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How School Leaders Can Create Conditions for Teacher and Student Success3448GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Two veteran principals and a leading researcher from the RAND Corporation explored both the role principals play in student achievement and the positive effects of building principal pipelines at the Education Writers Association’s recent National Seminar in Baltimore. The annual event brings together journalists and education experts from across the country.<br><br> The discussion focused on the results detailed in a new RAND report, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx"> <em>Principal Pipelines&#58; A Feasible, Affordable, and Effective Way for Districts to Improve Schools</em></a>. Moderated by Matt Barnum, a reporter for <em>Chalkbeat</em>, the panel featured Susan Gates, a senior economist with RAND and co-principal investigator of the evaluation; Mary Beck, principal of Nicholas Senn High School in Chicago; and Robert Motley, principal of Atholton High School in Columbia, Md.<br><br> The RAND research examined the impact of The Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative, which supported six large school districts in developing the four major components of a principal pipeline. The districts were not creating a new program, Gates emphasized. Rather, by setting rigorous standards for school leaders, ensuring high-quality preservice preparation, being selective in hiring and placement, and providing aligned on-the-job support and evaluations, the districts were “doing regular and routine work strategically and effectively,” Gates said. “And they had to develop systems to sustain these improvements over time.”</p><p> <strong>The Benefits of Pipelines</strong><br> The districts, researchers found, were able to build pipelines and to do so at an affordable cost. Better still, the RAND study concluded that the pipelines were effective, benefiting districts, schools and students. Schools with new principals in pipeline districts outperformed matched non-pipeline schools with new principals in the same state by 2.87 percentile points in math and 6.22 percentile points in reading after three year or more years. (They also saw gains after two years.) Further, the districts saw less turnover among principals, Gates explained.<br><br> “This is a great study showing this program appears to be effective,” commented Barnum. He asked Gates whether national and state policymakers had been wise in focusing so much attention on teachers, rather than principals.<br><br> “The number one factor driving teacher turnover is the quality of the school leader,” Gates answered. “At the end of the day, people don’t want to go to work for a [bad] boss. If we could get stellar school leaders in every school, teachers would be happier and more effective.”<br><br> Beck agreed, saying that working for an ineffective principal had spurred her own interest in becoming a school leader. “It comes down to motivation and dedication and commitment to kids,” she said. “In the Chicago Public Schools we’re high poverty, and we are really successful. And it’s because principals believe in social justice and the transformative power of education.”<br><br> Motley concurred, noting that, among other things, he has bought a “rolling desk” that he pushes around school hallways so he can stay in touch with teachers and students.</p><p> <strong>What Principals Do</strong><br> Asked by Barnum to describe a typical day for a principal, Beck and Motley also agreed&#58; There isn’t one.<br><br> “You walk in each day with a schedule, but you’re dealing with kids, so every day something comes up and the schedule gets thrown out the window,” Motley said. “Meeting with a parent. Making the observation schedule for teacher evaluations. Lunch duty. Mandatory state testing. Covering for my [assistant principals]. Sports activities in the afternoon. Award recognitions for kids who are getting scholarships.”<br><br> Pressed by a reporter to be more specific about what effective principals do, Beck said they don’t let things slide, addressing problems right away and setting a tone for the school. “I often view my staff as my students,” she explained. “I approach coaching 108 adults the same as I would approach teaching a class with a lesson plan.”<br><br> “I see my role as helping my teachers become better teachers,” added Motley, a 13-year veteran of the job. Participating in professional learning opportunities also refreshes and sustains him.<br><br> For Gates, such answers struck a familiar note. “It’s interesting, because those responses are well aligned with our research study,” she said. “It effectively shows that if districts can create the conditions for success, then principals will stay, and schools will be successful.”</p><p> <strong>Future Research </strong> <br> Reporters asked whether the RAND study looked at effects of the pipeline on diversity, which it didn’t. But Gates said research shows school principals come from the ranks of teachers, “and there is a dramatic diversity gap when you compare the teacher workforce relative to the student population. This is an area where a concerted effort needs to be made with the teacher pipeline.”<br><strong></strong><br> Gates offered reporters a tip&#58; “Pose questions to the senior leadership in school districts. Ask what their standards are, how they are defining what is a good principal and what are they looking for to assess the leaders in every school. Ultimately, that’s what the principal pipeline initiative was trying to do.”