As the first cohort of leaders embarks on their course of study with the new AASA Urban Superintendents Academy at Howard University and the University of Southern California, we are thrilled to see this promising work come to life. Urban districts desperately need forward-thinking leaders, particularly those from underrepresented demographic groups, prepared to be barrier-busting champions for every student in their care.
Following an intensive kick-off conference later this month, participants in the Academy—predominantly from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups—will spend the academic year undertaking internships in the field, focusing on problems of practice under the guidance of experienced mentors, and taking graduate courses at the university before completing culminating projects. These participants, in-service administrators who want to enrich their field experience and training for urban settings or prospective superintendents, will be prepared for certification through the program.
What is so promising about the Academy?
Principals’ leadership is a critical factor in schools’ success, and school leader preparation programs play a key role in facilitating that success. But what are the components of programs that effectively prepare emerging principals to serve as leaders of learning in 21st-century schools?
AACTE, in cooperation with a national foundation, is conducting a brief survey of its members to better understand the landscape of university-based principal preparation programs: the context in which they operate; the challenges they face; and the degree to which improvements are seen as important. A report is planned for early 2016 summarizing the findings from this survey as well as others under way.
Beginning this fall, AACTE will host a series of four free webinars on preparing effective principals through collaborations among higher education institutions and school districts.
The webinars will feature participants in the Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative, a multiyear effort to strengthen the preparation and support of principals in six high-need urban districts: Prince George’s County (MD), Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC), Denver (CO), New York City, Hillsborough County (FL), and Gwinnett County (GA).
The initiative, for which AACTE has served as a communications partner, builds on over a decade of research that identified four key parts of a pipeline to develop successful principals: rigorous job requirements, high-quality preparation, selective hiring, and on-the-job evaluation and support.
The model standards of the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC), developed in 1996 by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and last revised in 2008, generated controversy in the field during their most recent revision effort last fall and this spring. The National Policy Board for Education Administration (NPBEA), which convenes an array of stakeholder groups, is partnering with CCSSO to consider the feedback received from the field and make final adjustments to the new standards, now planned for release this fall.
NPBEA was among the groups that approved the original standards nearly 20 years ago and has been involved to some degree in subsequent revisions. Its constituent organizations* all have close connections to the work addressed in the standards, but some of these constituents felt their voices were not heard in the recent standards update.
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) invites feedback on the latest revision of the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) model standards. Comments are due Friday, May 29.
The update attempts to capture the changing expectations for school leaders, who are increasingly held responsible not only for administrative tasks but also for student learning. The model standards, according to the draft document,
[. . .] clarify the most important work and responsibilities of learning-focused leaders operating in today’s education context. Grounded in both research and effective practice, these standards provide a framework for state departments of education and districts alike to understand how to best prepare, support, and evaluate education leaders in their efforts to help every child reach his or her fullest potential. [. . .] The standards can also inform how schools and districts recruit and cultivate leaders who can build teams that share and distribute the responsibilities required for high levels of student learning and achievement to occur. (p. 3)
A new series of videos presents successful school leaders in action, demonstrating five key practices found to be effective in improving teaching and learning. The videos are free resources that may be a helpful tool for principal preparation programs.
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA) have issued the following request for public comment on their draft revision of the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium standards (see this post announcing the Wallace-funded revision effort). Make your voice heard by October 10!
CCSSO is seeking feedback from the public on draft standards for education leaders that aim to ensure district and school leaders are able to improve student achievement and meet new, higher expectations.
This summer, two national education organizations will revise the model standards for the preparation, performance, support, and evaluation of school leaders. The work is expected to be completed in October.
With renewed support from the Wallace Foundation, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Policy Board for Education Administration (NPBEA) will convene panels to update the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) standards, last updated in 2008, and the National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP) standards, last revised in 2011. The effort also includes drafting new standards for superintendents or other central-office staff who supervise principals.
On January 30, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. EST, AACTE will host a free webinar for members called “Assessing School Leader Preparation Program Quality: An Update on the Quality Measures Tool.”
Presenter Cheryl King, director of leadership for learning innovation at the Education Development Center (EDC), will explain how the EDC’s Quality Measures™ tool has helped school leader preparation programs assess their strengths and weaknesses and improve the quality of their curriculum, pedagogy, and clinical components. This webinar is available to AACTE members courtesy of a grant from the Wallace Foundation as part of its Principal Pipeline Initiative.
A new report from the Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative highlights practices for the preparation and support of new principals. Cultivating Talent Through a Principal Pipeline is the second in a series of evaluations of the initiative, prepared by Policy Studies Associates. It describes results from the initiative’s first 2 years as participating districts worked to beef up their principal corps through training and ongoing support.
As part of its Principal Pipeline Initiative, the Wallace Foundation last week convened its National Provider and Graduate Principal Professional Learning Community (National Provider PLC). I attended the meeting on behalf of AACTE, which is a communications partner for the initiative.
The National Provider PLC, launched in April, offers an opportunity for the initiative’s principal preparation providers, program alumni, and district administrators to collaborate in determining the most effective and efficient way to identify, develop, and support effective school leaders. Each district in the Principal Pipeline Initiative—Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC), Denver (CO), Gwinnett County (GA), Hillsborough County (FL), New York City (NY), and Prince George’s County (MD)—also participates in a local PLC. In all, 20 principal preparation programs and 20 graduate principals are involved in this change-driving work, and, of the programs, half are AACTE member institutions.
On December 17 at 2:00 p.m. EST, AACTE will offer a free webinar, Assessing Principal Preparation Program Quality: Lessons From the Field.
Over the summer, AACTE surveyed its members with principal preparation programs to better understand the characteristics of such programs and to identify areas in which members would like assistance. Program evaluation was one such area—which is not surprising, because evaluating preparation program quality is necessarily complex. It can be challenging to identify indicators of program quality, develop needed resources (including data and personnel), and navigate the political terrain that is often associated with program evaluation.
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending a meeting of the Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative. The foundation regularly convenes the initiative’s participants to provide time and space for them to assess their efforts to transform the way they recruit, prepare, and support principals and to plan for further work.
In early 2013, the Wallace Foundation awarded AACTE a grant to serve as one of its communications partners engaged in disseminating research about education leadership as well as the practices and research emerging from the foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative.