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Teaching and leadership resources

The following is a list of recent resources for those focused on the professional improvement of teachers, principals, and other educational leaders.

Principals and Community Schools To celebrate our principals during National Principals Month, the Coalition compiled a variety of resources for principals implementing or looking to implement the community school strategy. Principals play a key role in community schools. They are central to promoting the community school vision and making sure the strategy goes according to plan. School leaders ensure that implementation satisfies local needs, aligns with the school’s academic mission, and generates data to inform improvements in community-wide policy and site practice.

Building a Stronger Principalship Vol 5: The Principal Pipeline Initiative in Action  Six large school districts aiming to develop a larger corps of effective school leaders have made major strides in building pipelines to the principalship.  The report is the last in a series of studies examining the implementation of Wallace’s Principal Pipeline Initiative. It finds that “new and clearer districtwide understanding of what the principal’s job entails, a possible better fit between.

Perspective: Building Principal Pipelines  How can school districts build a pipeline of effective school principals? This Wallace Perspective sheds some light.

After Four Years, Six Urban School Districts Have Made Significant Progress In Building Pipelines to Develop Effective School Principals  Top District Leaders and Novice Principals Both Reported Improvements. After four years, six large urban school districts made significant progress in building stronger principal pipelines, according to a new independent study of The Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative. The study especially noted direct benefits to novice school principals by raising the quality of their training, hiring, evaluations, mentoring and other support during their crucial first years on the job.

States Can Change the Way They Think About Education, but Will They?  When it comes to influencing education policy and cultivating innovative schools, all eyes are on the states. A new federal law hands more control to state leaders, untethering them from rules that threatened dire consequences for failing to achieve certain test scores. (Hechinger Report, Oct. 24)

School Environment Key to Retaining Teachers, Promoting Student Achievement, Study Finds  A school is more likely to retain effective teachers, a new study reports, if it is led by a principal who promotes professional development for teachers, is characterized by collaborative relationships among teachers, has a safe and orderly learning environment and sets high expectations for academic achievement among students, a new study reports. (Phys.org, Oct. 26)

Do Low-Income Students Have Equal Access to Effective Teachers? Evidence from 26 Districts  This report examines whether low-income students are taught by less effective teachers than high-income students and if so, whether reducing this inequity would close the student achievement gap. It also describes how the hiring of teachers and their subsequent movement into and out of schools could affect low-income students’ access to effective teachers. The study includes fourth- to eighth-grade teachers over five school years (2008-09 to 2012-13) in 26 school districts across the country. Teacher effectiveness is measured using a statistical approach that estimates a teacher’s contribution to student learning controlling for students’ prior achievement and other characteristics. The study found small inequities in teacher effectiveness between low- and high-income students. However, in a small subset of districts, there is meaningful inequity in access to effective teachers in math where providing equal access to effective teachers over a five year period would reduce the math achievement gap by at least a tenth of a standard deviation of student achievement, the equivalent of about four percentile points. The report also finds patterns of teacher hiring and transfers that are consistent with small inequities in teacher effectiveness while teacher attrition is not. (Institute of Education Sciences)

State Information Request: Professional Development for Principals, National Board Certification and Teacher Shortages  This report provides information on how states provide professional development to principals, National Board Certification (including scholarships) and addressing teacher shortages in rural areas.

Identifying Teacher Leaders: Getting The Right People In The Right Positions   School improvement is a responsibility too great for one leader to shoulder. It requires teams of effective leaders whose skills and talents match the needs of the school. Identifying such a team, however, is not an easy task. This research brief by GLISI offers principals who are ready to build a corps of teacher leaders, a set of actionable steps and resources to build that team. This brief builds on the first brief that gives principals an opportunity to assess their own readiness to develop teacher leaders.

Teacher Prep Regulations Support Progress in States  The U.S. Department of Education has crafted regulations to ensure more transparency in the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs. The new regulations support Massachusetts’ progress — and similar success in other states — to strengthen preparation programs for all educators. As part of our new, rigorous review system, the program sets clear performance standards and actionable criteria with a deeper emphasis on the practical experience we know is necessary before a teacher leads a classroom.

How Does Big Data Impact Education?  Access to data can help students define their learning goals and strategies. It can give families information to help make decisions and support their children’s educational paths and improve, teachers and schools ability to better adapt teaching methods to suit students’ specific context and needs. However, the single fact of having the information is not enough to take advantage of it. An OECD case study shows that self-evaluation processes for development and improvement in some Polish schools were hindered by an excessive emphasis on in-between schools comparisons and competition.

New Survey Focuses on Best Practices in STEM Teacher Training, Retention  The nonprofit surveyed 242 leading STEM education organizations in its network during the summer of 2015, and the results were just released this week. The survey looked at a STEM teacher’s career in six phases: recruitment, preparation, hiring, induction, development, and advancement. (Education Week, Nov. 3)