<br></p><br>Wallace editorial team792019-05-16T04:00:00ZVeteran principals and researcher dig into principal pipeline findings at gathering of education writers5/16/2019 2:30:32 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How School Leaders Can Create Conditions for Teacher and Student Success Veteran principals and researcher dig into 558https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Sunshine State Educators Look to a New Day in Principal Preparation16121GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>What happens when a Florida university principal preparation program, three local school districts, the state’s education agency and others make a commitment to work together to improve the way future school leaders are trained? </p><p>An explosion of ideas, tough work and innovation—if a <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/improving-principal-preparation-programs-live-stream-12-12-18.aspx">lively panel discussion</a> at a recent Wallace gathering is to be believed.</p><p>The meeting brought together participants in the Wallace-sponsored University Principal Preparation Initiative. The effort is centered at seven universities around the country that are seeking to redesign their principal prep programs to ensure that they help shape professionals ready for the demands of the often difficult jobs awaiting them, especially in high-needs schools. &#160;A centerpiece of the initiative is that the universities are revamping their programs in close partnership with other key players&#58; school districts that hire their graduates; state agencies that determine accreditation and other policies influencing university programming; and “mentor” programs, preparation programs that bring special expertise to bear on redesign. </p><p>The panel highlighted the work of Florida Atlantic University and its partners. Moderator Steve Tozer, professor of educational policy studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago, opened by making clear the stakes of the endeavor. “This initiative is based partly on fact that superintendents and universities alike are feeling the need to improve how we do principal preparation nationwide,” he said, along with a recognition that “if we don’t do better it’s going to make it much harder to expect improved learning outcomes for our kids in schools.” </p><p>Daniel Reyes-Guerra, a professor and director of the initiative at Florida Atlantic, outlined the many changes in programming that have taken place at his university since the redesign got under way about two years ago. Among other things, there are now close links between university and district in everything from program admissions to course content to the required practical leadership experiences students receive in schools. Driving the changes, Reyes-Guerra said, is this question&#58; “How do we go from the university doing their thing, the districts doing their thing … [to] producing the kind of leader that these districts want?”</p><p>One of the partner districts is Broward County, and another panelist, Ted Toomer, director of leadership development for that county’s school system, said that constant, open communications—including weekly video chats among the partners—had been an essential to making the “deep, messy work” of change possible. “Having everybody around the table talking about the work has been a major, major benefit,” he said. </p><p><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="AnnMarieDilbert_cropped3.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Sunshine-State-Educators-Look-to-a-New-Day-in-Principal-Preparation/AnnMarieDilbert_cropped3.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />Annmarie Dilbert, principal of Crosspointe Elementary School in Palm Beach County, another of the partners in the Florida effort, spoke about the role of mentoring would-be principals in preparation programs. Based on less-than-optimal mentoring she had seen in her career, Dilbert was inspired to join Florida Atlantic’s new approach this fall. Dilbert, like other principals taking part, acts as a mentor to a teacher in her own school. It’s a major commitment, she said, but Dilbert has been gratified by “the growth that I have seen in her—as well as myself.” She has hopes for the future, too. “I’m seeing results and I’m only one semester in,” Dilbert said. </p><p>In joining the initiative, state education officials have seen that the state, too, could have a substantial role to play in the cultivation of effective principals. Paul Burns, deputy chancellor for educator quality at the Florida Department of Education, said the initiative had spurred the establishment of a task force to examine the status of education leadership in the Sunshine State. Composed of representatives from a number of institutions with a stake in effective school leadership—from school teachers and prep program faculty members to principals, school boards, unions and others—the task force has examined, among other things, the extent that state policies and standards support effective leadership. </p><p>The idea, Burns said, is “to begin to dig deeply into this notion of educational leadership for the state of Florida—what it looks like, what our needs are, what our gaps are, to begin to identify what was going well.” A report on their findings is being finalized now, Burns said after the panel.</p><p>You can watch the full panel discussion <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/improving-principal-preparation-programs-live-stream-12-12-18.aspx">here</a> and see the latest findings from the University Principal Preparation Initiative <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/launching-redesign-university-principal-preparation-programs.aspx">here</a>. </p>Wallace editorial team792018-12-14T05:00:00ZPanel discussion sheds light on innovative new programs to better train and support school leaders12/14/2018 4:56:00 AMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Sunshine State Educators Look to a New Day in Principal Preparation Panel discussion sheds light on innovative new programs 921https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
