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Learning-focused

Partnerships with Principals

Eric Nelson, Ph.D.


June 2, 2011
Leadership for Powerful Instruction
School leadership
is the second greatest
influence on student
learning, second only to
teacher effectiveness.
(Leithwood & Riehl, 2003)

...which includes closing the achievement gap!

Leadership for Powerful Instruction


SHOW YOUR %
As a principal, how much time did you spend on:

• Budget
• Athletics/extra curricular
• Student discipline
• Parent interactions
• Administrivia
• Instruction/student learning
Leadership for Powerful Instruction
Principal in Seattle, WA
(% of students meeting state standard)

Leadership for Powerful Instruction


Oakland Unified School District
•Served as Area Superintendent at Oakland Unified School
District
•Led significant student learning increases at the school level in
18 elementary & K-8 schools serving 6,500 students
•Studied by Meredith Honig & Michael Copland
•Doctoral work focused on creating professional development
for central office administrators utilizing a cycle of inquiry on
how to be instructional leaders

Leadership for Powerful Instruction


Findings

5 Dimensions
of Central Office
Transformation

Leadership for Powerful Instruction


Elements
1. Learning-focused partnerships with school
principals
2. Assistance to the central office-principal partnerships
3. Reorganizing & reculturing each central office unit to
support partnerships and teaching & learning
improvement
4. Stewardship of the overall central office
transformation process
5. Evidence-use throughout the central office
Leadership for Powerful Instruction
Element 1:
Learning-focused Partnerships
Learning-focused
partnerships with all
school principals to
deepen principals’
instructional
leadership practice as
the core of their work.
Leadership for Powerful Instruction
Study Quote
“I have been in a building for 30 years and
building principal for 20. When I was principal I
regularly complained that central office staff
were never in my building. I have been at this job
for three years but I am hardly ever in buildings
myself. I don’t know what to do when I’m there.
Director of Elementary Schools

Leadership for Powerful Instruction


Study Quote
“[We all know] principals who get sucked into
their office and never leave . . . How much time
are they in classrooms and are they meeting with
teachers? The work [i.e., issues not centrally
related to learning] is never done…. A lot of what I
do is help principals with how do they think about
their day, their week…”
Director of High Schools

Leadership for Powerful Instruction


I KNOW!
……but what do I do to
help develop principals as
instructional leaders?

Leadership for Powerful Instruction


Principal Instructional
Leadership: Specific Practices

*Differentiating supports…
*Modeling…
*Developing & using“tools”…
*Brokering resources…

Leadership for Powerful Instruction


Principal Instructional Leadership
Evidence Gathering Tool (Handout)
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Leadership for Powerful Instruction


Scheduling Time at Schools
(Handout)

Leadership for Powerful Instruction


Team Collaboration
4:45
(four minutes & forty-five seconds)

1. What ideas/questions does this idea raise for


each of you?
2. How might you implement something similar
in your role in your organization?

Leadership for Powerful Instruction


Principal Instructional
Leadership: Specific Practices
*Differentiating supports…

*Modeling…
*Developing & using“tools”…
*Brokering resources…

Leadership for Powerful Instruction


Modeling
MODEL LOW HIGH

a. Demonstrate - Tell principals what - Provide principals


action and to do with multiple
thinking - Do for principals opportunities to
observe, practice, &
reflect
b. Use meta- - Limited - Routinely explain
cognitive what they are doing
strategies and why

Leadership for Powerful Instruction


Modeling a Focusing on Instruction
“Last year I got completely awash in that logistical…side-
tracking stuff. And so we as [ILDs] made a commitment to
24 hours in schools focused on instruction every week. And
so what I’m doing is I’m starting to ignore the non-
instructional stuff. Now, so if a principal calls me [with a
non-instructional issue], I don’t [always] get involved. And I
don’t feel bad about it because I’m really getting feedback,
too, from the principals [that we]…are truly making a
difference for their instructional focus and what they’re
doing for instruction for the kids.”
Elementary Director of Schools
Leadership for Powerful Instruction
Public Focus on Instruction
(Handout)

Leadership for Powerful Instruction


Team Collaboration
4:45
(four minutes & forty-five seconds)

1. What ideas/questions does this idea raise for


each of you?
2. How might you implement something similar
in your role in your organization?

