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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 39https://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 404https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Powerful Partnerships and Clear Focus: Two Keys to Equity-Centered Leader Development46978GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​What does it take to build a large corps of high-quality principals who can improve schools and promote equitable education within them? Partnerships and a clear focus might be a good way to begin. That was a key message from a recent meeting of Wallace’s ESSA Leadership Learning Community, which brings together teams from 11 states working to see how federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) funding could be used to support evidence-based ways to develop effective school leadership. </p><p>“No amount of money, flexibility or investment is likely to make a difference for students if we just follow the familiar path,” said one of the participants in the virtual event, Hal Smith, a senior vice president at the National Urban League. “The work is complex, though the aim is clear. We can get there together.”</p><p>The Urban League, along with the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Council of the Great City Schools, helps oversee the learning community, whose members generally include representatives from the education departments of the participating states, school districts within the states and Urban League affiliates that represent local community concerns.&#160;&#160;&#160; <br> The convening featured presentations by four state teams—Nebraska, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—to describe the work they’ve done for the learning community, share lessons learned and discuss what comes next. </p><p>The Pennsylvania team has focused on developing and supporting a diverse education pipeline for both teachers and leaders, with an emphasis on maximizing opportunities for all Pennsylvania students, especially those most in need.&#160; “As educators we know that in order for students to do their very best, students need to learn in an environment that is safe and empowering to them,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Noe Ortega. “It’s critically important as educators that we take advantage of the opportunities to strengthen and expand that awareness.”</p><p>A central&#160; goal of the team has been diversifying the educator workforce in the state. “There remain nearly 1,500 Pennsylvania schools and 184 entire school districts that employ zero teachers of color,” said Donna-Marie Cole-Malott,&#160; a consultant to the Pennsylvania team. Only five percent of teachers in the state are of color, according to Cole-Malott. </p><p>Efforts by the team have included holding two convenings about the Black male educator workforce—one focused on recruitment and the other on developing, supporting and retaining Black male educators. The team has also engaged stakeholders to learn about how others doing similar work have been successful and how they can work together.</p><p>In Minnesota, meanwhile, the learning community team has worked to support the development of a Minnesota equity framework for schools and communities. The partners are the Minnesota Department of Education, the Urban League Twin Cities and the Minneapolis Public Schools.</p><p>Marquita Stephens, vice president of strategic engagement and chief strategy officer for the Urban League Twin Cities, launched her presentation with an expression used by Hal Smith of the National Urban League&#58; “Schools are made for communities and not the other way around.”&#160; She said the phrase “helped us center the reason for involving all of the partners together to make sure that the outcomes for children were exactly what we intended for them to be. All three partners were drawn back to this as a centering understanding of why we needed to work together. ”</p><p>The creation of the Minnesota Equity Framework is the result of all three partners being in the room together, constantly being in discussion and building relationships, said Marcarre Traynham, director of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Center at the Minnesota Department of Education. </p><p>“Equity is really about consensus,” she said.&#160; “It’s about having conversations, understanding where people are at, understanding what the point of view is, listening for understanding in order to make shifts in your own belief systems.”</p><p>The team was committed to creating shared understanding about equity, and helping people to think about what creating equity in their areas would mean, Traynham said. Discussion about this helped the team members build authentic relationships across the board, she added.</p><p>“Doing the equity work and living the equity work are intertwined,” said Kandace Logan, who served as executive director of equity and integration for Minneapolis Public Schools. “This work is hard and it must be done with authentic partnership and relationships.”</p><p>Forging strong partnerships has proved crucial for Nebraska’s team members, too.&#160; Kim Snyder, statewide teacher and principal support director at the state’s education department,&#160; said that participation in the learning community “taught us a lot about making sure we’re all at the table together.”