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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 287https://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 2018https://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 469https://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 279https://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 625https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Join Event for New Report on How Assistant Principals Could Advance School Improvement & Equity11634GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​Join us for the upcoming release of a new synthesis, <em>The Role of Assistant Principals&#58; Evidence and Insights for Advancing School Leadership.</em> One of the most comprehensive to date, this study suggests assistant principals could become more powerful forces in advancing school improvement and equity. </p><p> Tuesday, April 13, from 1&#58;00-2&#58;00pm E​T on Zoom.​ </p><p>Based on an exploration of 79 studies published since 2000, along with analyses of national survey results and data from two states, the researchers conclude that assistant principals are uniquely positioned to help make progress toward a number of goals from promoting equitable outcomes for students and contributing to a diverse pool of high-quality principals to addressing principal attrition and teacher shortages.<br><br> The lead researchers will share highlights from this study&#58;<br><strong>Ellen Goldring</strong>, Patricia and Rodes Hart professor and chair, Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations, Peabody College of Vanderbilt University <br> <strong>Mollie Rubin</strong>, research assistant professor, Peabody College of Vanderbilt University<br><strong>Mariesa Herrmann</strong>, senior researcher, Mathematica</p><p>A team of panelists will then reflect on the implications of the findings. They include&#58; <br> <strong>Michael Casserly</strong>, executive eirector of the Council of the Great City Schools<br><strong>Beverly Hutton</strong>, chief programs officer, National Association of Secondary School Principals<br><strong>Debra Paradowski</strong>, 2020 Assistant Principal of the Year. <br> <br> Nicholas Pelzer, senior program officer at The Wallace Foundation will moderate.<br></p><br>Wallace editorial team792021-04-02T04:00:00ZAn expert panel kicks off publication of the report based on an exploration of 79 studies published since 2000.7/19/2021 5:48:18 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Join Event for New Report on How Assistant Principals Could Advance School Improvement & Equity 245https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Why should school districts invest in principals?9783GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​​<p>T​hey are items on every school district’s to-do list&#58; Reduce chronic absenteeism. Improve teacher satisfaction and retention. Bolster student learning. Now a major new research review points to the person who can have a positive impact on all of these priorities—the school principal. The groundbreaking study, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx"> <em>How Principals Affect Students and Schools&#58; A Systematic Synthesis of Two Decades of Research</em></a>, finds that replacing a below-average principal at the 25th percentile of effectiveness with an above-average principal at the 75th percentile increases the average student’s learning by nearly three months in math and reading annually. Schools led by strong principals also have higher student attendance and greater teacher retention and satisfaction, according to the report. </p><p>Recently, the Wallace Blog caught up with the report’s authors, Jason A. Grissom, the Patricia and Rodes Hart professor at Vanderbilt University; Anna J. Egalite, associate professor at North Carolina State University; and Constance A. Lindsay, assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to discuss their findings and implications for the field. The interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity. </p><p> <strong>After the release of the report, some people were asking on social media if a great principal is more important than a great teacher and you had a great response. Can you share it with us? </strong></p><p> <strong>Grissom&#58;</strong> You can’t directly compare the effects of teachers and principals because the effects of a principal are largely through their work to expose kids to great teachers. It’s helpful to think about it from different points of view. From the student’s point of view, the teacher is clearly the most important person because he or she has the most direct effect on what I learn and my other outcomes. For the life of a school, the principal is certainly among the most important people, maybe the most important person, in part because principals are the ones who hire great teachers, ensure that great teachers stay in the building, and set the conditions for teachers to be able to teach to their full potential. </p><p>The report tries to emphasize how large the impacts of principals are and also what the scope of those effects are. Even if you just focus on student test scores, the report uses this size-plus-scope-of-effect to argue that we really should be investing in principal leadership. We’d go so far as to say that if you could only invest in one adult in the school building, then that person should pretty clearly be the principal. </p><p> <strong>Given the research evidence showing the positive effects that a principal can have on student learning and other important outcomes, how can the field help less-effective principals improve? </strong></p><p> <strong>Egalite&#58;</strong> That’s the question we tried to answer in the second part of the report, which identifies the four leadership behaviors of great principals&#58; engaging in instructionally-focused interactions with teachers, building a productive school climate, facilitating collaboration and professional learning communities, and managing personnel and resources strategically. If you were designing professional development for below-average principals, these are the four areas you could lean on that the evidence shows are associated with better outcomes in the long run. </p><p> <strong>Which instructionally-focused activities appear particularly effective—and which ones not so much?