School & District Management Report Roundup

Study: How Districts Make Principals Successful

By Denisa R. Superville — July 08, 2014 1 min read

A new report identifies the kinds of conditions that are necessary to enable all principals in a school district to be effective—rather than just the few who defy the odds.

The report released last month by the George W. Bush Institute, the Alliance to Reform Education Leadership, and New Leaders, the New York City-based school leaders training program, claims to be among the first to compile into one document a comprehensive framework of the supports and culture that districts should work toward creating in order to scale principal effectiveness districtwide. It also includes a toolkit and a survey that districts can use to determine whether the conditions are being implemented and to gauge the quality of those conditions on the ground.

The report identifies 15 conditions across four broad areas—or strands—that are key to principal effectiveness and improved student outcomes. They address:

• Aligning the goals, strategies, structures, and resources in the district;

• Fostering a culture of collective responsibility, balanced autonomy, and continuous learning and improvement;

• Developing an effective management and support for principals; and

• Implementing systems and policies to allow principals to effectively manage talent at the school-level.

The report is based on a survey of literature reviews on principal effectiveness, empirical data, and input from education leaders who were assembled in 2012 by the George W. Bush Institute, based at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and New Leaders. It also drew on the experience of 22 principals in America Achieves, a Washington-based education organization.

The Bush institute may also look to work with a group of urban school districts where the theories and conditions in the report and the rubric can be put into practice.

A version of this article appeared in the July 10, 2014 edition of Education Week as Study: How Districts Make Principals Successful

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