Difference Maker

3 Myths About Innovative School Leadership

Guest post by Bill Ziegler

School administration is often missing innovative leaders who are willing to make the courageous decisions, think creatively, and use the vision casting necessary to move schools and student learning forward. Perhaps we don’t fully understand what it takes to be an innovative leader and we buy into the societal idea that innovators are risk-takers searching for their next new thing to create or design.  (more…)

It’s AP Week—Hats Off to Assistant Principals!

Guest post by Emily Sturchio

In working with a number of assistant principals both as a high school teacher and as an associate for the NASSP professional learning team, I can tell you that APs are often the unsung heroes of a school. It is our nation’s APs who often do the lion’s share of the work to support students and keep our schools running each and every day. The work of APs often goes unnoticed (more…)

How I’m #MakingGlobalChange

Guest post by Alexis Tisby

The NASSP Student Leadership Advisory Committee launched a global citizenship initiative in November 2016, and Alexis Tisby is one of the initiative’s global change ambassadors. She is from Lakewood, WA, and a senior at Harrison Preparatory School who has completed over 260 hours of volunteering and service in her community. In the future, she plans to major in computer science and minor in theater and art while obtaining her private pilot license.

She encourages others to join in on this global citizenship initiative and make global change. Local efforts count! As she shares, projects don’t have to be done on a global or international scale—the things you do locally can still contribute to making a global impact.


One Student’s Past Shapes the Future for Others

The subject of undocumented immigrants has sparked vitriolic rhetoric on the presidential campaign trail. But, for student Carolina Gonzalez, the topic is a very personal one.

At the age of 15, she founded a nonprofit that helped more than 500 undocumented immigrant teens apply for temporary residence and employment in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Her nonprofit—Deferred Action for Dreamers (DAD)—raised more than $22,000 to help young immigrants pay the $465 application fee and get pro bono legal advice. (more…)

What Paying It Forward Really Means

Jake Gallin, a national honoree in the 2015 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program, is all about giving back. The Prudential program, co-sponsored with NASSP, is the nation’s largest youth recognition program based solely on student volunteer service. The program is accepting applicants who have exhibited extraordinary volunteer service through November 3.

As one of 10 national honorees, he won a $5,000 cash prize and a $1,000 cash award as his state’s top honoree. And in the true spirit of community, Jake gave it all away.

Maybe you need to learn about Jake and the volunteer activity that earned him this acclaim to understand his selfless act. (more…)

Principal’s Time Use and School Effectiveness

Center for Education Policy Analysis – Stanford

Author/s: Susanna Loeb, Eileen Horng, Daniel Klasik

“Strong instructional leadership is essential for a school to be successful. However, defined narrowly only in terms of curriculum and classroom instruction, instructional leadership is unlikely to result in increased student learning or other desirable outcomes.” (Horng and Loeb, 2010)

As we begin a new school year, it may be time to consider our role as a school leader and how we contribute to overall student achievement–instructional leadership. Studies indicate that our contribution to the overall effectiveness of our school may run counter to our intuition and current thinking on what is the difference that makes the difference in raising student achievement. In Principal’s Time Use and School Effectiveness, researchers Susannah Loeb and Eileen Horng offer important considerations for school leaders as they seek to improve the quality of instruction and increase student achievement.

Principal “time spent on Organization Management activities is associated with positive school outcomes, such as student test score gains and positive teacher and parent assessments of the instructional climate; whereas Day-to-Day Instruction activities are marginally or not at all related to improvements in student performance and often have a negative relationship with teacher and parent assessments.”

Furthermore, “schools demonstrating growth in student achievement are more likely to have principals who are strong organizational managers. These principals do not fit the conventional definition of instructional leaders, but they do fit the new, expanded definition of instructional leadership that includes organizational management.”

“Organizational management for instructional improvement means staffing a school with high-quality teachers and providing them the appropriate supports and resources to be successful in the classroom.” (Horng and Loeb, 2010)

This study supports research from the Chicago Center for School Research (CCSR), which found that instructional quality (IQ) is a function of Teacher Skill, Student Readiness, and Context. The results emphasize the importance of school leaders creating a context where teaching and learning can take place. An organized, safe, orderly, and inviting school environment is absolutely essential for quality instruction. Principals who successfully created such an environment saw higher student achievement.

School Leaders must create the conditions in which teaching and learning can take place before we seek to enact qualitative improvements in teaching. “A six-year study of school leadership commissioned by the Wallace Foundation concludes that school leaders primarily affect student learning by influencing teachers’ motivations and working conditions. By comparison, a leader’s influence on teachers’ knowledge and skills has far less effect on student learning. Thus, the authors caution against conceptions of instructional leadership with a narrow focus on classroom instruction (Louis et al. 2010).”

“Strong organizational managers consequently are able to support classroom instruction without providing that support directly to individual teachers. Instead, they develop a working environment in which teachers have access to the support they need.” (Horng and Loeb, 2010)

Finally, keep in mind that teaching and learning take place in a context, a context that includes new teacher evaluation systems, new state accountability systems, and new college and career-ready standards and that a supportive context/environment demands that school leaders successfully:

  1. Create a safe, orderly, and inviting school environment that supports learning, encourages attendance, and promotes positive student behavior
  2. Fashion a personalized school climate that values relationships and connects students to meaningful, real-world learning
  3. Foster of collaborative culture of accountability based on mutual trust and shared responsibility
  4. Effectively implement long-term systemic change initiatives
  5. Raise achievement of diverse students by improving classroom instruction and enhancing teacher capacity
The Bottom Line: “Strong managers develop the organizational structures for improved instruction more than they spend time in classrooms or coach teachers.” For years I have referred to this as the difference between “playing school” and actually “doing school.”Unfortunately, researchers found that, on average, only one-fifth of the principals’ time is dedicated to organizational management activities. In comparison, almost a third of their time is spent on administrative tasks — such as managing student discipline and fulfilling compliance paperwork — that do not appear to be related to improved school outcomes (Horng, Klasik, and Loeb 2010).

See on cepa.stanford.edu