184b3b02-1dae-4ee1-9ac9-9704ebd0b823;L0|#0184b3b02-1dae-4ee1-9ac9-9704ebd0b823|State and Federal Policy<p>​​​​​Encompassing, evolving, critical—that’s how principals described their roles during a recent congressional briefing to highlight <a href="https&#58;//www.principalsmonth.org/event/national-principals-month-capitol-hill-briefing/">National Principals Month</a>. National education leaders and congressional staff had convened on Capitol Hill to discuss federal support for principals, focusing on funding opportunities for school leadership in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). </p><p>“We know a lot from evidence and experience about the vital role of principals and other school leaders in terms of getting the opportunity, the systems, the outcomes we need,” said Tiara Booker-Dwyer, executive director of leadership development and school improvement for the Maryland State Department of Education. Next to classroom instruction, principals are the second most important factor that impacts student learning, she added, alluding to a landmark Wallace-funded <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-leadership-influences-student-learning.aspx">examination of school leadership</a>.</p><p>In describing the importance of principals’ work, panelists detailed an overwhelming list of job duties&#58; managing operations and finance, engaging parents, implementing policies, evaluating instruction, overseeing student behavior, encouraging students’ social and emotional health, supporting their staff and fostering a positive school climate. This prompted moderator Scott Palmer, managing partner and co-founder of EducationCounsel, to suggest, “Maybe if Congress could find a way to stop time, that would be really helpful.”</p><p>While Congress doesn’t have the power to stop time, panelists were unequivocal in urging Congress to support principals in another way&#58; funding support for&#160;school leadership. Palmer pointed to increasing attention paid to school leadership at the federal level, including through <a href="/knowledge-center/Documents/School-Leadership-Interventions-ESSA-Evidence-Review.pdf">ESSA</a>, which expands the opportunities for states and districts to use federal funding for school leadership improvement. Title II, Part A of ESSA allocates about $2.3 billion per year to improve the quality of principals, teachers and other school leaders. States may reserve up to an additional 3 percent of the amount set aside for district subgrants for school leader support. </p><p>“It’s important that you understand the critical role of principals and other school leaders and that funding for Title II—full funding, more funding—is essential to the work we do each and every day,” said Christine Handy, president of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and principal of Gaithersburg High School in Maryland. </p><p>Panelists identified principal supervisors as an important driver of improved leadership. Laura Mastrogiovanni, principal of M.S. 137 in Queens, said her leadership skills “came through my support, through having a mentor, a coach, a consultant. I’ve had all three at one point in my 13 years [as a principal].” </p><p>Eric Cardwell, president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and principal of Besser Elementary School in Alpena, Mich., noted that 56 percent of NAESP’s members have zero to five years of experience. “What that’s telling me is that people get in, they might get overwhelmed, and they get out—either back into teaching or into another job,” he said. “What we need to do a better job with is that mentorship, that collaboration, that time for those folks to ask the questions that they have and not just turn the keys over.”</p><p>After the panelists answered questions from teachers, principals and congressional staff, Palmer asked panelists what point they thought was most important to end on. Cardwell said, “I would encourage you to go into schools and ask principals what Title II means to them. It is everything.”</p><p>You can watch a<a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6CKK3IKqJk"> video</a> of the full Capitol Hill briefing hosted by NAESP, NASSP and the American Federation of School Administrators, check the full calendar of events for <a href="https&#58;//www.principalsmonth.org/event/national-principals-month-capitol-hill-briefing/">National Principals Month</a>, follow the conversation on Twitter with #ThankAPrincipal and learn more at the <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/default.aspx">School Leadership</a> section of our Knowledge Center.</p>Wallace editorial team792018-10-15T04:00:00ZNational education leaders and congressional staff convened on Capitol Hill earlier in October to discuss federal support for principals.10/25/2018 8:47:45 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Congressional Briefing Addresses the Vital (and expanding) Role of School Leaders A National Principals Month event hosted 1595https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Principals Need Coaches Too10269GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#8cf34914-7bff-4dc4-95c0-d6e59a295cba;L0|#08cf34914-7bff-4dc4-95c0-d6e59a295cba|Effective Principal Leadership;GPP|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;GP0|#d4c2da24-0861-47f9-85bd-ee1c37263157;L0|#0d4c2da24-0861-47f9-85bd-ee1c37263157|Principal Supervisors;GP0|#f86ec85e-a137-43e2-8c12-5ce0b67efe8e;L0|#0f86ec85e-a137-43e2-8c12-5ce0b67efe8e|Principal Training<p>Is it feasible for districts to reconceive the role of those who supervise principals so less time is spent on compliance and more time on coaching to help principals strengthen teaching and learning in their schools? Is there an inherent conflict between supervising and evaluating principals and being a trusted coach?</p><p>A <a href="http&#58;//www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Documents/A-New-Role-Emerges-for-Principal-Supervisors.pdf">new Vanderbilt University–Mathematica Policy study</a> offers answers to these questions by examining how six districts participating in <a href="http&#58;//www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/principal-supervisors.aspx">The Wallace Foundation’s Principal Supervisor Initiative</a> have reshaped the role.</p><p>The study concludes that in those urban districts — Baltimore; Broward County, Florida; Cleveland; Des Moines; Long Beach, California; and Minneapolis — it was feasible for principal supervisors to focus on developing principals. This important and complex work was done in less than three years and has resulted, to date, in principals feeling better supported. In addition, the role change has led to the districts’ central offices becoming more responsive to schools’ needs.