Friday, October 3, 2014

Assistant Principals Institute 2014-15 share your experiences and thoughts!


  1. Visit our Facebook Group Page.... ALA Assistant Principal Institute 14-15


    This article titled "The Awesome Power of the Principal" written by Michael Fullan, says that effective principals have four areas of strategic interaction with teachers: resource provider, instructional resource, communicator, and visible presence. It goes on to state that principals that inititate successful change with their staff intitate the following: establishing job-embedded learning, building relationships, increasing access to instructional resources and modeling hope and optimism. Lastly, the article wraps up listing 6 steps to move theory to practice in organizational change: Be ready-fire-aim change savvy. Participate as a learner. Have instructional focus. Develop others as leaders. Strong networkers. Realize moral purpose.

    Great read!!!

    1. I liked how it pointed out "powerful principals help the school focus on a small number of core priorities they resolutely pursue while avoiding innovation overload."

  3. Thanks Amy! Great read!

  4. Amy's Leadership Project Action Research SMART goal:
    During the 2014-2015 school year, we will reduce student office discipline referrals by 50% through the implementation of a PBS/Schoolwide Discipline plan as compared to the 2013-2014 student office discipline referral data.

    1. That's awesome!
      I have implemented a behavior discipline plan for my 5th and 6th grades. I am hoping to reduce the number of office referrals as well. Sometimes the students just need a jolt to know enough is enough.

      Pike Palmer

  5. Suzette Bloodman- Belair Middle School
    I sincerely benefited from my experiences at session 1/phase 1 of the Master Principals' Institute. As a result, I was able to purposefully launch the 2014-2015 school year. My intent was to ensure that every action/activity remained focus on moving the school forward while providing learning opportunities for all members of our school family. The professional development sessions that occurred during the summer at BMS were aligned to educator needs based on 2013-2014 CWTs. I also utilized the pd template that was used during the Institute. I shared the template with our district's pd coordinator, who has since fully implemented it in her pd activities. This template really causes one to be purposerfully when planning professional development activities/facilitating adult learning. I implemented many of the activities that we did during the Institute with my staff. Most impactful was the purpose of schools. This activitiy generated rich, powerful, and meaningful conversations that really helped to set the tone for the school year. The year is zooming by, however, we are excited about the opportunities that our purposeful actions can yield for our children.

  6. Over time we have read many articles, books, and research on the role of administrators and how those roles have changed over time and continue to change. The two, short video clips below show two different perspectives on the role of administrators.

    The first video is from the perspective of a teacher. John Spencer believes that administrators play a vital role in creating a culture and climate in a school. He appreciates that the administrator creates an environment with mutual trust and respect where everyone cares about student learning. He knows that administrators have to deal with communication, budgets, public relations, marketing, setting up systems, evaluating teachers, having hard conversations, and following policy mandates; however when an administrator brings out the best in students and teachers and creates a culture that values people, everyone has the opportunity to grow and thrive. Based on John Spencer’s perspective, the administrator’s role is to create a culture and environment where everyone wants to be.
    Why I Love Teaching: Administrators
    John Spencer Channel on YouTube
    Time: 3:46
    July 31, 2014

    The second video is from the perspective of three administrators. They focus on the role of administrators changing from managerial to instructional with high expectations where the vision and mission is communicated through collaborative teams and decisions are data-driven. They also mention the change in how schools provide students with much more than book knowledge but work to help students become career ready.
    The Evolving Role of the Principal
    HCPSVideoChannel on YouTube
    Time: 1:57
    August 30, 2013

    Between the two videos, I find it interesting and a challenge that the teacher focuses on the culture and how he and others are made to feel while the administrators focus on tasks. As administrators we need to focus on the “tasks” at hand, however, if a positive culture and climate are not created and cultivated, teachers, studnts, and stakeholders will not jump on board to complete the “tasks.” It is our job to meld the two perspectives.

    1. These videos was helpful in reminding me how we need to focus on the task at hand and not distractors lead us away from that and the importance for success is to have all stakeholders "buy in" to the process.

  7. Lee Ann's Leadership Project Action Research Smart Goal:
    By the end of the 2014 – 2015 school year, Kindergarten, 1st grade, 3rd and 4th grade teachers will utilize data in determining the effectiveness of Tier I and Tier II Rti.

