Instructional Leadership in Action

UWCEL

At the Center for Educational Leadership we partner with courageous leaders in classrooms, schools and the systems that support them to eliminate educational inequities by creating cultures of rigorous teaching, learning and leading. Our vision is transformed schools empowering all students regardless of background to create limitless futures for themselves, their families, their communities, and the world.
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Recent Posts

What the Four Dimensions of School Leadership Looks Like in Action

by UWCEL Dec 17, 2020

 

4d interview part 2

 

Brandon White is the chief academic officer at South Bend Community Schools in Indiana. When working with school leaders, his approach is that "we as educators must be involved in learning ourselves."

Lisa Rooney, director of framework development and support, spoke to Brandon recently. He shared what his leadership vision is — and how the Four Dimensions of School LeadershipTM (4DTM) helps bring that vision to life in the students' learning experiences.

 

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How the Four Dimensions of School Leadership Creates Focus in a Pandemic

by UWCEL Dec 10, 2020

 

4D Final

 

Lindsey Samec is an elementary school principal at Mounds View Public Schools in Minnesota. Like so many other school leaders across the country, she's had a lot to think about and manage this past year for her students to be able to learn and grow.

 

Michele Mason, director of instructional leadership, spoke to Lindsey recently. We wanted to know how the Four Dimensions of School LeadershipTM (4DTM) was helping her lead.

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When students feel happy and proud — the Student Experience Story Guide

by UWCEL Dec 3, 2020

“My favorite day of school was when it was my birthday because everybody said hello to me, and I wish that happened every day.” 

— a Seattle-area student, when asked to reflect on their best school experiences

 

For years, CEL has had frameworks around practice, knowledge, leadership and mindsets for adults. But we’ve never had a student-facing framework. When we revamped the Four Dimensions of School LeadershipTM to center student experiences in school, we knew we needed to bring students more directly into our work.

Jenn McDermott, director of innovative initiatives at CEL, spearheaded the effort to do just that. Jenn and CEL colleagues invited K-12 students from three Seattle-area school districts — then later on, students from across the country — to collaborate.

And the team learned that the adults at school really need to listen hard — because what adults focus on to make a better school experience? It’s not the same as what students say they want and need.

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Watch now: How we lead for equity

by UWCEL Oct 22, 2020

"We don’t believe that equity lives in a dimension on its own. As an effective leader, you don’t just lead for equity when you craft a vision and mission — it affects everything you do."

- Michele Mason

 

You believe in equity-driven leadership.

But how do you turn equity work into a practice that's integrated with your instructional leadership? And what does this kind of leadership look like when its implemented across a school system?

Over 500 leaders dove into those questions when they attended Leading for Equity: Equity-Focused, Learning-Centered Leadership live on October 8. Good news: you can still find the answers by tuning into the webinar recording — and it's available free on EdWeb.

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The Pandemic Revealed Inequities — and New Ways to Address Them

by UWCEL Aug 18, 2020

In a “normal” school year on a “normal” school day, Stacy Thomas, the executive director of teaching and learning for Blaine School District, bounces between each of the district’s schools, which are housed on one campus. Blaine is a district in rural Washington near the Canadian border, and the close-knit campus empowers Stacy to support principals and improve instruction.

Of course, this year has been anything but normal.

We spoke with Stacy about her experiences this past spring: the shift to remote learning, how it’s exacerbated extant educational inequities and how teachers and families have both stepped up during a trying time.

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The Importance of Relationships During Distance Learning

by UWCEL Jun 15, 2020

 

As schools began to transition to a new system of distance and remote learning, the initial focus was naturally on the nuts and bolts: How will we ensure students have access to the technology they need? What video platforms and tools should we use? What’s the right amount of screen time?

Once the reality of distance learning set in, however, educators like Sean McKenna, the principal of Vale Elementary in the Cashmere School District, found that addressing students’ and parents’ emotional needs was just as important.

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Bringing Teams Together to Get Better - No Matter What

by UWCEL May 26, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has illustrated just how vital a focus on the student experience and open lines of communication are — so student learning can continue, even with the disruptions. And that starts with our leaders at the top — leaders like Jeff Pelzel, the superintendent of the Newhall School District in Santa Clarita, California.  

Jeff spoke with Dr. Anneke Markholt, associate director of the Center for Educational Leadership, about what it means to lead a district at this time, how he's remained focused on his vision for student learning, and how he's planning for the school year.

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How Coaches are Improving Teaching in a Virtual Environment

by UWCEL May 18, 2020

The transition to distance learning has been unquestionably daunting for students, parents and educators. One side effect of the transition from chalkboards to Zoom or Teams screens has been a feeling of isolation for teachers, who are trying to navigate new educational norms without an in-person network of colleagues, mentors and coaches.

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What matters most to students and teachers for learning right now

by UWCEL May 4, 2020

In recent months, educators have had the daunting job of asking and answering, "What does teaching mean now?" They've had to make many impactful decisions and make them quickly — all while working together and teaching remotely.

Jody DeGroot, assistant principal at Bellarmine Prep High School in Tacoma, Washington, has similarly faced ongoing concerns about engaging students, assessing their learning, and supporting teachers with the right resources during the Covid-19 school closures. How has she navigated the situation? By asking guiding questions aligned with the 5 Dimensions of Teaching and Learning™.

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Principal as the Turning Point: EduTalks 2020

by UWCEL Mar 20, 2020

While the impact teachers make on learning is well-understood, there’s less appreciation for how principals can foster learning environments that empower students. 

In this six-minute video, Joanna Michelson, director of teacher leadership and learning at the UW Center for Educational Leadership (CEL), shares insights from the work she does with principals and district leaders. Drawing examples from the transformational leadership improvements at the rural Blaine School District in Washington state, she invites the audience to recall their own experiences as students — and to consider how much adult learning impacts student learning.

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