Teaching and Leadership Resources
As the school year starts in many districts across the country, a new national poll of teachers from NPR/Ipsos finds overwhelming trepidation about returning to the physical classroom. Eighty-two percent of K-12 teachers say they are concerned about returning to in-person teaching this fall, and two-thirds prefer to teach primarily remotely. On the latter point, teachers are aligned with parents and the general public: Another recent NPR/Ipsos poll found two-thirds of respondents thought schools in their area should be primarily remote, including 62 percent of parents of children under 18. The teacher poll was conducted July 21-24 and included 505 respondents. Half teach at low-income schools.
As a school year like no other approaches, principals and teachers are experimenting with new staffing arrangements that are designed to provide support for the deep academic and emotional needs of children who are returning to school—physically or virtually—after the coronavirus threw their lives and learning into disarray. Education Week asked instructional leaders around the country about their plans to rework their staffing to provide those supports in virtual or hybrid environments. In late July, most schools hadn’t finalized them. Many were discussing their ideas with their teachers’ unions or awaiting clearer state guidance. They also knew they might have to revise their ideas before school begins, since pandemic planning requires constant revision.
Plans to Administer ‘Nation’s Report Card’ in 2021 to Proceed Despite Concerns Over Reliability and Funding During Pandemic
Nationally mandated reading and math tests scheduled for 2021 should proceed, the National Assessment Governing Board decided Friday. But the board acknowledged that it might be impossible to collect accurate assessment data and that Congress might not provide enough funding to give the tests under social distancing conditions. The 12-10 vote came after considerable debate over whether the results would still be useful given the likelihood that many students won’t be in school and that flawed data could tarnish the “gold standard” reputation of the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Since late 2017, the National Endowment for the Arts has collaborated with Education Commission of the States on an initiative to make more and better information available on young people’s access to arts education and their participation in it. The State Data Infrastructure Project for Arts Education supports arts education champions who want to tap into the data most states collect, but which often go unreported. To improve conditions for this vital work, SDIP has provided technical assistance to states and created tools that empower arts education stakeholders to mount arts education data initiatives in their states.
The coronavirus crisis is creating unprecedented challenges and exacerbating longstanding inequities in education. In response to the pandemic, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides more than $2 trillion in spending, including more than $30 billion to support K-12 and higher education, as well as early childhood education. This webinar by The Wallace Foundation and EducationCounsel provides an overview of the CARES Act and the latest information on implementation, as we try to look ahead toward potential additional federal action focused on recovery and reform.
In moments of national reckoning around our history of racial injustice, such as the one we’re experiencing now, it is especially useful to rely on facts. Fact: There is a clear correlation between dropping out of high school and experiencing incarceration. Fact: Black and Brown children are significantly more likely to experience academic success when they have at least one teacher of color. One clear conclusion we can draw is that increasing the number of Black or Indigenous People of Color teachers is a key facet of creating anti-racist culture, both in and out of education.
According to written testimony from the U.S. Department of Defense, “Barriers to the transfer and acceptance of certifications and licenses that occur when state rules differ can have a dramatic and negative effect on the financial well-being of military families… Removing these barriers, creating reciprocity in licensing requirements, and facilitating placement opportunities can help a military family’s financial stability, speed the assimilation of the family into its new location, and create a desirable new employee pool for a state (especially in education and health care).” The U.S. Department of Defense engages states through the Defense-State Liaison Office (DSLO) to consider improvements to teacher licensure and certification for military spouses.
This Policy Outline provides an overview of the common challenges state face—and the policy solutions they employ—in attracting and retaining teachers.
This Policy Brief provides a summary of key research on the benefits of expanding the racial/ethnic diversity of teachers in K-12 classrooms. It also features examples of state-level action intended to advance diversity and ultimately improve students’ academic experiences.
The creation of a safe, supportive, equitable, and engaging learning environment must not be overshadowed by the urgency to address the 2020 spring and summer academic melt. The upcoming school year is going to look different, so this is our chance to re-examine school through a trauma-sensitive lens. A trauma-sensitive school is one in which all students feel safe, welcomed, and supported (Cole, Eisner, Gregory, & Ristuccia, 2013). In a trauma-sensitive school, all aspects of the educational environment center on universal support and care for all students. So how can educators incorporate trauma sensitivity into their practice—whether remote or in person—this fall?
