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May 30

Actions of an Effective Principal

A recent blog in Education Week¬† (May 29, 2014) entitled “What Does an Effective Principal Do?” describes a dialog between Michellee Rhee, founder of StudentsFirst and Jack Schneider, faculty member at the College of the Holy Cross. Their comments related to principal quality focuses on instructional leadership from two slightly different perspectives.

Their commentaries include opinions about what a “good principal” does. Rhee boils her definition down to a person “who creates an environment in which students, their families and school staff are interested in attaining significant academic gains for kids.”¬† She does note that good principals realize the needs of teachers and students are different, but these principals put resources and supports in place to support this learning environment. Rhee also comments that while test scores are one way to measure student growth, there are other measures that can and should be used. (Are we listening out there General Assembly members?)

Schneider rebuts regarding significant acacademic gains with respect to certain administrators being “relentlessly” focused on test scores. He notes that “research indicates that when scores are established as a priority inside a building, instruction will narrow and stress levels will rise.” When this occurs, leadership takes an unproductive turn. Schneider further makes his point about instructional leadership: “principals need to be knowledgeable enough about instruction to understand what is really what is really going on inside classrooms.”

If you are picking up a he said/she said dialog with leadership as a topic focus, you are correct. There is much more to this blog and you may access it at: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/beyond_the_rhetoric/2014/05/what_does_an_effective_principal_do.html