Recommendation Two:
Reexamine and modify the work of principals allowing them sufficient time for effective and ongoing communication with teachers. Communication should include a shared vision for success, clear performance expectations of the school community and regular updates on emerging policies and initiatives shaping education.


Role Group Strategies

District Office
Restructure the principalship, allowing administrators more time to serve as instructional leaders. Provide tools to support administrators engaged in fundamental school reform.

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.

Lost Luster:  Redesigning the Principalship Could Have a Positive Impact on the Pipeline Supply
Pounder, D.G., and Merrill, J.  (2001, November). The School Administrator
The demands of leading a school are taking a toll on the pool of qualified candidates interested in seeking a principalship.  This article from the American Association of School Administrators examines the concerns most frequently mentioned by administrative candidates and provides suggestions for redesigning the work of a principal to make the role more manageable and appealing.  Specifically addressed are the issues of time, accountability and shared leadership.

Principals:  So Much to Do, So Little Time 
Archer, J. (2002, April 17).Education Week.
This article highlights a discussion about the expanding role of the principal that took place at the annual convention of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.   Principals discuss the increasing services schools offer to their communities, the challenges of meeting the needs of special education students and those who do not come to school prepared to learn, and the difficulty of finding time for professional development.

Rethinking the Principalship.
Lashway, L.  (2002, Spring). Research Roundup, 18(3).
This research brief outlines the changing understanding of the principalship.  It describes and provides links to five current studies/articles on the role of the principal that emphasize redefining that work.

Rolling Up Their Sleeves:  Superintendents and Principals Talk About What’s Needed to Fix Public Schools
Public Agenda.  (2003).
This report from Public Agenda and the Wallace Foundation surveyed school leaders about the challenges they face in their jobs.  The site describes eight findings on topics ranging from NCLB to the importance of highly qualified school leaders and offers a forum for readers to engage in discussion about the findings.

District Office
Emphasize that shared leadership, empowering teachers, and creating communities of learners are core district values. Provide resources for schools and principals that will support shared leadership and teacher empowerment.


Brevard Elementary School, Transylvania, NC
The Real D.E.A.L. Schools
Brevard Elementary School is one of eight schools honored by North Carolina Governor Mike Easley as a school that leads the state in both student achievement and teacher working conditions. At this school, all teachers serve on one of the school’s “priority teams” so that leadership is shared and teachers have a voice in school decision-making.

Creating a Professional Learning Community: Cottonwood Creek School
Hoard, S.M. and Rutherford, W.L. (2001). Issues about Change, 6(2).
Cottonwood Creek Elementary School is a K-5 building located in the Southwest.  In the late 1990’s, Cottonwood Creek began to move towards establishing itself as a professional learning community by partnering with a local university to create a community of learners with a shared vision.  This case study, based on interviews with teachers, administrators, school leaders and community members, documents Cottonwood’s efforts and provides valuable insight into the process of creating a professional learning community. 

Interactive Case Study:  System Wide Change
The George Lucas Educational Foundation.  (2003).
This site provides an in-depth look at the successful school reform efforts of Union City Public Schools in New Jersey.  The contents are organized around five key factors in reform: leadership, curriculum/assessment, professional development, technology, and community.  Under leadership, the authors explain how the district assessed and addressed their unique needs, in addition to describing the new curricula written by a teacher and the importance of empowering teachers and district administrators.

Launching Professional Learning Communities:  Beginning Actions
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory.  (2000).
This tool provided by SEDL outlines the efforts and steps taken by several schools in the Southwest to establish professional learning communities.  It focuses on the initial steps necessary for ensuring that the implementation of the PLC model will result in fundamental change.

Multiple Mirrors:  Reflections on the Creation of Professional Learning Communities
Hoard, S.M. (2000). Southwest Educational Development Laboratory.
This website shares seven “stories” from administrators and teacher leaders related to the creation of professional learning communities in schools across the Southwest.

Principals who Know How to Share Leadership
Alabama Best Practices Center.  (2004, Spring).
The Spring 2004 issue of "Working Toward Excellence" profiles several principals who've discovered (some late in their careers) the power of teacher leadership to revitalize teaching and learning. The issue also describes the Alabama Reading Initiative's principal coaching program, which is helping dozens of principals gain the confidence, skills and knowledge they need to lead reforms in literacy instruction.

