An interesting initiative to dramatically improve schools isn’t disruptive or innovative or even particularly exciting — at least to non-educators. It is merely an attempt to ensure that school leaders understand the scope of their job and are fully prepared to lead instruction in schools.
As I write about in Huffington Post this week, school leaders can make the difference in whether teachers are successful or quit after crying every night over their frustrations.
So focusing on making sure districts have a supply of school leaders who know what they’re doing is a strategy that has a lot of promise.
That’s what The Wallace Foundation has been doing for a few years now, working with six large districts on creating a “pipeline” that includes recruiting, training, inducting, supervising, and evaluating school leaders. The districts — Denver; Charlotte-Mecklenburg; Prince George’s County, Maryland; Gwinnett County, Georgia; Hillsborough County, Florida; and New York City — are all big, complex districts that have a lot going on in terms of reforms and changes. But with substantial grants from The Wallace Foundation, they have been working on ensuring that they do not have the kind of leadership shortages that often plague large districts and that the leaders they do have understand how to organize and lead for success.
It is way too soon to tell whether this approach will actually improve schools in such a way that you can see improvements in student performance — and, in fact, such a cause-and-effect statement may never be able to be made.
But because The Wallace Foundation is an Ed Trust partner, I have been lucky enough to attend a number of meetings where the six districts have hashed out some of the nitty-gritty problems of what it means to ensure that every school has a good, prepared, and well-supported leader. And by focusing on that practical, important problem, all the district leaders have had to think about is how they organize themselves to support schools. To read more about it, go here: The Wallace Foundation.
Particularly for those of you who could be forgiven for sometimes thinking that the field of education is all fads and little deep work, I thought that you’d like to hear about at least one piece of thoughtful work that is going on.
Photo credit: Daymon J. Hartley