Leadership for Powerful Instruction


Principal Instructional
Leadership: Specific Practices

*Differentiating supports…

*Modeling…
*Developing & using“tools”…
*Brokering resources…

Leadership for Powerful Instruction


Study Quote
“… [don’t] just come in [to the classroom], stand at the back,
take some notes, walk away, and send me an e-mail a
couple of days later and say how horrible the observation
was. If it’s really that bad then… have a conversation with
that teacher or at least a conversation with me. “Hey … this
is what I just saw—let’s go into the class together this next
period, observe it together and find out where we can help
support this teacher and improve his instruction.”
School Principal
Leadership for Powerful Instruction
Definition of Tools
- Model instructional leadership
- Help leaders think in a cycle of
inquiry (long-term, not short
term fixes)
- Help principals think differently
about how they work

Leadership for Powerful Instruction


School Visits with Letters to Staff (Handout)
• School visits every 2 weeks to Learning Without Limits School Visit
December 19, 2007

4 months….depending on Dear Learning Without Limits staff,


Hello! It was great to visit your school again today. The energy here is
infectious….you are obviously a caring and collaborative staff.

Progress is definitely happening at LWL! Leo, Julie, Leo’s Cal coach Lottye

school need Clayton, network EL coach Angie Foo, network literacy coach Pia Jara, and
OUSD HR director Delia Ruiz toured classroom today. Sticking with your
instructional focus, we were looking at the fluency time you have been
implementing and workshop time. Structures and routines are clearly in place
for workshop….the students knew what to do and systems were organized
within the classroom.

• Visit 3 hours in length Observations while we were in classrooms:


· Observed pictorial input charts, vocabulary words being drawn,
and sentence frames on the walls. This evidence illustrates that
teachers are unpacking language with students and doing
frontloading.
· Teachers were uniformly implementing the fluency practice with
students, who excited reported their results to the adults, like the

• Collaborative team with range child at the right.


· The fluency passages were leveled to the students’ instructional
levels, allowing them to be successful while learning.
· Since the last visit, teachers are aligning instructional activities to
the developmental level (or as Leo likes to call it “zone of

of participants visit proximal development”) of the students.


· Workshop structures were in place, with students working independently doing learning activities while
teachers pulled small groups of students.
· Improved use of strong student engagement strategies during whole and small group instruction, such as

classrooms
equity sticks, think-pair-share, echo and extending, reward systems, and hand signals.
· We observed well-organized and visually appealing classroom libraries being used.
· Observed some teachers being metacognative with their students: debriefing skills learned with students
and coaching next steps, encouraging all students to be reflective learners.
Some questions based on the walk-throughs:
· How can we make sure that the level of the ‘must do’ and ‘may do’ activities are rigorous and at grade-level


and include an accountability aspect for the students?

Immediate letter to staff · After lessons and activities, including after workshop and fluency practice, how can every teacher
consistently be metacognative with their students, reviewing what they’ve learned, helping them reflect,
noticing what they are doing well and what skills they are learning?

You are making great strides, but don’t change course. Keep using pictorial charts and other frontloading techniques to
highlight academic langue. Keep working on refining the fluency practice and making workshop more rigorous, more
focused on the OCR lesson, and at the students’ developmental level. I know that you will continue to improve based on

• One-on-one with principal at your stellar attitude and willingness to learn as a staff and I look forward to seeing you at my next visit on February 13th.
Have a great winter break and enjoy some rest and fun with family and friends!

Thanks and take care,


Eric Nelson--Network Executive Officer

end of visit
Leadership for Powerful Instruction
Team Collaboration
4:45
(four minutes & forty-five seconds)

1. What ideas/questions does this idea raise for


each of you?
2. How might you implement something similar
in your role in your organization?

Leadership for Powerful Instruction


Principal Instructional
Leadership: Specific Practices
*Differentiating supports…

*Modeling…
*Developing & using“tools”…
*Brokering resources…

Leadership for Powerful Instruction


ILD Results in Oakland Unified
YEAR ONE:
•0% increase in ELA & Math
•9 schools increased, 9 decreased
YEAR TWO:
•6% increase in ELA & Math doubling state
average & tripling district average
•16 schools increased, 2 decreased
Leadership for Powerful Instruction
THANK YOU & GOOD LUCK!

Leadership for Powerful Instruction