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Highly-Effective Principals
Highly-Effective Leaders & Teachers

THE BIG IDEA:

Principals have a large impact on the success of students and teachers in their schools. It is important that they are well-prepared and highly-effective.

WHAT IS A HIGHLY-EFFECTIVE PRINCIPAL?

For many years now, researchers and school improvement advocates have largely focused on improving the quality of teachers as the main lever for increasing the quality of schools. Since students spend the most time with their teachers, these efforts made sense. However, recent research from the Wallace Foundation has found that the impact of principals on improving schools has been understated. Since principals are the people that recruit, develop, and support all of the teachers in a school building as well as other important tasks like building a supportive school climate, there is a strong case for increasing the effectiveness of our principals in order to improve the quality of our schools.  

 

Researchers found that developing a principal from the 25th percentile of effectiveness to the 75th percentile of effectiveness increased learning in math & reading by 3 months for all students in a school.  These gains in additional learning time are similar but a little smaller than the effects of developing a teacher in the same way. However, when you develop a principal to be more effective, as opposed to a teacher, you are affecting all students in the school, as opposed to just one classroom. 

 

The Wallace Foundation researchers were able to identify four key principal actions, as well as three foundational skills, that were linked to effective outcomes for students: 

– Engaging in instructionally-focused interactions with teachers,

– Building a productive climate,

– Facilitating collaboration and professional learning communities, and

– Managing personnel and resources strategically.  

 

Principals are responsible for a wide range of factors that influence student achievement. It’s time to ensure we are recruiting, developing, and retaining our high-impact principals in order to create great schools for all kids.

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