“Principals Under Pressure”: Preparation and Support Can Make a Tough Job Easier16111GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Schools were created for learning—from young kids mastering their ABCs to high-school students developing career skills and everything in between. A new <em>Education Week</em> series shows just how much principals are learning too.</p><p>In the recent special report <a href="https&#58;//www.edweek.org/ew/collections/principal-solutions/index.html?cmp=soc-edit-tw">“Principals Under Pressure,”</a> school leaders spoke candidly about the most challenging parts of the job—which <em>Education Week </em>argues is the most demanding and complex in the K-12 system&#58; “Six issues came up, over and over,” the series cites, “Safety, student mental health, dealing with toxic employees, handling the complex needs of special education students and their families, holding on to the best teachers, and time management and work-life balance.” </p><p>Over the years we’ve learned the extent to which <a href="/knowledge-center/Documents/How-Leadership-Influences-Student-Learning.pdf">high-quality principals are vital to the effectiveness of schools</a>. But <em>Education Week’s </em>articles underscore just how challenging the principalship can be, and point to a need for better preparation and support to help principals face the real-world demands of the job. </p><p>According to a 2016 survey, many district and university leaders <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/improving-university-principal-preparation-programs.aspx">agree</a> that most university-based preparation programs have not adequately prepared principals for today’s challenges. To test how these training grounds can change to better prepare future leaders, we launched the four-year University Principal Preparation Initiative in 2016. Seven universities are seeking to redesign their programs to reflect the research on what constitutes high-quality principal training. A key aspect of the redesign is immersing principal candidates in school life. The participating universities are boosting internships and field experience to offer genuine leadership experience, and they’re closely tying these real-world experiences to what’s taught in courses.</p><p>Importantly, the universities are doing this work through partnerships. Partnerships between principal training programs and school districts are rare, but they can help training programs respond to district needs and are <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/improving-university-principal-preparation-programs.aspx">essential</a> to high-quality instruction. Each university training program in the initiative has partnered with at least three school districts that hire its graduates, a state education office and a mentor university training program. </p><p>At the outset of the initiative, the universities worked with their partners to agree upon expectations for their graduates. They examined their current programs to identify strengths and weaknesses, and then they mapped their goals and strategies. Curriculum changes vary by the university but include an emphasis on special education and instruction in building school culture—two issues closely related to the top challenges identified by <em>Education Week</em>. RAND Corporation recently released its first of three reports on the initiative, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/launching-redesign-university-principal-preparation-programs.aspx"><em>Launching a Redesign of University Principal Preparation Programs</em></a>, which looks at the initiative’s implementation and suggests that this type of redesign process is doable. </p><p>University programs are just one piece of the pipeline to help principals lead effectively. Since 2011, our <a href="/knowledge-center/Documents/Building-a-Stronger-Principalship-Vol-5-The-Principal-Pipeline-Initiative-in-Action.pdf">Principal Pipeline Initiative</a> has been testing whether district-managed principal pipelines can produce large corps of principals who can improve teaching, learning and student achievement in schools. We’ve been working with six large, urban school districts across the country to help them develop strong principal pipelines by improving principal training, hiring and on-the-job support and evaluation. Independent studies have found that building principal pipelines is feasible and affordable, and forthcoming reports will offer more about the impact on student achievement and school improvement.</p><p>We’ve also been working to improve the support principals receive while on the job through our Principal Supervisor Initiative. As part of this work, six districts are shifting the principal supervisor role from a focus on operation and compliance to a focus on developing principals to be effective instructional leaders. Thus far, the districts have reported that <a name="_Hlk529184236">principals were able to develop more productive relationships with their supervisors and a </a> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/a-new-role-emerges-for-principal-supervisors.aspx">study of their efforts</a> demonstrates the feasibility of making substantial changes to the principal supervisor role.</p><p>Clearly, principals have a tough job—and the role is changing rapidly to meet increasing the demands on school leaders. Better preparation and support can help school principals navigate the challenges they face every day and ensure that they are continuously honing their own skills too. &#160;</p> Wallace editorial team792018-11-13T05:00:00ZEducation Week series on principals underscores the need for training that reflects the real-world demands of the job11/13/2018 2:59:23 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / “Principals Under Pressure”: Preparation and Support Can Make a Tough Job Easier A new Education Week series shows just how 601https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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