7 Steps to Effective Instructional Leadership

Books

Elaine K. McEwan

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  • Dedication

    In memory of James E. Heald, the inspiration for this book January 3, 1929—September 18, 2001

    Copyright

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    Preface

    What This Book Is About and Who Should Read It

    I have been a student of leadership and, more particularly, instructional leadership since the late seventies. Unfortunately, many of the stakeholders in public education have not always shared my enthusiasm regarding its importance. They often seemed oblivious to what is a given in my mind: without an effective principal, forget about having an effective school. Instead, resources across the United States were directed to tests, teachers, and textbooks in an effort to improve student achievement. Standards received far more attention than school leadership, as if a list of outcomes could impact a school without a strong leader at the helm. The debate regarding how best to certify teachers got more press than the critical shortage of outstanding principals. More recently, however, politicians, parents, and even the press are finally giving principals their due. With this renewed interest in and emphasis on the importance of strong instructional leadership in achieving accountable and effective schools, a second edition of Seven Steps to Effective Instructional Leadership is timely.

    In the fall of 1983, I was hired as the principal of an elementary school in the far western suburbs of Chicago. It was my first principalship, and I was armed with five dress-for-success suits, a newly acquired doctoral degree, and all the answers. Confronted with a student body that was over one third poor and 40 percent minority, standardized achievement test scores that hovered at the 20th percentile, and a staff that seemed powerless in the face of such odds, I discovered that my answers were for a totally different set of questions than those I faced.

    I began to search for alternative answers and found them in both expected (the research literature) and unexpected (the collective wisdom of the faculty) places. Research in the early eighties was increasingly demonstrating the impact of building the principal's leadership. But the challenge for me was how to translate that research into action in my own school. I did not have years of experience upon which to draw, and I did not have unlimited staff development funds to train teachers and import new programs. But in my ignorance, I did not realize my limitations. I only knew what I wanted my school to become. That is always the challenge for the principal—how to create a worthy vision and how to motivate and inspire a disparate group of students, teachers, and parents toward that vision. I found that through shared decision making, instructional support and encouragement, and the partnership of businesses in our community, the faculty was energized and empowered. Together we discovered that “the wizard was truly within us.”

    In the 8 years I served as the principal of that building, student achievement rose dramatically, parental involvement as measured by PTA membership and financial support tripled, and our image in the community turned around. Teachers participated in planning and decision making through a building-leadership team. The faculty came to view their principal as a leader rather than a manager. Decisions were no longer made unilaterally; teachers participated in decision making and were held accountable. Rather than following recipes and rules that were no longer working, we hypothesized, solved problems, and tested new ideas. Teaching was focused on the outcomes we developed together rather than on covering textbooks, and expectations moved from a belief that some can learn to the belief that all can learn. During my 8-year tenure at Lincoln School, I became a student of the instructional leadership literature and dedicated myself to becoming an instructional leader. I constantly monitored and evaluated my own behaviors, and I asked my faculty to share their observations and suggestions with me, both informally and with standardized instruments. In 1989, I was privileged to be named an Instructional Leader by the Illinois Principals Association, and in 1991, I was honored to be named the National Distinguished Principal from Illinois. Above all else, these experiences were humbling since they put me in touch with dozens of exemplary instructional leaders around my state and the country whose accomplishments at leading schools to excellence were awe inspiring. Many of their reflections on instructional leadership are included in the chapters that follow.

    I believe that any dedicated educator has the capability to become an exemplary instructional leader. All that one needs is a willingness to learn accompanied by the commitment to follow through in day-to-day behavior. The seven steps to effective instructional leadership that you will read about in the following chapters have been tested by practitioners and validated by research. Adopted, practiced, and refined in your own professional life, they will make a measurable difference in the lives of students, teachers, and parents in your educational community. You will discover that the wizard is truly within you.

    Whom This Book Is for

    I have written Seven Steps to Effective Instructional Leadership for results-oriented administrators who daily face the pressures of accountability. Effective schools with high-achieving students don't just happen. They are cultivated and thrive under the strong instructional leadership of principals who daily engage in each of the seven steps.

    This book is designed for educators in a variety of positions: (a) current school principals who want to renew and revitalize their approach to leadership; (b) prospective principals who need to know how and where to channel their energies in preparing for the principalship; (c) central office administrators who need a template to assist in the hiring, coaching, and evaluation of principals; and (d) university professors who train and mentor current and prospective principals.

    Overview of the Contents

    The Introduction sets forth the differences between leadership and instructional leadership and defines the critical attributes of effective instructional leadership. Chapters 1 through 7 describe each of the seven steps in detail, set forth explicit behavioral indicators related to each step that will enable you to evaluate yourself and solicit feedback from the teachers with whom you work, and offer practical suggestions from actual principals regarding how they have implemented the seven steps. The book concludes with some immediate things you can do to become an effective instructional leader, a complete Instructional Leadership Checklist, and reproducible response form.

    This updated edition of Seven Steps to Effective Instructional Leadership contains substantial changes:

    • A revision of step one to include standards-based reform, the use of data to drive school improvement, and the necessity for effective instructional leaders to achieve results with their teachers and students
    • The addition of personal expectations to step five
    • A substantial revision of the Instructional Leadership Checklist along with the inclusion of several new indicators
    • An easier-to-use response form that now groups the indicators with their respective steps to effective instructional leadership
    • A collection of must-read books to help you extend your learning regarding the seven steps
    • Updated references and research
    • New vignettes from both elementary and secondary instructional leaders that illustrate how to implement the seven steps to achieve results
    Acknowledgments

    I remain indebted to the following individuals who made contributions to the first edition of Seven Steps to Effective Instructional Leadership. Many of them have moved from the principalship into central office administration, university teaching, and consulting positions, but they continue to share their instructional leadership expertise with a new generation of both prospective and practicing principals.

    To the following instructional leaders who completed lengthy questionnaires or were interviewed or contributed ideas for the first edition, my special thanks. Their insights have enriched my own professional life as well as the pages of this book: Harvey Alvy, Carol Auer, Chuck Baker, James A. Blockinger, Diane Borgman, Dave Burton, Nancy C. Carbone, Amelia Cartrett, Gary Catalani, Maryanne Friend, Nick Friend, Christine Gaylord, Linda Hanson, Robert V. Hassan, Carolyn Hood, Alan Jones, Michael L. Klopfenstein, Brent J. McArdle, Roger Moore, Stella Loeb-Munson, Linda Murphy, Phyllis O'Connell, Ann Parker, Michael Pettibone, Joe Porto, Richard Seyler, Danny Shaw, James D. Shifflet, James J. Simmons, Lynn Sprick, Frances Starks, Merry Gayle Wade, Sister Catherine Wingert, and Paul C. Zaander.

    I owe my great and good friend, Don Chase, former field representative for the Illinois Principals Association (IPA), a debt of gratitude for the many opportunities he afforded me to share my ideas with others and grow as an instructional leader. The ink was scarcely dry on my contract when Don was at my door recruiting me to join IPA. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

    The teachers at Lincoln School, West Chicago, Illinois, from 1983 to 1991, taught me most of what I know about instructional leadership. They were unfailingly forthright, long-suffering beyond belief, and showed me on a daily basis that all children could learn.

    To my former colleague and friend Phyllis O'Connell, who now teaches at North Central College (Illinois), I appreciate her right-brained reading of this manuscript and her extraordinarily creative approach to instructional leadership. Her suggestions and critique were invaluable. Other colleagues who read the manuscript of the first edition and offered assistance were Becky Rosenthal, Tom Giles, John Patterson, and Nancy Coughlin.

    My former superintendent John Henning first believed in my abilities, gave me the freedom to grow and change as a person, and enabled me to become an instructional leader. I have learned much from his wise counsel and his example as a leader.

    To my late husband, Richard, whose encouragement to write this book did not die when he did, I am grateful.

    My final tribute I reserve for my husband and business partner, E. Raymond Adkins, whose love, warmth, patience, gentle spirit, and unerring eye for detail have seen this book from its beginning to the final form.

    Two individuals convinced me of the need for a second edition of Seven Steps to Effective Instructional Leadership and thoughtfully shared exactly what needed to be added to the book to make it more timely and applicable to both prospective and practicing administrators. Both of these gifted teachers have used the first edition as a textbook in their graduate courses on the principalship and know its contents as well or better than the author: ElizaBeth McCay, assistant professor of educational administration at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Roland Smith, longtime school superintendent and currently professor of educational administration at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

    A special thanks to Sandra Ahola, Kathie Dobberteen, Alan Jones, and Yvonne Peck for sharing their expertise with the readers of this second edition. Alan contributed to the first edition, but he is still going strong—eloquent and thought provoking as always. Kathie attended one of my first raising-reading-achievement workshops and went back to her building to turn it upside down with her zeal for making sure that no child left her school without knowing how to read and write on grade level. I have worked with Sandra's staff to improve reading achievement in her K-8 school and have experienced firsthand her effective instructional leadership at work. I first met Yvonne at one of my workshops and was immediately impressed with her passion for achieving results at the high school level. As an assistant principal at this level, she knows the challenge of being an instructional leader in a school of 3,000 students while sitting in the second chair. She always has time for my questions in spite of the demands on her time.