Sustaining School Improvement:  Professional Learning Communities
Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.  (2003).

This article describes the shared vision, shared leadership, and collaborative activity of professional learning communities.  The authors rate the relative effectiveness of different strategies and highlight the efforts of Lewis and Clark Middle School, in Jefferson, Missouri, to increase the level of active teaching and learning at their school.

What it Takes:  10 Capacities for Initiating and Sustaining School Improvement
The Northeast and Islands Regional Educational Laboratory.  (2000).
This guidebook outlines 10 specific capacities that schools must develop in order to initiate and sustain school improvement.  Capacities include:  enhancing energy flow among staff, creating structures for decentralized decision making, making structural changes and orchestrating resources.  Designed to promote discussion and reflection, the guidebook contains focusing questions at the end of each section that help school leaders to identify their strengths and weaknesses within each strategy.  It also includes a case study of an elementary school in Boston, MA that has successfully used these processes to improve.

Building a Professional Learning Community Toolkit
Eisenhower National Clearinghouse and the National Staff Development Council
This site provides an outline of the process involved in establishing a Professional Learning Community and links to articles written by leading advocates of the model, which are accompanied by a discussion and reflection tool.

Leading Your School Through a School Improvement Process:  Organizing a School Improvement Team
School Improvement in Maryland
The development of school improvement teams allows leadership within a school to be shared.  This website provides score sheets to evaluate the effectiveness of their school improvement teams in the following five areas: team building, strategic planning and follow through, leadership, data utilization and analysis, and managing change and measuring progress. 

Research-Based Strategies to Achieve High Standards:  A Guidebook on School-Wide Improvement
With this resource, WestEd aims to provide a comprehensive guide to school improvement.  It describes the different stages of the school improvement process, listing detailed instructions and guiding questions throughout.  The authors also include a collection of "tools and activities," which range from a self-assessment guide to a data sources checklist, and profiles of successful schools. 

District Office
Create opportunities for teachers to fill leadership roles in schools.

My Mentor, Myself
Kellaher, A., and Maher, J.  (2003, Fall). Journal of Staff Development, 24(4).
It is critical that schools and districts develop effective mentor programs to provide support to teachers new to the profession.  Monitoring the effectiveness of mentor programs is often difficult.  In most programs, mentors are classroom teachers who take on protégés with little additional time or salary stipend.  As a result, the quality of the mentoring experience can be questionable. This article outlines the efforts of the Prince George’s County Public Schools to provide mentors to their new teachers.  Mentors are experienced teachers who serve as full time coaches for a cohort of 10-15 new teachers.  Mentors provide support through model teaching, assisting with planning, and providing advice.  Mentors meet regularly with one another and with their protégés, focusing on issues of immediate concern.  This program could be adapted by any county looking to provide alternate career paths for experienced teachers.

Redefining the Teacher as Leader
Usdan, M., McCloud, B., and Podmostko, M. (2001). Institute for Educational Leadership.
This report examines the potential power in enabling and encouraging teacher leadership.  It discusses roadblocks to teacher leadership, shares promising practices from districts around the country, and provides a list of “Suggested Questions” that communities can use to start discussions related to teacher leadership within their districts.

Coaching Moves Beyond the Gym:  Successful Site-Based Coaching Offers Lessons
Galm, R., and Penny, G.S. (2004, Spring). Journal of Staff Development, 25(2).
This article from the Journal of Staff Development outlines the growing practice of using teacher-leaders within a building to provide on-going professional development and support to teachers and highlights the benefits of coaching on student achievement.  A description of five keys to developing quality coaching programs provides communities with a starting point for establishing their own site-based professional development programs.

‘Making Our Own Road:’ The Emergence of School-Based Staff Developers in America’s Public Schools
Richard, A.  (2003, May). The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation
School-based staff developers are becoming increasingly common in America’s public schools.  These professionals, often former teachers looking for an opportunity to advance within teaching, are charged with serving as instructional leaders within their buildings.  This guide from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation outlines the role of school-based staff developers.  It provides an overview of the need for such positions, a description of the kinds of people filling school-based staff development jobs, several suggestions about the types of roles that school-based staff developers can fill within a school, and an examination of the benefits of school-based staff development programs.

