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Education WeeK Spotlight on MATH Instruction


On Creating School and District Leaders

Editors Note: To create school and district leaders, school systems must provide opportunities for training, professional development, and meaningful feedback. In this Spotlight, see how some districts are remaking principal evaluations, find out what it takes to build a positive school culture, and look at schools using on-site training to prepare principals for their jobs. Published March 6, 2013, in Education Week

Principal Appraisals Get a Remake

Table of CONTENTS:
1 Principal Appraisals Get a Remake 3 Principals Lack Training in Shaping School Climate 4 Training Programs Connect Principals to District Realities 6 Charter Sector Creates Grow Your Own Programs for Leaders 7 District Central Offices Take On New Roles 9 Foundation Releases Key Lessons On Principal Leadership Training

By Jaclyn Zubrzycki
Nikki Hudson, left, the academic coordinator at Lida Hooe Elementary School in Dallas, compares notes with Principal Linda Saenz during a principal-evaluation session.

growing number of school districtsincluding large ones like those in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Hawaiihave become recent converts to new principal-evaluation systems that tie school leaders appraisals to student test scores. As of this school year, student achievement accounts for 40 percent to 50 percent of principals evaluations in each of those school systems, while district leaders in a number of other places are preparing to make similar changes in coming school years. The switch to the new-breed evaluation systems comes on the heels of efforts nationwide to incorporate student-achievement measures into

9 Helping School Leaders Improve 10 What Does It Mean to Be a Good School Leader? 12 HOPE: 10 Ways to Develop Sustainable Leadership in Your School
Mark Graham for Education Week

13 Resources on Creating School and District Leaders

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Education WeeK Spotlight on Creating School and District Leaders

teachers evaluations. For principals, the move is being prompted by U.S. Department of Education grant programs such as Race to the Top, which requires states or districts to tie principal effectiveness in significant part to growth in student achievement, and by No Child Left Behind waivers, which allow states flexibility on some requirements of the federal law in exchange for adopting certain policies, including revamped educator-evaluation procedures. Test scores are generally one of several measures of student achievement used in new principal evaluations, which also look at school climate surveys and improvements in teachers effectiveness, among other gauges. Theres this collective realization that its more complex than just a single test score, said Dick Flanary, the deputy executive director of programs and services at the National Association of Secondary School Principals, a professional group based in Reston, Va. But both the NASSP and the Alexandria, Va.based National Association of Elementary School Principals, which released recommendations about principal evaluations last fall, say that making 40 percent or more of a principals evaluation dependent on studentachievement measures is inappropriate, even if that chunk of the review relies on more than just state test scores. Meanwhile, researchers and district leaders hope the new systems will help clarify needs and expectations for school leaders. We know that teachers have the biggest impact on outcomes for childrenand right behind that is the principal, said Jeannine French, the deputy superintendent of the 25,000-student Pittsburgh district, which is also revamping its evaluation system to include student growth. Its not just an evaluation tool. ... Its about making sure principals have the information they need about practice so they can very specifically improve so we get better results for our children. Though there is less research on principal evaluations than on teacher evaluations, the changes represent a step in the right direction, said Matthew Clifford, a senior research scientist at the American Institutes for Research, in Washington, who is working on evaluation guidelines for districts in Illinois and Maine. Many places have systems for evaluating principals that are not systematic and arent tied to standards right now, often based on reputation and on anecdotal evidence. Now, were building an evaluation system thats more systematic.

within the next two years, said Mr. Clifford. None of the relevant federal Education Department programs specifies what percentage of a school leaders evaluation needs to be tied to test scores, and states differ in how they do that, he said. In Florida, for instance, where evaluations were initially tied mainly to state standardized tests, the system was adjusted to factor in nontested subjects such as reading and mathematics, said Mr. Clifford. Some states, including Washington and Minnesota, require student achievement to count for 35 percent, while in Louisiana and Colorado, its 50 percent. The national principals associations call for student growth to account for between 25 percent and 35 percent of a principals evaluation, which they say more closely reflects how much a principal can actually affect test scores. The remainder of principals evaluations generally deal with measures of practice and behavior. The percent thing is more politically based than research-based, said P. Fred Storti, the executive director of the Minnesota Elementary School Principals Association. Test scores are an important part of the principals role, he said, but theres a lot you cant boil down to a test score.

Theres this collective realization that its more complex than just a single test score.
Dick Flanary
Deputy Executive Director of Programs and Services, National Association of Secondary School Principals

Still Experimenting
Though the changes to evaluations are picking up speed, states have generally dedicated less time to working out and implementing principal evaluations than they have to teacher evaluations, said Benjamin Fenton, the co-founder of New Leaders, a New Yorkbased nonprofit focused on school leadership. I think thats going to be a place of bigger focus, he said. As a rule, states and districts are looking at student outcomes to be a heavier weight or a larger official weight in evaluations, Mr. Fenton said. Even so, principals evaluations have stirred less controversy than teachers, perhaps because principals are fewer in numbernationwide, there are about 95,000 principals as compared with 3.5 million teachersand mostly not unionized, Mr. Clifford said. Principals are also used to being held accountable for the performance of their schools, said John Youngquist, the director of principal talent development in the 84,000-student Denver district, which plans to tie student test scores to evaluations starting next year. Its empowering to principal managers and principals when theres an agreed-upon set of understandings.

Half and Half?

Thirty-four states have passed laws involving principal evaluation in the past five years, and 22 will be implementing new systems

now account for 40 percent of school leaders evaluations, Superintendent Michael Miles said the new evaluations mirror district priorities. We value student-achievement results, we value high-quality instruction, we value parental engagement, we value positive and supportive school cultures, he said. The evaluation system there goes hand in hand with new principal-recruitment and professional-development programs, Mr. Miles said, and with more support and training for evaluators. Each evaluator is now responsible for fewer principals10 to 12in hopes that the appraisals will be more in-depth and accurate. The superintendent said that while Dallas initially planned to have a system based half on student achievement and half on principal practice, feedback from principals led him to shift the balance toward practice. Mr. Miles said that a survey of the districts principals showed them evenly split among those who approved of, disapproved of, and were neutral toward the new system. Whenever you have more-rigorous evaluation systems, theres going to be some anxiety, he said. But I think that most are at least willing to give it a try. In Hawaii, as in Chicago and Los Angeles, student achievement accounts for half of principals evaluations, said Ronn Nozoe, the deputy superintendent of Hawaiis education department, which is the single statewide district responsible for 180,000 students. The student-achievement component will be based partly on schoolwide median growth on the state test and partly on a measure chosen from a list that includes ACT scores and graduation rates. Mr. Nozoe said that developing the system had been a collaborative effort with the state principals union and Hawaii is also focused on providing professional development aligned with the new requirements. Supporting principals to support their teachers and support their students is by far the most important work we can do, Mr. Nozoe said.
Coverage of leadership, expanded learning time, and arts learning is supported in part by a grant from The Wallace Foundation, at www.

Context and Support

In Dallas, where student achievement will


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Education WeeK Spotlight on Creating School and District Leaders

Published March 6, 2013, in Education Week

Principals Lack Training in Shaping School Climate

Leadership groups seek to fill in gaps

By Sarah D. Sparks

mproving a struggling schools climate can be both the foundation of long-term school improvement and a source of immediate, visible progress for a new principal. The tricky part for many principals, experts say, is translating an idyllic vision into classroom reality. Thats why groups preparing so-called turnaround leaders increasingly say principals need more trainingnot just on data and academicsbut also on how to build relationships and support for learning among staff and students. We have found the training on culture and climate inadequate in most places, said Bob Hughes, the executive director of the Washington-based National Institute of School Leadership. Universities are trying to respond and change now. That is beginning to happen, but not fast enough. According to an analysis released last month by the Dallas-based George W. Bush Institute, 43 states include developing a positive school culture in their standards for principals, but a majority of states do not track what training on culture new leaders receive before going into a school. Clyde A. Cole, the executive director of content and curriculum for New Leaders, a nonprofit based in New York City, said understanding school climate and culture is a critical part of its Aspiring Principals program. The group trains leaders to turn around struggling, high-poverty urban schools. A principal under pressure to improve test scores is more likely to focus on classroom content and instruction than to gauge whether students feel respected or teachers collaborate well, Mr. Cole said, partly because academic factors are easier to assess.

