The work of educators is changing. First, teachers had to adapt to new classroom expectations and accountability requirements. Next, principals had to think beyond just managing a school and become instructional leaders. Now, central office needs to take up the challenge and offer new approaches to help principals and teachers improve instruction.
Over the last three years, the Center for Educational Leadership together with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has worked with central office leaders to find new ways to support principals as instructional leaders and improve student learning.
Last year, at the final conference of our Leading for Effective Teaching project, we brought together leaders from 15 school district and charter management organizations from across the country to discuss how our school systems need to change to support better student achievement. On the last day, we asked them to come up with a call to action for everybody that wants to make central office work for students.
We need to change. Central office needs to partner with, not just manage schools. That's why we ask you to take this call to action, share it with your colleagues, discuss in your team and use it as a starting point for transformation.
As an associate director at the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership, Max Silverman provides leadership for CEL's district partnership work. He joined the Center in 2009, after leading high school reform efforts in the Highline Public Schools (Wash.) for nine years. As a principal and central office leader, he successfully led the transformation to a portfolio of high schools focused on sustainable instructional improvement and personalization. His central office experience was focused on instructional leadership for ten high schools, particularly in the areas of literacy and math.