</p><p>A big part of Nebraska’s work has focused on developing nontraditional rubrics for teachers and principals that align with the Nebraska teacher and principal performance standards, according to Snyder. </p><p>“They’re nontraditional in the sense that they’re designed to be a lever for growth versus the traditional rubrics that are used maybe once or twice a year for an evaluation process,” she said. “The rubrics are meant to strengthen the educator effectiveness lens through which districts can really create a portrait of the whole teacher and whole principal in their buildings.”</p><p>But how can stakeholders ensure that these standards have impact? </p><p>Through a grant from Wallace and work with The Leadership Academy, an organization that promotes principal effectiveness, the Nebraska team created an equity task force to support, among other things, their ability to work toward equity-driven leadership development.</p><p>The team supports the notion of fully integrating equity considerations into efforts to develop&#160; effective principals and other school leaders. “We’re trying to embed an equity lens into the leadership support that already exists,” said Ryan Ricenbaw, Nebraska Leadership &amp; Learning Network Specialist at the Nebraska Department of Education. “We’re able to learn from one another, work with one another and make sure that communication is consistent and ongoing.”</p><p>Wisconsin team members agreed that powerful partnerships and a common goal can help advance the work. </p><p>The Wisconsin team was focused “from the get-go” on using&#160; federal ESSA dollars to support the development of principals statewide in order to “ensure they had the skills and capabilities to really address the inequities they saw every day in their schools,” said Mary-Dean Barringer, a facilitator for the Wisconsin team. </p><p>With a grant from the state’s&#160; Department of Public Instruction, the team was able to help the five largest districts in Wisconsin work with consultants to identify and begin to address the unmet needs of the schools.</p><p>“The project was so exciting—that we have a strong partnership from the Department of Public Instruction to make this a sustainable model that would also leverage community connection to help empower schools and bring solutions forward by using the connections and networks that already existed in our community,” said Ruben Anthony, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison.<strong></strong></p><p>Barringer also stressed the importance of sustaining the work.</p><p>“As we look ahead, we would like to harness the power of this partnership and its action orientation to address other critical challenges in addition to supporting equity-centered school leaders,” she said. </p><p>The ESSA Leadership Learning Community, established in 2016, has been extended&#160; through December 2022, so the participating teams can use the partnerships they developed during the past five years to address today’s challenges.<br></p>Jenna Doleh912021-11-11T05:00:00ZFour states share best practices and lessons learned after five years of working to build a corps of effective school principals.11/11/2021 8:07:23 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Powerful Partnerships and Clear Focus: Two Keys to Equity-Centered Leader Development Four states share best practices and 455https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
How Principals have Survived (and Thrived!) During the Pandemic10739GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​ <p>​​​​​​​Another school year is well under way, and we can’t imagine getting through the trials and tribulations of the last twenty months without our principals. School leaders have always been incredibly committed to ensuring that our students grow, learn and play in a safe, nurturing space—not to mention their support of the entire staff, faculty, parents and larger school community. While they deserve recognition every day for their commitment and hard work, we are delighted to join in the celebration of&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.principalsmonth.org/about/" target="_blank">National Principals Month</a> this October.</p><p>To get a clearer picture of principals’ challenges and successes right now, as well as insights into how they can best be supported, we spoke with Beverly Hutton, chief programs officer of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP,) along with Gracie Branch, associate executive director, professional learning, and Danny Carlson, associate executive director, policy and advocacy, both of the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).</p><p> <strong>Principals Need Support, Inclusion and Encouragement</strong></p><p>“To address principals’ various needs, they need support from a myriad of sources in a myriad of ways,” says Carlson. He points to research from the just-released report, <em><a href="https&#58;//www.naesp.org/leaders-we-need-now/" target="_blank">Leaders We Need Now​</a></em>, which indicates that the pandemic has changed the profession.</p><p>“Principals have become mail deliverers, bus drivers, contract tracers and more,” Hutton says. “Things are changing every single day. They need some grace and real support.”</p><p>One such support noted in the report is long-term funding, including funding to support in-school mental and physical health for students. While incoming American Rescue Plan funding is crucial in the short-term, many of the issues principals are facing are here for the long-term. Investing in the principal and teacher workforce infrastructure can help principals confront any underlying systemic challenges. Additionally, educator shortages due to low morale and early retirements continue to be a problem.