SUBJECT: PD for Principals

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  • PD for Principals: When a Principal is Intimidated During Staff Meetings

    Posted April 19, 2016 in Leaders' Link

    As a district-level leader, what can you do to help a principal who appears to be intimidated by his or her teachers? The most obvious tip-off is a principal who avoids convening the staff. Effective principals schedule meetings to boost professional learning Although in past posts I have advocated ditching status meetings, such as standing…

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  • PD for Principals: Helping Principals Address Parent Entitlement

    Posted March 15, 2016 in Leaders' Link

    “Our principal is afraid of the parents,” confided one high school teacher. “He’ll cave at the slightest complaint. We never know what to expect next.” Effective principals are sensitive to parent and family needs and strive to build positive parental involvement. But sometimes principals’ actions cross the fine line between supporting appropriate involvement and enabling…

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  • PD for Principals: What if a Principal is Not a Team Player?

    Posted February 16, 2016 in Leaders' Link

    I once worked with an elementary principal I’ll call Joseph. The district was rolling out a new approach to language arts instruction, which was a major departure from past practices of round-robin-reading and ability grouping. Many of the veteran teachers were grumbling as they attended the professional learning sessions. Principals attended their own sessions to…

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  • PD for Principals: Ditch the Status Meeting

    Posted January 12, 2016 in Leaders' Link

    Having dinner recently with some very respected teacher friends, I was particularly struck by one part of the conversation that sparked a range of strong emotions, from frustration to disgust. The topic was staff meetings. “Mind-numbingly boring” and “complete waste of time” were the end-pronouncements from my friends describing their experiences, weekly in most cases,…

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  • PD for Principals: Defining the Difference Between Delegation and Shared Leadership

    Posted November 24, 2015 in Leaders' Link

    Among the many complex behaviors in leadership, the concepts of shared leadership and delegation may be the most misunderstood. The two terms are often used interchangeably, yet they are significantly different. In this post, I’ll focus on appropriate delegation. Delegation and shared leadership are both necessary skills for a principal Effective delegation is an essential…

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  • PD for Principals: Why the Need to be Popular is a Red Flag

    Posted October 20, 2015 in Leaders' Link

    In many respects, effective leadership can be described as a balancing act. Leaders must be able to provide both support and accountability, be directive or nondirective as the situation warrants, and have a strong, internal compass grounded in ideals and beliefs regarding what is best for students which define his or her nonnegotiables. For principals,…

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  • PD for Principals: Helping Principals Assess and Address Cultural Issues

    Posted September 22, 2015 in Leaders' Link

    In past columns on professional development for principals, I’ve discussed ways for district leaders to determine what is behind distress signals coming from specific school sites. Another method, which involves the principal in a more proactive role, is the use of a survey administered by the leadership team. A ‘transitions’ survey gives a clear picture…

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  • PD for Principals: Finding Hidden Dysfunctions and Missing Skill Sets

    Posted June 30, 2015 in Leaders' Link

    In one of my recent leadership classes for teachers on the path to administration, a student wrote, “Throughout my journey in this master’s program, I am saddened with every textbook, every discussion board, and each paper I have to write because my site is the complete opposite of what I think of as a good…

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  • PD for Principals: Coaching Principals On Group Norms for Meetings

    Posted June 16, 2015 in Leaders' Link

    In my last post on helping principals develop as meeting facilitators, I suggested coaching points for district-level leaders to consider when supporting principals who need stronger skills in this area. The development and use of group norms is an important facet of effective meetings, as well as an opportunity for principals to model for teacher…

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  • PD for Principals: Supporting Principals to Improve Meeting Skills

    Posted May 19, 2015 in Leaders' Link

    In past posts, I have discussed ways for district office leaders who support principals to assess principals’ leadership styles. Attending staff meetings run by principals can be illuminating and provide valuable information for helping a principal improve his or her meeting facilitation skills. Many new principals need stronger meeting facilitation skills Many new principals are…