Consequence Leadership
Because school climate can be more difficult than academics to quantify, Mr. Hughes

said, most principal training focuses on abstracts and symptoms. Graduation rates are low, so lets build a program to address graduation. Weve got teacher absenteeism, lets put money for that. Well, of course, graduation rates are important, teacher absenteeism is important, but thats a symptom, Mr. Hughes said. We really want to be imbuing principals with consequence leadershiplooking at the outcomes and the behaviors that got you there, not just always at the symptoms, he said. There is more research on best practices for evaluating and improving school climate, but the emphasis on a positive, developmentally appropriate learning culture for students has gotten a lot less attention in recent years with the focus on accountability, said Margaret Terry Orr, the director of the Future School Leader Academy at Bank Street College of Education in New York City. In principal-training programs, Ms. Orr said, you see more and more emphasis around student performance and how to read available test and achievement data. Yet principals who learn to attend to culture seem better at academic leadership, too, according to some research. In a 2007 study of principal education programs, Ms. Orr found that principals who had attended exemplary training programsthose with comprehensive curricula accompanied by intensive in-school internships and supportreported more improvement in the year of the study as well as a stronger continuous-improvement climate and academic focus, as compared with principals in other training programs. Suzanne E. Scallion, the superintendent of the 6,000-student Westfield school district in Massachusetts, has found similar results in her own studies of how principals address school climate. She found that leaders who have been trained to understand how relationships and values interact in a school can improve their campus cultures, and that those without such a conceptual understanding still have an accidental influence on their campusesnot always a healthy one.

David Levin, a co-founder of the Knowledge Is Power Program, or KIPP, said the national charter school network developed its in-house principal training to be a hybrid of education and business leadership. Traditional principal-preparation programs, he said, often give a strong academic grounding but provide less focus on the skills and strategies for creating a workplace culture, which are more commonly found in management training for other industries. Many turnaround principals come to their schools with a clear vision of what a good school climate should be, but still have difficulty getting staff and students on board, said Mr. Cole, of New Leaders. If you have people who are Type A and successful and not necessarily patient with other people, they think they need to just go in and do everything themselves, Mr. Cole said. The worse the culture and climate are, the less they use those interpersonal tactics to engage a variety of people, when in fact they need to do more. For a lot of principals, thats where they fall down. One of New Leaders recent graduates, Rachel J. Neill, the principal at Quail Hollow Middle School, in Charlotte, N.C., agreed. It can be tricky when youre a first-year principal, because there are all these archetypes of what a good principal should be. There can be this pressure to be the expert and have all the answers, Ms. Neill said. Training helped me to be comfortable in not having all the answers.

Reasons vs. Assumptions

The New York Leadership Academy, another nonprofit that recruits, develops, and supports principals, dedicates one week of its six-week summer training institute to helping would-be principals understand the factors that contribute to positive school culture and confront their own biases, said Kathleen Nadurak, the academys executive vice president of programs. The participants practice low-inference observationsidentifying relationships and actions at a school and then seeking reasons for them, rather than making as-

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Education WeeK Spotlight on Creating School and District Leaders

sumptions. For example, aspiring principals may confront a scenario in which teachers gather in their lounge in the morning rather than greeting incoming students. Your interpretation is theyre lazy, theyre waiting until the last minuteand all youre really seeing is the teachers are not at the door, Ms. Nadurak said. It comes from a very good motive; [principals] feel urgency about changing things for kids, she said. I respect that, but its not going to help get things doneparticularly if people think they are already doing exactly what you asked them to do. Its also easy for good intentions to go awry in a school without trust. Last year, in her first as principal at Quail Hollow, Ms. Neill held individual and group meetings with teachers to identify what they thought was working at their school and what needed to be changed. She then instituted a quarterly anonymous online survey for teachers to weigh in on how things were progressing throughout the year. After the first survey, Ms. Neill said, a teacher protested, arguing that even though the survey was anonymous, submissions could be traced to individual computers and used in future teacher evaluations. I genuinely just wanted to get feedback, Ms. Neill said. On one hand, I had to have that conversation and say, I really hope you trust me. On the other hand, I had to prove that in my actions, taking the survey data back to the teachers and saying, Heres what we found; here are the changes were making based on the feedback and for people to see that it didnt show up in anyones evaluation. In Westfield, Ms. Scallion has started school culture training for all assistant principals on track to become school leaders. She meets with them monthly to review school data, such as student-behavior incidents and climate surveys, and look at various case studies. I look at them as my talent pool for future principals. Effective principals are intentional, consciously trying to influence school climate, Ms. Scallion said. We ignore it at our peril and our students peril, because students need to be in an environment where they not only feel physically safe, but feel emotionally supported and successful.
Coverage of school climate and student behavior and engagement is supported in part by grants from the Atlantic Philanthropies, the NoVo Foundation, the Raikes Foundation, and the California Endowment.

Published December 5, 2012, in Education Week

Training Programs Connect Principals to District Realities

Practical readiness, local needs stressed

By Jaclyn Zubrzycki

growing number of principalpreparation initiatives are forsaking university classrooms in favor of much more familiar training grounds: the schools and districts where those aspiring leaders will end up working. Through coaching and mentorship initiatives, residencies and internships, and other new programs, both districts and university education schools are turning their focus to building practical readiness, in context, and offering continued learning and support for principals already on the job. Traditional principal-training programs havent been as connected to the realities of the profession as they need to be, said Dick Flanary, the deputy executive director of programs and services for the National Association of Secondary School Principals, based in Alexandria, Va. Universities talk about preparation, and school districts talk about readiness. Leadership-training programs in Philadelphia; Chicago; Prince Georges County, Md.; Gwinnett County, Ga.; Denver; New York City; and elsewhere all aim to give aspiring principalsand in some cases, even struggling midcareer principalscontextspecific advice and support from experienced educators. And, in a similar vein, districts in Sarasota County, Fla., in New York states middle Hudson Valley region, and elsewhere have created homegrown leadership academies and career tracks to supplement university-based principal-certification programs with hands-on experience, mentoring programs, and training in district-specific information and initiatives. Homegrown programs often set out to fill a gap in the training provided by tradi-

tional principal-certification programs, said Cheryl L. King, the director of leadership for learning innovation at the Education Development Center, a Waltham, Mass.based nonprofit organization that evaluates and designs education programs and provides self-assessments for university and district leadership programs.

Filling the Gap

In the 41,000-student Sarasota County district, educators created a leadership academy and mentorship program for leaders. In our experience, developing our own leaders has helped our district maintain its focus on long-term goals, said Lori White, the superintendent of schools. [Academy graduates] are familiar with our culture and have an understanding of our vision. Since 2006, 15 of the 25 new principals in the district and 31 of 43 assistant principals have graduated from the leadership academy. The schools leaders credit that leadership flow with the districts top-level A ranking from the state. That kind of support also appeals to aspiring leaders. David Jones, the principal at the districts North Port High School, said he chose to move to Sarasota County after seeing a presentation on the school systems leadership program. But such programs are often dependent on a districts budget situation, said the NASSPs Mr. Flanary. In todays economic times, with budget cuts and scarce and diminishing resources, its a commitment on the part of a district to create an academy, he said. In some districts, he said, those commitments are not possible. Even Sarasota County has had to put its principal academy on hiatus for a year because of budget pressures. And Mr. Jones said hes seen how the lack of the program has had an impact. One of his assistant princi-

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Education WeeK Spotlight on Creating School and District Leaders

pals, he said, who has phenomenal talent and ability, needs the opportunity to participate in something like that so he can move his career forward. The district agrees: It is planning to bring the leadership academy back in the coming spring.

