Steven Weber

Superintendent or Asst Super

Fayetteville, AR

Interests: Curriculum design and...

  • Posted 1 Month ago
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9 Questions For Instructional Leaders

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As schools enter the month of November, it is a time for reflection. We have enough data from the first quarter to make decisions about teaching and learning. The questions instructional leaders ask support teaching and learning for the remainder of the school year. “If you want to make discoveries, if you want to disrupt the status quo, if you want to make progress and find new ways of thinking and doing, you need to ask questions” (Maxwell, Good Leaders Ask Great Questions, 2014).

Instructional leaders provide a system that supports teaching and learning. In the absence of a system, students will enter class each day and at the end of the year each student will be promoted to the next grade level. 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 and provided with scaffolding as needed. “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).

9 Questions For Instructional Leaders

1.  Do our grade level teams/courses have SMART goals? (DuFour, 2014)

2.  Do we administer common formative assessments?

3.  Does each teacher understand the ‘Priority Standards?’ (Ainsworth, 2015)

4.  Have teacher teams met to establish ‘Transfer Goals?’ (Weber, 2016)

5.  Do we have a plan for when students don’t learn?

6.  Do we have a plan for students who need acceleration?

7.  Have we identified data points that we will measure throughout the semester?

8.  Do we have rubrics and exemplar work so teachers, students and families can identify opportunities for growth?

9.  Do we have a clear Response to Intervention (RtI) program or is RtI left to each teacher?

A school without clearly defined goals is like a ship without a rudder; it lacks direction and a slight wind could easily blow it off course (Wiles, 2009). It is easy to focus on family nights, PTA meetings, teacher evaluations, district principal meetings, graduate school, coaching first year teachers, writing grants, student discipline, paperwork, and faculty meetings. However, instructional leadership can easily become an add-on, rather than a principal’s main focus. If you feel like you need to “reboot” and focus on your school’s priorities, try answering these questions. You may even identify some additional questions. As an instructional leader, hundreds of students and families are counting on you to give the school direction and help students grow as lifelong learners.

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