Educational Leadership in School Improvement – A Guide for Principals and Teachers
WestEd is highlighting promising practices and evidence-based resources for supporting principal and teacher leadership — particularly for educators working in a school improvement setting.
When a school is labeled as needing improvement, education leaders are challenged to rethink their approach to instruction to ensure students receive an education that prepares them for college and career.
WestEd works with states, districts, and schools to improve schools, offering a wide range of services and resources designed to support a systems-based approach to the improvement process.
Working with the REL West Educator Effectiveness Alliance, state education agency leaders are seeking to refine and/or expand their systems of professional support for educators, and, in turn, improve retention among their teachers and principals.
And, designed for states, districts, and schools and informed by research and experience, WestEd’s Four Domains for Rapid School Improvement framework identifies and provides guidance on essential elements that drive rapid, system-wide improvement efforts – leadership, talent development, instruction, and culture.
The following list of tips for education leaders are adapted from WestEd’s practice guide, Examples of Actions Taken by Principals Trying to Lead Turnaround (2017).
The tips highlight some of what principals can do in order to develop and support rapid and sustainable improvement. Download the guide for a full list of strategies with specific examples.
Cultivate successful strategies and lose the unsuccessful ones. Identify policies and practices that are working and plan to continue using them. Understand how to let go of policies and practices that may be “the way we’ve always done it” but not producing results.
Be willing to break rules and norms. Recognize when policies or norms are not in the best interest of students and take the necessary action to change the situation, engaging stakeholders — including staff, parents, and the district office — to make the change that is necessary to prioritize students’ needs.
Rethink systems and structures. Build on initial change efforts and restructure day-to-day operations — for example, roles, schedules, technology, facilities, and resources — to align with the school’s turnaround vision.
Build and lead a team leaders. Once principals have the right teachers in place (talent development), they build a team of teacher leaders from within the ranks of the school, drawing upon different strengths and strategically assigning responsibilities as the turnaround progresses and leadership capacity grows.
Ensure ongoing professional growth opportunities. Recognize that teachers must receive continuous support to provide consistent, strong, differentiated instruction that meets the needs of diverse learners.
Explore additional resources for principals and teachers.
WestEd’s Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning offers a wealth of insights on growing teacher leaders and effective teacher-to-teacher professional learning.
The Doing What Works library shares resources for principals and teachers in a turnaround environment, including videos and templates.
Meyers, C., Cornier, J., Cooper, G., Dean, S., Hambrick Hitt, D., Kutas, D., Losoponkul, N., & Lutterloh, C. (2017). Examples of actions taken by principals trying to lead turnaround [The Center on School Turnaround]. San Francisco: WestEd.
Posted on January 6, 2020