Essential Elements for Effective Instructional Leadership

Develop Self and Others

Instructional leaders believe that learning is a life-long process and demand/support reflective and targeted professional development for themselves, all staff members and students.
Advanced The leader has a ‘no excuses’ attitude – regarding everything, expects it of others and is able to convey to them why this is important. The leader has build a safety net to support learning and higher performance of all students and teachers (i.e. remedial classes, effective guidance, effective referral system, mentoring, etc) The leader promotes targeted professional development through feedback, class coverage, introduction of opportunities and intra-school partnerships (such as mentoring and coalitions) and there is evidence that it is having a positive effect on teaching and learning The leader employs reflective practices on his/her own work and empowers others to do the same. He/she models life-long learning, openness to change, and persistence and expects it of others Proficient The leader has a ‘no excuses’ attitude regarding most things and expects it of others. Capable The leader claims to have a ‘no excuses’ attitude but evidence of it is inconsistent (i.e. excuses are still made on a regular basis). Some staff members have initiated programs that act as a safety net and the leader has approved them. AND/OR The leader recognizes that there is a need for ‘safety net’ programs but has not implemented them yet. The leader promotes limited professional development activities AND/OR staff that partake in professional development do so on their own initiative. Emerging Excuses, excuses, excuses…

The leader has initiated a few programs for students that provide a safety net to support learning and higher performance (i.e. remedial classes, effective guidance, effective referral system, etc) The leader promotes targeted professional development through feedback, class coverage, introduction of opportunities and intra-school partnerships (such as mentoring and coalitions) but it’s effect is not clear The leader employs reflective practices on his/her own work. He/she models life-long learning, openness to change, and persistence. He/she does not outwardly encourage or empower others to do the same.

The leader knows that there are kids and teachers who are falling through the cracks but in general, sees it as their own fault.

The leader discourages professional development for budgetary, teacher coverage or other reasons

The leader recognizes the importance of reflective practices, but is not able to find the time or the initiative to really use them.

The leader is stuck in a rut, and feels that he/she is doing fine the way things are.

Essential Elements for Effective Instructional Leadership

Create a Culture of Learning
Advanced

Instructional leaders create a culture within their schools that makes learning the priority for all students, families, teachers and administrators. Proficient
The leader has high expectations for both the students and staff. These expectations are clear to some and include appropriate manner, dress and work load. The leader has created an accepting environment for cultural and learning differences (e.g., language, sensitivity to ethnicity, handicap accommodations)which includes ensuring fair and ethical treatment of all students and staff The leader has created a culture where most of the staff feel they can take risks and try innovative teaching. He/she encourages this behavior. The leader places a high priority on creating a safe environment for students to learn and teachers to teach. There is some evidence that relevant factors are being addressed, but others have been put off or ignored

Capable
The leader has high expectations for some students and staff, but seems to have given up on others.

Emerging
The leader is pleased that some students and staff have been able to excel, but thinks that others will not be able to do well whether he/she intervenes or not. “Why bother?”

The leader has high expectations for both students and staff. These expectations are clear to all parties and include appropriate manner, dress, workload, ambition and an excitement about learning. The leader has created an accepting environment for cultural and learning differences (e.g., language, sensitivity to ethnicity, handicap accommodations) which includes ensuring fair and ethical treatment of all students, staff and families and creating a welcoming environment for all families and community members The leader has created a culture where staff feel they can take risks and try innovative teaching. He/she encourages and models this behavior and there is evidence that the staff embraces it. The leader places high priority on creating a safe environment for students to learn and teaches to teach. There is substantial evidence that relevant factors are continually being addressed, and done so in a timely and appropriate manner.

The leader has said that and accepting Incidents of student or staff prejudice environment is important, but his/her are common, and/or are often not actions have done little to show that addressed. this is truly a priority.

A few of the staff feel they can take risks and try innovative teaching, but it mostly their own initiative.

The leader discourages risk taking and innovative teaching.

The leader says he/she places a high priority on creating a safe environment for students to learn and teachers to teach, but there is not a lot of evidence that he/she has worked to improve situations that threaten safety.