Sustaining the Effort

In New Yorks Hudson Valley, the Ulster Board of Cooperative Educational Services, based in New Paltz, managed to continue a principaltraining initiative that focused on district-specific content and initiatives even after initial grant funding dropped off. The overall value of the program is significant enough that its no longer in question, said Jane Bullowa, the assistant superintendent for instructional services at the Ulster BOCES. But the programs been unable to build a network with neighboring leadership programs or forge a partnership with the State University of New York at New Paltz, as the creators of the initiative had intended, Ms. Bullowa said. Elsewhere, districts are increasingly collaborating with universities to provide more coaching and longer-term internships and residencies for aspiring principals. A 2010 paper from the New York City-based Wallace Foundation found that districts could improve the quality of principals by acting as consumers, encouraging local universities to craft programs that met their needs. (The Wallace Foundation also supports coverage of educational leadership in Education Week.) The Education Development Centers Ms. King said such training is helpful particularly in chronically low-performing schools, where context matters so much. Leaders are given an induction into what the experience is like, and how it differs from different contexts. The University of Illinois at Chicagos program, for instance, which is focused on preparing principals to improve low-performing urban schools, puts students in full-time residencies in schools similar to those where they are likely to end up working. We didnt believe the best place to train future leaders of Chicago schools was in highincome suburban schools or selective-enrollment schools, said Steven Tozer, a professor of education policy studies at the university and the coordinator of its urban education leadership program. The right place to develop capacity was in the most-challenging schools.

Working Hand in Hand

Rituparna Rita Raichoudhuri, a resident principal at Wells High School in Chicago and a member of the programs tenth cohort, said her residency had been helpful. The biggest learning here has been really

learning the day-to-day operations of the school, different things that happen in a day with students and parents, she said. I work hand in hand with the principal. Im doing everything hes doing; Im in every meeting hes in. Her mentor principal had been in an earlier cohort in the same program. The University of Illinois at Chicagos program is one of four programs that are part of the Chicago public schools Chicago Leadership Collaborative, through which the district is trying to bring in more principals with internship or residency experiences and whose education has been tied to a set of principal competencies outlined by the district. At Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., the college of education began focusing on coordinating its program with the nearby CharlotteMecklenburg, N.C., school system, and now does the same for a number of smaller districts in South Carolina, said Mark W. Mitchell, the program director for education leadership at the university. The things you teach are more relevant when you can sit down and talk with your students about whats actually happening in their district, said Mr. Mitchell, who was a principal before he came to Winthrop. We have to become much more cognizant of how important it is for us to stay current with whats happening in the public schools. The collaboration with the 141,000-student Charlotte-Mecklenburg system, which now receives funding from the Wallace Foundation, was begun in 2004, when Mr. Mitchell and another former school administrator arrived at the university and set a goal of building a relationship between the district and the university. Tying universities programs more tightly to districts also has the benefit of allowing districts and programs to track their effectiveness, said Ms. King of the Education Development Center. The Chicago program has produced 83 principals in the citys public schools so far. Mr. Tozer said that schools headed by graduates of the program are more than twice as likely to close achievement gaps between students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Weve known for 35 years that a really good principal could transform student learning outcomes in a very bad schoolbut we have acted as if such principals were born and not made, said Paul Zavitkovsky, a former principal who now coaches aspiring leaders through the Chicago program. We have to create the organizational structures, he said, to take advantage of principals who have succeeded to help pass on to the next generation what theyve learned.
Coverage of leadership, expanded learning time, and arts learning is supported in part by a grant from The Wallace Foundation, at

Weve known for 35 years that a really good principal could transform student learning outcomes in a very bad schoolbut we have acted as if such principals were born and not made.

Paul Zavitkovsky
Leadership Coach, Center for Urban Education Leadership

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Education WeeK Spotlight on Creating School and District Leaders

Published May 9, 2012, in Education Week

Charter Sector Creates Grow Your Own Programs for Leaders

But the demand may still outpace supply
By Christina A. Samuels

n the 2010-11 school year, more than 500 charter schools opened across the country, each one in need of a leader who had a grasp of the education- and personnelmanagement skills needed to run a school, as well as a solid underpinning in other areas such as nonprofit management, budgeting, and strategic planning. That rate of growth is not expected to abate any time soon, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools says. From 2005-06 to 2010-11, the number of charter schools grew by nearly 41 percent, from 3,999 to 5,627. And nearly a half million students are on charter school waiting lists, according to statistics from the Washington-based alliance. With the need for charter administrators in mind, the sector is developing its own leadership-training programs, many of which are as diverse as the in dependently operated public schools themselves. But questions remain about whether those entrepreneurial programs are growing quickly enough to meet the demand for charter school leaders and whether the programs are turning out leaders of high quality. The University of Washington Bothells Center for Reinventing Public Education surveyed the charter school leadership market in a 2008 report. It found that several large networks, such as the San Francisco-based Knowledge Is Power Program, or KIPP, and EdisonLearning, based in New York City, have their own programs to train leaders in their organizations cultures. Programs such as New Leaders, also in New York City, and the Boston-based Building Excellent Schools prepare their students to assume charter leadership in stand-alone charter schools or those within a network, rather than feeding into a leadership pipeline to a particular charter-management organization. Some programs focus on training charter school leaders to work in particular states.

A few have a specialized focus, such as the Chief Business Officers Training Program, which is run by the Charter Schools Development Center in Sacramento, Calif. That program trains leaders to run the business side of California charter schools. But those programs are turning out only a total of about 400 or 500 leaders a year, which is barely enough to keep up with new school growth and leadership turnover, said Christine Campbell, a senior research analyst for the University of Washington center and the lead author of the 2008 report. We know that the demand is outstripping the supply, she said. The charter-leadership programs generally get high marks from their participants, which is an important start in measuring their quality, the report notes. However, only a few of those that the center examined link their effectiveness to leaders success in the field, or mention other measures of program accountability. One program, Get Smart Schools in Denver, has trained 23 people since its creation in 2008; 20 are now in leadership positions in Colorado charter schools. Six recruits are training in the current cohort. Amy Slothower, the programs executive director, said that Get Smart has not reached the scale wed like to reach, but that part of its slow expansion is caused by intensive candidate screening. The program does not charge its fellows to participate in the yearlong program, Ms. Slothower said, in contrast to most traditional training programs. We feel that if we can continue to not charge tuition, we can be honest and selective with our admissions program, she said. Private grants pay for the leadership training.

We know that the demand is outstripping the supply.

