After completing this week’s readings, review the “Reflective Exercise” at the end of Chapter 1.
We all know that the shift from hierarchical leadership to one of more collegiality is slowly evolving. We have had discussions in this program about the importance of teacher leadership, and there will be more as we continue to study the many facets of school executive leadership. However, we also know that high-stakes testing is still at the forefront and can overshadow what we really want to see in our continuing efforts to nurture teacher leadership. There is a Reflective Exercise at the end of Chapter 1 that illustrates this concept very well.
Your initial response is due by 11:55 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday and should be between 200-250 words. The initial posting should be a statement of your point of view on the question, supported by the required readings.
For the purpose of this reflective exercise, assume that you recently accepted a position as a school principal in a district where the principal is assigned the primary responsibility for instructional supervision at each school. When you interview for the position with the superintendent, you made it clear to her that you would take a collegial approach to supervision, including the fostering of teachers as instructional leaders.
It is now just a few weeks prior to when you are to become principal, and earlier today you received a call from the superintendent during which she informed you that the results of the state’s annual high-stakes achievement test have just been received and your new school has failed the state test. The superintendent states that while she agrees in principle with your ideas on collegial supervision your first year as principal will not be a good time for collegiality. The superintendent tells you that in light of the failing test scores the coming school year will be a time for demanding that teachers focus on improving students’ test performance and closely monitoring teachers’ instruction to make sure it is focused on the state’s test objectives. You remain committed to collegial supervision, but you also prefer not to be relieved of your new position as principal because of a conflict with the superintendent over the best approach to instructional supervision. As principal and instructional supervisor, how will you address the superintendent’s concerns? How will you work with the school’s teachers over the next year to improve teaching and learning?
Week 1 Discussion – Working to Improve Teaching and Learning
Monday, January 7, 2019, 12:55 PM
As a principal, how will you address your superintendent’s concerns as stated in this exercise?
I would address the superintendents’ concerns by ensuring I blended my observation methods. I do believe in having a mix of observation/coaching methods. Digging further into understanding our data is what seems to be most important in understanding our failing scores. I would also ask that the superintendent help me to locate a principal mentor who could “show me the ropes” in educational leadership using observable methods. I would also need to get into observing teachers myself to know what is happening in every classroom within my school.
How will you work with the teachers in your building next year to improve teaching and learning?
I would start by ensuring teacher leaders understand their roles as far as diving into data is concerned. One way of doing this (and I may be biased) is by using All in Learning technologies. This sets teachers up for the five-step process of not only analyzing their data but preparing upcoming activities surrounding data shortcomings. Many times scores tend to fail due to the lack of understanding remediation practices. Once we get this process flowing, scores are destined to increase.
As a leader, it is important not to bring teachers down due to scores. Yes, leaders should continue to celebrate those who are performing tremendously and making improvements. However, for those who are not, a leader must be strategic in helping them understand where improvements should be made. This is why teacher mentors are so important. However, if I am asking teachers to have someone in their field to guide them, I am expected to do the same. This would be where having a new principal mentor for myself would come into play. We all need someone who can guide us to success.
(2018). SuperVision and Instructional Leadership, 10th Edition. [BryteWave]. Retrieved from https://shelf.brytewave.com/#/books/ /
Working to Improve Teaching and Learning
Monday, January 7, 2019, 8:46 PM
· As a principal, how will you address your superintendent’s concerns as stated in this exercise?
I would make sure that data is being used to really drive the leadership in the classroom. Data now has a negative connotation when teachers hear it so I would want to ensure that my teachers are using data in a manner that addresses not just the needs of students but also how exactly how they are teaching. Teachers are aware of how to use data to drive instruction but they must also know how to use data to improve how they teach. I would continue to express my views on a different level of supervision after creating an improvement plan to increase the necessary test scores.
· How will you work with the teachers in your building next year to improve teaching and learning?
I would first complete a needs assessment with my teachers to find out exactly what they need to improve their teaching practices. For example, if teachers needed more planning time during the day, after school or on required workdays I would try and work around the scheduled events in the calendar to give teachers the time they needed. Also, I would provide a PD on how to use data to improve teaching methods so teachers are knowledgeable of their instructional delivery methods.
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