The leader believes that school safety is best left up to the school and/or city police.

Essential Elements for Effective Instructional Leadership

Build a Network to Support, Enhance and Sustain Learning

Instructional leaders build a network that is aligned and focused around the instructional goals of school, local superintendency and state education department, and that takes ownership for the school’s successes and failures.
Advanced The leader consistently collaborates with district level staff, school level staff, and community members to ensure the school’s goals are aligned with state, city, and district educational goals The leader creates ownership for all stakeholders by including them in decisions, communicating (with families, community, business), identifying people’s roles and holding all players accountable. The leader distributes instructional responsibilities by involving everyone, from the secretary to the superintendent, where appropriate. The leader ensures that educational opportunities are not forsaken due to budget problems by gathering additional resources (e.g., writing grants, seeking business partners, soliciting donations of supplies, etc) when needed. He/she trains and supports the staff to do the same. Proficient The leader collaborates with district level staff and school level staff to ensure that the school’s goals are aligned with state, city and district educational goals. The leader creates ownership for most stakeholders by including them in decisions, communicating with families, community, business), identifying people’s roles and holding all players accountable. The leader distributes instructional responsibilities by involving most staff members. The leader ensures that educational opportunities are not forsaken due to budget problems by gathering additional resources (e.g., writing grants, seeking business partners, soliciting donations of supplies, etc) when needed. Capable The leader collaborates with district level staff and school level staff when required to do so to ensure that the school’s goals are aligned with state, city and district educational goals. The leader creates ownership for some stakeholders by including them in decisions, communicating (with families, community, business), but does not always make their roles clear or hold them accountable. The leader says she or she believes that instructional responsibilities should be distributed, but it actually rarely happens. In some cases, the leader gathers additional resources (e.g. writing grants seeking business partners, soliciting donations of supplies, etc) when needed, but clearly other opportunities are dismissed due to lack of initiative, time or information Emerging There is little collaboration and/or alignment of goals

Most or all of the people who should be considered key stakeholders are not involved in nor take ownership for the school The leader believes in the traditional roles of principals, teachers and others. The school and all its programs rely on the money that is given to them in the BOE budget. If it can not be financed this way, it does not happen.

Essential Elements for Effective Instructional Leadership

Make the Right Decisions

Instructional leaders make decisions based on accurate and timely data, cohort methodology, sound judgment, feedback and input from key stakeholders (teachers, students, families, community, etc), best practices and current research. They do not rely upon ‘doing things the way they have always been done.’
Advanced The leader is constantly looking for new and/or more effective ways to do things. He/she embraces a ‘good can be better’ rather than a ‘good enough’ attitude and is able to inspire her staff to do the same. The leader makes decisions based on best practices/research, uses data/cohort methodology on a consistent basis and supports and trains his/her staff to do the same. The leader is consistently able to prioritize daily tasks to ensure instruction is the focus of each and every day. The leader promotes participatory management and includes staff, students, families and the community in major decision making and long term planning. There is substantial evidence that input is being listened to and used to make final decisions Proficient The leader often looks for new and/or more effective was to do things. He/she embraces a ‘good can be better’ rather than a ‘good enough’ attitude. The leader makes most decisions based on best practices/research and uses data/cohort methodology on a consistent basis. The leader is usually able to prioritize daily tasks to ensure instruction is the focus of each and every day. The leader promotes participatory management and includes staff, students, families and the community in major decision making and long term planning. There is some evidence that input is being listened to and used to make final decisions Capable The leader sometimes looks for new and/or more effective ways to do things, but other times relies on habit. Emerging The leader believes in ‘leaving well enough alone.’

The leader makes some decisions based on best practices/research and occasionally uses data/cohort methodology. The leader is sometimes able to prioritize daily tasks to ensure instruction is the focus of each and every day The leader promotes participatory management but there is little or no evidence that their input is actually used.

The leader makes decisions based on habit and disregards best practices and research. He/she does not trust the data and/or cohort methodology as sound assessment tools. The leader is rarely able to prioritize daily task to ensure instruction is the focus of each and every day. The leader does not know about or does not believe in participatory management.