</p><p>Hutton noted that principals also need to be included in important conversations about American Rescue Plan funding, as they will need to strategically manage those funds when they come in.</p><p>“Principals know their schools better than anyone,” Carlson says. “They have unique insight into what will be the most beneficial resources for their school communities.”</p><p> <strong>The Role of Principal Supervisors</strong></p><p>Principal supervisors <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/changing-the-principal-supervisor-role-to-better-support-principals.aspx">play an important role</a> in providing the support that many principals need,so Hutton urges them to be present with their principals. “Be on the front lines with them to see what they really need,” she says.</p><p>Branch, too, encourages principal supervisors to make it clear to their principals that their physical and mental well-being is being prioritized. Supervisors must remember that principals can’t do everything, she notes. As new initiatives emerge or are passed down from the state level, responsibilities must be delegated.</p><p>“The job cannot be bigger than the person asked to do the job,” she says.</p><p>Principals need access to preparation and professional learning, and that learning must be up to date. Moreover as their role shifts and they are forced to confront a neverending parade of new challenges, principals can only step up to the plate if they are equipped and empowered to do so. Because principals often feel tied to their school buildings, they need encouragement from their supervisors to not only find opportunities for ongoing learning but also to engage with those opportunities.</p><p> <strong>Principals are Leading Communities into the Future</strong></p><p>All three people we spoke to said that principals have used the challenges of the last 20 months as opportunities to innovate. Many principals have secured access to digital hardware and broadband internet for their students. They've also encouraged creative approaches to teaching in the classroom and online to transform students’ learning experiences.</p><p>“We’re blazing trails that will make school much more inclusive, equitable and relevant moving forward,” says Hutton.</p><p>Principals are building out their communities as well. According to Branch, they are eager to connect with their peers and learn from each other, using social media platforms, book groups and other venues to understand how others are coping with the fallout from the pandemic.</p><p>Branch also points to new roles that principals are creating within their school community that may have never existed before. They include attendance liaisons, wellness coaches for adults and students, instructional coaches, SEL coaches and more.</p><p>“Principals know they need extra supports,” says Branch. “They currently have the funding to put people resources in place. However, principals also fear these critical positions will go away when their funding goes away.”</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/default.aspx">Research</a> can help support a school’s or district’s advocacy for additional funds. It can also help amplify best practices and provide exemplars of infrastructure and programs that effectively support principals, so they, in turn, can be more effective at their jobs. Just as importantly, these findings can also help districts and schools improve principal retention.</p><p>“The <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx">research is clear</a> about the impact of school leaders on the school environment,” says Hutton. “Any investment should be considered a highly cost-effective approach to school improvement.”</p><p> <strong>Principals Matter</strong></p><p>While it’s only October, Branch told us that principals are reporting feeling as exhausted as they usually do in March during a typical school year. That’s why pausing to acknowledge and appreciate their work now—and on a regular basis—is important.</p><p>“Principals are on the front lines,” Branch says. “They are the ‘boots on the ground’ for their school, and many are at the lowest points in their careers [right now]…people stay where they are cared about and appreciated.”</p><p>Hutton vehemently agrees, stating that celebrating principals could help with the burnout she is seeing in the profession across the country&#58; “We have to recognize that school leaders, along with hospital workers and educators, have taken us through this pandemic on their shoulders. Buildings closed but schooling continued. That alone is a reason to celebrate principals this year in particular.”</p><p>Branch hopes that through all they’ve weathered, principals will remain hopeful.</p><p>“They are part of the most amazing profession,” she says. “And the country desperately needs their expertise, their courage, their resilience and their compassion.” Principals, too, do not need to go through their journey alone, she says, reminding them that national associations like NAESP and state organizations are here to help.</p><p>Hutton adds that NASSP is also here for principals, to help provide safe spaces for school leaders to connect with each other regularly. “Get the emotional support that you can, so you can get through this,” she urges all principals. “And hang in there.”