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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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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Learn how to supervise principals for improved leadership in October institute

by UWCEL Aug 29, 2016

School districts, both small and large, are searching for new ways to ensure that principals get the skills, resources and time they need to be instructional leaders.

In this interactive institute hosted by the AASA, Stephen Fink (executive director), June Rimmer and Max Silverman (both associate directors) from the Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) will give central office leaders the background and tools necessary to understand what principals need and how to provide it.

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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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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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How to Create a Results-Focused Learning Environment

by Sharon Williams Jan 19, 2016

Getting everybody in the school community to focus on results for students is hard — but it’s one of the most powerful ways for principals to improve instruction.

"One of the responsibilities of school leadership teams with the strongest correlation to improve student achievement is in the area of monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of school practices and their impact on student learning," Beth Wallen, principal of Panther Lake Elementary School in Kent, Wash., summarizes the need to look at results.

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