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Principals in 8 Nations Join To Address 'Global' Issues

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Representatives from eight nations last week announced the formation of an international group for school principals that is said to be the first of its kind.

The new International Confederation of Principals is intended to promote the professionalism of principals throughout the world, according to its organizers, who include leaders of the National Association of Secondary School Principals and similar groups in other member countries.

The announcement was made in San Diego at nassp's annual convention. Timothy J. Dyer, nassp's executive director, was elected interim secretary general of the confederation.

In addition to the United States, the initial members are Britain, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, the Soviet Union, Switzerland, and West Germany. Membership is open to additional countries.

Creation of such a group is "a logical step for a global society," Gerald Purdy, president of nassp, said in a statement.

"As the economy takes on an increasingly global nature," he added, "school leaders need to work together to make students globally literate."

According to Mr. Dyer, one of the confederation's main activities will be to promote the growth of international exchanges of principals, teachers, and students.

In addition, he said, the group is expected to encourage the exchange of professional publications and the development of "school curricula focusing upon international understanding." Individual members will be encouraged to attend professional meetings sponsored by principals' groups in member countries.

The group is scheduled to meet in Geneva in September to outline its plans and discuss membership development.

In other action at its annual meet4ing, nassp released a study of school leadership that highlights the importance of both effective long-range planning and risk-taking in managing schools.

The report, "High School Leaders and Their Schools, Volume II: Profiles of Effectiveness," examines leadership teams of principals and assistant principals. Its findings are based on a sample of 74 principals chosen from among those trained as assessors in nassp's assessment-center project. The study included site visits to eight schools.

The researchers identified four underlying factors that affected each leadership team, regardless of variations in school size or the availability of resources. They were: the degree of school autonomy allowed by the district; the prestige of the principal within the school; the school-community environment; and the competence, diversity, and stability of the staff.

The most effective schools studied, the report says, had "strong and creative principals" who set the school agenda, created a positive image for the school, brought in new resources, and planned for anticipated changes and new issues.

Another characteristic of the most effective schools, the study found, was that the primary purpose of schooling was centered on the students. Favorable results were also found in schools in which the administrative team encouraged "risk-taking behavior" by staff members.

Finally, administrative teams in effective schools met regularly, engaged in systematic planning, and formed advisory councils or committees as needed. Principals accepted responsibility for what happened in the schools and emphasized productivity and success, the study found.

The report will be mailed to nassp members. Copies may also be purchased for $7 each through nassp's Publication Sales Office, 1904 Association Dr., Reston, Va. 22091; order number 2109004 should be cited.

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