Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Principal as Instructional Leader (articles reviewed by Assistant Principals 12-13)


  1. http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin180.shtml
    Principals are not only disciplinarian, but share many roles, this articles gives examples of the many roles of a successful principal. As administrators it is necessary to be a lifelong learner and facilitator. Doug Pilcher.

    1. Some great messages in the article. Relationships, patience, perspective, etc. Not a lot about policy and crunching numbers. Its about people and how you approach your interaction with them and how you value what they do and who they are. Enjoyed the read.

  2. http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/PB09_Leadership08.pdf

    Loved this article because it went right along with the discussion of how we use our time and how people think we use or should use our time. NEA feels there is a lack of in-depth and appropriate training for instructional leaders. Teachers have ranked leadership as the top factor affecting their willingness to remain in their building/district that they are employeed.

  3. http://www.districtadministration.com/article/principals-instructional-leaders
    The role of principal is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the educational system and diverse student/teacher population. This article addresses, specifically, how and why the role of the principal is shifting to that of an instructional or academic leader position.

    1. I enjoyed the reality check but also the optimism of the article. The quote"The instructional role is the most important role, and it’s the one I enjoy the most—more than all the other roles you have to play, from facilities manager, to social worker, to mental health therapist" seems almost comical but reality. As an instructional leader the principal can create much deeper connections with their staff and when this happens school culture improves and ultimately the instructional program with it.

  4. One of the articles that I read was "The power of the principal...Leadership Matters" It had 4 main points about being af effective princiipal:

    1. Advocate for the Students
    2. Develop Relationships
    3. Be an Instructional Leader
    4. Educate the whole child

  5. The second article that I read was all about switching your thinking from teaching to learning. Make learning the center of everything at your school and you can shift an entire culture. Become the Lead Learner!!!!! All conversations should be in terms of learning...taking away barriers to learning, etc.

    1. My name on here is actually Darla.....:)

  6. November 22,2012

    This article discussed the principal as the "Change Leader." It's emphasis was centered on moving the principal from just an instructional leader to a "Cultrural Change Principal." If this leader is going to accomplish this they must embody the following essential components:moral purpose, understading of the change process,improving relationships, knowledge creation and sharing, and coherence making.

  7. Tonya Woods November 23, 2012


    PERSONAL REFLECTIONS ON ARTICLE “The Principal's Role in Supporting Learning Communities”

    To have productive PLCs, the administrator should set clear expectations. All stakeholders need to be lead in creating a vision and mission to define the purpose of the PLC groups. Setting goals is important in the beginning to enhance teacher and student learning. Collaboration should be encouraged. Professional development should be aimed at updating teacher skills through collaborative studies. The administrators’ role needs to include developing time for professional conversations to occur through setting up a productive schedule. Also, data needs to be accessible but be certain your staff knows how to decipher and appropriately implement the data. They need a skill set to help them develop the readiness to use data in instructional decision making. Administrators should strive to develop an atmosphere of transparency and trust. The trust atmosphere will help teachers feel more comfortable in participating in dialogue and discussion. Within this atmosphere, teachers should eventually develop a system of strategies for decision making and consensus building. The building leaders should encourage developing a “collective responsibility” where learning takes place through a social context rather than only through independent learning. Again, the role of the administrator is to create PLC group time, guide conversations, data review and decisions while strengthening trust within the PLCs.

  8. The Principal as Instructional Leader by Fred C. Lunenburg
    This was a great article! I read another that was good titled Manager-
    Administrator to Instructional Leader: Shift in the Role of the School Principal by John Arul Phillips. It was informative but the article by Fred. C. Lunenburg was my favorite!!