    Writing books is often a lonely endeavor, and a phrase from that old cowboy song “Home on the Range” could well be paraphrased to describe the life of an author: “Where seldom is heard an encouraging word….” My special thanks to Roland Smith for sending me the following encouraging words taken from an answer to a comprehensive examination question written by one of his students. These words, above all else, convinced me to write the second edition of Seven Steps to Effective Instructional Leadership:

    The fourth priority I would attempt to accomplish in my first year [as a principal] would be to continually practice the seven steps for effective instructional leadership as set out in Elaine McEwan's book of the same title. No other work has influenced the formation of my philosophy more. [The seven steps have] provided me [with] a roadmap for developing what I hope is an effective educational administrative philosophy.

    About the Author

    Elaine K. McEwan is a partner and educational consultant with the McEwan-Adkins Group, which offers workshops and consulting services in instructional leadership, school improvement, raising reading achievement K-12, and school-community relations. A former teacher, media specialist, principal, and assistant superintendent for instruction in a suburban Chicago school district, she is the author of more than two dozen books for parents and educators. Her Corwin titles include Leading Your Team to Excellence: Making Quality Decisions (1997); Seven Steps to Effective Instructional Leadership (1998); The Principal's Guide to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (1998); How to Deal with Parents Who Are Angry, Troubled, Afraid, or Just Plain Crazy (1998); The Principal's Guide to Raising Reading Achievement (1998); Counseling Tips for Elementary School Principals (1999) with Jeffrey A. Kottler; Managing Unmanageable Students: Practical Solutions for Educators (2000) with Mary Damer; The Principal's Guide to Raising Math Achievement (2000); Raising Reading Achievement in Middle and High Schools: Five Simple-to-Follow Strategies for Principals (2001); Ten Traits of Highly Effective Teachers: How to Hire, Mentor, and Coach Successful Teachers (2001); and Teach Them ALL to Read: Catching the Kids Who Fall Through the Cracks (2002).

    She is the education columnist for the Northwest Explorer newspaper, a contributing author to several online Web sites for parents, and can be heard on a variety of syndicated radio programs helping parents solve schooling problems. She was honored by the Illinois Principals Association as an outstanding instructional leader, by the Illinois State Board of Education with an Award of Excellence in the Those Who Excel Program, and by the National Association of Elementary School Principals as the National Distinguished Principal from Illinois for 1991. She received her undergraduate degree in education from Wheaton College and advanced degrees in library science (MA) and educational administration (EdD) from Northern Illinois University. McEwan lives with her husband and business partner, E. Raymond Adkins, in Oro Valley, Arizona. Visit her Web site at http://www.elainemcewan.com, where you can learn more about her writing and workshops, or contact her directly at emcewan@elainemcewan.com.

  • Conclusion

    What Are the Seven Steps?

    In the Introduction, I suggested several obstacles to becoming an effective instructional leader—lack of skills and training; lack of time; lack of teacher cooperation; lack of support from superintendents, school boards, and community; and lack of vision, will, or courage. But I also noted that anyone with the desire—ganas—could leap over tall buildings in a single bound. Implementing the seven steps to effective instructional leadership is not something you are going to do to your school or teachers but something you are going to do to yourself. Let's briefly review the seven steps and then look at how you might begin their implementation.

    Step One: Establish, Implement, and Achieve Academic Standards

    This step involves what Stephen Covey calls beginning with the end in mind. Knowing what you want the graduates of your school to be able to know and do, and then making sure that your students acquire that knowledge and those skills, is the heart of the whole schooling enterprise—our raison d'être. The focus of step one is on knowing where you are going—the destination of your journey—and then being able to determine if you have arrived. Where will the wagons be heading when they pull out of the last outpost?

    Step Two: Be an Instructional Resource for Your Staff

    This step has less to do with offering support to teachers if they are feeling blue or need a shoulder to cry on than with being an instructional resource who provides the kind of encouragement, motivation, and solid observational feedback that teachers need to improve their teaching. The focus of step two is making sure that the people with whom you are traveling know where they can go for help whenever they need it. When the wagon breaks down or the provisions run short, be there to shoot that wild turkey for dinner or replace a broken wagon wheel.

    Step Three: Create a School Culture and Climate Conducive to Learning

    Your assignment in step three is to make sure that everything that happens in your school is focused on one goal—learning. Time is being used effectively, programs and activities facilitate learning, and expectations are high. The focus of step three is making sure that nothing interferes with reaching your destination. Through buffalo stampedes and raging rapids, press on, refusing to be deterred or distracted by the obstacles and barriers.

    Step Four: Communicate the Vision and Mission of Your School

    We all lose our way at times. We become distracted by failure, competing agendas, personal problems, or trivial goals. Step four simply means that you will continually find ways to reassert, rephrase, refocus, and revitalize your mission. The focus of step four is making sure that nobody forgets the goal (the destination of the journey). Circulate through the camp each night to talk about the glories of unexplored lands, the excitement of walking through uncharted territories, and retell the story of the triumphs over tragedy that have already occurred on the trip.

    Step Five: Set High Expectations for Your Staff and Yourself

    Teachers serve at the critical point of instructional delivery. They need to be peak performers every minute of every day. You cannot do their job for them, but you can help them reach those performance pinnacles through observation, feedback, mentoring, and coaching. The focus of step five is making sure that all the pioneers have the tools and talents to go with you on the journey. Encourage all members of the caravan to do their very best, offering words of encouragement and assistance whenever needed.

    Step Six: Develop Teacher Leaders

    Teachers have a dual role to play in reaching the goal of learning for all students. Not only are they responsible for managing instruction but they also have a role to play in both decision making and leadership. The focus of step six is making sure that everyone shares the leadership and responsibility for reaching the destination. When you grow weary, ask others to act as wagon master, resting secure in the knowledge that they are well prepared.

    Step Seven: Establish and Maintain Positive Relationships with Students, Staff, and Parents

    While you, the instructional leader, are doing all the big important things of leadership, (e.g., setting goals, communicating the mission, setting high expectations, and bringing out the leader in everyone), please do remember what's really important—the people. The focus of step seven is about making sure that all the while you are striving for the goal (destination), the relationships of the folks who are traveling together will not be overlooked. Through the difficult moments that are stressful, anxious, and irritating, the journey will, nevertheless, be characterized by good times around the campfire and satisfaction at pulling through the mud holes as a team. Have some fun along the way. Strong instructional leadership will make the difference.

    What Can You Do to Get Started?

    Don't put off until tomorrow what really needs to begin today. Think now about what you can do to change your instructional leadership behaviors. Some of the things effective, experienced instructional leaders do are described below.

    Self-Assess Your Instructional Leadership Behaviors

    Spend a few moments, now that you have completed this book, to use the Instructional Leadership Checklist (Resource A) and Response Form (Resource B) to assess yourself. Be honest in your appraisal, and use the information from your self-reflection to help you set personal and professional goals.

    Ask Your Staff to Assess Your Instructional Leadership Behaviors

    Thinking is the most important act of leadership in a change-oriented environment.

    (Schlechty, 1990, p. 98)

    Don't wait for others to tell you where you need to improve. Ask them. When I first began this process, it was painful. I divided my faculty into four groups—one group for each of my building leadership team members. They summarized the answers to each of these questions: “What am I doing that is effective and should be continued? What am I doing that is ineffective and should be stopped? What am I not doing that I should be doing?” I met with all team members individually, and they shared with me what the teachers in their groups had said. There were moments of pain and disbelief. Surely I couldn't be like that? Didn't they know how hard I worked and how much I did?

    In addition to requesting informal verbal feedback from your staff, ask them to use all or parts of the Instructional Leadership Checklist to rate your leadership behaviors. Discuss the results with your leadership team, and use them to plan improvement initiatives.

    Work and Network with Colleagues

    The most exciting thing about preparing this manuscript was reading the questionnaires and talking in person with many of the instructional leaders who contributed. They are an impressive and awe-inspiring group of individuals. People like them work in every community and state. Find one or two strong instructional leaders in your area. Talk to them, shadow them, and pick their brains at every opportunity. Join professional organizations (both state and national), and volunteer for committees.

