Pathways to Instructional Leadership: Implementation and Outcomes from a Job-Embedded School Leader Training Program

The contributions of assistant principals (APs) toward improving student and staff outcomes has not yet been a focus of much empirical research. In recent years, as the increased focus on improving student outcomes has shifted expectations and APs are now expected to perform some instructional leadership tasks, such as coaching and evaluating teachers. To date, there have been few studies of AP professional development programs, and little is known about the extent to which APs are trained to undertake instructional leadership activities. The authors present findings about implementation and impacts on staff and student outcomes from a four-year study of the Pathway to Leadership in Urban Schools (PLUS) program in a large, urban public school district.

Register for Principal Preparation Online Learning Session: Teaming and Engaging in Meaningful Conversations

AACTE invites you to join us for the next session of The Wallace Foundation’s second University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPP) Learning Series. Teaming and engaging in meaningful and difficult conversations require teams to not only be open to learning together but also to develop their leadership abilities together. This session is designed to equip teams with tools to strengthen teamwork and engage in conversations that cultivate the leadership capacity of one another.

Engage in Simulation Research with ETS and Mursion

Experiencing disruptions to your elementary mathematics or science methods courses due to COVID-19? We may be able to help! ETS is currently recruiting teacher educators who will be teaching elementary mathematics or science methods courses in the fall 2020 semester to participate in a new NSF-funded study (#2032179). The study will provide simulated teaching practice through the Mursion® virtual environment to pre-service elementary teachers (PSETs) enrolled in your methods course. The simulated teaching tasks used in the study focus on leading argumentation-focused discussions in either mathematics or science at the fifth-grade level. Teacher educators selected to participate will incorporate one simulated teaching task into their course as an assignment for their PSETs and will agree to participate in surveys and focus group interviews reflecting on their experience.

AACTE Member Leaders Discuss Why Leadership and Partnerships Matter in Crises

AACTE Board members John Henning and Mary Murray recently met with me to discuss why leadership and building partnerships matter during times of crises. In the videos, Henning and Murray shared the following: “A key rule of a leader during difficult times is to unify people and bring them together around the problem. By helping them move forward, things can get done rapidly, which is important when change is occurring quickly. With rapid change, it’s also important for leaders to stay organized,” said John Henning, dean of the school of education at Monmouth University. Henning is an experienced educational practitioner, researcher, and leader. His primary research interests include practice-based teacher education, teacher development, instructional decision-making, and classroom discourse. He is also an active scholar and researcher, with more than 50 publications.

Recruiting and Retaining Teachers of Color: Why It Matters, Ways to Do It

In the 2015-16 school year, over 80 percent of teachers were white and less than 7 percent were Black, according to federal data. Meanwhile, the white student population has steadily declined since 2000—from 61 percent to 44 percent in 2017—while the Hispanic student population rose by 50 percent since 1997 and the Asian student population by 46 percent. Black students comprise about 15 percent of all K-12 students—although they increasingly attend schools with at least 75 percent non-white enrollment, as do Hispanic and American Indian students: 58, 60, and 30 percent, respectively, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. All students benefit from having teachers of color, research shows. A report by the Learning Policy Institute revealed that when taught by teachers of color, students of color have better academic performance, improved graduation rates, and are more likely to attend college.

Relationships Matter for Student Outcomes, Statistically Speaking

According to BARR’s most recent data, teachers report that they feel increased self-efficacy, believing they can facilitate positive, strength-based changes in their students. They say they feel supported by their administrators, and these teachers, in turn, can change their behaviors. Also evidenced is enhanced collaboration; better use of data; and positive, intentional relationships with students. Student attitudes also change as a result. Students report feeling more supported, that more is expected of them and that they feel more engaged in school. They say they’ve changed their behaviors. They attend school more, have fewer behavioral issues, and improved social and emotional skills. As a result, students graduate at higher rates, have better math and reading scores, increase the number of credits they earn and pass core classes at higher rates. It’s a holistic approach that feels better for students and teachers but also brings about measurable, meaningful results.