Essential Elements for Effective Instructional Leadership

Participate Actively in the Teaching and Learning Process

Instructional leaders must be a part of teaching and learning. This includes having a constant and interactive presence in the classrooms, teachers meetings, hallways, PTA meetings, etc. Instructional leaders are ‘hands-on.’
Advanced The leader takes ownership of the ‘good and the bad’ and embraces the philosophy that what goes on in the school is not someone else’s fault or problem. She/he expects and supports her staff to share the same philosophy The leader has a strong presence in all academic and vocational aspects of the school and conducts daily walkthroughs of classes, hallways, cafeterias and other areas which result in effect interaction and feedback The leader offers consistent praise and constructive feedback to staff and students and is able to do so in a way that is helpful rather than critical. There is individual supervision of all teachers The leader communicates informally and formally with teachers, students, parents and community regarding academic, social, behavioral and other issues Proficient The leader takes ownership of the ‘good and the bad’ and embraces the philosophy that what goes on in the school is usually not someone else’s fault or problem. The leader has a strong presence in all academic and vocational aspects of the school and conducts daily walkthroughs of classes, hallways, cafeterias and other areas at least 3 times a week, there is a modes amount of interaction and feedback The leader offers consistent praise and constructive feedback to staff and students and is able to do so in a way that is usually well received The leader communicates informally and formally with teachers, student, parents and community regarding some topics, but not others. Capable The leadership sometimes takes ownership for the ‘good and the bad,’ but other times places the blame for problems on societal norms, BOE regulations, Regents exams, etc. The leader conducts walkthroughs of classes, hallways, cafeterias and other areas at least once a week, but does not have much interaction nor give feedback. The leader sometimes offers praise and/or constructive feedback to staff and students but it is not always authentic or helpful. The leader communicates informally and formally with selected people, but seems to disregard others AND/OR the topics of communication are very limited Emerging Placing the blame on outside sources (society, BOE, state standards/exam, parents, etc.) is a norm with the leader and has become part of the school culture The leader spends the majority of the day in the main office or in meetings. Teachers and students rarely see him or her in classrooms and hallways

The leader offers very little feedback or praise to staff or students.

The leader does not communicate frequently with teachers, students, families or community members.

Essential Elements for Effective Instructional Leadership

Set Instructional Direction
Instructional leaders see instruction as an ever-changing cycle with a definite ultimate goal.
Advanced The leader establishes high instructional goals across all subject areas using technology and emphasizes learner centered strategies, developing higher order thinking and innovative teaching practices and there is evidence that they are being met. The leader articulates clear definitions of teaching and learning in all subject areas and ensures that they are being used in the classroom by engaging in model lessons, classroom visits, professional development, etc. The leader appropriately balances long term planning and continual short-term needs assessment/changes and there is evidence that both are getting accomplished on a consistent basis The leader works with staff on all levels to ensure an integrated, standards-based curriculum that will prepare students for further education, Regents exams and the workplace Proficient The leader establishes high instructional goals in some subject areas using technology and other innovative teaching practices and there is evidence that they are being met. The leader articulates clear definitions of teaching and learning in all subject areas, but is not always able to model or provide professional development around them The leader usually balances long term planning and short-term needs assessment/changes, but some of the plans seem to be only that…plans and never actually get done. The leader works with some staff to ensure an integrated, standards-based curriculum that will prepare students for further education, Regents exams and the workplace. Capable The leader establishes high instructional goals in some subject areas using technology and other innovative teaching practices but there is not a lot of evidence that they are being met The leader knows what good teaching and learning looks like and probably could articulate clear definitions, but only does so with certain teachers The leader does planning, but often the plans are not implemented AND/OR planning is limited to shortterm crisis planning. The leader works with some staff to ensure an integrated, standards-based curriculum that will prepare students for further education, Regents exams and the workplace but allows those that resist help to continue teaching in the traditional way Emerging The leader does not set high instructional goals AND/OR there is not expectation that instructional goals will be met.

The leader does not recognize good teaching and learning.

Planning?

The leader assumes that teachers teach and principles manage.

Contributions: Lew Gitelman/Michael Brownstein, 2003 ©

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