    Attend Classes

    If you do not already have one, begin to work on an advanced degree. Barth (cited in Sparks, 1993) chides principals not to become the at-risk principal who, like the at-risk student, “leaves school before or after graduation with little possibility of continuing learning” (p. 19). While every class won't inspire you, the contacts with other educators, the opportunities for thinking and reading, and the challenge of being a learner yourself will. Spend part of every summer in a professional institute experience. Many instructional leaders have attended the Harvard Principals Center or workshops and training opportunities sponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) or the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)—with astounding results in their personal and professional lives.

    Read Books

    You may already have an advanced degree, but that should not keep you from learning. Become a student of the leadership literature. Acquire the books on the must-read lists throughout this book, and begin to work your way through the stack. Ask a group of principals from your district or your area to join you in a once-a-month book club luncheon.

    Subscribe to Journals and Newspapers and Read Them

    My favorites are Education Week, Educational Leadership, NASSP Bulletin, Principal and Phi Delta Kappan.

    Set Goals

    If you are not currently setting short-term, long-term, and visionary goals in all areas of your life—career, education, family, social, and spiritual, you are missing out on some real benefits in your life. In its Aspiring Principals Workshop, NAESP suggests that establishing goals will help you to

    • Break out of that being-in-a-rut feeling
    • Reduce the frequency of down days
    • Help stretch peak days
    • Tap unused potential
    • Stretch thinking
    • Reduce procrastination
    • Develop a winning attitude
    • Rediscover optimism
    • Make better use of your subconscious
    • Become more self-motivated
    Take Risks

    I have taken some big risks in my day. I volunteered to bring a teacher and her class to be observed by 125 other administrators and then agreed to conduct a conference with her in front of them. I challenged the CEO at a multinational company in our attendance area to trade places with me for a day. Both of these risks resulted in opportunities for my students and teachers that I could never have foreseen. Although the adage says “think before you act,” there are many occasions when we ponder too long over the ramifications of something and fail to seize the moment.

    Volunteer to Teach a Class or Workshop

    Jim Blockinger has taught Administrators' Academies in the areas of supervision and instructional leadership. Although Jim's academies have helped countless Illinois administrators to improve, no one has improved more from his classes than Jim.

    Join Professional Organizations and Become Active

    Become affiliated with the NAESP, NASSP, the National Middle School Principals, or the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Join the state affiliates of these organizations as well. Attend meetings. Volunteer for committees. Rubbing shoulders with other instructional leaders in your state and nation will enlarge your horizons and expand your vision.

    Think and Reflect on Your Own Practice of the Principalship

    If you are moving through your work without constant reflection on all the things that are happening, you are missing out on wonderful learning opportunities.

    Effective instructional leaders are never satisfied. They always want more—from themselves, their teachers, and their students. They are learning something new every day. They know they can't expect their teachers to give them more than they themselves are willing to give, and they're constantly aware that everyone is watching to see if they are walking their talk.

    Many instructional leaders have had to learn patience. Although they are motivated, are driven to accomplish what they know needs to be done, and have a vision for the future, they recognize the folly of bulldozing a plan. Nancy Carbone explains it in this way: “You have to believe in the process and have patience with people.” She elaborates, “I found that if I presented the information for people in a variety of ways and trusted their instincts to do the right thing, they would not disappoint me.” Instructional leaders have also learned that their work is never really done. For task-oriented individuals who want to cross things off their proverbial lists, instructional leadership means never being finished. Alan Jones summarized it rather neatly: “You really need patience. Profound change takes 5 to 7 years. Change is not a rational process. You just have to have a vision and then hang on for the ride!”

    Challenge for the Future

    Begin today to change some of the ways you do business in your school. The research is clear. How you act every day makes a difference in the educational lives of students. Through the words you use, the actions you choose, and the vision you pursue, you will make a major impact on student learning. The question is not if you are or will have an impact on the students, parents, and teachers with whom you work. The question is what kind of an impact will you make. Altering even a few instructional leadership behaviors will produce dramatic results in the effectiveness of your teachers, the support of your community, the learning of your students, and the personal satisfaction you'll feel from having made a difference.

    Resource A: Instructional Leadership Checklist

    Step One: Establish, Implement, and Achieve Academic Standards

    There are four indicators that describe step one in more detail. Each indicator is followed by three sections: (a) a comment that defines the specific focus of the indicator; (b) a scale of descriptors that gives a continuum of behaviors (1 to 5) from least effective to most effective; and (c) key points in the descriptors that give succinct explanations of each of the five items in the scale. For each indicator, select the number from 1 to 5 that most accurately describes your own behavior on a day-to-day basis.

    Indicator 1.1

    Incorporates the designated state and district standards into the development and implementation of the local school's instructional programs.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 1.1 is the support the principal gives to mandated state and district standards while developing and implementing an instructional program that also meets the needs of the individual students, classrooms, and the school as a whole.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • Principal does not support the use of state and district standards as the basis for the instructional program.
    • Principal pays lip service to the use of state and district standards as the basis for the school's instructional program but permits teachers to exercise personal judgments regarding their ultimate inclusion.
    • Principal believes that state and district standards should be used as the basis for the school's instructional program and communicates these expectations to teachers.
    • Principal believes that state and district standards should be the basis for the school's instructional program, communicates these expectations to teachers, and works with them in the development of instructional programs that do this effectively.
    • Principal believes that state and district standards should be the basis for the school's instructional program, communicates these expectations to teachers, works with them in the development of instructional programs that do this effectively, and monitors classroom activities and instruction to ensure such inclusion.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • No incorporation of state or district standards into program
    • Belief in importance but permissive in supervision
    • Belief in importance with expectations communicated
    • Belief in importance, expectations communicated, and assistance provided
    • Belief in importance, expectations communicated, assistance provided, and implementation monitored
    Indicator 1.2

    Ensures that schoolwide and individual classroom instructional activities are consistent with state, district, and school standards and are articulated and coordinated with one another.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 1.2 is the match between the highest level of academic standards—whether those be state, school, or district—and what is happening in individual classrooms and the school as a whole; and what the principal is doing to ensure that consistency exists in each classroom in the building. The existence of clear standards is a given in this indicator.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • Although state, district, and school standards do exist, many activities act as deterrents or impediments to the achievement of those standards.
    • Although state, district, and school standards do exist, instructional practices in the school as a whole (majority of classrooms) do not appear to support the achievement of those standards.
    • Although instructional practices in the school as a whole appear to support the state, district, and school standards, there are many individual classrooms in which instructional activities and outcomes do not support the stated standards.
    • Instructional activities and student achievement in most classrooms and the school as a whole support the stated standards.
    • Instructional activities in all classrooms and the school as a whole support the state, district, and school academic standards.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • Level 1 implies that the principal is unwilling to address a lack of consistency in many classrooms (more than half) or in the school as a whole.
    • Level 2 implies that the principal expresses a verbal willingness to address lack of consistency but fails to follow through with actions to ensure consistency.
    • Level 3 implies that the principal is willing to address a lack of consistency between standards and instruction but is marginally effective in doing so.
    • Level 4 implies that the principal is willing to ensure consistency between standards and instruction and is usually very effective in doing so.
    • Level 5 implies that the principal is highly effective in ensuring that instructional activities and outcomes match standards.
    Indicator 1.3

    Uses multiple sources of data, both qualitative and quantitative, to evaluate progress and plan for continuous improvement.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 1.3 is the use of multiple assessments and sources of data by the principal and, in turn, the teachers to evaluate and, if necessary, make subsequent adjustments in instruction or curriculum to ensure that state, district, and school academic standards are being achieved.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • No internal schoolwide program of assessment or data collection exists.
    • Although a district or schoolwide standardized testing program exists, the results are merely disseminated to teachers and parents; the principal does not use the information to help teachers evaluate and improve the instructional program.
    • Standardized test information is the sole indicator used by the principal for program evaluation. Review of the information is not systematic or specific, and teachers rarely review the results beyond the initial report.
    • Results of multiple-assessment methods—such as ongoing curriculum-based assessments, criterion-referenced tests, standardized tests, and performance or portfolio assessments—are systematically used and reviewed by the principal along with teachers.
    • Results of multiple-assessment methods are systematically used to evaluate program objectives. A schoolwide database that contains longitudinal assessment data for each student, classroom teacher, and grade level, as well as for the whole school, is regularly used by the principal and teachers to make instructional and program modifications for the school, individual classrooms or grade levels, and individual students, and to set meaningful and measurable goals for subsequent school improvement.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • No testing program
    • Standardized testing program with little use of results by either principal or teachers
    • Standardized testing program with some use of results by principal and little use of results by teachers
    • Well-rounded evaluation program with some use of results by both principal and teachers
    • Well-rounded evaluation program with effective use of results by both principal and teachers to modify and improve program.
    Indicator 1.4

