Instructional Leadership in Action

New book: Leading for Professional Learning - What Successful Principals Do To Support Teaching Practice

by UWCEL Oct 3, 2018

We are thrilled to announce the release of a new book  from Anneke Markholt, Joanna Michelson and Stephen Fink of the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership.

Leading for Professional Learning offers field-tested guidance to help school leaders more effectively support teachers’ professional development.

Leadership is crucial to professional learning, providing the necessary systems and structures that enable teachers to improve their own practice and in turn, improve student learning.

With an illustrative case study, this book provides invaluable guidance, packed with practical tools, processes, and expert advice.

Learn more, read a sample chapter, and download a free tool

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An interview with Ellen Dorr about her strong commitment to educational equity and system design

by Max Silverman Sep 27, 2018

In this inaugural interview of The Throughline, Max Silverman speaks with Ellen Dorr (@ellenjdorr) about her strong commitment to educational equity and system design.

Ellen Dorr serves as the chief technology officer for the Renton School District in Washington, where she oversees technology services including customer service, infrastructure and digital learning. She leads the team to provide the resources and supports to empower educators to create inclusive, equitable instruction in classrooms as well as increase efficiency and effectiveness across the district.

Max Silverman: Ellen, as you know, here at CEL (the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership) we focus on how adults in schools – and the central office where you work – create learning environments for students that are inclusive, engaging and ultimately lead to student ownership of their learning. Describe for our readers what you would love to see when you walk into a classroom or learning environment that has these characteristics.

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Instructional leadership teams to the rescue: Developing a shared vision is key to success

by Sandy Austin Sep 26, 2018

How can a principal keep from feeling overwhelmed trying to improve teaching and learning? Form an instructional leadership team of teacher leaders to identify teaching and learning challenges in the building. Such a team builds its own instructional leadership skills while expanding your capacity.

In the September 2018 issue of NASSP's Principal Leadership magazine, Sandy Austin, Donna Anderson-Davis, Jason Graham and Michele White explain how to put instructional leadership teams into action. They share five best practices for school-based instructional leadership teams along with lessons learned, advice, and links to three useful tools.

Read the article.

Used with permission of NASSP/Principal Leadership. All rights reserved.

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Is student-centered the latest catchphrase? Not if we can help it.

by Max Silverman Sep 25, 2018

Lately, I have been getting very excited as I hear more and more leaders and organizations talk about “student-centered initiatives.” Often I hear this phrase about putting students in the center only to later feel disappointed when the follow-up conversations are really about putting student data in the center or, worse yet, launching another professional learning initiative masquerading as student-centered.

Are we making the idea of being student-centered as trite as the other catchphrases that came before? Can it be that the new student-centered miracle is actually the same one that was Common Core-based, or focused on personalized learning, or a must-have for your teacher accountability system? I don’t raise these questions to demean the great work that many in the education field are doing to ensure that improvement efforts remain focused on students. Instead, I want to push for the term student-centered to have real meaning. Our field’s understanding of student-centered should be powerful enough to change how students learn and what we accept as outcomes not only for students, but also for teachers, school leaders, and central office leaders.

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We're featuring teacher professional learning success stories at the Summer Leadership Institute 2018

by Joanna Michelson Jun 28, 2018

For the Summer Leadership Institute, we have lined up a dynamic panel of speakers who will share professional learning success stories from their school districts. Rebekah Kim, Paula Montgomery, and Jose Rivera are instructional leaders who inspire us, and we think each will inspire you with stories of how their districts solved challenging professional learning problems we can all relate to.

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Max Silverman named executive director of UW Center for Educational Leadership

by UWCEL Jun 28, 2018

Max Silverman, a nationally recognized leader with expertise in improving instructional leadership systems focused on equitable outcomes for students, has been named executive director of the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership.

Silverman, who assumes his duties on July 1, 2018, has served in a variety of leadership positions throughout his career including school principal, central office leader, and most recently as deputy director of the Center for Educational Leadership.

During his 25 years in education, he has led national projects to implement new systems to measure and improve leadership effectiveness, and he has worked closely with individual school districts to improve leadership support systems at scale. Over his time at CEL, Max led the development of CEL’s central office redesign programs and services. These efforts helped CEL develop a reputation as a leader in rethinking the role of school system central offices in supporting the work of schools.

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A retrospective interview with Stephen Fink on teaching, leadership, and lessons for eliminating the achievement gap

by Stephen Fink Jun 18, 2018

On June 30, 2018, Dr. Stephen Fink, executive director of the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership (CEL), transitions leadership of the Center to Max Silverman, currently the organization’s deputy director. In this interview, Dr. Fink reflects on the past 17 years and the continuing mission of teachers and leaders everywhere to eliminate the achievement gap.

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Eliminating the achievement gap: systems and structures from the ground up

by Patty Maxfield Mar 28, 2018

Do we really believe all students can achieve to high levels of success? Are we willing to confront issues of inequity and bias? How far are we willing to go to ensure every voice is heard? In the Newhall School District, we have answers in the power of a personal story, or in this case, three stories.

In the March/April 2018 issue of Leadership Magazine from the Association of California School Administrators, Jeff Pelzel and Patty Maxfield describe the importance of developing a culture of learning and collaboration across schools to address specific learning needs of students. They show how to use an instructional leadership inquiry cycle and other structures to build the capacity of school leaders to target the ultimate goal of eliminating achievement gaps.

Read the article

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What have been your most successful teacher professional learning opportunities?

by Joanna Michelson Mar 21, 2018

Teachers learn all the time: from students, from trial and error, and from each other. We know that as teachers strive to create powerful learning experiences for all the students in front of them, they are constantly questioning and experimenting with their teaching practices.

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Power up your planning: A well-defined theory of action leads to systemwide change

by Sharon Williams Mar 19, 2018

Despite the overall strong performance of Oregon's West-Linn Wilsonville School District in 2011, everyone knew that the work of closing achievement gaps was not complete. For Superintendent Bill Rhoades and his leadership team, the path forward began with a theory of action.

In the February 2018 issue of Learning Forward's The Learning Professional, Sharon Williams and Karen Cloninger write about the power of a theory of action to help take the West-Linn Wilsonville School District from good to great. They describe how to develop a theory of action starting with the articulation of specific problems of student learning and the contributing problems of teaching, school leadership, and central office support.

Read the article

Photo courtesy of West-Linn Wilsonville School District

Used with permission of Learning Forward, www.learningforward.org. All rights reserved.

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