Instructional Leadership in Action

To improve district leadership, we need to learn and share

by Krista Parent Aug 16, 2016

My first teaching job was in the South Lane School District in Cottage Grove, Ore. Today, more than three decades later, I’m still in the same district, having served as the superintendent for the last 16 years.

To be completely honest, I’m not exactly sure how I ended up as a superintendent because, at heart, I’m still a teacher. I view my work through a teaching lens, which, coupled with my long tenure, has really helped me go deep in my work and analyze what it is that makes systems drive instructional improvement.

What I’ve learned is that good teaching and learning is not just a teacher issue. True, students need effective teachers. But effective teachers need good principals. And good principals need support from the central office. Unfortunately, it’s the last part of this chain where the system often breaks down.

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Central Office Needs to Support, Not Just Manage Schools - Here is How You Can Help

by Max Silverman Mar 16, 2016

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.

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Closing the Achievement Gap Requires Closing the Gap Between Schools and Central Offices

by Max Silverman Mar 9, 2016

In many ways the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) marks a departure from No Child Left Behind (NCLB). But at least in one way it stays the course: the notion of school turnaround is alive and well.

Under ESSA, the federal government still requires states to identify their worst-performing schools and come up with a plan to make them better. If ESSA plays out like NCLB, then schools and districts will be working mightily to stay just above the line that triggers a turnaround — an aspirational low bar for sure.

As part of these efforts, schools and districts will be reaching out for the helping hands of a variety of newly minted — or as is often the case, re-minted — programs and solutions.

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How Central Offices Support Principals: What Works And What's Missing [Infographic]

by UWCEL Feb 16, 2016

The role of the principal is rapidly changing. Gone is the idea of the principal as building manager. Today’s successful principal is a public relations professional, curriculum expert, data specialist, talent manager and — most importantly — an instructional leader.

School systems across the country are trying to adapt to this changed reality. But how do central office leaders think about these changes? What challenges and opportunities do they see? And are there key practices that create the right conditions for principals to succeed?

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Now available: Principal Support Framework 2.0

by UWCEL Jan 29, 2016

The University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) has released an updated version of the Principal Support Framework. Representing the best thinking of educators from across the country, the framework describes key actions of central offices that effectively support principals as instructional leaders.

Version 2.0 continues its focus on how central office leaders can best support principal success, but includes critical updates including:

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3 Things All Principals Need From Their Central Office To Be Successful

by Max Silverman Jan 28, 2016

A quick scan of education news headlines shows: the role of school principal is less satisfying and attractive than it has ever been. Whether you look at principal job satisfaction surveys or the data on principal tenure, education leaders need to wake up and figure out how to make the principal job not only doable, but doable in a way that positively impacts student learning.

To do this, many systems focus on principal evaluation and the role of principal supervisors. But we believe that school systems have to take a broader look at how central offices need to work differently to support principals. That is why we are excited to release version two of our Principal Support Framework. This updated version continues its focus on how central office leaders can best support principal success, but includes critical updates including:

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Webinar Series: New Ways for Principals and Central Offices to Work Together for Better Instruction

by UWCEL Jan 5, 2016

Principals are in a prime position to drive better instruction at their school. But they can't do it alone. Central offices need to give them the support they need to be successful.

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Central Office Leaders Discuss How to Support Teaching and Principal Effectiveness at Scale

by UWCEL Nov 9, 2015

CEL recently hosted 70 central office leaders from across the country for the Leading for Effective Teaching Fall District Leadership Summit in Scottsdale, Ariz. The summit helped participants zero in on an important national conversation on how central offices can better support principals as instructional leaders.

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How to Set Up Principal Supervision That Works for Principals

by Max Silverman Nov 3, 2015

Apart from Common Core, nothing has changed the face of education in this country over the past few years quite as much as the drive to evaluate educators and hold them responsible for results. Since 2009, over two-thirds of states have made significant changes to how teachers are evaluated.

From a focus on teacher performance the spotlight quickly moved to principals and their role in supporting teacher practice. Recently, we have seen increasing recognition of the fact that principals often don’t have the tools and support to help teachers — shining a light on central offices and their support for principals’ instructional leadership efforts.

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New White Paper on Redesigning Principal Supervision to Support Instructional Leadership

by UWCEL Aug 10, 2015

Principal supervisors can be an important resource for school improvement when they emphasize principal growth and learning. But transforming the role of principal supervisors and building the tools and support structures to help them grow principals' instructional leadership skills is a challenging task.

In a new white paper from the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) and the District Leadership Design Lab (DL2), authors Drs. Lydia Rainey and Meredith Honig describe the initial efforts of 11 school systems that are redesigning principal supervisor positions, highlight common trends and share emerging best practices. The school systems all participate in the Leading for Effective Teaching (LET) project, a partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and CEL.

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