</strong></p><p> <strong>Egalite&#58;</strong> One effective activity is the use of data. Principals can encourage teacher buy-in by using data to monitor student progress and demonstrate changes in student achievement. Another is teacher evaluations, which have become more sophisticated in recent years. They no longer just analyze student test scores to say if someone is a good teacher or a bad teacher, but marry that information with other data points collected through classroom observations and other measures. </p><p> <strong>Grissom&#58;</strong> We tried to highlight engagement with instruction as separate from a more general, and maybe ill-defined notion, of what it means to be an instructional leader. Some principals have internalized the message that instructional leadership means being in classrooms. But simply being present is not associated with greater student growth. It may even have negative effects because having the principal in the classroom is distracting for both the students and the teacher. Maybe that distraction is worth it if the principal follows up with support for the teacher’s work and uses data from the observations to help drive the instructional program. But on its own, it’s not enough to move the needle. <br> </p><p> <strong>The report found that principals can have an important impact on marginalized populations, including students from low-income households and students of color. How does an equity-focused principal exhibit the four leadership behaviors?</strong></p><p> <strong>Lindsay&#58;</strong> They infuse all the activities they usually do with an equity focus. With regard to instruction, it would mean working with teachers to adopt a more culturally responsive pedagogy. It means making sure that teachers are engaging in practices that are relevant to all students in the school. In building a productive school climate, it means working with families and thinking about the community context. </p><p> <strong>Grissom&#58;</strong> Thinking about how equity can be infused into these domains of behavior is clearly an area we need to know more about. The report offers lots of examples from the research base that exists, but the evidence is still developing.<br></p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Why-should-school-districts-invest-in-principals/FIGURE-7-2-Emerging-Framework-Connecting-Equity-in-Principal-Leadership-to-Equitable-Outcomes-ch.jpg" alt="FIGURE-7-2-Emerging-Framework-Connecting-Equity-in-Principal-Leadership-to-Equitable-Outcomes-ch.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p> <strong>You also found widening racial and ethnic gaps between principals and the students they serve. What are some tactics that districts can use to diversify the principal workforce? </strong></p><p> <strong>Lindsay&#58;</strong> The key is diversifying the teacher workforce, because principals start as teachers. In terms of district actions, there are strategies like “grow your own” programs where districts identify and develop individuals in-house who are well-suited to meeting the needs of their community. Districts can also examine different stages of the educator human capital pipeline to identify places where people of color drop out and then work to shore up those stages. </p><p> <strong>Grissom&#58;</strong> We’ve had concerns for a long time that access to the principalship in a lot of areas is driven by who you know within a district. That likely disadvantages people who are not in power. In response, districts are increasingly formalizing leadership programs with predefined selection criteria, ensuring that people are getting into the principal pipeline on the basis of their capacity for leadership. And at the end of the pipeline, there has to be an equitable hiring and selection process. Diversifying the pipeline is an area we have to learn more about—where is it happening successfully and how, so that those practices can be taken to other places to ensure greater principal diversity. </p><p> <strong>Based on your report’s findings, what aspect of school leadership would you study right now if money and time were no object?</strong></p><p> <strong>Lindsay&#58;</strong> A lot of the research on equity that we drew from is very localized and context specific. I would study equity in a more systematic way. Just as we have rubrics for other things, I think it would be nice to have one about culturally responsive pedagogy that’s been tested and validated at a wide scale. </p><p> <strong>Egalite&#58;</strong> I’d like to know more, from a measurement perspective, about defining effective principals. I went through a Catholic teacher training program and for a brief moment considered its leadership training program. Their approach to leadership training is very much centered on building the school culture. Test scores are a much later part of the conversation. Private Catholic schools are obviously a different context than public schools, but how a principal sets the tone in a school and gets everyone rowing in the same direction is still relevant. How do you measure that? We rely on test scores to gauge principal effectiveness because they are easily collected by states, but it’s really just one piece of the pie. A more multidimensional view of principal effectiveness would be helpful.