Instructional Leadership in Action

[Happy New Year!] What unites us – A limitless future for all children

by Max Silverman Jan 3, 2019

On behalf of all of us at the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership, I am writing to wish a happy and peaceful new year to all of our partners, peers and supporters. The past year has been an exciting one for us, and we expect an exciting one for you as well. We have focused most of our effort on supporting teachers and principals, and the wide range of leaders you can find everywhere across school systems, from classrooms to the central office and beyond. We are continually humbled by what it means to partner with such committed educators. 

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[Interview] Gia Truong on her commitment to equitable education systems that provide all students with the skills they need to thrive.

by Max Silverman Dec 6, 2018

In this latest installment of The Throughline, Max Silverman speaks with Gia Truong about ensuring that all students, regardless of background, experience a rigorous education, free from bias.

Gia Truong is the chief executive officer at Envision Education, a mission-driven organization based in Oakland, Calif., that is transforming the lives of low-income, first-generation, college-bound students. Envision operates charter schools in the Bay Area and provides training and consulting services to schools and districts all over the country. Truong leads Envision with a strong commitment to educational equity and a focus on providing enhanced rigor and deeper learning opportunities for students. She is a Leading for Equity Fellow with the National Equity Project, is a member of Education Leaders of Color, and is the former executive officer of California’s Oakland Unified Schools’ Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Max Silverman: Gia, we both have the honor of leading organizations with deep equity agendas. In your day-to-day work, how do you define equity?

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What successful principals do to support teaching practice [Podcast interview]

by UWCEL Nov 28, 2018

In a new podcast episode from Principal Center Radio, Justin Baeder interviews the Center for Educational Leadership's Anneke Markholt and Joanna Michelson about their new book, Leading for Professional Learning: What Successful Principals Do To Support Teaching Practice.

How do you improve the quality of learning opportunities for all students, particularly those students who have historically been marginalized? That is the central question galvanizing a vision around teaching practice and leadership practice.

Markholt and Michelson talk about what it takes to be a principal who strives to keep students at the center of teacher professional learning efforts. The discussion touches on how to land on very specific outcomes for teacher practice and student learning; the leader's role in assessing what is happening with instruction in a school; and building a leadership team of teachers. They make the case that professional learning is not an event; at its best, professional learning is an ongoing part of how people operate in their school.

Listen to the interview at Principal Center Radio.

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We hope to see you at the Learning Forward 2018 Annual Conference

by UWCEL Nov 26, 2018

Faculty from the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership will lead three sessions at the Learning Forward 2018 Annual Conference in Dallas. These sessions are ideal for anyone involved with designing or leading professional learning.

The Principal's Role in Leading Professional Learning
Monday, December 3rd, 2018, 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm

Joanna Michelson, co-author of the new book, Leading for Professional Learning: What successful principals do to support teaching practice, will lead a breakout session titled, "The Principal's Role in Leading Professional Learning." How do principals play a pivotal role in supporting teacher learning in the spirit of reciprocal accountability? Learn about key frameworks and practical tools designed to guide leaders’ work in observation, determining the need, sponsoring and following up on teacher professional learning. Leave with an analysis of your existing professional learning leadership practice in relation to a middle school case study that identified how the school principal successfully supported teacher learning. Audiences: District Level Professional Development Leaders, Principals, Assistant Principals, Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents.

Who Is Your Learner? Supporting Leadership Through Inquiry
Tuesday, December 4th, 2018, 8:30 am to 10:30 am

CEL's Sandy Austin, and Sharon Williams, previously with CEL and now chief academic officer at Holmes County Consolidated School District in Mississippi, will lead a breakout session titled, "Who Is Your Learner? Supporting Leadership Through Inquiry." Learn how the school support and improvement department of a large urban school district aligned its support of principals through the development of guiding principles and pivotal instructional leadership practices. Learn about the professional learning path that is leading to sustainable changes in leadership practice. Develop a plan to establish guiding principles and pivotal instructional practices that guide the development and learning of leaders at all levels of the organization. Austin and Williams will be joined by Sito Narcisse, chief of schools of the 88,000-student Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), Adrienne Battle, community superintendent with MNPS, and Michelle Maultsby-Springer with MNPS. Audiences: District Level Professional Development Leaders, District Office Personnel (Directors/Consultants for Instruction, Technology, Curriculum, Human Resources, and Assessment), Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents.