<br></p><p> <em>Photo by Claire Holt. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, 2018.​</em>​​<br></p>Andrea Ruggirello1142021-10-26T04:00:00ZRecognizing our school leaders’ as essential workers during National Principals Month—and every month of the year10/27/2021 7:30:40 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How Principals have Survived (and Thrived!) During the Pandemic Recognizing our school leaders’ as essential workers during 728https://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 1144https://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 649https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Districts That Succeed: What Are They Doing Right?9775GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​<p>​​​​​“You can fix schools all you want; if the districts within which they reside are dysfunctional, the schools will not stay fixed,” writes Karin Chenoweth, writer-in-residence at The Education Trust, at the start of her latest book, <a href="https&#58;//www.hepg.org/hep-home/books/districts-that-succeed"><em>Districts That Succeed&#58; Breaking the Correlation Between Race, Poverty, and Achievement</em></a>, which was supported by The Wallace Foundation<em>. </em>After visiting dozens of high performing and rapidly improving&#160;schools around the country, Chenoweth came to this conclusion when she saw some of these schools fall apart after getting a new principal who upended the systems that were previously working. Districts are the ones that hire the principals, Chenoweth points out, and dysfunctional districts are more likely to hire the wrong person or fail to support a weak principal.&#160;</p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Districts-That-Succeed-What-Are-They-Doing-Right/Chenoweth_cover_final.jpg" alt="Chenoweth_cover_final.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;width&#58;144px;" /><span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;"><span></span></span><div>We sat down with the author to talk more about what she learned as she researched successful school districts and what she hopes readers will take away from the book.&#160;</div><div><strong><br></strong></div><div><strong>Why did you want to look at districts? What role do they play in student achievement?</strong></div><p>For years I have written about schools that serve children of color and children from low-income backgrounds and that are high performing or rapidly improving. Ultimately each is a powerful testament to the power of school leaders to be able to marshal the full power of schools to help students. </p><p>But by the time I wrote my last book, <a href="https&#58;//www.hepg.org/hep-home/books/schools-that-succeed"><em>Schools that Succeed&#58; How Educators Marshal the Power of Systems for Improvement</em></a>, I realized that even when principals lead huge improvement, if the districts they live in are dysfunctional, the schools won’t stay fixed. Principals take other jobs, get promoted, or retire, and if district leaders don’t understand the kind of leadership schools need, they are liable to replace them with principals who don’t understand how to continue the improvement process and the school tragically falls apart. So, I wanted to explore what it looks like when district leaders do understand the key role of school leaders.</p><p>In addition, as I talk with highly effective principals, I have heard many stories of how they have to shield their schools from district initiatives and directives because district leaders far too often undermine school improvement rather than support it.&#160; </p><p>I wanted to dig into that more in this book by examining what successful and improving districts look like and how they function.&#160; </p><p><strong>How does this book build on the lessons in your earlier book, <em>Schools that Succeed</em>?</strong> <br> <em>Schools that Succeed</em> laid out some of the very basic, sometimes prosaic, systems that effective school leaders use to ensure that teachers and staff are able to continually improve their knowledge and practice—systems of managing time, looking at data, making decisions, and so forth.&#160; </p><p>In <em>Districts that Succeed</em>, what I found was that effective superintendents and district leaders establish the systems and structures that allow principals to be successful. The scale is different, but the basic pattern is the same.&#160; </p><p><strong>How do districts affect the success of principals?</strong> <br> The most powerful question in education is&#58; “Your kids are doing better than mine. What are you doing?” This is a question that can be asked at the classroom level, the school level, the district level and the state level, and it is the start of improvement. But in order for educators to be able to ask that question, several things need to be in place&#58;&#160; </p><ul><li>publicly available common data that can be compared;&#160; </li><li>the time and space to be able to look at that data and think about it; and </li><li>a culture of trust, where asking that question is seen as a sign of professional strength and judgment, not a confession of failure. </li></ul><p>Superintendents and district leaders play a key role in establishing the time and space for school leaders to be able to come together to expose and share expertise. They also provide the key pieces of