    Instructional leadership efforts on the part of the principal result in meaningful and measurable achievement gains.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 1.4 is the achievement of measurable gains on a state assessment or local standardized test as a result of sustained instructional leadership and improvement efforts led by the principal.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • The principal believes instructional leadership is no different from management and is unwilling to devote time and resources to improvement efforts toward raising achievement.
    • The principal pays lip service to the concept of instructional leadership, the development of goals, and school improvement activities but does nothing to provide resources or support to teachers.
    • The principal believes that instructional leadership is important, engages in some goal-setting and school improvement activities, but is unable to provide the support and resources that are necessary to bring about change.
    • The principal believes that instructional leadership is essential, engages in many meaningful goal-setting and school improvement activities, provides some support and resources that have resulted in some measurable achievement gains, but is unable to hold all teachers accountable and sustain improvement or realize meaningful gains for more than 1 year.
    • The principal believes that instructional leadership is key, engages in meaningful goal-setting and school improvement activities, provides strong support and ample resources, and has led the staff to meaningful achievement gains that have been sustained over time.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • No instructional leadership toward school improvement.
    • Minimal effort given to instructional leadership, goal setting, and school improvement activities. No resources or support provided to teachers. No gains.
    • Some instructional leadership. Some goal-setting and school improvement activities. Limited resources and support. No gains.
    • Excellent instructional leadership. Meaningful goal-setting and school improvement activities. Provision of resources and support. Limited accountability for all teachers. Minimal gains.
    • Strong instructional leadership. Meaningful goal-setting and school improvement activities. Provision of resources and support. Consistent accountability. Sustainable gains.
    Step Two: Be an Instructional Resource for Your Staff

    There are three indicators that describe this step in more detail. Each indicator is followed by three sections: (a) a comment that defines the specific focus of the indicator; (b) a scale of descriptors that gives a continuum of behaviors (1 to 5) from least effective to most effective; and (c) key points in the descriptors that give succinct explanations of each of the five items in the scale. For each indicator, select the number from 1 to 5 that most accurately describes your own behavior on a day-to-day basis.

    Indicator 2.1

    Works with teachers to improve instructional programs in their classrooms consistent with student needs.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 2.1 is the role of the principal as an instructional resource for teachers in solving specific instructional problems related to student learning. Quality and quantity of assistance are to be considered as well as frequency with which teachers call on the principal for assistance.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • Principal has no interaction with teachers regarding the instructional program in their classrooms. Principal has almost no understanding of instructional program. Teachers never ask for instructional assistance from the principal, preferring to deal with instructional matters independently.
    • Principal rarely assists teachers with instructional concerns but will attempt to assist a teacher if a specific, well-defined request is made. Principal has very sketchy knowledge and understanding of the instructional program. Teachers make few requests for assistance.
    • Principal works in a limited way with those few teachers who request help. Principal's knowledge of instructional strategies is basic, and outside resources are often needed to solve instructional problems.
    • Principal works with most teachers through coordination and delegation, showing a strong degree of expertise. Teachers frequently turn to the principal for assistance.
    • Principal works with all teachers on a continuing basis and is an important resource for instructional concerns. The principal frequently initiates interaction, and teachers regularly turn to the principal for help, which is given with a high level of expertise.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • No interaction, no expertise, no requests for assistance
    • Little interaction, limited expertise, few requests for assistance
    • Some interaction, basic expertise, some requests for assistance
    • Frequent interaction, strong expertise, frequent requests for assistance
    • Regular interaction, outstanding expertise, regular requests for assistance.
    Indicator 2.2

    Facilitates instructional program development based on trustworthy research and proven instructional practices.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 2.2 is the status of the principal as an active learner in the acquisition of current educational research and practice and how effectively this knowledge base is shared and translated into instructional programs.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • Principal is unaware of current, trustworthy educational research and proven practices.
    • Principal may be aware of current, trustworthy educational research and proven practices but feels this body of knowledge has little bearing on the day-to-day functioning of the school.
    • Principal is aware of current, trustworthy educational research and proven practices and believes they should affect program development but is not currently attempting to translate this information into practice.
    • Principal is aware of current, trustworthy educational research and proven practices, believes they should affect program development, shares them actively with staff, and is currently attempting to translate this information into instructional program development.
    • Principal is aware of current, trustworthy educational research and proven practices, believes they should affect program development, shares them actively with staff, and has successfully developed or altered school programs to reflect this knowledge base.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • No awareness of or belief in the importance or use of current educational research
    • Some awareness of but no belief in importance or use of current educational research
    • Some awareness of and belief in importance of but no use of current educational research
    • Awareness of, belief in importance of and some attempts to translate information into instructional program
    • Awareness of, belief in importance of successful implementation of school programs based on research
    Indicator 2.3

    Uses appropriate formative-assessment procedures and informal data-collection methods for evaluating the effectiveness of instructional programs in achieving state, district, and local standards.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 2.3 is the combination of multiple methods of evaluation by the principal that are formative in nature and indicate the need for immediate adjustments in instructional strategies, groupings, time allocations, lesson design, and so on. Examples of formative-evaluation tools are teacher-made tests; curriculum-based assessments; samples of student work; mastery-skills checklists; criterion-referenced tests; end-of-unit tests; observations in classrooms; and conversations with teachers, parents, and students.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • Principal does not receive any regular, formative-evaluation information from classroom teachers.
    • Principal receives some formative-evaluation information from some classroom teachers, but sharing of this information is voluntary.
    • Principal solicits some formative-evaluation information regularly from all classroom teachers.
    • Principal solicits some formative-evaluation information regularly from all classroom teachers and discusses this information with teachers.
    • Principal solicits comprehensive, formative-evaluation information regularly from all classroom teachers, discusses this information with teachers and, together with teachers, plans for changes in day-to-day classroom practices to increase instructional effectiveness.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • No regular, formative-evaluation information
    • Some voluntary, formative-evaluation information
    • Formative-evaluation information solicited regularly
    • Formative-evaluation information solicited regularly and discussed
    • Formative-evaluation information solicited regularly, discussed, and instructional practices adjusted
    Step Three: Create a School Culture and Climate Conducive to Learning

    There are three indicators that describe this step in more detail. Each indicator is followed by three sections: (a) a comment that defines the specific focus of the indicator; (b) a scale of descriptors that gives a continuum of behaviors (1 to 5) from least effective to most effective; and (c) key points in the descriptors that give succinct explanations of each of the five items in the scale. For each indicator, select the number from 1 to 5 that most accurately describes your own behavior on a day-to-day basis.

    Indicator 3.1

    Establishes high expectations for student achievement that are directly communicated to students, teachers, and parents.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 3.1 concerns the philosophical assumptions the individual makes about the ability of all students to learn, the need for both equity and excellence in the educational program, and the ability to communicate these beliefs to students, teachers, and parents.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • Principal believes that nonalterable variables, such as home background, socioeconomic status, and ability level, are the prime determinants of student achievement, and the school cannot overcome these factors.
    • Principal believes that the nonalterable variables cited above significantly affect student achievement and the school has a limited impact on student achievement.
    • Principal believes that although the nonalterable variables cited above may influence student achievement, teachers are responsible for all students mastering basic skills and prescribed learner outcomes according to individual levels of expectancy. The principal occasionally communicates these expectations in an informal way to teachers, parents, and students via written and spoken communications or specific activities.
    • Principal believes that although the nonalterable variables cited above may influence student achievement, teachers are responsible for all students mastering certain basic skills at their grade level, and frequently communicates these expectations to teachers, parents, and students in a formal, organized manner. Expectations for student achievement may be communicated through written statements of objectives in basic skills or a written statement of purpose and mission for the school that guides the instructional program.
    • Principal believes that together the home and school can have a profound influence on student achievement. Teachers are held responsible not only for all students mastering certain basic skills at their grade level but also for the stimulation, enrichment, and acceleration of the student who is able to learn more quickly and the provision of extended learning opportunities for students who may need more time for mastery. Expectations for student achievement are developed jointly among parent, student, and teacher and are communicated not only through written statements of learner outcomes in core curriculum areas but also in enriched and accelerated programs, achievement awards, and opportunities for creative expression.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • No impact by school on students. No communication of achievement expectations to teachers, parents, or students.
    • Limited impact by school on students. No communication of achievement expectations to teachers, parents, or students.
    • All students should master basic learner outcomes. Limited communication of achievement expectations to teachers, parents, and students.
    • All students should master basic learner outcomes. Formal communication of achievement expectations to teachers, parents, and students.
    • All students master basic learner outcomes with many students exceeding the minimal competencies, participating in an enriched or accelerated course, and receiving academic awards. Joint development of achievement expectations by teachers, parents, and students.
    Indicator 3.2

