Steven Weber

Superintendent or Asst Super

Fayetteville, AR

Interests: Curriculum design and...

  • Posted 5 Months ago
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12 Lessons For Instructional Leaders

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Instructional leaders provide a system that supports teaching and learning. In the absence of a system, students will fall through the cracks. Instructional leaders must strive to identify the main focus for each grade level or course and then work collaboratively to ensure that each student is challenged. Hattie suggests that principals are engaged in instructional leadership when they “have their major focus on creating a learning climate free of disruption, a system of clear teaching objectives, and high teacher expectations for teachers and students” (2012, p. 83). When instructional leadership becomes the priority for administrators, understanding will grow. “The job is not to hope that optimal learning will occur, based on our curriculum and initial teaching. The job is to ensure that learning occurs, and when it doesn’t, to intervene in altering the syllabus and instruction decisively, quickly, and often” (Wiggins & McTighe, 2007, p. 55).

When the building principal is an instructional leader, teachers receive the support they need in order to prepare students for the next level. Successful principals understand that it is important to establish clear learning goals and garner schoolwide — and even community wide — commitment to these goals. The development of a clear vision and goals for learning is emphasized by principals of high-achieving schools (Leithwood & Riehl, 2003).

12 Lessons For Instructional Leaders 

  1. Everything rises and falls on leadership.

  2. In the absence of a clear learning plan, student understanding will be left to chance.

  3. Teachers benefit from timely feedback and informal walk-thru(s).

  4. It is impossible to accelerate or modify the curriculum until you have a guaranteed and viable curriculum.

  5. Formative assessment provides timely data that supports teachers and learners.

  6. Multiply Leaders. Instructional leadership requires a team.

  7. Challenge the process. If you become satisfied, you may discover that school no longer meets the needs of students.

  8. Identify common student misunderstandings at each grade level and develop a plan to support students when they stumble.

  9. Identify data points and SMART goals for reaching the desired data points.

  10. Curriculum and instruction should be personalized. Don’t make teachers follow a script.

  11. Analyze the amount of student consumption vs. contribution in your school.

  12. Push pause and take time to reflect on the teaching and learning that is taking place in your school.

Instructional leaders strive to prioritize their daily agenda in order to focus on the main thing. We all entered education to support student understanding. However, some days we spend more time attending meetings, replying to email, completing teacher observations, and planning the next fundraiser. For many principals, "there is a gap between the compass and the clock – between what's deeply important to us and the way we spend our time" (Covey, Merrill & Merrill, 1994, p. 16). Administrators must create time for instructional leadership.

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