Christine Ca mpbell
Senior Research Analyst, University of Washington Bothells Center for Reinventing Public Education

Wide Skill Set

Another reason training programs remain relatively small is simply the sheer variety of topics that must be covered to create a welltrained charter school leader. Andrew Collins, the director of school development for the Arizona Charter Schools

Association, in Phoenix, is helping to create a six-month fellowship that will train principals to start their own schools in low-income communities in that state. Mr. Collins said that fellows in that program will learn what its like to form a nonprofit business at the same time youre the instructional leader of a school. Fellows will also be steeped in budget and finance issues. Mr. Collins said traditional principal-training curriculums may not need to focus as heavily in that area because most such matters are handled by a district central office, but at a charter school, principals and founders are the [chief executive officer] and [chief financial officer] all together, at least in the first few years. The new Arizona program will also put a heavy emphasis on learning from other leaders, a common theme among charter school leadership programs, according to the CRPE report. When the fellows are done with the sixmonth course of study, theyre expected to transfer into the associations 18-month Charter Starter program, which aims to have leaders opening new schools by August 2014. Some groups are proud of the differences they perceive between their models and traditional leadership training. Linda Brown, the founder and chief executive officer of Building Excellent Schools, which has trained leaders now working in 20 cities, said her program provides a $90,000 stipend to its fellows, rather than asking them to pay tuition. In return, she said, it

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Education WeeK Spotlight on Creating School and District Leaders

Published July 18, 2012, in Education Week

asks for its fellows full commitment to the programand that means long days and few holidays. Its very gritty, Ms. Brown said. Were not about the theoretical underpinnings of things. The focus is on reality. At the same time, other groups are expanding their original training programs in new directions. The KIPP Foundation has allowed leaders from other charter-management organizations to take part in its training; about 20 out of 140 people in its upcoming five-week summer institute will be from schools other than those founded by KIPP, said Kelly Wright, the foundations chief learning officer.

District Central Offices Take On New Roles

In portfolio school systems, the job description is changing for administrators

Partnership With Districts

This year, KIPP went even broader, thanks to a federal Investing in Innovation, or i3, grant. With the $50 million grant, the foundation created the KIPP Leadership Design Fellowship, which has brought together representatives from a dozen districts and several CMOs and educator training programs. Between now and October, the fellowship participants will gain insight into how KIPP trains its leaders. Ms. White said the training program was created in part to answer the increasing number of questions that the charter network was receiving from people interested in how it trained its school principals and school founders. We were reflecting on what is the best way to share the lessons were learning, Ms. White said. So we decided to do a cohort model, based on how we train our leaders. The hope is that the participants will take what theyve learned back to their own communities and expand their local leadertraining capacity, she said. Ms. Campbell, with the Center for Reinventing Public Education, believes that charter school leadership programs will always remain relatively small, compared with the thousands of university-based principal programs across the country. However, principals in district-run schools are increasingly finding themselves in need of the skills in which charter leaders are trained. I hope that what well see is that traditional preparation programs adjust to become like charter school leadership programs, she said.
Coverage of leadership, extended and expanded learning time, and arts learning is supported in part by a grant from The Wallace Foundation at

By Christina A. Samuels

s chief talent officer for the Hartford, Conn., school district, Jennifer Allen finds herself in a different role from many central-office personnel who work in human resources. Rather than serve as a conduit for flowing district policy to school principals, who are then expected to act on those centralized decisions, Ms. Allen and her team in the 20,000-student district help principals learn how to best exercise autonomy in their schools, from making staffing decisions to figuring out instructional priorities to determining if theres enough money in the schools budget to buy a van for after-school activities. In her position, power doesnt come from a title, Ms. Allen said, it comes from providing a service that principals decide they need.

PAUL T. HILL: The chief academic officer can be a broker or tender of options.

New Responsibilities
Like Hartford, districts around the country are shifting responsibilities that once rested at the central office to principals, who may be operating magnet schools, charter schools, or neighborhood schools with varying levels of autonomy, all under one school system umbrella. These new-breed portfolio districts also require new thinking at the central office, where administrators once used to command, control, and compliance are now just one of many potential sources principals can tap for professional development, curriculum assistance, or help analyzing student data. The Center for Reinventing Public Education, based at the University of Washington Bothell, has long tracked the progress of portfolio districts. It counts 26 school systems as members of its portfolio district network, including New York City, Los Angeles, the District of Columbia, Baltimore, and the Recovery School District in Louisiana. Among the many central-office positions that need to change in a portfolio district is that of the chief academic officer, said Paul T. Hill, the centers founder. Central-office administrators generally offer a standardized approach, coaching, and professional development. But as much as possible, that needs to be put into the schools in a portfolio-model district, he said. At the extreme end, the chief academic officer can become a broker or a tender of the supply of options for schools. The district is not the default provider of anything. From Mr. Hills point of view, school administrators need flexibility not just in their schools, but freedom from mandates from the top in order to design programs, hire teachers, buy materials and technology, choose vendors, and own or

ERIC NADELSTERN: Central-office administrators may have less control than they think.

JENNIFER ALLEN: Central-office power comes from providing a service that principals need.

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Education WeeK Spotlight on Creating School and District Leaders

lease their own property. Central offices can keep longitudinal data on students, assess schools based on student performance, distribute money to schools, recruit teachers to the district, and manage an enrollment process for the schools that do not use neighborhood boundaries, he said. But this change, though easy to describe, is not always easy to implement, he addedin part because of concerns from central-office administrators about loosening the reins of power. District people are always worried that their school people are not ready for the responsibility, Mr. Hill said.

to fight against that. What you need to do is to create something entirely new and protect it from the old while youre nurturing it, he added.

Growth of a Network
New York started with an autonomy zone of 26 district-run and three charter schools, which Mr. Nadelstern oversaw. The zone eventually grew to 48 schools, and the initiative was then rebranded as Empowerment Schools and open to any principal who chose to participate. The thing youre nurturing eventually replaces the entire system, he said. Not every district chooses to transform itself the way New York did. Alyssa Whitehead-Bust, the chief of innovation and reform for the 82,000-student Denver school district, said she believes the changes at the central office need to happen at the same time that a district is giving more autonomy to its schools. At a minimum, you have to have support at the superintendent level, along with some other top leaders, she said. Her office oversees performance management for the districts charter schools and innovation schools, a state designation growing in popularity that gives some regular schools control over parts of their budget, hiring, and curriculum, as well as freedom from some union rules. Ms. Whitehead-Bust said that her position and that of her team can be described now as coaching, and its not always an easy shift. Its a value for us not to get caught up in one school type as being preferable to another, she said. We try to focus not on the differences between these schools but the similar goals. School officials also try to borrow good ideas from the innovation or charter schools; for example, seven district-run schools will be piloting an extended school day and year in the coming school year, as is done in some Denver charter and innovation schools. James Meza Jr., appointed in July 2011 to be the interim superintendent for the 45,000-student Jefferson Parish, La., district, has also worked fast, rolling out changes like principal-leadership programs and more autonomy for school leaders while eliminating 200 central-office positions and working to streamline central-office operations. We have 7,000 employees, and 3,500 of them are not in schools, Mr. Meza said. Most of them could go away tomorrow and not much would change. As an example of central-office streamlining, he said that the district is eliminating central-office-based compliance officers for

the spending of federal Title I funds targeted to economically disadvantaged students and shifting the monitoring task to schools. State permission was required to make that change, he said.