    Establishes clear standards, communicates expectations for the use of time allocated to instruction, and monitors the effective use of classroom time.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 3.2 is the existence of written guidelines for use of classroom time, the existence of a weekly program schedule for each classroom teacher, the regular monitoring of lesson plans, and the schoolwide schedule and its impact on instructional time.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • Teachers are totally unsupervised in the planning of their daily schedule. No written guidelines exist for the use of classroom time. There are frequent interruptions that significantly interfere with instruction.
    • State, district, or school guidelines for the use of classroom time exist, but the principal does not monitor their implementation in the classroom. There are many interruptions to instructional time that could be avoided.
    • State, district, or school guidelines for the use of classroom time exist, and the principal monitors their implementation in the classroom by requiring teachers to post a copy of their weekly schedule and by occasionally reviewing lesson plans. There are some, but not frequent, interruptions.
    • State, district, or school guidelines for the use of classroom time exist; the principal monitors their implementation by requiring teachers to post a weekly program schedule and by regularly reviewing lesson plans. Basic skill instructional time is occasionally interrupted with advance notice. Whenever possible, interruptions are planned during noninstructional time.
    • State, district, or school guidelines for the use of classroom time exist, and the principal monitors regularly their implementation through the review of classroom or grade-level lesson plans and regular classroom visitations. Classroom instructional time is rarely interrupted, and the principal plans with teachers in the coordination of schoolwide schedules to minimize the effect of pullout programs, assemblies, and other special events.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • No guidelines
    • Guidelines, no monitoring, frequent interruptions
    • Guidelines, limited monitoring, limited interruptions
    • Guidelines, frequent monitoring, few interruptions
    • Guidelines, frequent monitoring, coordinated school schedule to minimize interruptions
    Indicator 3.3

    With teachers and students (as appropriate), establishes, implements, and evaluates procedures and codes for handling and correcting behavior problems.

    Comment

    The main focus in Indicator 3.3 is the existence of a behavior plan for each classroom and for the building as a whole, and the participation of the principal in the implementation of this plan. The focus of the plan is on responsible, caring behavior by all students and teachers based on mutual respect and common goals. Positive as well as negative reinforcers are included in the plan.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • All classroom teachers have their own method of handling behavior problems without support or assistance from the principal, and there is no schoolwide behavior plan or comprehensive set of school rules.
    • All classroom teachers have their own methods of handling behavior, and no schoolwide behavior plan or set of school rules exists. The principal is available for assistance with severe behavior problems and handles them on an individual basis with little uniformity or consistency.
    • Each classroom teacher files a behavior plan with the principal, and rules for behavior in common areas of the building are available. The principal is generally supportive and provides assistance with behavior problems.
    • Each classroom teacher files a behavior plan with the principal. Rules for student behavior in common areas of the building have been developed jointly by the principal, teachers, and students (as appropriate) and made available to all parents and students. The principal is consistent and cooperative in implementing the school behavior plan.
    • In addition to individual classroom behavior plans and rules for student behavior in common areas of the building, a buildingwide behavior plan has been developed in which the principal assumes a joint responsibility with all staff members, students, and parents for discipline and school behavior. A climate of mutual respect exists between students, teachers, and principal based on the fair application of the plan.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • No classroom plans, no school rules, no schoolwide plan, no principal support
    • No classroom plans, no school rules, no schoolwide plan, some principal support
    • Classroom plans, school rules, no schoolwide plan, adequate principal support
    • Classroom plans, school rules developed jointly and furnished to students and parents, no schoolwide plan, excellent principal support
    • Classroom plans, school rules developed jointly and furnished to students and parents, schoolwide plan developed jointly and furnished to students and parents, excellent principal support
    Step Four: Communicate the Vision and Mission of Your School

    There are three indicators that describe this step in more detail. Each indicator is followed by three sections: (a) a comment that defines the specific focus of the indicator; (b) a scale of descriptors that gives a continuum of behaviors (1 to 5) from least effective to most effective; and (c) key points in the descriptors that give succinct explanations of each of the five items in the scale. For each indicator, select the number from 1 to 5 that most accurately describes your own behavior on a day-to-day basis.

    Indicator 4.1

    Provides for systematic, two-way communication with staff regarding the achievement standards and the improvement goals of the school.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 4.1 is the provision of two-way communication channels to ensure an ongoing discussion of the mission of the school.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • There is no communication between principal and staff regarding the mission of the school.
    • Communication between principal and staff is largely one way and limited to administrative directives regarding principal expectations.
    • Although principal and staff communicate informally regarding the mission of the school, there are no regular two-way communication channels.
    • Two-way communication channels between principal and staff have been established in the form of faculty meetings; grade-level, departmental, and team meetings; and teacher and principal conferences; but these channels are frequently used for administrative or social purposes and are not regularly devoted to a discussion of instructional goals and priorities.
    • Established two-way communication channels are regularly used by the principal as a means of addressing the standards and improvement goals of the school with the staff.
    Key Descriptors
    • No communication
    • One-way communication, no established channels
    • Informal two-way communication, no established channels
    • Established channels, no regular use of these channels
    • Regular use of established channels for two-way communication regarding school mission
    Indicator 4.2

    Establishes, supports, and implements activities that communicate the value and meaning of learning to students.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 4.2 is the existence of activities that communicate the value of learning to students. Examples of such activities might be awards or honors assemblies, learning-incentive programs, career awareness programs, honor societies, work-study programs, academic clubs, and mentoring or shadowing programs. This list is meant to be suggestive but certainly not inclusive.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • No activities exist that communicate the value and meaning of learning to students.
    • At least one activity exists that communicates the value and meaning of learning to students.
    • More than three activities exist that communicate the value and meaning of learning to students.
    • More than six activities exist that communicate the value and meaning of learning to students.
    • More than 10 activities exist that communicate the value and meaning of learning to students.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • No activities
    • One activity
    • More than three activities
    • More than six activities
    • More than 10 activities
    Indicator 4.3

    Develops and uses communication channels with parents to set forth school objectives.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 4.3 is the existence of communication channels that are specifically devoted to setting forth standards and school improvement goals to parents. Examples of communication channels might include, but not necessarily be limited to, grade-level curriculum nights; newsletter column devoted specifically to school objectives; parent conferences; written statement of school mission; written statement of standards for each grade level, particularly in the core curricular areas of reading and mathematics; school activities devoted to skill mastery that require parent participation (e.g., contract for parents reading with or aloud to students); and homework policy.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • No communication channels to setting forth school objectives exist.
    • At least three communication channels exist to setting forth school objectives.
    • At least six communication channels exist to setting forth school objectives.
    • At least 10 communication channels exist to setting forth school objectives.
    • In addition to the 10 communication channels that exist to setting forth school objectives, the principal and faculty are evaluating, refining, and developing additional means of communicating with parents regarding school objectives.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • No channels
    • At least three channels
    • At least six channels
    • At least 10 channels
    • At least 10 channels and an evaluation, refining, and development process
    Step Five: Set High Expectations for Your Staff and Yourself

    There are seven indicators that describe this step in more detail. Each indicator is followed by three sections: (a) a comment that defines the specific focus of the indicator; (b) a scale of descriptors that gives a continuum of behaviors (1 to 5) from least effective to most effective; and (c) key points in the descriptors that give succinct explanations of each of the five items in the scale. For each indicator, select the number from 1 to 5 that most accurately describes your own behavior on a day-to-day basis. (District requirements for frequency and procedures with regard to teacher evaluation may vary and substantially impact the interpretation of step five. In large schools, several administrators may share supervision and evaluation responsibilities. The indicators and their scales of descriptors describes a best-case scenario.)

    Indicator 5.1

    Assists teachers yearly in setting and reaching personal and professional goals related to the improvement of instruction, student achievement, and professional development.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 5.1 is the active participation of the principal with teachers in goal-setting and goal-achieving processes. The principal provides assistance to the teachers in reaching stated goals, and the information obtained in the goal-setting process is used in teacher evaluation.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • Principal does not require that teachers set personal and professional goals.
    • Principal requires that all teachers develop, in cooperation with the principal, personal and professional goals but is not involved in the goal-setting process and does not require that goals be related to the improvement of instruction and overall school improvement goals.
    • Principal requires that teachers set personal and professional goals and that these goals be related to the improvement of instruction and overall school improvement goals but does not assist in the attainment of goals or monitor completion.
    • Principal requires that all teachers develop, in cooperation with the principal, personal and professional goals, and that these goals be related to the improvement of instruction and overall school improvement goals; provides assistance in the attainment of these goals.
    • Principal requires that all teachers develop, in cooperation with the principal, personal and professional goals related to the improvement of instruction and overall school improvement goals. Principal provides assistance to the teachers in the attainment of goals, monitors the completion of the goals, and uses the information in the evaluation process.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • No goal setting by teachers.
    • Goal setting not necessarily related to the improvement of instruction. No principal input, assistance, monitoring, or evaluation.
    • Goal setting related to improvement of instruction. Principal input. No principal assistance, monitoring, or evaluation.
    • Goal setting related to improvement of instruction. Principal input and assistance. No principal monitoring or evaluation.
    • Goal setting related to improvement of instruction. Principal input, assistance, monitoring, and evaluation.
    Indicator 5.2

    Makes regular classroom observations in all classrooms, both informal (drop-in visits of varying length with no written or verbal feedback to teacher) and formal (visits where observation data are recorded and communicated to teacher).

