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They should acknowledge that collaboration is worthwhile, and it can work. After developing this outline, the next step in this process is to ensure that everyone is working from the same knowledge base. Principals should not assume that all teachers have the same levels of learning regarding teaching strategies and best practices. Therefore, it is imperative that campuses target appropriate professional development.

Dettmer suggests that principals should conduct surveys and use observations to determine which topics are appropriate for professional development. The topics selected should be meaningful and meet the identified needs of the campus. The goal of professional development is to improve and enhance the good teaching practices that are already in place and provide information about other effective learning strategies that may be used. It is very seldom necessary for a campus to abandon all of their established teaching strategies and instructional practices.

Role of Principal Leadership in Improving Student Achievement

Current practices should be reviewed on an annual basis to determine if they have been successful. Essential to this determination is whether the program or practices has been used with fidelity, monitoring of implementation has taken place, and student achievement has been positively impacted. After the campus staff has determined which practices are effective, the information should be shared with teachers to ensure the strategies are incorporated in their teaching practices.

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Meanwhile on-going professional development and monitoring of teacher implementation should continue. In between the two, the leader is a servant" p. Leaders become servants to the vision; they work at providing whatever is needed to make the vision a reality.

Principal Turnover: Insights from Current Principals

They gather the resources, both human and material, to bring the vision to reality. Principals in schools where at-risk students are achieving practice the skills and apply the knowledge of effective instructional leadership. They have a vision - a picture of what they want students to achieve.

They engage teachers, parents, students and others to share in creating the vision. They encourage them to join in the efforts to make that vision a reality.

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They keep the vision in the forefront by supporting teachers' instructional efforts and by guiding the use of data to evaluate the progress of the school. Principals become servants to their vision of success for all students. They convey this vision to teachers, students, and parents through their actions. Because the interactions between teachers and students are critical, how principals influence this aspect of the educational process is important.

Executive Summary

Principals participate in the instructional process through their discussions with teachers about instructional issues, their observations of classroom instruction, and their interactions with teachers when examining student data. Although there are points of convergence in these actions, it is helpful to divide them into three categories: instructional focus, instructional evaluation, and monitoring of student progress. Instructional focus behaviors demonstrated by effective principals include support of teachers' instructional methods and their modifications to the approach or materials to meet students' needs, allocation of resources and materials, and frequent visits to classrooms.

Instructional evaluative actions of principals include making frequent visits to classrooms as well as soliciting and providing feedback on instructional methods and materials. They also include using data to focus attention on ways to improve curriculum and instructional approaches and to determine staff development activities that strengthen teachers' instructional skills. When monitoring progress, effective principals focus on students' outcomes by leading faculty members to analyze student data, to evaluate curriculum and instructional approaches, and to determine appropriate staff development activities.

The following paragraphs examine in more detail the specific behaviors of principals in schools where at-risk students are achieving academic success. Just as programs such as bilingual education validate language minority students' native language strengths and thus diminish risk, principals validate teachers' strengths and experiences by supporting their instructional efforts.

How do principals do this for teachers?

Addressing Challenges in Evaluating School Principal Improvement Efforts | RAND

Principals assume a proactive role in supporting teachers' instructional efforts. They communicate directly and frequently with teachers about instruction and student needs. An example of frequent interaction with teachers is principals making a "conscious effort to interact in a positive manner with every teacher on a daily basis" Reitzug, , p. They interact directly with teachers on instructional issues. Reitzug's analysis of teacher and principal interactions revealed that in the school where students were achieving there were more interactions dealing with instructional matters. Furthermore, a greater amount of time was spent during those interactions than the time span of conversations of a non-academic nature. Instructional leaders focusing their interactions on primarily instructional topics were also documented by Greenfield Cuban found that such principals were flexible and supportive with teachers' efforts to adapt, modify, or adjust instructional approaches to meet the needs of students.

Sizemore, Brossard, and Harrigan reported that in a high achieving, predominantly African-American elementary school, teaching assignments were matched with teachers' expertise for meeting the needs of students. Support for the teachers' instructional efforts occurs because these instructional leaders are cognizant of what the teachers are doing.

They are aware because they are involved. Teachers address students' basic needs when they provide pencils and paper to students. Likewise, principals provide a service to teachers' basic instructional needs by allocating resources and materials. When instructional leaders know what is happening in classrooms, they are better able and willing to provide resources and materials that support teachers' instructional efforts.

Andrews, Soder, and Jacoby called this "mobilizing resources" p. Heck, Larsen, and Marcoulides reported that one of the variables determining high achieving schools was the principal's assistance to teachers in acquiring needed instructional resources.

Supporting the School Principal’s Changing Role

Attending to the materials needed, the "utilization of instructional resources to achieve maximal student outcomes" was a characteristic identified by Venezky and Winfield , p. Providing the "assured availability" of materials by designating personnel to provide the necessary materials to individual teachers was a leadership behavior reported by Levine and Stark School practices of regular communication with parents promote attention to students' progress.

Similarly when principals frequently visit classrooms, they provide attention to teachers' efforts and progress in instructional matters. To gain knowledge of what is occurring in classrooms and the materials being used, effective principals frequently observe teachers' instructional methods. Sizemore, Brossard, and Harrigan used the label of "rigorous supervision" p. Heck, Larsen, and Marcoulides reported that one of the leadership behaviors common in high achieving schools was the principals' direct supervision of instructional strategies.

Andrews, Soder, and Jacoby described the principals as "a visible presence" p. When principals interact with teachers about classroom efforts, they are communicating with teachers about the instructional process just as teachers interact with students about their progress. Such two way communication is critical in establishing a climate of collaboration. Opportunities to interact with teachers on instructional issues increase as principals become a frequent visitor in the classroom.

Reitzug's analysis of teacher and principal interactions demonstrated that teachers in schools with improved student performance more frequently requested the principal's help on instructional matters than the teachers in low performing schools. Providing follow-up comments to assist teachers' improvement was one of the variables characterizing high achieving schools reported by Heck, Larsen, and Marcoulides In addition to gaining first-hand knowledge of the instructional approaches being used by the staff, principals who are frequent classroom visitors become more aware of the daily challenges and constraints that teachers encounter Greenfield, This information enhances the principals' ability to practice instructional leadership that leads to student academic gains.

Of these factors, school working conditions —such as quality of school leadership and staff cohesion—appear to matter most in whether a teacher decides to stay or leave a school. For example, many of the survey items within the teacher time use and physical environment areas reflect issues that are often largely determined by district leadership often in partnership with unions. If working environment scores are low, districts should think about how to encourage and support principals to improve working conditions that are most under their control, for example by setting up professional development plans that focus on helping principals communicate effectively with teachers, including providing teachers effective feedback on their instructional practice.