Some education leadership teams struggle to understand whether or not their leadership practices are effective and ultimately leading to improvement of teaching and learning. For example, are they clearly identifying the areas that require improvement in their schools? Are they developing action plans to implement the improvement? And are they measuring their progress over time?

WestEd staff and colleagues introduced a research-validated tool that can be used to assess a site’s leadership practices at the 2016 NYS Council of School Superintendents (NYSCOSS) Fall Leadership Conference on Monday, September 26, 2016.

Participants in our interactive skill-building session learned about the data collection diagnostic tool, Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership Learning (CALL), which uses survey data from multiple school sources to assess a site’s overall leadership practices and outcomes. CALL provides specific feedback that gives teams a shared understanding of where their areas of improvement are.

The tool was developed at the University of Wisconsin and validated by years of research, and is used as a K–12 leadership assessment and feedback system.

Participants heard from Michael Nagler, Superintendent of the Mineola Union Free School District, and Contann Dabney, a School Principal with the Buffalo Public Schools. Each spoke about working with WestEd to examine and interpret the CALL assessment information, then identifying areas where professional learning and growing site-based leadership talent was needed.

Nagler further shared how he used the leadership data across schools in his district to help monitor teaching and learning and make informed decisions.

Dabney explained how she used CALL data to document progress in her school’s journey from a “struggling school”, to one performing above the district average in Buffalo.  Changes in leadership practices resulted in above average scores in 23 of 24 CALL sub-domains/indicators.

CALL is organized into five domains of leadership practice that focus on the key pathways to leadership:

  • Focus on learning
  • Monitoring teaching and learning
  • Building nested learning communities
  • Acquiring and allocating resources
  • Establishing a safe and effective learning environment.

WestEd’s Stephen Hamilton, Terry Hofer, and Joseph Sassone attended the conference, of which WestEd was a sponsor.