Tools often used by states and school districts to find and evaluate principals now reflect national standards that place a heavy emphasis on instructional leadership.
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The National Association of Secondary School Principals is offering two variations on its traditional assessment tools, which have been widely used across the country since the 1970s.
The first, “Selecting and Developing the 21st Century Principal,” is a one-day program that examines strengths and weaknesses of both practicing school leaders and people interested in becoming principals.
The “Developmental Assessment Center,” another one-day program, is designed to help teachers or graduate students who may consider school leadership roles in the future to assess their own skills and abilities.
Both programs now more closely reflect the consensus that school leaders must not just manage schools, but also take an active role in ensuring high-caliber instruction.
“Those changes required us to reflect that in the assessment process,” said Richard A. Flanery, the senior administrator for leadership development and assessment at the Reston,Va.-based association.
The “21st Century Principal” workshop asks participants to simulate the work of a principal by working on typical “in- basket items,” conducting mock parent-teacher conferences, and preparing oral and written communications. Each person receives a report that sums up his or her skills.
The “Developmental Assessment” program gauges participants’ skills in leadership, motivation, sensitivity, communication, problem analysis, judgment, organizational ability, and knowledge of themselves. The workshop also requires participants to complete tasks that confront principals and provides them with written feedback.
The programs are run by people trained by the association in a three-day seminar. Facilitators trained to conduct the two programs can then lead both programs at their local colleges or school districts.
Each of the programs can be used as a staff-development tool for existing administrators, Mr. Flanery said.
A version of this article appeared in the November 15, 2000 edition of Education Week as Principals’ Workshops Overhauled