    There has been a shift of emphasis from principals being managers or administrators to instructional or academic leaders. Effective schools are those whose principals stress the importance of instructional leadership. The instructional leadership of the principal is a critical factor in the success of a school's improvement initiatives and overall effectiveness of the school. The principal's primary responsibility is to promote the learning and success of all students. Principals can shift the focus of instruction from teaching to learning by looking at the following five dimensions learning, encouraging collaboration, using data to improve learning, providing support, and aligning curriculum, assessment and instruction. As principals we must continually be focus on learning. We must work together to look at data, collaborate, and have collective expectations among teachers concerning student performance. It is also imperative that our teachers's expectations are aligned with the school's instructional goals.
    Also stressed in the article was the importance of assessment. Assessment drives curriculum and instruction therefore, we must construct better assessments-assessments that tap the breadth and depth of the content and skills in the curriculum. This was a wonderful article and I was challenged with my goal to continually being focused on promoting the leaning and success of all my students. Again we come back to those essential questions: What do we wnat our students to know, how will we know if they are not learning and how will we respond if they are not. And then how will we w\evaluate student progress????

  9. Damon Donnell

    The Changed Role of the Principal


    According to this article, In the new role, the principal recognizes that no one person in the building is the most knowledgeable or experienced practitioner. Rather, the principal is aware of the strengths of the staff and taps into each member’s expertise to improve teaching and learning in the school. The principal works with the staff to develop a strong professional culture in which teachers continuously collaborate.

    The principal’s new role also includes:
    1 Sharing real decision-making power with staff and faculty
    2 Providing support for effective functioning of teams
    3 Being an instructional leader who prompts others to continuously
    learn and improve their practice
    4 Developing collaborative accountability
    5 Managing and monitoring the change process to make sure it is
    always moving forward

  10. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership/may02/vol59/num08/The_Learning-Centered_Principal.aspx

    I was recently in a PLC meeting with district Elementary Asst. Principals. We reviewed the article by Rick DuFour. “The Learning Centered Principal” that was in the, Beyond Instructional Leadership Journal in 2002.
    The real focus is on shifting what we do as Administrators away from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning. The impact on what we do and how it affects learning is the key. We are turning away from the input of new material or programs to looking at the outcomes of what we are already doing.

    The quote I liked best is about what a principal is supposed to be, “An educational leader who promotes success of all students by advocating, nurturing, and sustaining a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff professional grown”. The first part we have all heard before, but the last part is the outcomes based model of what leaders now are now trying to accomplish.

    N. Bice

  11. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/nov12/vol70/num03/Beyond-the-Scoreboard.aspx

    I found the article "Beyond the Scoreboard" very interesting especially because I am currently doing formal evaluations. After reading this, I need to go back and re-evaluate how I am doing these teacher evaluations.
    The key driver of teacher development isn't accurate measurement of teachers' performance. It's guidance on exactly how to improve. We need to be the coach and help the teachers practice, practice, and practice. We also need to remember to teach for growth and not for scores. The article ends stating this:
    Coaching makes teachers great and when teachers see the concrete steps they must take to improve their practice, and when they can continually practice skills connected to those steps, transformational success comes within reach.
    I love this quote from the article “To improve the team, you don't study the scoreboard; you go out and practice. Considering the limited time educators have to do everything we must do, let's ask ourselves how much time we're spending looking at the scoreboard and how much we're spending in practice. We won't start winning until we do.”

    Angie Stafford

  12. http://www.turningpts.org/pdf/Conversations_Fall03.pdf

    The Principal's New Role: Creating a Community of Leaders

    This article provided new insight into the changing role of the principal. One of the key points was that principals are not the "Lone ranger at the top who moves in to take care of all administrative duties and oversee instructional practice," but rather someone who "mobilizes the expertise, talents, and care of others." This challenges the model of what we've always expected principals to be.

    This article has a huge focus on shared leadership, and stresses the importance of knowing the strengths and talents of every staff member so that you can "notice, nurture, and make use of every staff member." Another point I liked in this article was that it said the principal is the "principal change agent" in their building and as such is responsible for setting the intellectual and interpersonal tone. This seems like a daunting task for one person to take on, but is so true. This has helped me to understand the vital role of creating the shared vision and mission and then living it each day with your staff. This was definately an interesting read!