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 5.2 is on the quantity of classroom observations (both formal and informal).

    Scale of Descriptors
    • Principal makes formal classroom observations once every 3 years or less and never visits the classroom informally.
    • Principal makes at least one formal classroom observation per year and occasionally drops in informally.
    • Principal makes two formal classroom observations per year and at least two monthly informal observations.
    • Principal makes three formal classroom observations per year and at least two monthly informal observations.
    • Principal makes four or more classroom observations per year and visits the classroom informally at least once each week.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • Minimal formal observations and no informal observations
    • One yearly formal observation and minimal informal observations
    • Two yearly formal observations and two monthly informal observations
    • Three yearly formal observations and two monthly informal observations
    • Four yearly formal observations and weekly informal observations.
    Indicator 5.3

    Engages in planning of classroom observations.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 5.3 is the quality of pre-observation planning for a formal classroom observation where information is collected relative to improvement of instruction.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • There is no typical pattern. Teachers are not usually aware that the principal will visit.
    • The principal generally informs teachers before an observation. A lesson may be observed, but there is no specific request for such on the part of the principal.
    • The principal and teacher arrange together for a specific observation time. A complete lesson is usually observed.
    • The principal and teacher arrange together for a specific observation time. A discussion is held regarding the lesson plan for the observation, but no attempts are ever made by the principal to focus on specific curricular areas or instructional strategies (e.g., cooperative grouping in a reading lesson, questioning techniques used on target students). A complete lesson is always observed.
    • The principal and teacher plan the focus of each observation at a conference. Principal frequently takes the initiative regarding the focus of the observation and relates it to building goals and objectives. A specific observation time is scheduled. A complete lesson is always observed.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • No teacher awareness of observation. No pre-observation planning. Random observation of incomplete lessons.
    • Teacher awareness of observation. No pre-observation planning. Observation includes both complete and incomplete lessons.
    • Teacher awareness of observation. No pre-observation planning. Observation always includes complete lesson.
    • Teacher awareness of observation. Pre-observation planning without specific focus by principal. Complete lesson always observed.
    • Teacher awareness of observation. Pre-observation planning with frequent principal initiative regarding subject of observation. Complete lesson always observed.
    Indicator 5.4

    Engages in postobservation conferences that focus on the improvement of instruction. (District requirements for frequency and procedures with regard to teacher evaluation may vary and substantially impact the interpretation of this indicator. The scale of descriptors describes a best-case scenario.)

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 5.4 is the quantity and quality of postobservation conferences that focus on the improvement of instruction.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • The principal engages in a postobservation conference once every 2 years or less with each teacher, with little to no focus on the improvement of instruction.
    • The principal engages in one postobservation conference with each teacher every year but rarely focuses on the improvement of instruction.
    • The principal engages in two postobservation conferences with each teacher every year and provides one-way information about the improvement of instruction.
    • The principal engages in three postobservation conferences with each teacher every year, engaging in both one-way and two-way communication about the improvement of instruction.
    • The principal engages in four postobservation conferences with each teacher every year, engaging in both one-way and two-way communication about the improvement of instruction. Joint plans for follow-up in the classroom are developed with principal providing instructional resources and assistance.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • One conference every 2 years with little to no focus on improvement of instruction
    • One conference every year with rare focus on improvement of instruction
    • Two conferences every year with one-way communication about improvement of instruction
    • Three conferences every year with both one-way and two-way communication about the improvement of instruction
    • Four conferences every year with both one-way and two-way communication about the improvement of instruction, and joint plans for follow-up with instructional resources and assistance provided
    Indicator 5.5

    Provides thorough, defensible, and insightful evaluations, making recommendations for personal- and professional-growth goals according to individual needs.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 5.5 is the quality of the evaluation provided by the principal.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • All teachers receive nearly identical written evaluation ratings from the principal. There is no indication that the evaluation is based on direct observation or supporting evidence, and no suggestions for improvement or growth are made.
    • Most teachers receive nearly identical written evaluation ratings from the principal. There is little indication that evaluation is based on direct observation or supporting evidence, and no suggestions for improvement or growth are made.
    • Although gradations of written evaluation ratings exist, these gradations appear to have no relationship to teacher performance or supporting evidence. No suggestions for improvement or growth are made.
    • Most teachers receive thorough written evaluations based on direct observation and supporting evidence. Principal makes few suggestions for improvement and growth.
    • Each teacher receives a thoughtful written evaluation based on direct observation and supporting evidence. Principal includes suggestions for improvement and growth tailored to individual needs.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • Identical evaluations for all teachers. No supporting evidence. No suggestions for growth.
    • Nearly identical evaluations for all teachers. No supporting evidence. No suggestions for growth.
    • Gradation of evaluation ratings. No supporting evidence. No suggestions for growth.
    • Thorough evaluations for all teachers. Supporting evidence. Few suggestions for growth.
    • Thorough evaluations for all teachers. Supporting evidence. Suggestions for growth.
    Indicator 5.6

    Engages in direct teaching in the classrooms.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 5.6 is the number of times the principal teaches a lesson observed by a classroom teacher. This indicator does not include reading stories aloud or assisting teachers. It focuses on lesson preparation and the opportunity for the classroom teacher to engage in an observation of the principal teaching this lesson.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • Principal engages in no direct teaching in the classroom.
    • Principal engages in direct teaching in any classroom at least once per year.
    • Principal engages in direct teaching in any classroom at least two to four times per year.
    • Principal engages in direct teaching in any classroom at least five to ten times per year.
    • Principal engages in direct teaching in the classroom more than 10 times per year.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • No direct teaching
    • One episode of direct teaching
    • Two to four episodes of direct teaching
    • Five to ten episodes of direct teaching
    • More than 10 episodes of direct teaching
    Indicator 5.7

    Principal holds high expectations for personal instructional leadership behavior, regularly solicits feedback (both formal and informal) from staff members regarding instructional leadership abilities, and uses such feedback to set yearly performance goals.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 5.7 is the regularity with which principals solicit input from staff members regarding their own performance and the attention paid to this input with regard to goal setting and genuine attempts to change unproductive behaviors.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • Principal does not consider instructional leadership a reliable construct on which to be evaluated by staff members and solicits no input from them relative to own performance.
    • Principal considers instructional leadership to be a reliable evaluative construct and occasionally solicits feedback from staff members relative to own performance but does not use this feedback to set goals.
    • Principal considers instructional leadership to be a reliable evaluative construct, solicits feedback (both formal and informal) from staff members relative to own performance, and makes sporadic attempts to use this information to set goals to change own leadership behavior.
    • Principal considers instructional leadership to be a reliable evaluative construct, solicits feedback (both formal and informal) from staff members relative to own performance, sets yearly performance goals, and can be observed by faculty regularly adding productive leadership behaviors, but is resistant to changing unproductive behaviors.
    • Principal considers instructional leadership to be a reliable evaluative construct, solicits feedback (both formal and informal) from staff members relative to own performance, sets yearly performance goals, can be observed by faculty regularly adding productive leadership behaviors and eliminating unproductive behaviors.
    Key Points
    • No feedback solicited from staff members.
    • Some feedback solicited from staff members. No goal setting.
    • Feedback regularly solicited from staff members. Inconsistent use of feedback data to set goals.
    • Regular feedback. Regular goal setting. Addition of productive leadership behaviors. Resistance to elimination of unproductive behaviors.
    • Regular feedback. Regular goal setting. Addition of productive leadership behaviors. Elimination of unproductive behaviors.
    Step Six: Develop Teacher Leaders

    There are three indicators that describe this step in more detail. Each indicator is followed by three sections: (a) a comment that defines the specific focus of the indicator; (b) a scale of descriptors that gives a continuum of behaviors (1 to 5) from least effective to most effective; and (c) key points in the descriptors that give succinct explanations of each of the five items in the scale. For each indicator, select the number from 1 to 5 that most accurately describes your own behavior on a day-to-day basis.

