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Leadership Links

February - March 2006

Leadership LinksArchives


Welcome to ECS Leadership Links, a bimonthly e-mail publication with links to key information on education leadership.

After finding that more than 50 percent of students failed to pass proficiencies in the 2003-04 school year in some school districts in NEVADA, a team of professors from the University of Nevada, Reno visited 16 schools in need of improvement to look for predictors for removal from the "in need of improvement" status as requested by the Legislative Committee on Education. The team drew no correlation between the number of students failing proficiencies and lack of leadership at the schools, but did conclude the schools likely to make adequate yearly progress in the future were the ones where principals exhibited strong leadership styles.

In OREGON, consensus was firmer than ever among business and elected leaders at the fourth annual leadership summit on Oregon's economy: improving public education is the most crucial strategy to ensure the state's economic success.

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"When Learning Counts: Rethinking Licenses for School Leaders," a new Wallace Foundation-commissioned national study by the University of Washington's Center on Reinventing Public Education, concludes that in most states, LICENSURE REQUIREMENTS are not sufficiently focused on the skills and knowledge leaders need to improve learning. The report offers policymakers a new "Licensing-Plus" framework to restructure state licensing systems to include "entry-level" and "expert-level" certifications and to better align licenses with the current job demands on principals.

In "The New Fundamentals of Leadership" Mike Schmoker argues that the key to improving school leadership begins with demystifying it. To do this, leadership must be redefined around PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES: team-based, cooperative arrangements between instructors and administrators. If administrators focus on and coordinate such work, we will see record proportions of "average" human beings become highly successful school leaders.

The first report in a two-year project commissioned by the Wallace Foundation, "Developing Successful Principals: Review of Research," includes a brief survey of evidence about the elements of effective SCHOOL LEADERSHIP, the features of successful preparation programs and the multiple pathways to leadership development.

The Institute for Educational Leadership's recent report, "Preparing and Supporting Diverse, CULTURALLY COMPETENT LEADERS: Implications for Policy and Practice," provides field-based insights collected from people working in, and familiar with, leadership development programs for school leaders in urban, suburban, and rural districts across the country. The report focuses on promising practices and policy and program strategies that make a difference in programs and initiatives for preparing school leaders who are diverse and have the skills, knowledge, and attributes necessary for cultural competence.

"Education Governors for the 21st Century," a new report from the James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute, draws on past and present examples of leaders who prioritized school improvement. The report describes key traits of EDUCATION GOVERNORS and offers state leaders guidance on how they can advance their goals through strategic alliances with educators, business leaders and communities.

Over the past year, the Teachers Network Leadership Institute (TNLI) has concentrated its efforts on identifying what good principal and TEACHER LEADERSHIP looks like and how it can best be fostered. "Successful School Leadership--A View from the Classroom" is the Institute's effort to ensure that the teacher's voice is an integral part of the ongoing conversation on how best to restructure educational practices and policies--and identify what is most needed to provide meaningful, sustainable leadership in New York City public schools.

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"The First Ring Leadership Academy: A Multidistrict Model for Developing, Sharing and Supporting Leaders," a new ECS Policy Brief supported by MetLife Foundation, examines a LEADERSHIP ACADEMY that has achieved remarkable success with the "homegrown" partnership approach across 13 school districts to school leadership preparation in an area with challenges traditionally faced by inner-city districts.

The "ECS LEADERSHIP POLICY DATABASE" is a new resource that contains information about statewide K-12 leadership policies in the 50 states across five leadership policy topics: superintendent preparation programs; mentor programs; leadership in hard-to-staff schools; administrator license requirements, portability, waivers, and alternative certification; and statewide leadership academies. The information can be browsed by issue or by state. ECS will be adding additional policy topics: stay tuned.

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The REINVENTING SCHOOLS COALITION, a foundation that emerged from the Alaska Quality Schools Coalition and the work of Rich DeLorenzo, works to create "lighthouse" school districts that meet the needs of all children by facilitating educational systems to: develop a shared vision based on the needs of all stakeholders; ensure shared leadership is deployed; implement a relevant, standards-based design that incorporates "best practices"; build a continuous improvement process that leads to excellence; and Use Web-based, relational databases to analyze processes and results. Multiple leadership tools and resources are available on the Web site.

SCHOOL LEADERSHIP SERVICES works primarily with school superintendents, district-level leaders, principals, assistant principals and teacher leaders. The organization has also done extensive work with child nutrition professionals, administrative assistants and secretaries to superintendents and school boards.

McREL's "BALANCED LEADERSHIP PROFILE 360" is an online feedback tool intended to gather information about principal leadership from three perspectives: an individual principal, the teachers working with the principal and the principal's supervisor. The purpose of the Balanced Leadership Profile 360 Survey is (1) to provide building principals with multi-perspective feedback on fulfillment of the 21 leadership responsibilities identified in McREL's Balance Leadership research and (2) to furnish feedback on principals' changing leadership.

The Annenberg Institute for School Reform's "TOOLS FOR SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLANNING" web site contains observation protocols, focus group samples and questions, surveys, questionnaires, and other techniques to help leaders examine their specific school improvement concerns. They have recently added tools focused on student engagement.

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To read more about Leadership, visit the ECS Issue Site on Leadership.

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