Recommendation One:
Create a system where principals have meaningful PD that enhances their knowledge and skills as effective instructional leaders serving students and teachers.


Role Group Strategies

District Office
Design principal professional development that is focused on instructional leadership and organizational change. tools to assist principals working towards fundamental change within their schools. Encourage school leaders to participate in the North Carolina Principals’ Executive Program.

The Story of CSLA:  Making a Difference for Administrators
WestEd Regional Educational Laboratory.  (2000, Fall).  R+D Alert.
Leadership development academies have become an increasingly common approach to addressing the issue of principal professional development.  This brief outlines several state-wide approaches to principal professional development and school leadership.  Beginning with a description of the California School Leadership Academy (CSLA), the brief also examines what it takes to be an effective leader and the leadership potential in the community.  Finally, the it profiles the Western Assessment Collaborative’s Leadership Initiative, which emphasizes leadership in support of standards based instruction.

Va. Principal Cadre Aims to Fix Schools
Archer, J.  (2004, April 28).  Va. Principal cadre to fix schools.  Education Week.
The types of skills and personalities that principals need to thrive in challenging schools are often different than the skills needed for most school administrators.  Recognizing this challenge, the State of Virginia has instituted a program that will grant principals certification as “turnaround specialists.”  This article from Education Week outlines the need for the program and describes similar plans in states around America.  Initially planned as a pilot program with 10 principals, if successful, the state plans to widen its pool of principals qualified to work in challenging schools.

The Principals’ Executive Program
The Principals Executive Program (PEP), a part of the Center for School Leadership Development at the University of North Carolina, provides public school administrators with professional development on topics such as curriculum mapping, data-driven decision making, and developing future leaders.  In addition to topical programs, PEP also offers residential programs, in which administrators attend longer leadership seminars ranging from three to twenty days.  This website includes information on upcoming seminars and links to various administrative resources.

Reinventing Education Change Toolkit
IBM (2002).
This toolkit, provided free of charge to anyone working in K-12 education, is designed to help school and district leaders to guide the school reform process.  The toolkit can be used to diagnose an environment for change, collaborate with members of a school change team, read real-life vignettes from education colleagues, plan a change initiative, and connect with educators worldwide.

E-Lead:  Leadership for Student Learning
Laboratory for Student Success.
This website describes the principles of professional development for school leaders, outlines leadership development programs in place across the United States, and provides a Leadership Library that contains resources on topics ranging from action research and professional learning communities to mentoring and supplying the principal pipeline.

Designing Powerful Professional Development for Teachers and Principals
Sparks, D.  (2002). National Staff Development Council.
Dennis Sparks of the National Staff Development Council has been a leader in the field of professional development for the last 16 years.  This book, provided free of charge on NSDC’s website, outlines the critical components of effective professional learning programs and the steps that schools and districts should take to maximize the professional growth of their teachers and principals.  Topics covered include: setting the stage for powerful professional learning, providing a context for professional learning, developing school leaders, and developing teachers.

Leadership Library:  Leadership Assessment
The Laboratory for Student Success and the Institute for Educational Leadership
Assessing the leadership potential of teachers is a relatively new concept in education.  While businesses have screened employees for possible management positions for decades, schools are just beginning to tap into leadership assessment strategies with their faculties.  This link provides a detailed description of the rationale behind school-based leadership assessment, explains the range of assessment tools available and then provides a list web-based related resources.  


New Help for School Administrators
Furger, R.  (2000, October).  Edutopia Online.
This article outlines the need for principal professional development programs and profiles the Higher School Performance Program of the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill's Center for School Leadership.  The program helps principals from low-performing schools to understand their school data and to identify structural changes for school improvement.  The program also matches principals with "critical friends" or retired administrators who act as mentors.

District Office
Establish / Formalize principal coaching and mentoring programs.

Virtual Mentors
National Association of Secondary School Principals.
On the “Virtual Mentor” page, three NASSP/Metlife State Principals of the Year volunteer their time to be online mentors, answering questions on any topic in a discussion board forum.  In addition to submitting questions, principals can browse the questions and responses from administrators across the nation who likely have similar concerns.  Topics run the gamut, from online security for staff development sessions to dealing with difficult parents and students.

Making the Case for Principal Mentoring
The Education Alliance at Brown University
This report created in 2003 by the Education Alliance at Brown University outlines the importance of effective programs that recruit, develop and support principals.  It identifies elements of effective principal mentoring programs and profiles eight principal support programs from across the United States.

