The Promise of a Strong Principal
The data are clear: Teachers matter. In fact, teachers account for one-third of a school's total impact on student achievement. Especially startling is the fact that students with three consecutive years of effective teachers outperform students with ineffective teachers by 50 percentage points. This research on teacher quality has spurred a national effort to rethink how we prepare, support, and evaluate teachers. And rightly so.
But what often gets lost in the policy conversation is the role of the school leader in ensuring that there is a strong teacher in every classroom. Without a high-quality principal at the helm of a school, students are unlikely to have successive years of effective teaching. Principals are best positioned to ensure that every student has a great teacher year after year. We also know that strong teachers will leave a school if they do not feel that the principal provides a supportive environment.
Exemplary principals hire, train, support, and retain effective teachers, while releasing those who are not ensuring students excel. They create a climate that values effective teaching and supports teacher collaboration. They establish instructional and data systems to help teachers succeed and understand whether their teaching is producing student mastery. By creating the structures for quality teaching throughout the building, principals send a message that teaching and...
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