Room 241: A Blog by
Concordia
University-
Portland

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Principal as Instructional Coach

In my last post about recovery plans, I discussed the importance of teacher ownership (as opposed to “buy-in”) of new initiatives and the benefits of team-developed plans for when inevitable setbacks occur. It is human nature to become discouraged and overwhelmed when we are faced with changes that present challenges to us. Teachers might express… Read More

I know a few people who have never been on a diet. Not many, but a few. If you are one of them, you may be unfamiliar with the concept of a recovery plan. Basically, it means that you have a concrete, well-thought-out strategy for coping with the aftermath of moments of weakness when you… Read More

In my last post on this topic, I discussed the use of Learning Walks. This is a way for teacher leaders on the leadership team to begin to grow their awareness of how widely and how well a new strategy is being implemented school-wide. Strong teachers, who typically make up the leadership team, generally assume… Read More

In my last post on this topic, I introduced the idea of Learning Walks as a strategy for the leadership team to begin collecting data on an instructional practice that is a high priority area of focus for the staff. De-privatizing classroom practice moves the entire school forward as a community of professional learners, and… Read More

What do you do when you know that instructional practices in your school do not reflect current research on learning? Student outcomes may not be reflecting high levels of learning, but some of the teachers may blame the students or their families. I often hear principals complain of resistance, but what can you do when… Read More

According to Robert Marzano and his co-authors of the 2005 book “School Leadership That Works,” one of the research-based leadership behaviors of effective principals involves being an “Affirmer.” According to the research, an affirmer principal “systematically and fairly recognizes the accomplishments of teachers, staff and students.” He or she also “systematically and fairly recognizes the… Read More

As far back as the 1970s, a body of research loosely termed “effective schools research” identified factors that directly impacted student learning. These include a safe and orderly campus environment and strong parent and community relations. 40 years of research confirms that school culture impacts student learning As the research has grown, the understanding of… Read More

As the new school year begins, principals have the opportunity to share leadership with teacher leaders in bringing new skills and concepts to the staff. The leadership team is the ideal group to co-plan and co-facilitate professional development with you. Perhaps some team members attended a summer institute focused on a new district initiative. Or,… Read More

When I was a principal, the June days following the exodus of the students and staff were especially fruitful for me. In the several weeks before the end of the site administrators’ work year, I had a suddenly quiet, calm, and uninterrupted period for concrete, long-delayed tasks like going through the piles of paper that… Read More

As I discussed in Why Employee Recognition Programs Can Make Customer Service Worse, teacher recognition programs that operate on a rotating basis (Employee of the Month, Teacher of the Year) are often relatively meaningless for a variety of reasons. Worse yet, programs like these can actually undermine the values the organization wants to instill such… Read More

Principal as Instructional Coach: Debriefing a Mistake

By Terry Wilhelm April 7, 2015

Principals, how do you handle it when your assistant principal misjudges a situation, takes action that is too strong or not strong enough, or otherwise errs in leadership? These situations can occur when APs — especially new ones — encounter problems they did not face as classroom teachers. Sometimes the assistant is acting in your… Read More

As a principal of a midsize elementary school, I did not have an assistant principal, and envied my colleagues at larger schools who did. Having another administrator to confide in, bounce around ideas with, and to simply share the load seemed like a wonderful leadership advantage. Maximizing opportunities for AP leadership My aim in this… Read More

In my initial post on this topic, I discussed potential pitfalls of assigning non-tenured teachers to an assistant principal for evaluation. Assigning your AP to evaluate low-performing, resistant teachers is also problematic, especially if the AP is new or has fewer years of classroom experience than the struggling-resistant teachers. However, this raises another issue. If… Read More

In my last post in this series, I discussed the importance of carefully selecting the teachers who will be assigned to your assistant principal for evaluation. Before beginning each year’s round of formal observations and evaluations, many effective principals take time to meet with their APs and discuss individual teacher needs that may be addressed… Read More

Another important topic of consideration for principals in this series on developing assistant principal leadership is building your assistant principal’s expertise in teacher evaluation. Your AP will be expected to evaluate teachers immediately despite the fact that she has never done so before, and has only experienced the evaluation process as a teacher. She may… Read More