Linking School Leadership to Teachers' Performance
Teacher quality is only half of the performance equation. The other half is principal quality, which we must also consider in our quest to promote the budding and full fruition of young minds.
Linking School leadership to Teachers’ Performance
In this age of “linkages”, where teachers’ performance is being linked to students’ test scores, pay is being linked to performance, and plans are afoot for teachers’ preparation to be linked to students’ performance, not enough is said about linking a principal’s support to teacher performance.
Like many educational strategies, this is not new, just a recycled one. Indeed, we have heard over and over again that one of the most important factors that influence teachers’ effectiveness is the kind of support they receive. Authors such as N. Protheroe, G. D. Glickman, R. Dufour, K. D. Peterson and C. Danielson and T. McGreal have identified areas of support that involve the principal’s ability to:
· conduct effective clinical supervision
· understand and communicate with each teacher
· create a safe environment for peers to operate
· ensure that the physical environment is conducive to the teacher and that she has the necessary instructional materials
· ensure that the teacher receives the appropriate professional development.
This list of support items, which is not conclusive, can in fact be used as a tool to conduct both teachers’ and principals’ evaluations. Principals can use it to demonstrate how they have helped their teachers to grow and develop and this can be used as part of a teacher’s evaluation. Teachers, who are usually not involved (though they are direct stakeholders) in evaluating their principals, can also use it to determine principals’ effectiveness. However, to ensure the integrity of the process, teachers’ evaluations must be anonymous.
The results of both sets of evaluations will then need to be compared and contrasted and used to determine what works well and why and what needs to be improved and how. Hence, the results will be part of the school’s continuous improvement plan. Once again, to safeguard the integrity of the process, the analysis of the evaluations should be done by an outside source, perhaps by one of the school’s community partners.