    Indicator 6.1

    Schedules, plans, or facilitates regular meetings of all types (planning, problem solving, decision making, or inservice and training) with and among teachers to address instructional issues.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 6.1 is both the quantity and quality of meetings that discuss instructional issues.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • Few meetings are held, instructional issues are never discussed, and no shared decision making or collaboration is evident.
    • Meetings are held on an as-needed basis, instructional issues are rarely discussed, and no shared decision making or collaboration is evident.
    • Meetings are regularly scheduled, instructional issues are sometimes discussed, and some shared decision making or collaboration is evident.
    • Meetings are regularly scheduled, instructional issues are discussed on an as-needed basis, and some shared decision making and collaboration are evident.
    • Meetings of all types are regularly scheduled, and instructional issues are discussed on a continuing basis. Shared decision making and collaboration characterize all meetings.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • Few meetings held. No instructional discussions. No shared decision making or collaboration.
    • Few meetings held. Rare instructional discussions. No shared decision making collaboration.
    • Regularly scheduled meetings. Some instructional discussions. Some shared decision making and collaboration.
    • Regularly scheduled meetings. Regularly scheduled instructional discussions. Some shared decision making and collaboration.
    • Regularly scheduled meetings with continuing discussion of instructional issues.
    Indicator 6.2

    Provides opportunities for, and training in, collaboration, shared decision making, coaching, mentoring, curriculum development, and presentations.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 6.2 is the provision of opportunities, as well as provision of training, in all areas of teacher leadership.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • Principal never provides opportunities or training for teachers to develop leadership skills.
    • Principal provides some opportunities and training for teachers to develop leadership skills but does so in a highly controlled and regulated fashion.
    • Principal provides some opportunities and training for teachers to develop leadership skills but permits a great deal of latitude in the exercise of these skills and does not use them or focus them in an organized way.
    • Principal provides multiple opportunities and training for teachers to develop leadership skills and uses these skills to improve instruction, coordinate with building the mission, and improve student learning.
    • Principal provides multiple opportunities and training for teachers to develop leadership skills, uses them to continually improve instruction in classrooms, and has a school leadership team that participates in the continual improvement of the school.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • No opportunities or training.
    • Some opportunities and training but not relevant to needs.
    • Opportunities and training provided that are relevant to faculty needs.
    • Opportunities and training provided that are relevant to faculty needs and relate to improvement of instruction.
    • Opportunities and training provided that are relevant to faculty needs; relate to improvement of instruction; are jointly planned, evaluated, and followed up; and include a systematic school improvement process under the leadership of a school team.
    Indicator 6.3

    Provides motivation and resources for faculty members to engage in professional-growth activities.

    Comment

    The focus of Indicator 6.3 is the encouragement provided by the principal to faculty members either by personal example or positive reinforcement as well as the allocation of available resources to support professional-growth activities.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • Principal never engages in personal professional-growth activities and discourages teachers from doing so by failing to allocate resources for this activity in the budget.
    • Principal never engages in personal professional-growth activities and although monies are available for teacher activities, does not motivate or positively reinforce those teachers who do so.
    • Principal engages in personal professional-growth activities and allocates resources for teachers to do so as well, but does not motivate or positively reinforce those teachers who do so.
    • Principal engages in personal professional-growth activities, allocates resources for teachers to do so as well, and motivates and positively reinforces those teachers who do so.
    • Principal engages in personal professional-growth activities, allocates available resources for teachers to do so as well, motivates teachers to engage in activities that will benefit the building's instructional program, and uses expertise in sharing with other teachers.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • No personal professional-growth activities; no motivation or reinforcement; no resources for teachers.
    • No personal professional-growth activities; no motivation or reinforcement; some allocation of resources.
    • Personal professional-growth activities; allocation of resources; no motivation or reinforcement.
    • Personal professional-growth activities; allocation of available resources, motivation, and reinforcement.
    • Personal professional-growth activities; allocation of resources, motivation, and reinforcement; use of teachers in building activities.
    Step Seven: Establish and Maintain Positive Relationships with Students, Staff, and Parents

    There are seven indicators that describe this step in more detail. Each indicator is followed by three sections: (a) a comment that defines the specific focus of the indicator; (b) a scale of descriptors that gives a continuum of behaviors (1 to 5) from least effective to most effective; and (c) key points in the descriptors that give succinct explanations of each of the five items in the scale. For each indicator, select the number from 1 to 5 that most accurately describes your own behavior on a day-to-day basis.

    Indicator 7.1

    Serves as an advocate for students and communicates with them regarding their school life.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 7.1 is the behaviors that the principal exhibits that give evidence of student advocacy and interaction with students. Behaviors might include lunch with individual students or groups; frequent appearances on the playground, in the lunchroom, and in the hallways; sponsorship of clubs; availability to students who wish to discuss instructional or disciplinary concerns; knowledge of students' names and family relationships; addressing the majority of students by name; and willingness to listen to the students' side in a faculty-student problem. The preceding list is only meant to be suggestive of the types of behaviors that might be appropriate for consideration in this category.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • Principal does not feel that acting as a student advocate is an appropriate role of the principal and never interacts with students.
    • Principal does not feel that acting as a student advocate is an appropriate role of the principal and seldom interacts with students.
    • Principal does not feel that acting as a student advocate is an appropriate role of the principal but regularly engages in at least three behaviors that encourage communication between student and principal.
    • Principal feels that acting as a student advocate is an appropriate role of the principal and regularly engages in at least six behaviors that encourage communication between student and principal.
    • Principal feels that acting as a student advocate is an appropriate role of the principal, regularly engages in at least six behaviors that encourage communication between student and principal, and has established some means of receiving input from students regarding their opinions of school life.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • No role as an advocate; no interaction with students.
    • No role as an advocate; rare interaction with students.
    • No role as an advocate; three behaviors that encourage communication.
    • Role as student advocate; six behaviors that encourage communication.
    • Role as an advocate; six behaviors that encourage communication; some means of receiving student input.
    Indicator 7.2

    Encourages open communication among staff members and maintains respect for differences of opinion.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 7.2 is the behaviors the principal exhibits that give evidence of maintenance of open communication among staff members and respect for differences of opinion. Behaviors might include open-door policy in the principal's office, acceptance of unpopular ideas and negative feedback from faculty, provision of channels for faculty members to voice grievances or discuss problems, or provision of channels for faculty members to discuss their work with each other. The preceding list is only meant to be suggestive of the types of behaviors that might be appropriate for consideration in this category.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • Principal does not encourage open communication among staff members and considers differences of opinion to be a sign of disharmony among organizational members.
    • Principal supports open communication but is seldom available for informal encounters with staff members. Appointments must be scheduled, meeting agendas are tightly maintained, and the flow of information and opinions is artificially controlled.
    • Principal supports open communication and is available for informal encounters with staff members. Principal is not responsive, however, to problems, questions, or disagreements and shuts off communication of this nature.
    • Principal supports open communication and is available for informal encounters with staff members. Principal is responsive to problems, questions, or disagreements and encourages staff members to work through differences of opinion in positive ways.
    • Principal supports open communication and is available for informal encounters with staff members. An open-door policy exists with regard to all problems, questions, and disagreements. Principal structures a variety of opportunities for faculty members to interact both formally and informally, encouraging interaction between grade levels, departments, and instructional teams.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • Discourages open communication.
    • Exhibits few behaviors that encourage open communication.
    • Exhibits some behaviors that encourage open communication.
    • Exhibits many behaviors that encourage open communication and facilitates problem solving among staff members.
    • Exhibits many behaviors that encourage open communication; facilitates problem solving among staff members; and structures many opportunities for staff interaction.
    Indicator 7.3

    Demonstrates concern and openness in the consideration of teacher, parent, and student problems and participates in the resolution of such problems where appropriate.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 7.3 is the behaviors the principal exhibits in the consideration and resolution of problems.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • Principal does not wish to be involved in the consideration of teacher, parent, and student problems.
    • Principal is willing to be involved in the consideration of teacher, parent, and student problems but is largely ineffective because of poor communication and human relations skills.
    • Principal is willing to be involved in the consideration of teacher, parent, and student problems and is sometimes effective in bringing problems to resolution. Exhibits average communication and human relations skills.
    • Principal is willing to be involved in the consideration of teacher, parent, and student problems and is usually effective in bringing problems to resolution. Exhibits excellent communication and human relations skills.
    • Principal is willing to be involved in the consideration of teacher, parent, and student problems and is nearly always effective in bringing problems to resolution. Exhibits outstanding communication and human relations skills. Has established procedures jointly with faculty for the resolution of problems.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • No involvement.
    • Some involvement; ineffective problem solver.
    • Involvement; average problem-solving skills.
    • Involvement; excellent problem-solving skills.
    • Involvement; outstanding problem-solving skills.
    Indicator 7.4