Examining Teacher Learning Culture: Leadership Reflection and Planning
Tuesday, December 4th, 2018, 9:30 am to 11:30 am

Joanna Michelson and Jennifer McDermott will lead a breakout session titled, "Examining Teacher Learning Culture: Leadership Reflection and Planning." Research continues to highlight that formal teacher professional learning rarely reaches the classroom in ways that make an impact on student learning. Join this session to interact with the Center for Educational Leadership's latest thinking about leaders' roles in fostering both culture and strategy for successful teacher learning. Use tools to analyze the culture for teacher learning in your system and strategize about next steps to address it. Audiences: District Level Professional Development Leaders, Principals, Assistant Principals, Teacher Leaders/Mentors/Team Leaders.

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Is your approach to student progress data-centered or student-centered?

by Max Silverman Nov 20, 2018

Too often, we as educators confuse talking about student data and progress on key data benchmarks with actually talking about how students are progressing as learners and young people. This point is most easily seen when groups of educators are huddled around spreadsheets or elegant data arrays puzzling over how to best move a group of students over a data hurdle. No doubt this scene is one of progress from when broad groups of students were dismissed as unable to make significant progress. However, our evolution as student-centered educators requires us to make a critical shift from talking about student data to talking about students.

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New book: Leading for Professional Learning - What Successful Principals Do To Support Teaching Practice

by UWCEL Oct 3, 2018

We are thrilled to announce the release of a new book  from Anneke Markholt, Joanna Michelson and Stephen Fink of the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership.

Leading for Professional Learning offers field-tested guidance to help school leaders more effectively support teachers’ professional development.

Leadership is crucial to professional learning, providing the necessary systems and structures that enable teachers to improve their own practice and in turn, improve student learning.

With an illustrative case study, this book provides invaluable guidance, packed with practical tools, processes, and expert advice.

Learn more, read a sample chapter, and download a free tool

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An interview with Ellen Dorr about her strong commitment to educational equity and system design

by Max Silverman Sep 27, 2018

In this inaugural interview of The Throughline, Max Silverman speaks with Ellen Dorr (@ellenjdorr) about her strong commitment to educational equity and system design.

Ellen Dorr serves as the chief technology officer for the Renton School District in Washington, where she oversees technology services including customer service, infrastructure and digital learning. She leads the team to provide the resources and supports to empower educators to create inclusive, equitable instruction in classrooms as well as increase efficiency and effectiveness across the district.

Max Silverman: Ellen, as you know, here at CEL (the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership) we focus on how adults in schools – and the central office where you work – create learning environments for students that are inclusive, engaging and ultimately lead to student ownership of their learning. Describe for our readers what you would love to see when you walk into a classroom or learning environment that has these characteristics.

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Instructional leadership teams to the rescue: Developing a shared vision is key to success

by Sandy Austin Sep 26, 2018

How can a principal keep from feeling overwhelmed trying to improve teaching and learning? Form an instructional leadership team of teacher leaders to identify teaching and learning challenges in the building. Such a team builds its own instructional leadership skills while expanding your capacity.

In the September 2018 issue of NASSP's Principal Leadership magazine, Sandy Austin, Donna Anderson-Davis, Jason Graham and Michele White explain how to put instructional leadership teams into action. They share five best practices for school-based instructional leadership teams along with lessons learned, advice, and links to three useful tools.

Read the article.

Used with permission of NASSP/Principal Leadership. All rights reserved.

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Is student-centered the latest catchphrase? Not if we can help it.

by Max Silverman Sep 25, 2018

Lately, I have been getting very excited as I hear more and more leaders and organizations talk about “student-centered initiatives.” Often I hear this phrase about putting students in the center only to later feel disappointed when the follow-up conversations are really about putting student data in the center or, worse yet, launching another professional learning initiative masquerading as student-centered.

Are we making the idea of being student-centered as trite as the other catchphrases that came before? Can it be that the new student-centered miracle is actually the same one that was Common Core-based, or focused on personalized learning, or a must-have for your teacher accountability system? I don’t raise these questions to demean the great work that many in the education field are doing to ensure that improvement efforts remain focused on students. Instead, I want to push for the term student-centered to have real meaning. Our field’s understanding of student-centered should be powerful enough to change how students learn and what we accept as outcomes not only for students, but also for teachers, school leaders, and central office leaders.

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We're featuring teacher professional learning success stories at the Summer Leadership Institute 2018

by Joanna Michelson Jun 28, 2018

For the Summer Leadership Institute, we have lined up a dynamic panel of speakers who will share professional learning success stories from their school districts. Rebekah Kim, Paula Montgomery, and Jose Rivera are instructional leaders who inspire us, and we think each will inspire you with stories of how their districts solved challenging professional learning problems we can all relate to.

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