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Equity in Education
  1. How to Become a Principal
  2. Do Principals Know Good Teaching When They See It?
  3. Teacher Collaboration Gives Schools Better Results
  4. What School Principals Need to Know – Wallace Foundation

It would seem straightforward: The teacher is good, bad or somewhere in-between. But invariably, the scores come in all over the map, with high and low in fairly equal numbers. In their view, the major challenge facing public education in America is a widespread lack of expertise. Out of four possible points, with 4.

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As Miller-McCune also recently reported , some schools regularly schedule time for teachers to meet in small groups and share their ideas about what works in the classroom. These efforts make sense, Fink and Markholt say, but only if there is a enough expertise in the group to bring up the general level of learning. Some people thought I was not moving fast enough in certain areas. An example of this was my brother getting on my case to start a blog to share my learning.

He was doing it longer than I was, and he saw the benefits, and to him, I might have seemed slow to embrace the opportunity.

This is an important reminder for a couple of reasons;. I read this great post from Deidre Roemer recently, where she discusses a letter she received from a former student. When I read the letter the first time, I felt really good about what I had done for J. I read it again and realized where I almost got it right. So much of what she said in the letter was about what I had done for her. I engaged her in school in a way that connected to her and helped her grow.

What I did not do for and with her was empower her to take charge of her own learning. I moved into a leadership position in our district at the end of that school year and she struggled. Empowerment is about helping students to figure out what they can do for themselves. Her learning should never have been about me. It should have been about her. As I thought back on my time with J, I wonder if I had had more time with her if I would have been able to help her move from engagement to empowerment.

Just make sure that you are practicing meaningful reflection, not self-loathing. Reflecting empowers you to move forward and take action instead of getting stuck in that cycle of regret or jumping into the hamster wheel of rushing forward and not even taking the time to look back. I get to work with teachers and leaders to help them understand how to connect to students, understand them from an empathetic lens, and help them to grow in their abilities to self-advocate and be agents of their own learning.

Such a great post from Deidre, and I appreciate her reflection and vulnerability in sharing here is the whole thing. I know Deidre and the work that she and her team do in West-Allis Wisconsin, and I believe one of the reasons they are doing so many great things is because of their ability to reflect on the past to move forward.

How to Become a Principal

Every educator, including myself, always looks back and wishes they could do more for their past students. Engagement and empowerment do not work in contradiction but are intertwined in their importance. But engagement is a step, and empowerment is the goal. Empowerment starts with the adults. A great post from Deidre that made me think about the importance of helping students and staff find their way. I encourage you to watch this video from Edutopia on the importance of relationships for learning:.

HowLearningHappens pic. It would be an excellent video for discussion regarding the importance of relationships in our schools and classrooms. One quote from the video resonated;. The focus on relationships is so that we can push our students to grow. What I also appreciate about this video is the focus on the reciprocated relationship.

This was not just about the teacher knowing their students, but students knowing their teacher as well. And the truth is, we are more likely to rise to high expectations when they are held by someone we like and trust. If schools do not push our students to grow, then there is no purpose for them to be there in the first place. But if there is no relationship where learners feel seen and cared about, when we push our students or colleagues, there will be little motivation, if any, to respond to that encouragement.

Do Principals Know Good Teaching When They See It?

How do you find that balance between building up and challenging others to grow? Ask yourself these questions:. Do I have any positive connection other than this initial interaction, and do they know their contributions are valued? Do I ever connect with this person to say something positive, or do I only share feedback with others or specific people when it is negative?

Am I open to being challenged and critiqued in the same manner in which I am ready to deliver?

Teacher Collaboration Gives Schools Better Results

The common denominator in all three questions is the importance of the reciprocated relationship. Ultimately, you can learn without a relationship, but you will also go much further when one is present. If we want to be able to push the people we serve students and staff , we will be much more effective when those same people know we have their backs and will support them when they fall. Of course, we need to be aware of the access and opportunities our students, and we have today, and playtime, time without access in front of a screen, are all essential elements of our lives.

Directly from the AAP website , they make some suggestions on how to guide your child as a parent both with and without screens , but there is one suggestion that I want to focus on in particular:. Play a video game with your kids. Elmore, R. School reform from the inside out: Policy, practice, and performance.

Boston: Harvard Educational Press. Fryer, R. Fullan, M. The moral imperative realized. Hattie, J. Visible learning: A synthesis of over meta-analyses relating to student achievement.

What School Principals Need to Know – Wallace Foundation

New York: Routledge. Heath, C. Switch: How to change things when change is hard. New York: Crown Publishing. Holland, H. Teaching teachers: Professional development to improve student achievement.

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Johnson, S. Professional culture and the promise of colleagues. Johnson, Finders and keepers: Helping new teachers survive and thrive in our schools pp. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Little, J. Professional community and professional development in the learning-centered school. Louis, K. Learning from leadership: Investigating the links to improved student learning. New York: Wallace Foundation. Principals as cultural leaders. Phi Delta Kappan, 92 5 , 52— Marzano, R. Setting the record straight on "high-yield" strategies. Phi Delta Kappan, 91 1 , 30— School leadership that works: From research to results.

Newmann, F. Successful school restructuring: A report to the public and educators by the Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools. Madison: University of Wisconsin. Pfeffer, J. Hard facts, dangerous half-truths and total nonsense: Profiting from evidence-based management.

Boston: Harvard Business School Press. Pink, D. Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us. New York: Riverhead. Saunders, W. Increasing achievement by focusing grade-level teams on improving classroom learning: A prospective, quasi-experimental study of Title I schools.


American Educational Research Journal, 46 4 , — Springer, M. Teacher pay for performance: Experimental evidence from the project on incentives in teaching. Timperley, H. Teacher professional learning and development. Educational Practices Series. Number Brussels: International Academy of Education. Tucker, M. Standing on the shoulders of giants: An American agenda for educational reform. Vescio, V. A review of the research on the impact of professional learning communities on teaching practice and student learning. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24 1 , 80— Viadero, D. Where's the research in race to the top? Weisberg, D. The widget effect: Our national failure to recognize differences in teacher effectiveness. New York: New Teacher Project. April The Principalship. Tweets by ELmagazine. Buy this issue. Faulty Logic.

Do Carrots and Sticks Motivate Teachers? What We Learned As Principals But beyond the time demands, the premise behind the policy of having principals observe teachers and help them improve is fundamentally flawed. The Case for the PLC Process If principals want to improve student achievement in their school, rather than focus on the individual inspection of teaching , they must focus on the collective analysis of evidence of student learning. As a review of the research on PLCs concluded, The collective results of these studies offer an unequivocal answer to the question about whether the literature supports the assumption that student learning increases when teachers participate in professional learning communities.

To help more students learn at higher levels, team members ask themselves, What knowledge, skills, and dispositions should all students acquire as a result of the unit we're about to teach? Use the evidence of student learning to identify Students who need additional time and support to become proficient.

A Culture of Collective Responsibility Both research and our own experience as principals have convinced us that this PLC process is more likely to improve instruction than classroom observations. Asking the Right Question If current efforts to supervise teachers into better performance have proven ineffective and they have , the solution is not to double down on a bad strategy and demand more classroom observations, tighter supervision, and more punitive evaluations. References Annenberg Institute for School Reform.