Instructional Leadership in Action

CCSSO puts a spotlight on the Commissioner's Leadership Academy in Florida

by UWCEL Jan 4, 2017


The Council of Chief State School Officers produced a three-minute video showing how Florida better prepares school leaders through the Commissioner's Leadership Academy. The yearlong professional development program  was designed by the Center for Educational Leadership to help principals, principal supervisors and education leaders to become stronger and more effective instructional leaders. Based on widespread acclaim for the program in Florida, CEL is now offering this professional learning program directly to school districts and states across the country.

School districts and states interested in bringing the Instructional Leadership Academy to their system can contact CEL by going to the Academy website and filling out the free estimate form.

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Florida school leaders use job-embedded PD for real learning and growth

by Anneke Markholt Nov 8, 2016

When Catherine G. Atria, the principal of P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School in Florida, observed her teachers at work this year, it was with a new lens.

Watching teachers in action, Atria carefully collected data on everything from how many students asked questions or closely read the text of a book, to the number of closed or open-ended questions a teacher asked. Atria didn’t opine on whether students were engaged or not, or note techniques a teacher could have used, but didn’t.

And when meeting with a teacher afterward, Atria didn’t list a prescription for improvement. Instead, she presented the factual data and asked careful questions about why the teacher took a particular approach. Then she asked the teacher to think about ways to make small improvements to boost existing strengths.

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CEL launches new Instructional Leadership Academy

by UWCEL Nov 8, 2016

The Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) is launching the Instructional Leadership Academy, a yearlong professional development program that CEL delivers directly within a school district. Through the academy, a school district’s principals, instructional coaches, teacher leaders, and central office leaders become stronger and more effective instructional leaders.

Based on the CEL-led Florida Commissioner's Leadership Academy, the in-district leadership and learning community has received positive reviews from participants and is now available nationwide. “I have been in education 24 years, and this is probably the best PD I have ever done. It’s not just another professional development that you go to ... I really believe in this program,” said Lori Duckstein, a principal with the Hendry County District Schools.

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Aspiring Leaders program prepares Central Louisiana educators for leadership positions

by UWCEL Sep 28, 2016

In Central Louisiana, 139 educators have begun a three-year journey that will prepare them for leadership positions in their schools and school districts. The educators started Aspiring Leaders, a leadership institute administered by The Orchard Foundation and funded under The Rapides Foundation’s Education Initiative. The Aspiring Leaders curriculum was developed specifically for Central Louisiana by the University of Washington’s Center for Educational Leadership (CEL).

The Rapides Foundation's Education Initiative seeks to increase the level of educational attainment and achievement as the primary path to improved economic, social and health status. At the core of the initiative is its continued effort to build leaders in the field of education by offering a variety of institutes for Central Louisiana educators.

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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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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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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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Get specific in improving instructional practice with the new 4D™ Instructional Leadership Growth Continuum

by June Rimmer Apr 4, 2016

Over the years, I have worked with a lot of principals and their supervisors with the goal of improving the principals' instructional leadership practice. There is one issue that comes up often: Supervisors are not specific enough in telling principals what they should do to get better.

For example, a coach, supervisor or consultant might say, "You're doing a really good job with collecting evidence of classroom instruction, but an area you might focus on is the way you give feedback to teachers." And that's all they say.

As a principal getting this feedback, I don't necessarily know what I should do next. I just know I'm not doing it right.

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New 4D™ Instructional Leadership Growth Continuum describes leadership behavior by skill levels

by UWCEL Apr 1, 2016

The work of the instructional leader is to ensure that every day, in every classroom, every student has a powerful learning experience. To do this, leaders need to know the most essential aspects of instructional leadership as described in the Center for Educational Leadership's 4 Dimensions of Instructional Leadership. Now, CEL is introducing a companion resource to the 4D™ framework — the 4D Instructional Leadership Growth Continuum.

This new tool describes growth in leadership behavior at various levels of expertise ranging from novice to expert. It can be used for self-assessment, personal reflection, goal setting, leadership coaching, and professional learning.

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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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