</p><p> <strong>Grissom&#58;</strong> I’m interested in how to measure capacity for the skills and behaviors we discuss in the report, so that we can do a better job identifying future leaders, developing their capacities and ensuring they are ready to lead when they enter the principalship. Historically, we have not done a great job of assessing people’s future potential. Maybe this is because we didn’t have the opportunities to develop the tools that measure those capacities. The same tools could also be used once a person is in leadership to identify areas for growth and target professional learning. They could also help us identify excellent leaders so we can draw on their excellence to help other people behind them in the principal pipeline. There are a lot of opportunities to think about how we identify, measure and assess both potential and strength at all phases of the pipeline. </p><p> <strong>Your report is the first of three research syntheses to be released by Wallace this year. A second will examine the role of the assistant principal and a third will look at the characteristics and outcomes of effective principal preparation programs and on-the-job development. How does it feel to be first out of the gate?</strong></p><p> <strong>Grissom&#58;</strong> We’ve done a few presentations about our report and people have asked how our findings apply to assistant principals and the implications for pre-service preparation and in-service professional learning. </p><p>It will be very interesting to see the conversations following the release of the other two reports and how they build on the conversation we’ve been having with the release of ours. Stay tuned. </p>Jennifer Gill832021-03-23T04:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.4/5/2021 8:19:43 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Why should school districts invest in principals Authors of major new research review on school leadership discuss the 261https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Yes, Principals Are That Important9657GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​Effective principals have an even greater impact than previously thought, benefiting not only student learning and attendance but also teacher satisfaction and retention, according to a major new research review. <em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx">How Principals Affect Students and Schools&#58; A Systematic Synthesis of Two Decades of Research</a>&#160;</em>draws on 219 high-quality research studies of K-12 school leadership conducted since 2000 and updates the landmark 2004 literature review by Kenneth Leithwood, et al., that concluded that principals are second only to classroom instruction among school-related factors affecting student achievement. </p><p>​​​​The authors of the new synthesis—Jason A. Grissom, the Patricia and Rodes Hart professor at Vanderbilt University, Anna J. Egalite, associate professor at North Carolina State University, and Constance A. Lindsay, assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—presented their findings at a recent <a href="https&#58;//youtu.be/CKrXjvwqxpU" target="_blank">webinar​</a> hosted by Wallace President Will Miller and attended by more than 1,450 people. The event also featured a panel of education experts who shared their reactions to the report, which set out to answer three main questions&#58; How much do principals contribute to student achievement and other school outcomes? Which behaviors are critical to that work? Who are principals today and how have they changed over time?&#160;&#160;</p>​​​​​To get at the first question, the researchers dug into six rigorous studies that together followed more than 22,000 principals and the schools they led over time, allowing the authors to assess the impact of the same principal at different schools and the same school under different principals. Principal effects are large, they found. Further, they translated the effect size into months of learning, finding that replacing a below-average principal—one at the 25th percentile in terms of raising student achievement—with an above-average principal at the 75th percentile resulted in nearly three more months of learning a year for students, almost as much as the four months of increased learning generated by a teacher at the 75th percentile. Principal effects are broader in scope than those of a teacher because they are felt across an entire school rather than a single classroom. Still, the effects stem in large part from a leader’s work with teachers, including how principals hire and coach staff members and create a school environment conducive to learning. The report’s authors also found that great principals yield benefits for outcomes beyond achievement, such as student attendance, exclusionary discipline (i.e., suspension), teacher satisfaction and teacher retention.<p></p><p>​The new report identifies four observable behaviors of school leaders that the best-available research suggests produce positive school outcomes&#58;​ </p><p></p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Fo​cusing on high-leverage engagement in instruction, such as through teacher evaluations and coaching</div><p></p><p></p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Establishing a productive school climate</div><p></p><p></p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Facilitating collaboration and professional learning communities</div><p></p><p></p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Managing personnel and resources strategically </div><p></p><p>As schools gradually reopen for in-person learning, nurturing a positive school climate and helping students reconnect must be a priority for leaders, noted panelist Hal Smith, senior vice president at the National Urban League. During the pandemic, “we’ve seen students report that the loss of relationships has been particularly unsettling…they don’t know where to look for support,” he said. Having a principal who’s attuned to the social-emotional