Moving on Monitoring
The district also removed 15 principals and could have removed more, Mr. Meza said, but found that it didnt have a deep pool of better candidates waiting in the wings. That prompted the creation of a new office that will be in charge of leadership training. The skill set for these principals is very different. Were not going to be at the central office telling them what to do, said Mr. Meza, who prior to his appointment was the dean at the University of New Orleans college of education. The shift to a portfolio process is not without critics. Kenneth J. Saltman, a professor of educational policy studies and research at DePaul University in Chicago, wrote a 2010 paper saying that such efforts offer instability with no reliable empirical evidence of success. The portfolio district approach looks like a recipe for high risk and no clear reward, he writes. Mr. Hill agrees that the evidence in favor of portfolio approaches is far from a slam dunk. But, he added, its implausible to think that a central-office administration can meet the needs of a diverse district using a traditional structure. You have to ask if this one solution fits all the problems, he said.
Special coverage of leadership, extended and expanded learning time, and arts learning is supported in part by a grant from the Wallace Foundation at

Giving Up Control
One of the first steps for central-office administrators, according to Eric Nadelstern, a former deputy chancellor in the New York City school system, is to get past the idea that they have that much control in the first place. They dont, he argues. You can have programs and say were going to implement them across the district in all the schools, and make sure that everyone is capable of doing the same thing, at the same time, on the same topic, Mr. Nadelstern said in an interview. He is currently a professor of educational leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University That is the prevalent modus operandi of most district superintendents, and you can do that and get a short-term gain on 4th grade reading scores, but there is never any lasting impact at the 8th grade level or in high school graduation rates, he continued. When a teacher closes the door in the morning, they do whatever the hell it is they think needs to be done. Mr. Nadelstern recently wrote a paper for the University of Washington center on how New York created networks of autonomous schools. He said rather than fight the heterogeneous practices taking place behind closed doors at schools, central-office administrators should embrace them. The people closest to the kids in the classroomthe principal, the teachers in consultation with parentsare the best people to make decisions, he said. New York, with 1 million students and 1,700 schools, manages its diverse portfolio of schools by setting up networks of schools linked by similar educational philosophies but not necessarily geography. The networks provide some central-management activities and are compared yearly for performance and principal satisfaction. Schools are free to switch networks yearly as they choose. Mr. Nadelstern said New York started small. You cant go in there and say to everyone were going to change and expect them not


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JournEy into SChooL improvEmEnt

Cracking the Leadership Code for high-performance

By Cathy J. Lassiter, Ed.D.

chool leaders across the country are struggling with smaller budgets, younger, less-experienced teachers, fewer growth opportunities and increasing demands and criticism. their quest to create a culture of high-performance in schools is akin to that of Indiana Jones and his quest for the holy Grail. they face many perils and challenges, and the consequences for failure can be dire. and then, there are other, more successful leaders, who have seemingly cracked the code on what it takes to create a high-performance culture, even in the face of the greatest of challenges. What do these leaders know and do that the others do not? Who are these principals and what are their secrets? colette unger-teasley, principal of Frazier International Magnet school in the heart of chicago, is a leader who shares the commitment to keeping the purpose and mission (secret #1) of her school in the consciousness of staff, parents, students, and the broader community. Frazier serves students in Grades K8, who come from some of the most challenging home environments one can imagine. commonly, one can find groups

of young men hanging out on street corners in front of buildings in the neighbor-hood, which are laden with graffiti and protected with barred windows.

Cathy J. Lassiter, Ed.D. Frazier International Magnet school Professional development is part of the chicago Public school associate system and, as such, accepts all students through a random lottery process. there are no achievement requirements, no discipline requirements, and no attendance requirements. the only qualification or entry requirement is that the student be enrolled in the chicago Public school system. the student population is a reflection of the community surrounding it, as well as from the far south side of chicago. More than 90 percent of the students are minority and qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. this may seem like a tough place to work, with insurmountable challenges; but not so.
I had the pleasure of working with the Frazier team on-site and found the staff there to be inspired, committed, happy, and optimistic. the principal has instilled a sense of pride and purpose into the culture of the school. this team exudes a cando spirit and is motivated to perform at the highest possible levels. staff members are well positioned to tackle the challenges that come their way. at the present time, that challenge is the common core state standards (ccss) and next generation assessments in 201415. although the ccss present more rigorous expectations in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and mathematics, the Frazier team is confident they will rise to the new demands by adjusting their current teaching practices. the figure on the left depicts student results on the Illinois standards achievement test (Isat) from both 2010 and 2011 at Frazier International. Frazier has the distinction of being chicagos first 90/90/90 school for two consecutive years. 90/90/90 schools are those with 90 percent ethnic minority, 90 percent free or reducedprice lunch, and 90 percent proficiency on state assessments. (reeves, 2004b)

Frazier International

Frazier Scatter Plot of ISAT Performance, ordered by percentage of low-income students as compared to all Frazier Scatter Plot ISAT Performance, by percentage elementary schools in of the Chicago Public ordered Schools, 2009

During the 20092010 school year, 91.9 percent of the students met or exceeded Illinois State standards on the 2010 ISAT test, increasing of low-income students as compared to all elementary schools their performance to 93.3 percent meeting in the Chicago Public Schools, 2009 or exceeding standards in 20102011. Frazier ranked 21st out of more than 500 elementary schools in Chicago, including selective enrollment, (Continued from page 5) magnet, neighborhood, and charter schools. The governor I had the pleasure of working with the Frazier team onof Illinois proclaimed a week in October 2010 as Frazier


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during the 20092010 school year, 91.9 percent of the students met or exceeded Illinois state standards on the 2010 Isat test, increasing their performance to 93.3 percent meeting or exceeding standards in 20102011. Frazier ranked 21st out of more than 500 elementary schools in chicago, including selective enrollment, magnet, neighborhood, and charter schools. the Governor proclaimed a week in october 2010 as Frazier International Beating the odds and educating our children Week in Illinois. such successful results do not come without complete engagement and commitment to the collective purpose. the Frazier team demonstrates a strong collective efficacy and they believe they are making a real difference in the lives of the children and families they serve. Principal unger-teasley has successfully tapped into the intrinsic motivation in her team members and has achieved extraordinary results. the culture at Frazier is one of high performance, no excuses, focus, and excellence.

Positive Deviance teaches us to pay attention differently; to awaken our minds, which are accustomed to overlooking outliers; and to cultivate skepticism about the assumption Thats just the way it is.
behaviors in these high-performing schools that caused them to overcome the barriers to success that hindered so many schools with the same demographic factors? according to reeves,. . . we sought to identify the extent to which there was a common set of behaviors exhibited by the leaders and teachers in schools with high achievement, high minority enrollment, and high poverty levels (2005, p. 187). as a result, the original study identified five common vital behaviors, which include: a laser focus on student achievement clear curriculum choices Frequent assessments and multiple opportunities for improvement an emphasis on nonfiction writing collaborative scoring of student work In the decade since the study, these findings have been validated in additional research. since the identification of the vital behaviors of the 90/90/90 schools and the subsequent validation of these findings in other research by James Popham, John hattie, and robert Marzano, more schools are adopting the vital behaviors from the 90/90/90 schools, as well as identifying their own outliers and maximizing the solutions they find through on-site action research.

Leaders as Positive Deviants creating a high-performance culture in schools is indeed a challenge, but it is possible. We have the knowledge, research, examples of success, and resources essential to establish a performance culture in every school. What we lack is discipline, focus, and follow-through to implement a few vital behaviors that provide leverage toward becoming a performance culture. the literature shows us many and varied examples of schools beating the odds. these schools, like Frazier International, are known as positive deviants (secret #2).
Positive deviants are outliers. they deviate from the norm in a positive way. these outliers succeed against all odds. When we study positive deviants, we are looking for the common thread, a few vital behaviors, that set them apart from the pack. We focus on the successful exceptions, not the failing norm. according to the authors of The Power of Positive Deviance, Positive deviance teaches us to pay attention differently; to awaken our minds, which are accustomed to overlooking outliers; and to cultivate skepticism about the assumption thats just the way it is. once we grasp this concept, paying attention to observable exceptions draws us naturally to the who, the what, and especially the how. (Pascale, J. sternin, and M. sternin, 2010, p. 3)