Data Access and Use Among Middle and High School Principals

Schools and districts across the United States have invested heavily in data management systems to facilitate educators’ access to data that can inform their work. School principals, in particular, make countless decisions that could benefit from access to data in these systems. Principals also help create cultures of data use within their schools, providing guidance and supporting the conditions that enable other school staff to use data effectively and appropriately. Using results from a nationally representative survey of principals from the RAND Corporation’s American Educator Panels, the authors examine middle and high school principals’ access to several types of data about their students’ outcomes and experiences, along with the ways in which principals report using those data. The authors also explore principals’ reports regarding collaborations with leaders of other schools around data use because this type of collaboration can provide useful professional learning opportunities.

Notable June job gains don’t include public education employment

A monthly employment report released by the U.S. Department of Labor shows “notable job gains” for the education sector in June, but the numbers indicate public education employment changed little throughout the month. An increase of 70,000 local public education jobs was partially offset by 25,000 job losses in state government education, making the overall number of public education jobs gained around 45,000. Meanwhile, employment in private education increased by 93,000 in the same time period.

Learning as We Go: Principles for Effective Assessment During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This paper summarizes the findings from a panel of assessment experts on diagnostic assessments and their role in helping educators and parents support student learning. The panel is part of the Evidence Project, an effort to close the gap between research and policy in K-12 responses to COVID-19. Teachers, schools, and school systems will face unprecedented challenges when schools eventually reopen after pandemic-related closures. One of the central challenges will be figuring out how to meet the individual needs of students who had dramatically different experiences while schools were shuttered, and who will need dramatically different academic and nonacademic interventions and supports as schooling resumes this fall.

Taking Stock of Principal Pipelines: What Public School Districts Report Doing and What They Want to Do to Improve School Leadership

In overwhelming percentages, top-ranking officials in large and medium-size school districts regard effective school leadership as essential to school improvement. Yet only about half are satisfied with the pool of candidates in their principal pipelines—suggesting that pipelines themselves could be improved. That’s one takeaway from this first-of-its-kind study, a national overview of the use of and interest in principal pipelines to shape a large corps of effective school leaders. Interviewees for the report—superintendents or other leading administrators from a nationally representative sample of 175 medium- to large-size districts—clearly thought that principals were crucial players in efforts to upgrade education. Fully 90 percent said that their district’s goals, strategic plans or initiatives tied school leadership to school improvement. At the same time, far fewer respondents—49 percent—reported being either satisfied or very satisfied with the principal candidate pool in terms of demographic background and competencies, “implying they see room for improvement in principal pipelines,” the report says.

Weaving Equity into the Fabric of Principal Training

The University of Connecticut Administrator Preparation Program (UCAPP) grappled with many moving parts when redesigning its offerings to better address schools’ needs. Leaders worked to build support for the change, overhaul the curriculum, engage faculty, fine-tune internships and strengthen partnerships, among other efforts. Cutting across all this work is equity. Connecticut, like much of the country, is more diverse than it once was. To help ensure equal educational opportunity for all its students, UCAPP hopes to train principals to spot inequities and negotiate thorny social issues to help resolve them. It has therefore worked to infuse equity into its curriculum and create space for groups education systems often overlook.

Supporting a Strong, Stable Principal Workforce: What Matters and What Can Be Done

While teacher shortages are an increasingly critical issue in the United States, a lesser known but equally important shortage is also hampering the country’s efforts to provide quality educational opportunities for students — principal shortages. As disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic continues, school leaders who are skilled at supporting student learning and well-being are even more critical, and yet nearly one in five principals leave their schools each year and the average tenure of a principal is only about four years. These numbers are higher in the under-resourced schools that tend to serve the highest populations of students of color and students from low-income families who will be hit hardest by the pandemic. The importance of school principals, reasons they leave, and policy implications for principal retention and effectiveness are explained in this report, the third in a series conducted by the Learning Policy Institute and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).