Instructional Leadership in Action

How Kelso School District improved graduation rates with equity

by Mary Beth Tack Feb 14, 2017

Over the past few years, I have noticed something in the principals I work with. As their work has gotten more complex and intense, the question of “Why am I doing this work?“ starts to come up more often.

So, at the end of the last school year, I asked each principal to interview a student they regarded as a main reason as to why they came to work every day and entered the profession. The video clips we got back were inspiring. One principal filmed a student whose family came from Mexico, struggled with English in middle school and became an amazing leader. Another talked to a high-achieving student who was touched to tears to be one of the principal’s main motivations for their work.

As the director of teaching and learning, I had to ask myself: What story do I have to tell? What’s my “why”?

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Want to become an expert school leader? Ask more questions.

by Sheeba Jacob Aug 30, 2016

Why should you be stuck without a bed if I’ve got an extra air mattress? Today, the answer to this question is worth $30 billion.

The meteoric rise of home-sharing site AirBnB is driven by many factors, but it started with the founders Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky asking a series of questions that helped them uncover new opportunities.

In A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, Warren Berger takes an in-depth look at how asking ‘why’, ‘what if’ and ‘how’ drove the early success of famous tech start-ups like AirBnb or Netflix. His insight: We are all born with a billion-dollar app — our aptitude to ask questions.

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Celebrate the power of coaching

by UWCEL Jun 28, 2016

Improving teaching and learning is a complex task. Shifts in instructional models, new standards and a lack of time drive educators and school districts to find new ways to help teachers grow their practice.

Rebekah Kim, principal of Midway Elementary School in the Highline Public Schools district in Burien, Wash., faced a similar challenge: How to maintain the sacredness of her time with teachers, while providing meaningful, personalized feedback to grow teaching practice.

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4 Steps of Inquiry That Help Principals Improve Instruction

by Sandy Austin Apr 1, 2015

When I ask principals what prevents them from focusing on instructional quality in their school, the number one answer I get is: time. It’s true, time is always a concern for principals, but it is not the only one. I have found that even when principals carve out the time to improve instruction, they are often at a loss for what to do.

That’s a problem because principals matter. School leadership is the second greatest school-related influence on student learning, second only to teacher effectiveness (Leithwood & Riehl, 2003). Without an effective principal in every school, it will be difficult to improve student outcomes and close persistent achievement gaps.

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Webinar: Applying a Cycle of Inquiry - A Key Strategy for Continuous Improvement

by UWCEL Mar 25, 2015

All educators continue to learn and enhance their practice over time. We identify areas of focus, learn from our experiences and try out new ways to teach and lead. But to truly grow our practice and ensure academic success for all students, we need a routine process that helps us structure our continuous improvement efforts.

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