Instructional Leadership in Action

New White Paper on Redesigning Principal Supervision to Support Instructional Leadership

by UWCEL Aug 10, 2015

Principal supervisors can be an important resource for school improvement when they emphasize principal growth and learning. But transforming the role of principal supervisors and building the tools and support structures to help them grow principals' instructional leadership skills is a challenging task.

In a new white paper from the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) and the District Leadership Design Lab (DL2), authors Drs. Lydia Rainey and Meredith Honig describe the initial efforts of 11 school systems that are redesigning principal supervisor positions, highlight common trends and share emerging best practices. The school systems all participate in the Leading for Effective Teaching (LET) project, a partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and CEL.

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ASCD Conference Presentation on Role of Principal Supervisors in Developing Leadership

by UWCEL Mar 24, 2015

Given the redefined roles and demands of principals, their supervisors must transform how they lead, coach, and supervise. At this year’s 70th ASCD Annual Conference in Houston, Texas, CEL Project Director Karen Cloninger joined by Renton Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Tammy Campbell, Ed.D., presented CEL’s partnership work around the role of principal supervisors in developing leadership actions that improve teaching and learning, engage principals in cycles of inquiry around instructional leadership goals, and focus on growing principal leadership in authentic contexts.

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Now available: 4 Dimensions of Instructional Leadership™ 2.0

by UWCEL Feb 20, 2015

The University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) has released an updated version of the 4 Dimensions of Instructional Leadership. Describing the most important aspects of instructional leadership in more detail and clarity, this refined version of the framework helps school leaders better identify areas for instructional improvement and focus their time and energy on academic achievement for all students.

Version 2.0 incorporates feedback from educators using the 4D™ framework in their daily instructional practice and reflects CEL’s experience from working with school districts across the nation. CEL experts also reviewed current research published by the Wallace Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others.

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New Initiative Brings Leadership Training to More Than 70 Oregon School Administrators

by UWCEL Jan 9, 2015

Starting this month, Oregon education reform organization The Chalkboard Project is embarking on a new initiative that will bring leadership training to 71 school administrators responsible for 41 percent of Oregon’s K-12 students.

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What Does it Look Like When Principal Supervisors are Effectively Coaching Principals?

by Max Silverman Nov 10, 2014

That is the question over 60 principals, principal supervisors, and other central office leaders from across the country came to discuss and learn about at last week’s Leading for Effective Teaching meeting in Denver. The meeting, part of the Leading for Effective Teaching Project that CEL is leading with generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, included participants from 13 districts and charter management organizations (see box).

In presentations and break out sessions, CEL staff established the basics of a successful coaching partnership between principal supervisor and principal and highlighted some of the newest project findings. In a next step, participants put theory into action and observed Denver Public School instructional superintendents, the school system's prinicpal supervisors, coaching principals in schools.

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Webinar: Central Office Leadership in Principal Professional Learning Communities

by UWCEL Sep 4, 2014

In the final installment in a series of webinars exploring issues around how central offices can best support principals as instructional leaders, Dr. Meredith Honig of the University of Washington shares her team’s research on what principal supervisors do when they lead principal professional learning communities in ways that support principals’ growth as instructional leaders. She discusses tools and strategies districts can use to make these practices a reality in their systems.

We encourage principals and their supervisors to watch the webinar together and discuss how they can partner to improve the effectiveness of principal professional learning communities in their district.  

Watch the webinar recording

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New Guides for School Districts to Better Support Principals as Instructional Leaders

by UWCEL Jul 3, 2014

The University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) has released a set of three tools designed for school district central office leaders, especially principal supervisors, to help principals improve teaching and learning in every school across the district.

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Principals as Instructional Leaders

by Stephen Fink Apr 7, 2014

Stephen Fink (left) is executive director of the University of Washington’s Center for Educational Leadership. Max Silverman is the center’s associate director.

Increased accountability and scrutiny for school districts across the county has put renewed focus on an old problem: the persistent achievement gap dividing students along the lines of race, class, language and disability.

It's widely understood that principals play a pivotal role in the improvement of teaching and learning. But only few districts offer the right tools and support they need to succeed. Instead, principals often struggle with a lack of coordinated professional development, not enough time to work with teachers on instructional improvement, and a missing consensus on what the day-to-day work of a principal focused on teaching practice should look like.

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Video Library Added to Project Resources

by Max Silverman Feb 27, 2014

With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Center for Educational Leadership has created a video library to support school districts and charter management organizations as they implement system changes and individual practices to better support principals as instructional leaders.  Videos on this channel feature central office leaders and principals reflecting on strategies they’re implementing in principal support, the successes they’ve experienced, and what they’re learning in the process.  This dynamic collection of video, intended to support group or individual learning, is available at
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This School District Tackles the Achievement Gap With Equity

by Anneke Markholt Jan 14, 2014

The Big “Aha”: CEL Brings Equitable Learning Strategies to Small District With Stark Gap

As she scans student faces during classroom discussions, Michelle Rooks constantly asks herself “Who is being left behind? Who needs support to access the conversation?” The middle school instructional coach describes these as “gut questions” – questions planted by University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) experts who, over the past three years, have brought powerful equity-driven instructional and leadership strategies to a Wyoming school district with a stark and striking achievement gap.

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