Principals’ Readiness for Reform:  A Comprehensive Approach
Schiff, T.  (2002, February 29). Milken Family Foundation
While much recent discussion has focused on the importance of principals serving as instructional leaders, a survey conducted in the fall of 2000 by the Milken Family Foundation and the National Association of Secondary School Principals revealed that principals spend less than 30% of their work week addressing the curriculum or learning environment of their schools.  The majority of their time was spent on issues related to discipline, community relations and school management.  The Milken Family Foundation sees this as an opportunity to create leadership positions for teachers interested in remaining in the classroom, but hoping for more responsibility.  This article, originally printed in the January, 2002 issue of Principal Leadership, discusses how principals can benefit by sharing responsibilities with teacher-leaders through the Teacher Advancement Program.

The Teacher Leaders Network
The Southeast Center for Teaching Quality
This website, an initiative of the Southeast Center for Teaching Quality, provides an electronic home for educators interested in leadership.  Providing resources in areas from coaching and mentoring to NCLB and action research, this link can connect teachers to a wealth of professional resources that empower them to act as leaders in their schools.

What is the Teacher Advancement Program
Milken Family Foundation
Recognizing that American schools were failing to attract and retain highly qualified teachers to their classrooms, the Milken Family Foundation developed a program known as the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) to increase teaching quality in schools.  The program outlines three career positions teachers advance through while staying in the classroom: career, mentor, and master teacher.  It restructures the school day to provide teachers time for professional learning and collaboration and rewards teachers with a performance-based compensation system.  The website also lists states with TAP schools and provides answers to frequently asked questions about the program.

District Office
Emphasize that data-based decision-making is a core expectation of the district. Provide resources that help schools to become proficient at the use of data in decision-making.

Data-Based Decision Making:  Resources for Educators
AEL and the Council of Chief State School Officers.  (2001).
This site identifies key steps in data-based decision making and provides a variety of resources, including success stories from real schools, to guide educators through each step.  The six steps are: establish a school improvement team, develop a hypothesis, gather data to assess needs, use data, develop a data-based plan, and monitor progress and document sucess.

Data-Driven Schools Create Their Own Accountability
Working Toward Excellence (2002, Summer) The Alabama Best Practices Center.
This article outlines the importance of using data to drive school reform efforts and provides case studies of two schools who have made data analysis a part of their school culture.  It also includes a visual representation of how data-driven schools function and several web links to valuable resources related to the topic of data driven instruction.

Sustaining School Improvement:  Data Driven Decision Making
Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.  (2003).
This document outlines the skills necessary for data-driven decision making, offers strategies that school leadership teams can use to support this process, provides a rubric for evaluating data-driven decision making within a school and shares a ‘success story’ from Jeanette Myhre Elementary School in Bismark, North Dakota.

The Toolbelt: A Collection of Data-Driven Decision-Making Tools for Educators
North Central Regional Educational Laboratory
This website provides a variety of resources and action tools for improving schools through data-driven decision-making.  The site contains a data use primer, a searchable database of resources, a matrix of tools organized around various district needs, and a step-by-step guide to using data in school improvement efforts.

District Office
Provide administrators support in understanding the nature of organizational change.

Mentoring the Organization:  Helping Principals Bring Schools to Higher Levels of Effectiveness
Kelehear, Z.  (2003, December).  NASSP Bulletin, 87(637), 35-47.
Anytime a school begins a reform effort, communication with teachers, parents and other community members becomes a central responsibility of the building administrator.  Another central responsibility is to understand the levels of stress and the receptiveness of community members to proposed changes.  This article helps administrators identify the climate within their schools during reform efforts and details the predictable stages that teachers and community members will go through as change is implemented.  Using the ideas presented in this article, administrators “can construct a prescriptive strategy for successful organizational change.”

What You Can Do To Improve Your School
Ouchi, W.  (2003).  Policy Perspectives.
This article written by William Ouchi, UCLA management professor and advisor to the California Secretary of Education, outlines seven rules of change that school and district leaders must address when working towards reform.

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