</p><p>Principals felt better supported and saw no tension between the supervisor’s role as both evaluator and coach. The principal supervisor is a continuous presence in the school — a member of the community, not a visitor. Learning is continuous.</p><p>This role is relatively new on the scene — in fact, five years ago, there was no common term for it. Sometimes called principal managers or even instructional leadership directors, the people in these positions oversaw large numbers of principals and traditionally handled regulatory compliance, administration, and day-to-day operations.</p><p><img alt="74-Million-Blog-lg-feature.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/74-Million-Blog-lg-feature.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />&#160;</p><p>They rarely visited a school more than once every few months and therefore did not work directly with principals. A 2013 <a href="http&#58;//www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Documents/Rethinking-Leadership-The-Changing-Role-of-Principal-Supervisors.pdf">Council of the Great City Schools survey</a> of principal supervisors in 41 of the nation’s largest districts also identified other problems, including insufficient training, oversight of too many principals, mismatches in assignments to schools, and a lack of agreement about job titles.</p><p>Wallace launched the Principal Supervisor Initiative in 2014 to see whether and how districts could reshape the job. An important step was the development of the first-ever voluntary <a href="http&#58;//www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/pages/model-principal-supervisor-professional-standards-2015.aspx">national model standards for supervisors</a> in 2015, a process led by the Council of Chief State School Officers. These standards emphasize developing principals as professionals who “collaborate with and motivate others, to transform school environments in ways that ensure all students will graduate college- and career-ready,” rather than focusing on compliance with regulations. In the new study, the participating districts pointed to the importance of having standards for the job as a foundation for the position’s redesign.</p><p>That study suggests that “substantial, meaningful change is possible” across five areas. “After three years, we saw substantial change in all districts,” says Ellen Goldring, the study’s lead author. “They came up with efficient and effective ways to position supervisors so they could fill the coaching and supporting gap.” Specifically, the districts&#58;</p><ul><li>Revised principal supervisors’ job descriptions, relying on the national model standards that emphasize instructional leadership.</li><li>Reduced the number of principals whom supervisors oversee by almost 30 percent, from an average of 17 to 12.</li><li>Trained supervisors to support principals.</li><li>Created systems to identify and train new supervisors.</li><li>&#160;Restructured the central office to support and maintain the changed supervisor role.</li></ul><p>Following the redesign, most principal supervisors in the six districts reported that they now spend most of their time — 63 percent — in schools or meeting with principals. This shift means supervisors are working directly with principals, engaging in new routines and practices, such as participating in classroom walk-throughs, coaching, leading collaborative learning, and providing ongoing feedback.</p><p>Across districts, the principals emphasized that they trusted their supervisors to function as both supporters and evaluators. As one Cleveland principal explained&#58; “You don’t feel as though it’s your boss evaluating you. So it’s very comfortable. He’ll come in, he’ll have a conversation with you. … He always asks, ‘How can I support you? What do you need from me?’” It’s more of that than a formulated check-the-box.”</p><p>The districts also trained the supervisors to recognize high-quality instruction or better coach principals. For many, it was the first time they were provided with professional instruction specifically for their role. After two years, 80 percent of the supervisors reported participating in such opportunities.</p><p>In addition to offering professional development, districts began to identify more promising principal supervisor candidates and restructured central offices to support the new role and redistribute some noninstructional duties from supervisors to others in those offices.</p><p>Still, districts face some challenges. Goldring notes that the districts are continuing to refine the way they revamp the supervisor role, including defining what instructional leadership means, finding the right balance between supervisors’ time in school versus the central office, and providing uniformly high-quality training.</p><p>“It’s a heavy lift,” says Goldring. “But this study represents an incredibly positive example of the power of the supervisor role and a hopeful story about the power of district reform.”</p><p>Vanderbilt and Mathematica are planning two more reports to be published in 2019&#58; One will measure the initiative’s impact on principal effectiveness, and the other will compare principal supervision in the six districts in the study with peers in other urban districts.</p><p><em>This article first appeared in <a href="https&#58;//www.the74million.org/article/spiro-principals-need-coaches-too-what-a-new-study-of-6-large-school-districts-reveals-about-the-shifting-role-and-value-of-principal-supervisors/" target="_blank">The 74 Million</a> and is reposted with permission.</em></p>Jody Spiro142018-08-28T04:00:00ZPrincipals Need Coaches Too: What a New Study of 6 Large School Districts Reveals About the Shifting Role, and Value, of ‘Principal Supervisors’8/29/2018 3:10:43 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Principals Need Coaches Too What a New Study of 6 Large School Districts Reveals About the Shifting Role, and Value, of 3934https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Updated Tool Seeks to Help Principal Training Programs Gauge Effectiveness16125GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>At a time when many school districts are eager to expand their corps of effective principals, many principal preparation programs are considering how to improve the training that shapes future school leaders. <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/improving-university-principal-preparation-programs.aspx">One survey</a> of university-based training programs found, for example, that well over half of respondents planned to make moderate to significant changes in their offerings in the near future.