Academy for educators trains administrators
It’s easy to find test results that indicate U.S. students have some catching up to do with some others in the developed world. Doing something about it, that’s what’s hard.
Every student can remember teachers who challenged and encouraged them to achieve. Ask those teachers what enabled them to inspire their students, and they’re likely to praise the principals who were key to creating an effective learning environment.
That’s why Blount County Schools recently established an Aspiring Administrators Academy. The system is working with the University of Tennessee’s Center for Education Leadership to provide the grant program. Fifteen educators are participating in this initial effort. Except for the cost of substitute teachers, there is no funding from the school district.
The UT center utilizes McREL’s Balanced Leadership Framework. The program is based on research that started in 2001 with a review of more that 5,000 studies that claimed to have examined the effects of principal leadership on student achievement.
That research was narrowed to 69 studies judged to be the most relevant and reliable. They included more than 14,000 teacher ratings of principal leadership for 2,802 principals. That was correlated with more than 1.4 million student achievement scores.
It all gave statistical backing to what researchers presumably expected to find: When it comes to correlating principal ratings to student achievement, clearly, leadership does make a difference.
There was one finding that was not so intuitive. While strong principal leadership is effective in running a school, that does not always correlate to students’ academic progress.
McREL’s Balanced Leadership Framework found practices that principals focus attention, energy, talent and assets on — activities that are important to a well-organized school. But those practices are not necessarily essential to improving student achievement.
The research identified 21 leadership responsibilities with significant correlations to student achievement and 66 practices for fulfilling these responsibilities. Those are the essence of the framework.
Participants in the Aspiring Administrators Academy will complete seven training sessions and seven site visits with their mentors. They have been paired with practicing Blount County principals.
Want Blount County students leave school ready to compete with others from around the nation and the world? Make sure they graduate from schools led by effective principals.