Although equity has been top of mind for many educators for years, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated inequities like never before. So how do education leaders focus their efforts to address equity in the midst of this pandemic? The new focus on equity requires leaders to look closely at the initiatives and programs they are implementing and ask themselves: Does this program reduce achievement gaps or contribute to them? As content experts on the teacher workforce for the Region 9 Comprehensive Center and the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center), we push leaders to ask this tough question because, often, state and district programs target the needs of all schools, all teachers, all students—when, in fact, they are designed in a way that doesn’t cater to schools of greater need. As a result, the schools, teachers, and students who need the supports the most may not be served by the programs that the state or district has designed.
A New Role Emerges for Principal Supervisors: Evidence from Six Districts in the Principal Supervisor Initiative
In many large school districts, principal supervisors face sprawling jobs, overseeing an average of two dozen schools and assuming numerous administrative, compliance and operational responsibilities. The result is that they often can’t provide their principals with the type of meaningful support that could boost principal effectiveness, especially in leading schools to higher-quality instruction. In 2014, six large school districts embarked on a four-year, Wallace-funded effort to see if they could change that and refashion the supervisor job so it focuses squarely on principals. This study of the implementation of the first three years of the Principal Supervisor Initiative suggests the work is possible, concluding that the six districts “demonstrated the feasibility of making substantial changes to the principal supervisor role” across the five areas the effort zeroed in on: redefining the job, reducing the average number of principals supervisors oversee, training supervisors for their responsibilities, developing systems to identify and train aspiring supervisors, and modifying the central office to buttress the new role.
Changing the Principal Supervisor Role to Better Support Principals: Evidence from the Principal Supervisor Initiative
This report, which looks at the final year and the effects of the Principal Supervisor Initiative, concludes that the effort succeeded in changing the job so that it centered on developing and evaluating principals to help them promote effective teaching and learning in their schools. Over the course of the initiative, principals’ ratings of their supervisors’ effectiveness rose from 3.88 to 4.10 on a scale of 1-to-5, a statistically significant increase. Principals reported greater frequency of supervisor practices to develop school leadership—such as helping principals with data analysis, providing them with useful feedback and working with them to assess teacher effectiveness. “It’s a tremendous change,” one principal said. The districts took a number of steps to alter the job.
Leading the Change: A Comparison of the Principal Supervisor Role in Principal Supervisor Initiative Districts and Other Urban Districts
The principal supervisor job has traditionally revolved around administration, but in 2014 six large school districts around the country, with funding from The Wallace Foundation, began to redesign the supervisor position so it focused primarily on supporting principals in their role as instructional leaders. The idea was that this shift could help principals better carry out their efforts to improve teaching and learning in their schools. A 2018 survey of supervisors in the six districts and in 48 other large districts nationwide finds that the Principal Supervisor Initiative districts introduced a number of structures for the new role. Initiative-district supervisors, on average, for example, oversaw fewer principals, reported more role-specific training, and rated the quality of their training more highly than supervisors elsewhere. The six districts also had a greater prevalence of programs for aspiring supervisors, as well as mentoring or induction programs for those new to the job. Further, supervisors in the six districts were far more likely than their counterparts in other districts (71 percent vs. 41 percent) to report that they were involved in the deployment of instructional support staff to their schools.
In recent years, the principal’s job has become increasingly trained on supporting effective instruction. With that change, the idea has emerged that principals need a different type of supervision, one that focuses on helping them hone their instructional leadership skills. Responses to two surveys, fielded six years apart, provide some indication that large districts are have begun to make the shift. The Council of the Great City Schools, which represents larger urban school systems, surveyed a sample of supervisors from its member districts in 2012 and a sample of supervisors from its member districts in 2018. While the earlier group reported, on average, overseeing 24 principals, the latter group reported overseeing 16.