Collaborative Culture at the SEED School (secret #3) the final secret known by these high performing leaders is the power of collaboration and cooperation. leaders cannot do it all alone, and must rally a team that works well together, on many different levels, for the purpose and mission of the school.
the seed school in Washington, d.c. is an example of the kind of bone-deep collaboration and cooperation that is necessary. led by head of school charles adams and Principal Kara stacks, the team works to ensure the college acceptance of each and every student in the school. seed was showcased in the film Waiting for Superman, and was a feature story on the

the 90/90/90/ Schools Are positive Deviants the centers 90/90/90 schools research is a good example of finding and learning lessons from positive deviants. these schools, identified as high-poverty, high-minority, and highperforming schools were indeed outliers. What were the vital

cracking the leadership code for high-Performance | 2


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60 Minutes television show. seed was the nations first urban public boarding school and remains one of two in existence in the united states. located in the heart of Ward 7 in Washington, d.c., seed serves Washington, d.c. public school students and accepts those who apply through a lottery system. once the seats are taken, the students go onto a waiting list. there are no academic requirements for entry, and no student is turned away if they are enrolled in the d.c. public schools. the overwhelming majority of seed students are african-american and from neighborhoods that struggle economically. the primary mission of the seed school is to provide an outstanding, intensive educational program that prepares children, both academically and socially, for success in college. to that end, seed sent 95 percent of their 2011 senior class to a four-year college or university, and trends show that an average of 59 percent of them will complete a four-year degree. eighty-two percent of seeds students will be first-generation college students. ( What I noticed immediately on my first visit to this school is that both students and staff are congenial and welcoming to each other as well as visitors, and they share a high degree of collegiality. But more importantly, they demonstrated very strong cooperative and collaborative skills. the culture of this school is one of high performance. they have a purpose-driven mission and they work cooperatively to achieve it. the principal has high expectations for both the students and the staff at seed, and she understands that a high level of support and coaching is required to sustain this no-excuses, all-studentsto- college conviction. during a meeting with the leadership team, which included the assistant principal, literacy coach, and numerous teachers, Principal stacks modeled the level of cooperation and collaboration she expects from her staff. she did not speak first or most often. she did not direct others thinking. she did not make mandates. rather, she frequently asked the team to respond to questions and probes to deepen her understanding of their thoughts. We developed an action plan for the school to move forward that represented the best thinking by the group. It was not the principals plan. It was a plan reflecting what the team believed was best for the school and the staff. they demonstrate what adler and colleagues call the ethic of contribution. It exists in 3 a culture where people who look beyond their specific roles and advance the common purpose are the most valued in the organization. It was clear that team members were accustomed to speaking freely, and that norms of professional conduct had been established. the purpose at seed is ingrained in the work. all students will achieve at grade level, and extraordinary effort will be made to get them there, regardless of how low they are when they enter the school in Grade 6. all students will go to college and be prepared well by the seed school. this kind of cooperation and collaboration is more important now than ever. teamwork and collaboration is the only way to meet the growing challenges. It will be incumbent on school leaders at all levels to model the way by demonstrating strong cooperative and collaborative skills, just as Kara stacks has done at the seed school. Finally, for all of the Indiana Jones leaders searching for the holy Grail of high-performance, consider the secrets shared here. these principals, and many others like them, have rolled up their sleeves and focused deeply on doing a few things well. We acknowledge there is more to acheiving high performance in schools than space would allow for this article. however, these three secrets are a great starting point for all school leaders.

The Leadership and Learning Center

We create positive change in schools by bridging the critical gap between research and effective application of best practices. Based on the groundbreaking 90/90/90 schools research, our world-class professional development, distinguished by an unwavering commitment to deep implementation, is the catalyst for educational transformation. the Leadership and Learning Center is the professional develop-ment and consulting services division of houghton mifflin harcourt, a global education and learning company that is leading the way with innovative solutions to the challenges facing educators today.

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Education WeeK Spotlight on Creating School and District Leaders

Published June 27, 2012, in Education Week District Dossier Blog

Published March 13, 2013, in Education Week

Foundation Releases Key Lessons On Principal Leadership Training

hoose principal candidates selectively, offer strong coursework that applies theory directly to practice, and provide high quality mentoring and professional development: These are the keys to improving the ranks of school principals, according to the New York-based Wallace Foundation. The foundation recently released a report that boils down a decade of research and lessons learned in the field. The report notes that while most states have adopted leadership standards and there is more diversity among providers of principal training, most university-based training programs have failed to keep pace with the evolving role of principals. From the report: Among the common flaws critics cite: curricula that fail to take into account the needs of districts and diverse student bodies; weak connections between theory and practice; faculty with little or no experience as school leaders; and internships that are poorly designed and insufficiently connected to the rest of the curriculum, and lack opportunities to experience real leadership. . . . An especially provocative 2005 critique by former Columbia University Teachers College President Arthur Levine found that admissions criteria at the majority of university-based leadership programs have nothing to do with a potential students ability to be successful as a principal. All too commonly, Levine wrote, these programs have turned out to be little more than graduate credit dispensers. They award the equivalent of green stamps, which can be traded in for raises and promotions to teachers who have no intention of becoming administrators. The report outlines five steps that districts, superintendents and training programs can undertake to beef up the ranks of well-trained school leaders. Starting with a more probing process of evaluating potential candidates is one step in the process, as is providing strong support to new principals. (The Wallace Foundation provides grant support to Education Week to cover leadership issues.)


By Christina Samuels

Helping School Leaders Improve

By Elizabeth Neale and Jonas S. Chartock

ts time to dispel the perception that school principals have all the skills and capacity they need to be successful leaders as soon as they leave principal-preparation programs. Consider findings from the latest MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, a work that always seems to get to the heart of educations biggest questions. Responses to the recently released 29th annual survey offer interestingand troublinginsights into school leadership. Among the surveys startling findings:
n Three-quarters of all principals say the

job has become too complex, and nearly half report feeling under great stress several times a week or more. centage points since 2008, to its lowest level in 25 years, in 2012 (dropping from 62 percent to 39 percent). We acknowledge, however, that some have raised questions about the interpretation and quality of the findings on this point.

n Teacher satisfaction has declined 23 per-

Less-satisfied teachers are more likely to be located in schools where professional development and time for teacher collaboration have declined (21 percent vs. 14 percent). More principals find it challenging to maintain an adequate supply of effective teachers in urban schools and in schools where two-thirds or more of the students come from low-income households (60 percent vs. 43 percent in suburban schools and 44 percent in rural schools).

Clearly, principals and teachers face numerous challenges. In large part because of the factors cited above, teachers and principals in the United States leave their

positions in the first five years at high rates. Its clear the nation must find a way to support these overstressed leaders and increasingly less-satisfied teachers, especially in our high-poverty areas. We can do so by developing the leadership competencies of current principals, future principals, and teacher-leaders. The MetLife survey cites the stress that principals identify when they dont have the capacity to lead, especially in schools where student achievement is low and poverty is high. The surveys authors say it underscores the fact that teachers today play a key part in the leadership of their schools. Half of teachers play some function in formal leadership, whether as mentors or leadership-team members. The need for better leadership preparation is clear. Before they are asked to take on prospective executive leadership roles, new principals and teacher-leaders should be well grounded in the skills needed to manage adults. Opportunities for fellowships and continuous professional development as teacher-leaders would augment the base knowledge and abilities of school leaders before they change their roles. And, once they land in leadership positions, principals need continuous collaborative support and development. It takes a leadership team composed of a school principal and teachers leading in varied capacities to get to greater student success. If we are serious about increasing student achievement, we need to act now to retain the good to great teachers and leaders. The New Teacher Projects recent report The Irreplaceables clarifies that we are often not only losing the best new teachers, but that those who stay do so with the strongest and most effective principals. This team of effective leaders and principals helps students gain an additional five to six months of student learning each year, according to the TNTP report. From our perspective, heres what we feel the education community must do to effectively counter the growing

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Education WeeK Spotlight on Creating School and District Leaders


trends and realities highlighted in the MetLife survey:


Published April 13, 2012, in Education Week

Provide current principals with continuous post-training/post-mentoring support and development to accelerate leadership skills. In a study released by the Wallace Foundation in January, researchers stressed that effective leaders must shape a vision of academic success for all students, improve instruction, and become dynamic leaders able to manage, for example, people, data, and processes. Developing those skills takes an ongoing effort targeted to increase student outcomes. And it must be anchored in research that focuses on greater leadership capacity. Provide multiple, structured career pathways for educators. With formal, appropriately compensated middle-leader roles available, aspiring school leaders may find a more intentional, longer-term approach to the principalship more attractive. Research indicates that by developing the leadership skills of teachers, they will not only remain in the classroom, but will also expect to take on new responsibilities and expand their influence. The key to retaining the most effective of our educators lies in developing their skills for success. Offer outstanding fellowship and training experiences to teachers who will not only become tomorrows principals, but whoright nowcan move the needle on student achievement and add to the leadership capacity of their schools, helping each schools instructional community to improve. In so doing, we will build a network of midlevel teacher-leaders who have the wherewithal to best support their new colleagues while limiting the attrition of our most promising educators.