</p><p><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="CherylKing_headshot.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Updated-Tool-Helps-Principal-Training-Programs-Gauge-Effectiveness/CherylKing_headshot.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;199px;" />Enter <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/quality-measures-principal-preparation-program-assessment.aspx"><em>Quality Measures</em></a>, a self-study tool meant to allow programs to compare their courses of study and procedures with research-based indicators of program quality, so they can embark on upgrades that make sense. </p><p>Specifically, Quality Measures assesses programs in six domains&#58; candidate admissions, course content, pedagogy, clinical practice, performance assessment, and graduate performance outcomes. With an accurate picture of their work in these areas, programs can start planning the right improvements. </p><p>The tool was first rolled out in 2009, and its 10th edition was recently published. It reflects new research and such developments as the 2015 release of the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/professional-standards-for-educational-leaders-2015.aspx"><em>Professional Standards for Educational Leaders</em></a>, a set of model standards for principals. Given all this, now seemed a good moment to engage with the Education Development Center’s Cheryl King, who has led the development and refinement of Quality Measures over the years. Below are edited excerpts of our email Q&amp;A.&#160;&#160; </p><p><strong>Why is quality assessment important for principal prep programs?</strong></p><p>In our work with programs, we find that the practice of routine program self-assessment is viewed positively by most participating programs. It provides a non-threatening way for programs to connect with the literature on best training practices and to consider how their programs compare. </p><p>Additionally, users tell us that having a set of standards-based metrics—which clearly define empirically-based practices that produce effective school leaders—provides them with timely and actionable data. This can be translated into change strategies. </p><p>That was the case when faculty members from four programs discovered a common weakness in their admissions procedures. Using Quality Measures&#160;together, they saw that all four programs lagged when it came to using tools designed to assist in predicting the likelihood of an applicant being the “right” candidate for admission to the preparation program. They then began to identify and exchange tools that currently exist, later determining what might be useful in helping them to better assess candidate readiness for principal training. </p><p>It has been our experience that assessment cultures based on solving persistent and common problems of practice are far more effective than cultures clouded by fears of penalties as a result of external evaluation. </p><p><strong>What are the one or two most common areas of improvement for programs pinpointed by Quality Measures? &#160;</strong></p><p>Domains are typically identified as needing improvement based on a program’s inability to provide strong supporting evidence. Domain 6, graduate performance outcomes, has been consistently identified by programs using Quality Measures as an area in need of improvement. Commonly cited reasons identified by programs include lack of access to school district data about their graduates’ post-program completion. </p><p><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="QM_graphic.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Updated-Tool-Helps-Principal-Training-Programs-Gauge-Effectiveness/QM_graphic.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;477px;" />Take the four programs I mentioned. On a scale of 1 to 4, with “1” the lowest and “4” the highest, their average score was 1.5 in their ability to get information on things like their graduates’ rate of retention when placed in low-performing schools or their graduates’ results in job performance evaluations. On the other hand, the programs were fairly successful (an average rating of “3”) in getting needed data about how their graduates fared when it came to obtaining state certification.</p><p>Another domain commonly identified across programs as needing improvement is Domain 5, performance assessment. The revised indicators in the updated tool call for more rigorous measures of candidate performance to replace traditional capstone projects and portfolios. We are finding that the more explicit criteria in the 10th edition are challenging programs to think in exciting new ways about candidate performance assessment.&#160; </p><p><strong>Where are programs typically the strongest?</strong></p><p>Programs typically rate Domains 2 (course content), 3 (instructional methods), and 4 (clinical practice) as meeting all or most criteria. Programs share compelling supporting evidence with peers in support of these higher ratings. They offer several explanations, including the recognition that these are the domains that typically receive the majority of their time and resources.</p><p>The inclusion of culturally responsive pedagogy as a new indicator in the 10th edition is among a number of additions to these three domains, based on the newly published Professional Standards for Educational Leaders. New indicators and criteria present new demands on programs that have exciting improvement implications for preparation programs.</p><p><strong>In updating the tool, what did you find surprising?</strong></p><p>One thing that greatly struck us was the increased attention being paid to the impact of candidate admission practices on the development of effective principals. Similarly, recent empirical findings about pre-admission assessment of candidate dispositions, aspirations and aptitudes as predictors of successful principals were compelling. We immediately revised Domain 1—candidate admissions—to incorporate them.</p>Wallace editorial team792018-04-05T04:00:00ZSelf-Assessment Leads Programs to Surprising Discoveries5/23/2018 5:06:32 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Updated Tool Seeks to Help Principal Training Programs Gauge Effectiveness At a time when many school districts are eager 100https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

​​​​​​​