needs of students and staff and thinking about how to “reknit” the school community will be critical in the months ahead, he added. </p><p>State education agencies have a vital role to play in helping current principals strengthen the skills that manifest themselves in these four inter-related behaviors, in addition to ensuring a strong pool of future principals, said Carissa Moffat Miller, chief executive officer of the Council of Chief State School Officers, which represents top-ranking state education officials. Below-average principals can become above-average ones if they have access to the right in-service learning opportunities. The new synthesis provides a “map” of where states might consider directing their investments and their work with partners to support school leaders, she noted. “Sometimes we just think of the [principal] pipeline in terms of recruitment, but it’s also about retention and skill-building,” she said. Panelist Michael Casserly noted that more needs to be learned about improving the skills of current principals. He is executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, which represents larger, urban school districts. “How is that we can move principals from being less effective to more effective?” he asked. “The research is not very clear on that but would be enormously important.” </p><p>The report also calls on principals to embed equity in their leadership practices, given the growing number of marginalized students, such as students from low-income families and English learners. The authors examine emerging research on how equity-focused principals exhibit the four behaviors linked to positive school outcomes. For example, equity-oriented leaders promote a productive school climate by implementing alternative strategies to student expulsions. They use data to identify children who are falling behind and work with teachers to create a plan to get them back on track. They engage families in the life of the school and coach teachers on culturally-responsive instructional practices to better serve marginalized students. Noting that some teachers “simply want to be excused” from tough discussions about equity because they find them uncomfortable, Casserly said it is imperative for principals to push forward with the work and encourage teachers to adopt an equity mindset. </p><p>Principals of color appear especially likely to have positive impacts on students and teachers of color, according to the report, yet the racial and ethnic gaps between school leaders and the students they serve are stark. Nearly 80 percent of principals today are white while the student body is only 53 percent white. Diversifying the principal workforce will require taking a closer look at how emerging leaders of color are identified, noted panelist Mónica Byrne-Jiménez, executive director of the University Council for Educational Administration, a consortium of higher education institutions committed to advancing the preparation and practice of principals and other school leaders. “If you want to diversify the leadership pipeline, we have to diversify the teacher pipeline,” she said. Future leaders of color may begin their studies at community college or start as teacher assistants, she added. Schools and districts need to identify these rising stars early on, give them opportunities to cultivate their budding leadership skills, and provide a viable career path to the principalship. </p><p>Whether they’re aspiring to the role—or already on the job—investing in principals makes sound financial sense given the magnitude and scope of their effects on a broad range of school outcomes. “Principals <em>really </em>matter,” conclude the report’s authors. “Indeed, it is difficult to envision an investment in K-12 education with a higher ceiling on its potential return than impr​oving school leadership.”</p>Jennifer Gill832021-02-19T05:00:00ZEducation experts weigh in on findings from new groundbreaking review of research on school leadership—and the implications for policy and practice2/19/2021 3:05:39 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Yes, Principals Are That Important Education experts weigh in on findings from new groundbreaking review of research on 3148https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Join Event for New Report on How Principals Affect Schools5472GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​Join us for the upcoming release of <em>How Principals Affect Students and Schools&#58; A Systematic Synthesis of Two Decades of Research</em>. The comprehensive study offers more precise evidence on the impact of principals on student achievement and other factors, and it identifies skills and behaviors by principals that are linked to benefits for students and schools.<br><br></p><h2 class="wf-Element-H2">Tuesday, February 16, from ​1&#58;00-2&#58;00pm ET on Zoom.<br></h2><p> <br>​The lead researchers—Jason Grissom, Patricia and Rhodes Hart professor, Vanderbilt University; Anna Egalite, associate professor, North Carolina State University; and Constance Lindsay, assistant professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—will share highlights from this study.<br> <br> A team of panelists will then reflect on the implications of the findings. They include&#58; Carissa Moffat Miller, chief executive officer of the Council of Chief State School Officers; Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, Hal Smith, senior vice president of the National Urban League, and Mónica Byrne-Jiménez, executive director of the University Council for Educational Administration.</p><p>Will Miller, president of The Wallace Foundation will moderate the panel.