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Principal as Instructional Coach

Dissertation Spotlight

As the principal of Clear Creek Middle School in Oregon, David Atherton, EdD, understands the importance of recruiting, hiring, and supporting administrators who are strong instructional leaders. While earning his Doctorate of Education from Concordia University-Portland, Atherton decided to examine this process for his dissertation, “Human Resource Management Practices for Public School Principals: Recruitment, Selection, and Development.”… Read More

Instructional Inquiry for School Leaders

By The Room 241 Team November 21, 2018

The University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) developed an instructional leadership inquiry cycle tool that helps principal supervisors and principals collaboratively engage in a continuous process of instructional improvement and analysis. The inquiry tool directly correlates to CEL’s 5D instructional framework and rubric, making the process of instructional development easy and cohesive. Instructional… Read More

In my previous 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 for the staff. De-privatizing classroom practice moves the entire school forward as a community of professional learners and is powerful for… 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. School culture’s impact Forty years of research has confirmed that school culture impacts student learning. As the research has… 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 principal is acting in… 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

There are many 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, if she only evaluates adequately performing or strong teachers, how… Read More