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  • PD for Principals: Helping Principals Address Inter-staff Issues

    Posted April 21, 2015 in Leaders' Link

    In my past posts for district leaders, I’ve suggested various methods to assess the strengths and growth areas of principals. One area that may come to light in these assessments is a principal’s discomfort with addressing conflicts among staff members. Without intervention, staff conflicts can impact learning One (male) principal I worked with dismissed these…

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  • PD for Principals: Just-In-Time Coaching

    Posted March 24, 2015 in Leaders' Link

    District-level leaders everywhere do their utmost to select the best candidates for principal openings, and to find the best match for each school. Sometimes principals are also rotated among schools for various reasons, which may include an effort to improve that match factor. District leaders: How to diagnose distress signals from a school However, sometimes…

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  • PD for Principals: Why Shared Leadership is Essential to Maximize Staff Talent

    Posted February 10, 2015 in Leaders' Link

    As discussed in my initial post on maximizing staff talent, an important beginning step is to help principals identify the talents of teaching and support staff, as well as the administrative team if the school has one. I suggested having principals consider all the individuals in their staff roster and listing their strengths, then reflecting…

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  • PD for Principals: Are Your Principals Maximizing Staff Talent?

    Posted January 13, 2015 in Leaders' Link Updated July 14, 2015

    As a district leader, you have a sense of the leadership strength of each of your principals. District leaders must support principals in discovering ways to maximize staff talent and avoid roadblocks that can hinder campus success. Recognizing staff talent The ability to recognize, develop, and maximize the talents of classroom teachers and other staff…

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  • PD for Principals: Data Sharing for Support and Accountability

    Posted November 25, 2014 in Leaders' Link

    Patrick Lencioni, author of numerous business bestsellers including “Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars” has said, “If everything is important, than nothing is.” This applies to education leadership as well, and nowhere more than in the area of monitoring achievement data. Defeat assessment ambiguity by identifying important achievement data With many states still transitioning from standardized…

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  • PD for Principals: Understanding Resistance to Change Initiatives

    Posted October 21, 2014 in Leaders' Link

    In this series I have been discussing ways that district leaders can support principals to be effective change agents. A major component of effective change leadership is the ability to predict and manage the highly individual change process for the implementers (teachers). Teachers struggle with change initiatives for several reasons Four broad, often overlapping categories…

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  • PD for Principals: More Support for Principals Acting as Change Agents

    Posted September 16, 2014 in Leaders' Link

    In my last post on this topic, I suggested that district leaders can support principals in leading major change initiatives by helping them predict whether the change will have first-order or second-order implications for teachers. The terms “first- and second-order implications” were coined by researchers at Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL), whose findings…

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  • PD for Principals: Change Agent Leadership Responsibility, Part Two

    Posted August 19, 2014 in Leaders' Link

    As district leaders work to support principals who are leading important change initiatives, it is important to provide criteria for determining how the change may impact those who must actually implement the change — in this case, classroom teachers. A foundational concept to managing change effectively is that response to change is highly individual. A single…

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  • PD for Principals: Executing the Change Agent Leadership Responsibility

    Posted July 15, 2014 in Leaders' Link

    In my columns for principals and district leaders, I frequently make reference to the 21 leadership responsibilities for principals that were surfaced in the meta-analytical research of Robert Marzano, Brian McNulty and Timothy Waters and discussed in the resulting 2005 book, “School Leadership That Works.” Using the 21 leadership responsibilities for principals as the foundation…

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  • PD for Principals: When Good Teachers Are Not Team Players

    Posted June 3, 2014 in Leaders' Link

    For some principals, a difficult area — or even a blind spot — can be mustering the courage to hold difficult conversations with teachers who are good classroom teachers with students, but poor team players. I have observed phenomena including principals holding these teachers up as models to their peers (as colleagues roll their eyes),…

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