</p> Wallace editorial team792021-02-03T05:00:00ZAn expert panel kicks off publication of the report that surveys two decades of research on school leadership6/8/2021 4:33:52 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Join Event for New Report on How Principals Affect Schools An expert panel kicks off publication of the report that surveys 368https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Remote Support of Principal Supervisors “Not Different” from Pre-COVID Times26305GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​Last spring the role of the principal changed overnight and continues to evolve. As the pandemic took hold, principals almost immediately shifted from leading a school within a building to leading virtual schools. Principal supervisors had to pivot, too.</p><p>Strong <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/changing-the-principal-supervisor-role-to-better-support-principals.aspx">principal supervisors are high-touch with their principals,</a> working with them intensively one-on-one and in learning communities, often in school buildings.&#160;How are they adapting to the online environment? What seems promising? What new supports do they need to adapt successfully? </p><p>This summer, Meredith Honig, a professor and director of the District Leadership Design Lab at the University of Washington, and Nancy Gutiérrez, president and CEO of The Leadership Academy, a national nonprofit organization, <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GlfNdbmTuU&amp;feature=youtu.be">took on this question in a webinar</a> in the series <em>Education Leadership for a Digital World</em>. <a href="https&#58;//digitalpromise.org/webinars/education-leadership-for-a-digital-world/">The series</a> was hosted by Digital Promise, with support from Wallace. </p><p>After watching the replay of the webinar, I reached out to <span> <span>Gutiérrez</span></span> and Honig for a follow-up conversation aimed at learning what principal supervisors can do to support their principals as the pandemic continues. If you are anything like me, you will be blown away by the depth of knowledge&#160;they shared in response to my questions.&#160;An edited version of our conversation follows. </p><p> <strong>How can principal supervisors be most supportive of principals now?</strong><br><br><strong>Honig&#58;</strong> It’s as important as ever for principals to be leading powerfully for high-quality, culturally responsive, anti-racist teaching and learning.&#160;The shift to remote learning means many longstanding inequities may grow worse. So now is the time for principals to double down on their equity-focused instructional leadership and for principal supervisors to support them in that essential work.</p><p>In more typical times, maintaining that focus can be tough. That focus is definitely tough now as remote learning continues and too many students still do not have internet and laptops. Families are dealing with food insecurity, lack of access to childcare and other basic supports they rely on schools for. </p><p>That’s what we and others are seeing&#58; That shifting to remote learning has upped the ante on districts to ensure principals are supported to lead powerfully for excellent equitable instruction. <em>And</em> that they are trying to do that in the middle of a national public health crisis that, especially without federal support, continues to have dire consequences for school communities. Many of those consequences fall on the doorsteps of school districts and create incredible operational challenges. It’s tempting for principal supervisors to want to step in and help with that operational work. Our research and experience are clear that principal supervisors should resist that temptation. Principal supervisors are uniquely positioned to help principals keep their focus on equitable teaching and learning, and now’s not the time to let up.&#160;</p><p> <strong>Gutiérrez&#58;</strong> I agree, Meredith. We have to drop evaluative tones and focus on capacity building. Commit to leveraging effective adult learning practices to ensure good use of the time commitment. (Our leaders are juggling multiple commitments). Align learning what we know about effective adult learning.<br><br> We have some essential beliefs about adult learning<strong></strong> at <a href="https&#58;//www.leadershipacademy.org/resource/district-leadership/">The Leadership Academy</a>. We structure our work to make sure principal supervisors learn from experience and reflection, have structured freedom, engage in learning as a social process, make meaning through stories and have support through the most uncomfortable parts of learning. We model what we would like to see them do with the principals they lead. </p><p> <strong>What does this kind of hands-on support for principals look like with remote learning?</strong>&#160;<br><br><strong><span><span><strong>Gutiérrez&#58;</strong></span></span></strong> One key skill principal supervisors have learned to do well since last March has been to build capacity remotely. Believe it or not, it is still possible to visit classrooms with the same frequency and create feedback sessions for principals about the work in real time—remote coaching is one way to do this and follows the exact <a href="https&#58;//digitalpromise.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/remote-learning-check-in-guide.pdf">same five-step process a principal supervisor uses in person.</a></p><p>We would argue that remote support is not different from what we did pre-COVID. It requires building and maintaining relationships, coaching principals to better their practice as culturally responsive leaders, bringing small learning communities together to learn from each other and being responsive to principals' many questions and challenges in real time. The key here is not only to problem-solve in real time but to check on the social and emotional well-being of the adults. Adults need love too!