    Models appropriate human relations skills.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 7.4 is the variety of appropriate human relations skills that are exhibited by the principal. Behaviors must include, but not necessarily be limited to, establishing a climate of trust and security for students and staff; respecting the rights of students, parents, and staff; handling individual relationships tactfully and with understanding; and accepting the dignity and worth of individuals without regard to appearance, race, creed, sex, disability, ability, or social status.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • Principal has almost no human relations skills.
    • Principal has marginal human relations skills.
    • Principal has average human relations skills.
    • Principal has excellent human relations skills.
    • Principal has outstanding human relations skills.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • Principal exhibits none of the behaviors listed for this indicator under Comment.
    • Principal exhibits only one or two behaviors listed for this indicator under Comment and often has difficulty with tasks that involve human interaction.
    • Principal exhibits two or three of the behaviors listed for this indicator under Comment and is usually successful with tasks that involve human interaction.
    • Principal exhibits three or four of the behaviors listed for this indicator under Comment and is frequently successful with tasks that involve human interaction.
    • Principal exhibits all of the behaviors listed for this indicator under Comment as well as many other behaviors associated with good human relations and is almost always successful with tasks that involve human interaction.
    Indicator 7.5

    Develops and maintains high morale.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 7.5 is the variety of behaviors exhibited by the principal that contribute to the development and maintenance of high morale. Behaviors might include, but not necessarily be limited to, involvement of staff in planning, encouragement of planned social events, openness in the dissemination of information, equity in the division of responsibility and allocation of resources, opportunities for achievement, recognition for achievements, involvement of the staff in problem solving, and assistance and support with personal and professional problems.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • Morale is nonexistent in the school building. Principal exhibits none of the behaviors listed in the Comment section for this indicator. There is little unity among staff members, leading to competition, clique formation, destructive criticism, disagreement, and quarreling.
    • Morale is marginal in the school building. Principal exhibits few of the behaviors listed in the Comment section for this indicator. Although fewer visible signs of disunity are evident, faculty members, nevertheless, do not work well together or have positive feelings about their work.
    • Morale is average. Although there are no visible signs of disunity (such as those listed in Descriptor 1 of this scale), teachers work largely as individuals, seldom working together cooperatively with enthusiasm and positive feelings.
    • Morale is excellent. Morale-building behaviors by the principal result in teachers working together to share ideas and resources, to identify instructional problems, to define mutual goals, and to coordinate their activities.
    • Morale is outstanding. Morale-building behaviors by the principal result in teachers working together in a highly effective way while gaining personal satisfaction from their work. Principal has identified specific activities that build morale and systematically engages in these activities.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • Nonexistent morale
    • Marginal morale
    • Average morale
    • Excellent morale
    • Outstanding morale
    Indicator 7.6

    Systematically collects and responds to staff, parent, and student concerns.

    Comment

    The main focus of Indicator 7.6 is the responsiveness of the principal to the concerns of staff, parents, and students that have been systematically collected. Examples of vehicles used to collect information might include, but not necessarily be limited to, one-on-one conferences, parent or faculty advisory committees, student council, suggestion box, and quality circles.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • No information is collected from staff, parents, and students. Principal is unresponsive to concerns of these groups.
    • Although information is sporadically collected from groups, principal is largely ineffective in responding to concerns.
    • Information is systematically collected from at least one of the three groups, and the principal is effective in responding to concerns.
    • Information is systematically collected from at least two of the three groups, and the principal is effective in responding to concerns.
    • Information is systematically collected from parents, faculty, and students; the principal is effective in responding to concerns; and the information is used in planning and implementing change.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • No information; unresponsive principal.
    • Sporadic information; ineffective principal.
    • Systematic information from one group; effective principal.
    • Systematic information from two groups; effective principal.
    • Systematic information from three groups; effective principal; use of information to plan change.
    Indicator 7.7

    Acknowledges appropriately the meaningful accomplishments of others.

    Comment

    The main focus in Indicator 7.7 is the variety of activities engaged in by the principal that demonstrate the ability to recognize the contributions of staff, students, and parents. Activities might include, but not necessarily be limited to, staff recognition programs, student award assemblies, certificates, congratulatory notes, phone calls, recognition luncheons, and newspaper articles.

    Scale of Descriptors
    • Principal engages in no recognition activities.
    • Principal engages in at least one recognition activity for one of the three groups (staff, parents, students).
    • Principal engages in at least one recognition activity for two of the three groups (staff, parents, students).
    • Principal engages in at least one recognition activity for all three groups (staff, parents, students).
    • In addition to a variety of recognition activities, the principal involves all three groups in recognition activities for one another.
    Key Points in Descriptors
    • No recognition activities
    • One recognition for one of three groups
    • One recognition for two of three groups
    • One recognition for all three groups
    • Many recognition activities, with focus on groups recognizing each other

    Resource B: Instructional Leadership Checklist Response Form

    Resource C: ElizaBeth McCay's Assignment

    Following is an assignment developed by ElizaBeth McCay, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, Virginia), for use with Seven Steps to Effective Instructional Leadership as a text in Administration 601—Processes of Instructional Leadership.

    From the Syllabus for Administration 601: Processes of Instructional Leadership
    Instructional Leadership Assessment and Plan of Improvement
    Assessment

    Complete the assessment provided in Seven Steps to Effective Instructional Leadership to assess the current instructional leadership practices in your school. Utilizing scale of descriptors provided for each area, assess strengths and weaknesses of current practices demonstrated by the principal (or administrative team under the principal's leadership).

    Plan of Improvement and Development

    Using suggestions provided in the text and from other resources, complete a plan of improvement, specifically highlighting areas receiving a rating of three or fewer. Include in write-up:

    • One-paragraph overview of school and principal (including description of instructional leadership team staffing and responsibilities, level and size of school).
    • Step number and name; indicator numbers and names.
    • Assessment: Assess the overall scoring for the step, using McEwan's Instructional Leadership Checklist (Resource A) (.5 may be added as needed). If scoring varies within a step, explain. Provide an assessment description specific to your situation, in your own words; include concrete examples to illustrate assessment. (Do not restate assessment descriptors from text.)
    • Plan for Improvement and Development: list specific suggested activities for improvement and development for each step.
    • Summary paragraph regarding overall impressions of instructional leadership in school, based on this assessment, including strengths and weaknesses overall. Include an analysis of overall scores.
    • Note: single-spacing is acceptable and suggested for this assignment (approximately 10 to 15 pages).
    Instructional Leadership Assessment and Plan of Improvement, Sample Format

    Note: from the text, copy the steps and indicators. All other writing must be your own (e.g., use scale of descriptors as a guide for your assessment but do not copy into your paper).

    Step One: Establish, Implement, and Achieve Academic Standards: Indicator 1.1

    Involves teachers in incorporating the designated state or district standards into the development and implementation of the school's instructional programs.

    Indicator 1.2:

    Indicator 1.3:

    Indicator 1.4:

    Assessment

    Level 3. Only some involvement of teachers. Faculty input is asked for once annually in August faculty meeting and sometimes during school year but without regularity. Principal makes decisions for adoption of curricular materials, sometimes (but not always) based on faculty discussion. State Outcomes of Learning (SOL) and division curriculum implemented. Examples: include school activities, such as assemblies, that are integrated with goal of improving test-taking skills. Progress toward school and division goals is monitored through….

    Plan for Improvement and Development
    • Establish curriculum leadership committee within faculty. Create plan for regular meeting (e.g., monthly) to review current curricula, effectiveness, alignment of assessment, district-level initiatives, research on best practices, and training and development needs.
    • Establish routines for faculty input to curriculum committee. Create plan for two-way feedback and communication via monthly faculty meetings, committee reports, grade-level meetings with committee representative, and so on.
    • Establish comprehensive, long-term staff development plan to address curriculum development needs. For example, if school is reviewing use of technology in subject areas, consider development and implementation of needs assessment, and individually responsive staff development opportunities with in-school consultation in skills and concepts.
    • Design peer support system for implementation of curricular objectives. For example, establish peer partnerships between curriculum committee members or teachers with particular expertise in curriculum area and other teachers. And develop calendar skills and training components for monitoring development and implementation of curriculum.
    • (Add items as appropriate.)
    Step Two: Be an Instructional Resource for Your Staff

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    Corwin Press

    The Corwin Press logo-a raven striding across an open book-represents the happy union of courage and learning. We are a professional-level publisher of books and journals for K-12 educators, and we are committed to creating and providing resources that embody these qualities. Corwin's motto is “Success for All Learners.”


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