A new study suggests principals who learn how to better manage their time and delegate management duties can gain the equivalent of an extra day each week to use for instructional leadership.
The Washington-based Policy Studies Associates Inc. tracked 181 schools nationwide that are participating in the National School Administration Manager Innovation Project, which teaches principals time-management skills and partners them with school administration managers who help coordinate schedules and take on day-to-day tasks that don’t relate to instruction. (The study was underwritten by the Wallace Foundation, which also supports coverage of leadership, arts education, and extended and expanded learning time in Education Week.)
The researchers found that principals did increase the amount of time they spent on instruction-related activities, such as observing classes, coaching teachers, and coordinating curriculum, data analysis, and instructional planning as they began to plan their schedules in advance and delegate noninstructional tasks. While at the start of the program, the principals spent on average 32 percent of their weekly time (the equivalent of just over 13.5 hours each week) on instructional leadership, a year into the program, they spent 46 percent, or 8.5 more hours, on leading instruction. After two years, the 93 principals for whom there were data available spent 52 percent of their time, or nearly 26 additional hours each week, on instructional leadership than they had before the program.
The gains after two years were greater for elementary school leaders than those of middle and high schools, with the former focusing nearly nine hours more per week on instruction, compared with just over seven hours more a week in secondary grades, than at the start of the study.
A version of this article appeared in the November 02, 2011 edition of Education Week as Study: Principals Need More Time to Be Leaders