  8. Resource on the changing role of the Principal:
    Previous articles I have read have explained how the concept of the principal as just a building manager has changed to more of the principal being an instructional leader and a leader of school reform. This article distinguishes the differences between a manager and a leader, as well as, the principal’s role in the school vision and their participation in the instructional process. This article focuses of 6 instructional leadership behaviors principals will need in order to have their at-risk students experiencing academic success. These behaviors include:
    Providing resources & materials needed to support instructional efforts
    Observing instructional methods / "rigorous supervision"
    Evaluation of instructional methods
    Data driven decision making
    Data & teacher input on needs for professional development

  9. Meredith's Leadership Project SMART Goal:

    By May 19, 2015, 95% of students in the Cabot Middle School South Extended Learning Opportunities (CMSS ELO) program who attend 28 of the 30 days for 1.5 hours each will increase proficiency in either Math or Literacy by 2 grade levels as evidenced by a comparison of pre and post assessment data from MobyMax and Benchmark/PARCC scores.

  10. Gregory's Leadership Smart Goal

    During the 2014 -2015 school year at Greenbrier Middle School a targeted group of students determined to be "At-Risk" will improve their perceptions of their abilities in the areas of Literacy and Math by 25%.

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    Title of the article is: Elementary School Leadership in an Age of Anxiety

    The title grabbed me because I immediately wondered what specific type of anxiety was referenced in the title. Teacher anxiety? My anxiety? Parent? Student? The fact that I had to wonder, though, underlined the fact that there's a lot of anxiety out there in the first place.

    The article addresses a little of all the above, but the focus is (where it should be) on the impact this has on students and what we can do as leaders in that environment where high stakes and high expectations lead to high stress.

    Implications, bulleted:
    1. Focus on igniting the spark in children
    2. Glorify effort and grit
    3. Stay attuned to developmental readiness and homework overload
    4. Have the courage to talk with parents about their expectations

    1. Great article Matt. I agree that we are in a high state of anxiety the majority of the time. The statement "...Being a consistently calm, reassuring, and caring presence for children, colleagues, and families is an elusive but worthy goal for heads of school..." resonated with me. If that's all we can do for kids, staff and families, it's enough!

  13. By the end of the 2014-2015 school year, student academic progress will be monitored quarterly to analyze the effectiveness of the programs at CES as measured by student grades, attendance, and TLI scores.


    I believe this site is very similar to what we are learning while attending the Arkansas Leadership Academy. They provide videos as well for each of the five areas.

    In culling lessons from 13 years of research that describes what effective principals do well, The Wallace Foundation has found they perform five key practices:

    Shaping a vision of academic success for all students
    Creating a climate hospitable to education
    Cultivating leadership in others
    Improving instruction
    Managing people, data, and processes to foster school improvement

    1. I agree with you. We have used the original Wallace research and video several times with principals. This guide offered through Learning Forward is a good addition to make it a better learning tool. Thanks for sharing!

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    This article confronts a issue many of us face as building level leaders. All to often it appears as if school buildings are divided. On one side of the line you have the Administration (us) and on the other side you have the Teachers (them). We all know this type of environment is toxic. However, it can be I large task to remedy this situation when we work in a systems that require large amount of accountability and leadership. This article provides practical suggest on how we as leaders can take the first steps in mending the fences or extending the proverbial olive branch.

  17. Smart Goal-
    During the 2014-2015 school year, we will reduce the number of students receiving an F on their assessment folder (conduct) by the implementation of In-School Suspension and improved parent communication.

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    This is a simple article but a good one. Simply put to be a good leader you must build relationships with students, give feedback to teachers, be a learning leader, get out of the building, and tap into community resources. Simple but doable ways to be an effective leader.

  20. Carol Dweck's book Mindset is a great resource for shifting to a growth mindset.
    Diana Peer

  21. ALA has been a great experience and I have learned a lot. This year at school has been a challenging one. I've used so many of the tools I'l learned this year and I do believe we have made progress; however, its been a rough journey and several faculty members retired or moved to other schools at the end of the year. The landscape of education has changed so much over the last few years and change is hard for everyone, especially a faculty entrenched in a "comfortable" place. Reflection is a good yet scary journey. I know I have made mistakes this year, but I know our faculty, students and district have made positive movement for success. Thanks ALA for pushing us to be better leaders and providing us with the tools to make it happen!


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