    Julie Workman

  13. www.essentialschools.org/resources/92

    "The Essential School Principal: A Changing Role In a Changing School"
    by Kathleen Cushman

    This article was first published in 1992. Despite the age of the document it still contains many of the essential ideas about the various roles of a school principal.

  14. Changing Role of the Assistant Principal
    This article was geared toward the changing role of assistant principals and what they need to do in order to not fall into the pattern of becoming a school manager, but becoming a school leader.
    Assistant Principals need to go above and beyond their assigned duties and responsibilities.
    The highlight of the article was the list of actions that have proved worthwhile for assistant principals:
    · Conducting action research related to a specific identified school improvement area or subpopulation.
    · Initiating a new program or initiative and document the results.
    · Enrolling in professional organizations such as NAASP, NAESP, ASCD, NSDC, NMSA, IRA, which provide access to journals and research. It is crucial to stay informed on district, state, and national trends and initiatives.
    · Volunteering to serve on a district committee or do summer work.
    · Staying informed on district initiatives and priorities as well as state mandates.
    · Volunteering for tasks that take you out of your comfort zone.
    · Asking the principal to assign new responsibilities.
    · Helping others solve a problem or serving on a task force that is working on a major organizational issue.
    · Locating a mentor or coach.
    · Taking on a highly visible community event that give exposure to key individuals in the organization.

    Sean Morris
    Kirksey Middle School

  15. I'm posting a short, but thoughtful article. Check it out...Assistant Principals
    in Indiana as Change Leaders: The Need for Professional Development...


    This is exactly what we are learning. So often we are the ones conducting PD, however as change agents pursuing PD for ouselves is just as important, if not, more important.

    One more thing...I am finishing up "Learning From Lincoln" and it is definitely on my recommended books to read list. It's definitely an encouraging book and it is a great reminder to all of us that we need to continuely pursue integrity at all times, no matter how difficult the circumstance is.


  16. I liked this article because it includes a small but crucial area on hiring new teachers. It is short and to the point, but it covers some of the responsibilities that an administrator faces today. Hope you enjoy.

    1. click on name and it will take you to the article

    2. Rodney,
      I think this is one of the most important critical pieces of our jobs...and one of the most difficult!!!

  17. Three Ways to Foster Productive Failure by David Dockterman

    This article was posted in ASCD related to the topic of getting struggling students back on track. Initially, I didn't think of this as an article geared as much towards principals as it was towards teachers. However, the more we have talked about the role of the building leader as a facilitator of learning and teacher of teachers, the more appropriate it seemed to discuss here. The main premise of this article was in the power of struggle and failure (within limits and utilized appropriately) Much like the philosophy that if always make sure that students are immediately successful, the less apt they are to learn and internalize the more powerful lessons, the same is true for teachers. However, how compelled do we, as administrators, feel to avoid the potential backlash of giving a very good teacher less than an exemplary rating? Teachers recognize and support the need for mistakes in their classrooms yet the perception is often that it would be insulting to a teacher to suggest improvement.

    The question this article raised for me is how do we create a building culture that embraces learning moments and adult learning in a way that mistakes are viewed as opportunities rather than judgments? Are we prepared to do that for ourselves as well?

  18. “Restorative Practices” by Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher, and Dominique Smith in Principal Leadership, December 2013 (Vol. 14, #4, p. 56-59), no free e-link available; Frey and Fisher can be reached at nfrey@mail.sdsu.edu and dfisher@mail.sdsu.edu. In this article, alternate steps to disciplinary intervention are taken. The school calls it restorative conferencing. If the process goes well, a contract is signed by the student and parent and the heeling process begins. This is a wonderful way to promote 21st skills across the board and have effective disciplinary techniques that keep the student in class with a new outlook.



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