understandable data that can inform them—formative and summative assessment data, school climate and culture data, all kinds of data—and the research that can help inform possible solutions to the problems faced. They also establish a culture in which it is safe for educators to betray their weaknesses. </p><p>So, for example, when principals get together they should be able to see that some schools have much more family participation in curriculum nights than others and be able to ask their colleagues&#58; “You are engaging a lot more families than my school is. What are you doing?” That question exposes expertise that can be shared and learned from. Similarly, the fact that one school has much better third-grade reading scores than others can lead to much deeper understanding of what goes into early reading instruction. </p><p>In other words, districts can play a powerful role in building the knowledge and expertise of school leaders. This is different from the traditional role districts have played, which is largely treating principals as middle managers who exist to carry out district directives and deflect the anger of parents away from the superintendent. </p><p><strong>Can you share a highlight of your district visits?</strong> <br> I identify schools and districts to visit through a bunch of numbers—test scores, demographics, suspension rates, graduation rates, whatever data is available. I am looking for high performance and improvement. And what never fails to amaze and delight me is that when I go to see what lies beneath those numbers, I find smart, dedicated, hardworking educators who understand that they are doing important work and are eager to share what they are doing with the rest of the field.&#160; </p><p>So, for example, I initially identified Lane, Oklahoma, through the district analysis of Sean Reardon, professor of poverty and inequality in education at Stanford University. Lane’s students “grow” six academic years in the five calendar years from third through eighth grade. When I called to find out what they were doing, I talked with assistant superintendent Sharon Holcomb, who herself attended Lane as a child and has spent her entire career teaching and leading at Lane. She invited me to visit and I was able to meet students, teachers and parents. I met one parent who drove her children from another district because her son, who has epilepsy, had not been taught how to read and had been bullied and mistreated by teachers in another district. At Lane, she said, he has learned to read and is thriving. And Holcomb told me that that was what kept her and her colleagues working so hard&#58; “Seeing kids that have been thrown out and discarded and seeing them improve—seeing them come from other schools just beat down and seeing them succeed here.” </p><p>By the time she finished her sentence, we were both tearing up. </p><p><strong>What are the biggest barriers to districts learning from each other?</strong> <br> Years ago, we had no publicly available data that district leaders could look at, but we now have achievement, graduation, suspension and expulsion, and often school climate data. It is all publicly reported, so there is no real structural barrier to district leaders identifying districts that are doing better than they are and asking what they are doing. I worry about the effect that pandemic schooling will have on the availability of data, but we still have relatively recent data, from 2019. </p><p>But what the field of education doesn’t have is a culture of learning from others. There is a tradition in the field that every classroom, every school, every district is so different from each other that there are no lessons to be learned. District leaders who serve few African American students might think they have little to learn from districts that are primarily Black and brown. I was once dismayed and amazed when I heard of a principal who said that the examples of high-performing high-poverty schools held no lessons for her because she only had a few students who lived in poverty.&#160; </p><p>But learning can be generalized—kids are kids, schools are schools, districts are districts. They vary in all kinds of external ways, but at the heart all kids can learn and educators need to share information and expertise in order to help them learn.&#160; </p><p><strong>What do you hope readers walk away from this book knowing or believing?</strong> <br> The expertise to help all children learn exists, but it doesn’t reside in any one person, and the answers don’t lie in one particular program, policy or practice. The expertise comes from the pooled understanding of professionals informed by experience, data and research and armed with curiosity and a willingness to learn. Only by marshaling them all together can we hope to help all kids learn to high standards. But we can do this.&#160; </p>Andrea Ruggirello1142021-06-08T04:00:00ZYour 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.6/8/2021 2:15:07 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Districts That Succeed: What Are They Doing Right Author of new book based on lessons from high-performing schools implores 2675https://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 675https://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 525https://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 801https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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