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principals

Systems Thinking to Develop District Leaders

For years, Meridian 223 in Illinois had rampant superintendent turnover, budget constraints and a lack of leadership. Administrators, therefore, sought out a system to foster principal leadership beyond typical school improvement models.

In 2014, the district looked toward the business world. It started using the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award framework for excellence. The district vision now is to “have world-class results while maintaining small-town values,” says Superintendent P.J. Caposey.

Elena Aguilar has been a teacher, coach and leader in education for over 20 years. She is the author of the forthcoming "The Art of Coaching Teams."

If you are a team leader—a department head, grade-level lead, coach or an administrator—chances are high that conflict makes you nervous. It makes most of us nervous, and when we’re in a position of leadership, there’s an implicit understanding that we’re supposed to do something about conflict.

"The Superintendent and the CFO" offers guidance on offers advice on identifying and setting values, directing the business of learning, and creating a climate for continued success.

Other recommended books focus on rewiring the brain for critical thinking, how principals can hone leadership skills and how to teach energy concepts across all science disciplines.

Chris Bart and Margot Trevelyan's new book looks at how leaders communicate and inspire cooperation.

A Tale of Two School Principals: And the Superintendent Who Wanted to Lead Them is not your conventional leadership book. Told in a narrative form, the book is a journey of discovery as the characters learn to get to the deeper meaning and intent of a new district policy.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has spearheaded the creations of college savings account for the city's low-income students.

Libby Schaaf, mayor of Oakland, established in January the Oakland Promise, a project with more than 100 community partners working to triple the number of the city’s low-income, public school students who go on to graduate college.

Since Cedrick Gray Gray became superintendent of Jackson Public Schools in 2012, the Mississippi district’s state and national accreditation was restored, graduation rates increased and dropout rates decreased.

Cedrick Gray of Jackson Public Schools in Mississippi was named 2015 Superintendent of the Year by the National Alliance of Black School Educators in November. The award goes to an administrator whose leadership has brought significant improvements for students of African descent.

Source: National Council on Teacher Quality (Click to enlarge)

The vast majority of states require student growth and achievement to be factored into teacher and principal evaluations.

But most states and districts are now grappling with the practical realities of implementing those policies, according to the October report “State of the States 2015: Evaluating Teaching, Leading and Learning” from the National Council on Teacher Quality.

The changing landscape of K12 education in the 21st century has transformed the role of the school principal. Today the expanded leadership responsibilities of principals have made them more crucial than ever to the success of a school district. In this webinar, originally broadcast on October 7, 2015, administrators from the Brevard (Fla.) Public Schools discussed how they are accurately measuring the performance of principals and enhancing their professional growth by using an integrated platform to conduct meaningful evaluations and provide actionable feedback.

Under Principal Alan Tenreiro’s leadership, Cumberland High School has seen increases in academic achievement, graduation rates, and the number of students admitted to college. (Photo: Lifetouch Photography)

Alan Tenreiro, principal of Cumberland High School in Rhode Island, was named 2016 National Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals in October. Under Tenreiro’s leadership, the high school (which is part of the Cumberland School Department) has seen increases in academic achievement, graduation rates, and the number of students admitted to college.

The school has also doubled its Advanced Placement class offerings and expanded its STEM courses to include pre-engineering and robotics.

Brevard Public Schools changed principal PD in 2014-15 to focus intensively on building principals’ skills working with teachers in the modern classroom.

Some say that for principals, every day is their first day on the job. Alongside day-to-day building management issues such as hiring teachers, overseeing finances and student discipline, principals now guide teachers through new state standards and testing.

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