&#160;</p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">Some principal supervisors tell us that they can be even more supportive of principals’ instructional leadership growth now that they don't have to spend so much time traveling to schools<br></p><p> <strong>Honig&#58;</strong> Our ongoing research supports all of what you just shared, Nancy. When principal supervisors help principals grow as instructional leaders, they don't actually supervise in the traditional sense of the word—that is, they do not mainly evaluate or direct principals.&#160;</p><p>Instead, they coach principals from a teaching-and-learning stance—helping principals lead their own learning and mentoring principals one-on-one and in learning communities. That’s still the right work and really, it’s especially the right work right now when principals need flexibility and support to navigate the challenges of ensuring equity with remote learning. </p><p>Much of that support can be provided remotely through video conferencing, for example. Some principal supervisors tell us that they can be even more supportive of principals’ instructional leadership growth now that they don't have to spend so much time traveling to schools and that they can now more easily observe principals working with teachers online.&#160;</p><p> <strong>How can other district leaders support their principals and their supervisors as they navigate the new digital world we’re all living in?&#160;</strong><br><br><strong>Honig&#58;</strong> District support for principal supervisors is key to their success every day and especially today. In particular, supervisors of principal supervisors have important roles to play in principal supervisor support by reinforcing principal supervisors’ focus on principals’ growth as equity-focused instructional leaders, protecting principal supervisors’ time for that work and mentoring them in taking a teaching-and-learning approach. In the webinar, I share examples of what that support looks like and the consequences of principal supervisors not receiving it.&#160; Supervisors of principal supervisors can find those examples as well as tools to help principal supervisors in our book, <a href="https&#58;//www.hepg.org/hep-home/books/supervising-principals-for-instructional-leadershi">S<em>upervising Principals for Instructional Leadership.</em></a></p><p>District leaders can also support principals and their supervisors by taking a hard look at their central offices. The pandemic has provided a unique opportunity for all of us to see some fundamental mismatches between what central offices have traditionally done and what supporting educational equity takes. We outline some of those mismatches in <a href="https&#58;//annenberg.brown.edu/sites/default/files/EdResearch_for_Recovery_Brief_10.pdf">a recent brief</a>. </p><p>As districts consider how to come out of the pandemic with a much stronger anti-racist equity focus, the principal supervisor-principal relationship can provide a kind of beacon. When principal supervisors try to do the right work and focus on principals’ growth as equity-focused instructional leaders, when does the rest of the central office get in the way of that work? And how can we start to bring all of what we do into greater alignment?</p><p> <strong><span><span><strong>Gutiérrez&#58;</strong></span></span></strong>&#160;The way districts can best support our principal supervisors&#58; 1) build their capacity, too; 2) check on their social and emotional well-being; and 3) make this difficult work, and progress within it, tangible.</p><p>A great principal supervisor gives school leaders the support they need to make their school a culturally responsive, standards-aligned learning environment for every student. But they need help to do this. Virtual learning during the pandemic reinforces the need to defy individualism as a path to success—all of us, regardless of role or experience in the system, need to continue learning and growing.&#160;We need to know what is expected of us. </p><p>We define a culturally responsive leader as someone who recognizes the impact of institutionalized racism and embraces their role in mitigating, disrupting and dismantling systemic oppression. Leaders like this must first work on themselves by reflecting on their biases and beliefs. Only then can they move to publicly modeling belief systems grounded in equity; being responsive to, and inclusive of, student and staff cultural identities when making decisions; confronting and changing institutional biases that marginalize students; and finally, creating systems and structures that promote equity, particularly for traditionally marginalized students.</p><p>One great tool to help leaders guide principal supervisors to assess their own progress in being more culturally responsive is The Leadership Academy’s&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.leadershipacademy.org/resources/culturally-responsive-leadership-a-framework-for-school-school-system-leaders/">Culturally Responsive Actions for Principal Supervisors</a> (specifically pages 51-64). The guide provides a set of tangible observable actions to do this important work, which is important to note because the work around equity is so big that it can be intangible. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/remote-support-of-principal-supervisors-not-different-from-pre-covid-times/Digital-Promise-1-Five-Steps-Coaching-Principals.jpg" alt="Digital-Promise-1-Five-Steps-Coaching-Principals.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />&#160;Source&#58; The Leadership Academy</p>Rochelle Herring362020-11-17T05:00:00ZAsk the experts: three questions about principal supervisors and how they can best support principals now11/17/2020 5:10:36 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Remote Support of Principal Supervisors “Not Different” from Pre-COVID Times Ask the experts: three questions about 1213https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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