More than Mentors:  Principal Coaching
Bloom, G., Castagna, C. and Warren, B. (2003, May/June). Leadership Magazine.
This document describes the Principals’ Leadership Network, an initiative from the Northeast and Islands Regional Education Laboratory that focuses on the needs of school principals.  With sections on mentoring, the role of the principal as instructional leader, developing and retaining quality principals, and professional development, this document provides a comprehensive look at how one area is addressing the challenges of supporting principal growth.

Executive Coaching
Pardini, P. (2003, November). School Administrator
This article addresses the growing trend of using executive coaching to provide individualized, on-going professional development to school administrators and leaders. It explains the difference between coaches and mentors, provides guidance on how to find a coach, and highlights several successful coaching arrangements.

District Office
Conduct yearly leadership audits of building principals.

Portfolios:  The first phase of new principal screening
Meyers, J.  (2004, April). Catalyst-Chicago, an independent school reform observer.
With the pool of qualified candidates shrinking and expected retirement of over 400 principals, the Chicago Public Schools are faced with the challenge of providing strong instructional leaders for many of its schools.  In an attempt to meet this challenge, the system has instituted a new principal screening policy that requires potential candidates to submit a portfolio outlining their leadership experience and documenting the academic performance of the students that they have worked with.  This article describes the requirements of the new system and some controversy over its potential effects.

Individual Assessment Exercises and Development Guide
National Association for Secondary School Principals.  (2001).
This site provides several easy to use resources that encourage administrators to reflect on their personal strengths and weaknesses as leaders.  A Self Assessment Checklist covers areas from educational leadership and resolving complex problems to communication and developing self and others. The Personal Development Guide helps administrators who have completed the Self Assessment create a plan to address areas of weakness discovered.  Finally, the Mentor/Protégé Suggestions provides possible strategies that mentors and their protégés can use to maximize the results of a program of self-investigation. 

Individual Development Plan Guidebook
National Association for Secondary School Principals.  (2001).
This web link provides a guidebook that administrators can fill out when reflecting on their own personal strengths and weaknesses.  Complete with sections that help an administrator to reflect on their personal as well as professional goals, this document provides a strong foundation for principals interested in their own professional growth.  This document would be a good starting point for administrators interested in reflecting on their current position combined with their plans for the future.

Leadership Audit Tool:  A Participatory Management Checklist
Center for School and Community Development.
This online tool helps school administrators and leaders to reflect on the degree of participatory management that they allow for within their own schools.  Covering areas related to decision-making and problem solving, survey takers get a chart showing their personal areas of strength and weakness.  This tool can be used multiple times during the course of a year, tracking progress and growth.  It can also be effective to identify the individual strengths of administrators across an entire county. 

District Office
Develop a support a system of "principal collaboratives."

Come Together
Onick, R.E. (2003, September).  Principal Leadership, 4(1).
Engaging in reflective study of practice is not a process that has to be limited to teachers.  Principals can collaborate with one another to study school and district-wide issues, looking for solutions that are pertinent and that hold potential.  This article from NASSP describes the work of a collaborative group of middle school principals in Milwaukee, WI.  Motivated by Michael Schmoker, who once said, “Just imagine the benefits if administrators began to do their own action research on effective ways to promote a culture of effective collaboration and data-driven improvement?” these principals have committed to monthly meetings focused on identifying promising models for school reform.  The article includes a description of several projects that these principals have successfully examined and implemented in the past several years.

Issues about Change:  Principals and Teachers:  Continuous Learners
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory.  (2001).
This resource from SEDL outlines the importance of continuous learning for principals and for teachers.  It shares the stories of three principals who are committed to their own development and the impact that this leadership has had on their school community.

Principals Evaluating Peers
Gil, L.S. (1998, October). School Administrator
There has been much emphasis on the development of formative evaluation programs for teachers that emphasize professional growth over summative evaluation programs that emphasize performance.  This article examines an attempt in the Chula Vista School District of California to bring the same changes to the evaluation of administrators.  Abandoning the traditional system of summative evaluations provided by district superintendents, Chula Vista School District has created a system of peer review for administrators.  Based on monthly meetings of Peer Evaluation Groups consisting of 4-7 principals, this system encourages administrators to grow professionally through collaboration with peers and self-reflection.

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