Building up Minnesota School Principals as Leaders, through Routine Evaluations

Judy Hartnett's picture
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Good school principals are key in creating the right environment for kids to succeed.

Yet many of Minnesota's 1,700 public school principals don't receive comprehensive performance evaluations every year.

That will change. Starting in 2013, school districts have to evaluate school administrators each year. A state working group has started to tackle the issue and plans to create a model evaluation for districts to use.

Fred Storti, executive director of the Minnesota Elementary School Principals Association, said the role of the principal has changed dramatically since he first became an administrator 27 years ago. And as a principal's role becomes more complex, he said, it's important to have good evaluations that help principals drive student achievement.

"The job used to be so much more managerial," Storti said. "Today, it's about being an instructional leader and helping people be more effective teachers."

State law requires the evaluations to include on-the-job observations, surveys that gauge a principal's effectiveness and leadership skills, and data on student achievement. It also says districts need to have a plan in place for principals not meeting standards - ways to help him or her improve and consequences if that doesn't happen.

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