What Does It Mean to Be a Good School Leader?

By Karin Chenoweth and Christina Theokas

The MetLife survey should serve as a reminder not only that we have much to do to strengthen our schools, but also that there are proven actions we can take to bolster the quality of principal and teacher leadership for our students.
Elizabeth Neale is the founder and chief executive officer of the School Leaders Network, a nonprofit organization based in Hinsdale, Mass., that is committed to accelerating the leadership skills of principals and aspiring principals to increase student achievement. Jonas S. Chartock is the CEO of Leading Educators, a nonprofit organization based in New Orleans that trains teachers to lead their colleagues in the pursuit of student success.

teacher of our acquaintance once remarked that the dailyness of teaching overwhelmed all calm reflection. Only in stray moments or middle-of-the-night worry sessions could he ponder the big questions of whether he was helping all of his students and whether he needed to deepen his content knowledge or improve his lesson planning. This phrase, the daily-ness of teaching, would probably resonate with many teachers who cant help but be caught up in the endless work of planning lessons, grading papers, building relationships with students, communicating with parents, and the other myriad responsibilities they have. In fact, teachers have so much to think about that even when they have opportunities to work with their colleagues, they often question whether collaboration is really worth it when they have so much to do. To help teachers step back and think deeply about their instruction and how to improve it is a tough job, but its the job we need principals and other school leaders to do if schools are going to educate all students well. That, at least, is what we concluded after conducting a study of 33 principals who led 24 successful schools. The study included schools of all levels, with 65 percent being elementary, in every part of the country, with a range in student population from 200 to nearly 2,000. These schools are not expected to do particularly well; on average, about three-quarters of the enrollment are students of color or students who live in poverty. But if you look at their statetest data, some look surprisingly similar to any middle-class school in their states; others are among their states top performers. Their success demands our attention.

Our study of them makes it clear that these schools didnt achieve success by accident, or by endless test prep, either. They succeeded because they had leaders who understood good teaching, made it their priority, and honed it with their staffs. We found commonalities among these school leaders:
n Successful

principals help teachers improve their individual practice, whether they are new or veteran. New teachers, for example, lack experience in how to set up their classrooms to support routines and manage discipline, design a lesson, or build relationships with students and colleagues. As teachers master those tasks, they must learn to design lessons that engage all students and analyze data to see which students need additional help or enrichment. These principals gauge what their teachers need and arrange for the appropriate support. They assign mentor teachers; they send in instructional coaches or more-accomplished teachers to teach model lessons; they or their delegates observe instruction frequently and offer suggestions; and they meet with teachers regularly to look at student data, discuss relevant research, and explore options for their classrooms. Before [new teachers] ever begin here, we explain [that] this is an ongoing learning experience and it should never stop, said John Capozzi, the principal of Elmont Memorial High School, in Elmont, N.Y., one of the schools we studied.

Successful principals work with groups of teachers to find patterns of instruction within grade levels and departments. If state math scores indicate that many of the 3rd graders didnt understand measurement or some of the 9th graders

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Education WeeK Spotlight on Creating School and District Leaders


didnt understand fractions, were some teachers students more successful than others? If so, what did those teachers do differently that they can share with their colleagues? If not, perhaps those grade levels need to reassess their approach. Perhaps the teachers could benefit from a math workshop or conference. Which teacher would be the best designee to attend such an event and relay the most promising materials and techniques back to his or her colleagues?

time is not interrupted and that teachers have time to work and plan together during the school day.

Successful principals identify schoolwide needs and plan professional learning to develop collective expertise. For example, students who live in poverty often arrive at school with weak vocabularies and limited background knowledge. The principals we studied work with teachers to tackle that problem in a coherent way across grades and subjects because they understand that students will learn more when the school consistently intervenes. What we have described is a sophisticated approach to school leadership that requires principals and other school leadersassistant principals, department chairs, instructional coaches, teacher leaders, and othersto have a deep knowledge of and respect for instruction and for the professional role of teachers. But it requires something more as well: It requires a deep belief that all children can learn and a determination to figure out how to help them do so. This sounds simple, but it means that educators must see that student failure requires a change in their practice. It takes leadership to help teachers take on the burden of student failure, look it squarely in the eye, and ask, What can we do differently? rather than declare, These students are helpless or think quietly to themselves, I am a bad teacher. For teachers to be able to do this, they need clear expectations from their principal and the opportunity to develop a professional practice through collaboration with colleagues. Good principals understand that no individual teacher can possibly have all the necessary content knowledge, pedagogical skill, and familiarity with his or her students to be successful 100 percent of the time with all of those students. Good principals know that it is only by pooling the knowledge and skills of their teachers, encouraging collaboration, and focusing on continual improvement that students and their teachers will have the opportunity to be successful.

They ensure that such collaboration time is spent in ways that will have the biggest instructional payoff: studying standards, mapping instruction, building assessments, studying data, and learning new content and skills. As Deb Gustafson, the principal of Ware Elementary School in Fort Riley, Kan., says: Time is our most precious commodity, and we must use it effectively and wisely. ... [M]eetings and requirements must be well organized, focused, agenda-driven, and contain specific expectations. They establish schoolwide routines and discipline processes so that time is not squandered on behavioral problems or such popular time-wasters as fumbling with materials, classwide bathroom breaks, or socalled movie Fridays. They model what they want to see. As Ricci Hall, the principal of University Park Campus School in Worcester, Mass., put it, Being a school leader is about helping to create powerful learning experiences for your staff and faculty and creating the circumstances where teachers can do the same for their kids. They monitor the work of everyone in the school to ensure that no teacher or staff member shirks responsibility while others are working their hearts out. all, they help teachers step back from the daily-ness of teaching by providing the evaluative eye that allows teachers to think deeply about whether they are getting the most effect for their efforts.

n Above

This kind of leadership is a long way from the traditional model of the principal as a building manager, and few principals have been trained this way. But if we want schools that prepare all children for productive citizenship, this is the leadership we need.
Karin Chenoweth is writer-in-residence at the Education Trust, which is based in Washington. Christina Theokas is the director of research at the Education Trust. They are the authors of Getting It Done: Leading Academic Success in Unexpected Schools (Harvard Education Press, 2011).

