New Leaders Distributed Leadership Toolkit

To help policymakers at all levels more deeply understand distributed leadership and the variety of ways it may manifest at the school level, a comprehensive review of the research was conducted on distributed leadership. The goal is to support policymakers in developing evidence-based strategies to support distributed leadership and improve school and student outcomes. The findings and recommendations are summarized in the Policy Primer. For those who want to dig deeper into the research, there is an explanation of our definition (Resource A), more detail on the findings from the literature review along with relevant citations (Resource B), and reflections on how research limitations should inform policy decisions (Resource C). Finally, to bring the research and policy actions to life, a series of vignettes have been developed to show how school and system leaders are distributing leadership and, together, improving results for schools and students.

‘Educators Rising’ program makes progress

Since 1937, Educators Rising–first billed as Future Teachers of America–has lead efforts to stymie teacher shortages. Between 2008 to 2018, Illinois lost 3.4 percent of its teachers according to the Illinois State Board of Education. The same study revealed a 23 percent drop in teacher prep programs across the nation, from 2008 to 2016. The students complete 60 hours of direct teaching or career exploration, says Dr. Nancy Mundschenk, the director of teacher education at SIU. She helped jump-start the program last year and hopes to put a dent in the teacher’s shortage.

Principles for Educator Micro-credentials

Over the last six years, micro-credentials have slowly and quietly crept into elementary and secondary education as a way to verify the skills and knowledge that educators hold. But the movement to incorporate micro-credentials as a tool for educators to demonstrate competencies is gaining steam. Micro-credential provider Digital Promise’s interactive map shows that over half of states either have a policy in place allowing for the use of educator micro-credentials or are exploring such a policy. As districts and states begin to allow educators to “count” micro-credentials toward things like renewing their teaching license, both demand and supply are likely to grow.

Rethinking the critical role of data to improve teaching and learning

The global education sector faces the dual challenge of improving learning at scale and measuring whether we’re on track. To address the scope of the learning crisis, we must identify innovations that have the potential to improve learning in a manner that is sustainable, equitable, and cost-effective, and then understand how to scale these innovations in a given context. For several reasons, data is a crucial piece of the puzzle. First, data can provide insights on program effectiveness, allowing governments and donors to identify, finance, and scale the most effective interventions.

Series Shows How Illinois Successfully Revamped Requirements for Principal Preparation

The Illinois Story is part of a major effort at Wallace to improve university principal preparation programs and builds on 15 years of Wallace-supported research and experience about what makes for effective school leaders. The University Principal Preparation Initiative seeks to explore how more university programs can improve their training so it reflects the evidence on how best to prepare effective principals. Seven universities are working with district and nonprofit partners as part of the four-year initiative to create new models for improving university principal training and learn lessons to be shared with the field.

Plan to Improve Alabama Teachers’ Retirement Advances

A bill to improve retirement benefits for new Alabama education employees and those hired since 2013 won unanimous approval in the House of Representatives. The legislation, called the Education Workforce Investment Act, is aimed at attracting and keeping more educators because of a shortage of teachers in Alabama. It would create a new Tier III retirement plan that would be an upgrade from the Tier II plan started seven years ago. Education employees hired since 2013, who are under Tier II, and new ones would be eligible for Tier III if the bill passes the Senate and becomes law. Employees who were hired before 2013 are under Tier I and would not be affected.

Memorandum: ESSA Evidence Review of the Principal Pipeline Initiative

This independent analysis by Abt Associates examines RAND Corporation research about The Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative, which helped six large districts set up a systematic approach to training, hiring and support of school principals. The RAND research found that the approach, known as building a principal pipeline, had a positive effect on student achievement in both reading and math, as well as on principal retention. The Abt analysis, described in a memorandum, determined that the research is of sufficient quality to meet Tier II for its student achievement findings and Tier III for its findings on principal retention. ​This establishes the eligibility of pipeline work for funding under Title I and other pertinent ESSA sections.