For that reason, successful principals take very concrete steps to support teachers:

They build schoolwide master schedules carefully to make sure that instructional

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Education WeeK Spotlight on Creating School and District Leaders


Published September 4, 2012, in Education Week John Wilson Unleashed Blog


HOPE: 10 Ways to Develop Sustainable Leadership in Your School

By Alan Blankstein
ustainable leadership is characterized by depth of learning and real achievement rather than superficially tested performance; length of impact over the long haul, beyond individual leaders, through effectively managed succession; breadth of influence, where leadership becomes a distributed responsibility; justice in ensuring that leadership actions do no harm to and actively benefit students in other classes and schools; diversity that replaces standardization and alignment with networks and cohesion; resourcefulness that conserves and renews teachers and leaders energy and does not burn them out; and conservation that builds on the best of the past to create an even better future. The following, are 10 practical ideas for developing sustainable leadership in your system or your school: 1. Refocus your curriculum, use of materials, and school design to include ecological sustainability as a core aspect of teaching and learning for all students. 2. Begin all discussions about achievement and how to raise it with conversation and reflection about the learning that underpins the achievement. Put learning first, before testing and even before achievement. Get the learning right and the others will follow. 3. Insist that all school improvement plans should contain leadership succession plans. This does not mean naming successors, but it means having continuing conversations and plans, shared by the community about the future leadership needs of the school or district. 4. Make it a condition of professional employment that every teacher and leader is part of a learning team in his or her school district that meets within scheduled school time on a regular basis, as well as outside of it. This focus of the learning teams should be self-guided, not administratively imposed. 5. Write your own professional obituary. It makes you think hard about the legacy you want to leave, and how deliberately you can bring that into being. 6. Form a three-sided partnership with a lower-

Copyright 2013 by Editorial Projects in Education, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication shall be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic or otherwise, without the written permission of the copyright holder. Readers may make up to 5 print copies of this publication at no cost for personal, non-commercial use, provided that each includes a full citation of the source. Visit for information about additional print photocopies. Published by Editorial Projects in Education, Inc. 6935 Arlington Road, Suite 100 Bethesda, MD, 20814 Phone: (301) 280-3100

or higher-performing district or school in your own country and with a school or district in a less-developed country, so all are learning and inspired, everyone needs and gives help, and no one is top dog on everything. 7. Establish a collaborative of schools in your town or city, across district boundaries, to commit to community development initiatives beyond the interests of particular schools. 8. Create a system where principals and leadership teams in successfully turned-around schools can take on a second school or even a third (as well as their own), with dramatically improved salary (with resources being provided to maintain and replace capacity in their home schools), to develop administrative careers for administrators without having to abandon their close connections to learning, to provide peer assistance (rather than top-down intervention) to struggling schools, and to lighten district administration at the top in favor of more interconnected leadership within and across districts from below. 9. Coach a teacher who looks like they have little capacity for leadership-and not just ones who look like they already have leadership in them. All leadership is learned, even though some will struggle more than others to learn it. There will be little distributed leadership unless the pool of leaders is widened to include those who do not even yet aspire to lead at all. 10. Spend more time in schools if you work in the district, or more time in the classrooms if you are a principal in a school. Dont just check up on people, as in the overused management walk-through, but develop genuine interest in, curiosity about, and knowledge of what teachers and students are doing. Know your people first. Check the data and spreadsheets second. Not the other way around.
These 10 ideas on sustainable leadership are an excerpt from the award winning book by Alan Blankstein, Failure Is Not an Option: Six Principles That Guide Student Achievement in High-Performing Schools (Corwin Press, 2004). To learn more about school improvement and comprehensive education reform programs, visit the HOPE Foundation website at

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Education WeeK Spotlight on Creating School and District Leaders



Resources on Creating School and District Leaders

Now featuring interactive hyperlinks. Just click and go.
Districts Developing Leaders: Lessons on Consumer Actions and Program Approaches from Eight Urban Districts Margaret Terry Orr, Cheryl King, Michelle LaPointe The Wallace Foundation, October 2010


Getting It Done Leading Academic Success in Unexpected Schools Karin Chenoweth and Christina Theokas Harvard Education Press, October 2011

The Making of the Principal: Five Lessons in Leadership Training Pages/The-Making-of-the-Principal-Five-Lessons-in-Leadership-Training.aspx Lee Mitgang The Wallace Foundation, June 2012

The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Challenges for School Leadership The MetLife Foundation, February 2013

National Association of Elementary School Principals

National Association of Secondary School Principals

Operating in the Dark: What Outdated State Policies and Data Gaps Mean for Effective School Leadership Kerri Briggs, Gretchen Rhines Cheney, Jacquelyn Davis, Kerry Moll George W. Bush Institute, February 2013

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The Achievement Gap
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Charter School Leadership

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Classroom Management Common Standards Instruction Dropout Prevention


Data-Driven Decisionmaking
ELL Assessment and Teaching

Differentiated Homework


ELLs in the Classroom

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Flu and Schools

Getting The Most From Your IT Budget


Gifted Education

Implementing Common Standards

Middle and High School Literacy

Inclusion and Assistive Technology


Math Instruction


No Child Left Behind

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Pay for Performance Reinventing



Parental Involvement
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Race to the Top


Reading Instruction

Professional Development in the Classroom


Response to Intervention

School Uniforms and Dress Codes Teacher Tips for the New Year


Education STEM in Schools

Teacher Evaluation


Tips for New Teachers

Educ ation

WEEK Spotl ight

on imple ment

ing comm on Stand ardS


On Teacher Evaluation
Editors Note: Assessing teacher performance is a complicated issue, raising questions of how to best measure teacher effectiveness. This Spotlight examines ways to assess teaching and efforts to improve teacher evaluation. Published February 2, 2011, in Education Week

1 Wanted: Ways to Assess the Majority of Teachers 4 Gates Analysis Offers Clues to Identification of Teacher Effectiveness 5 State Group Piloting Teacher Prelicensing Exam 6 Report: Six Steps for Upgrading Teacher Evaluation Systems 7 Peer Review Undergoing Revitalization

Wanted: Ways to Assess the Majority of Teachers

he debate about value added measures of teaching may be the most divisive topic in teacher-quality policy today. It has generated sharp-tongued exchanges in public forums, in news stories, and on editorial pages. And it has produced enough policy briefs to fell whole forests. But for most of the nations teachers, who do not teach subjects or grades in which valueadded data are available, that debate is also largely irrelevant. Now, teachers unions, content-area experts, and administrators in many states and communities are hard at work examining measures that could be used to weigh teachers contributions to learning in subjects ranging from career and technical education to art, music, and historythe subjects,

By Stephen Sawchuk

Editors Note: In order to implement the Common Core State Standards, educators need instructional materials and assessments. But not all states are moving at the same pace, and some district s are finding common-core resources in short supply. This Spotlight highlights the curricu professional develo lum, pment, and online resources available to help districts prepar e for the common core.

On Implementi ng Common Sta ndards



10 Moving Beyond Test Scores 12 My Students Help Assess My Teaching 13 Taking Teacher Evaluation to Extremes 15 Value-Added: Its Not Perfect, But It Makes Sense

11 Standards: A Golden Opportunity for K-16 Collaboration 12 The Commo n-Core Contradiction 14 Resources on Common Core
iStock/ olandesina

cOmmentar y:

1 Educators in Search of Common-Core Resources 4 Higher Ed. Gets Voting Rights on Assessm ents 6 Common Cores Focus on Close Reading Stirs Worries 7 Few States Cite Full Plans for Carrying Out Standards 8 Common Core Poses Challenges for Preschools 10 Common Core Raises PD Opportunities, Questions

Published Februa ry

17 Resources on Teacher Evaluation


View the complete collection of Education Week Spotlights



s states and distr icts begin the mon academic work of turning standards into comcurriculum and tion, educators instrucsearching for teach often finding that process frust ing resources are Teachers and rating and fruit curriculum deve less. road maps that lopers who are reflect the Com trying to craft mon Core State Standards can

Educators in Searc h of Common-Core Resources

By Catherine Gewe rtz

29, 2012, in Educa tion Week