I have been rereading some books this summer that I really enjoyed a few years ago. One book I am rereading is What’s Worth Fighting For in the Principalship, by Michael Fullan. I really like this book, it’s a quick read and holds some great nuggets of inspiring text for school leaders. I’m going to be adding some of my favorite quotes here over the next few days, so enjoy:
-School leaders improve learning indirectly through and most powerfully through their influence on staff motivation, commitment, and working conditions (NCSL – England, Seven Strong Claims About Successful School Leadership).
– Leadership is not about making clever decisions and doing bigger deals, least of all for personal gain. It is about energizing other people to make good decisions and do better things.
Effective leadership inspires more than it empowers; it connects more than it controls; it demonstrates more than it decides.
Effective principals spend their time creating the conditions for teachers and teacher leaders to zero in on effective instructional practices, and to use data on student learning both as a leverage for improvement and as a source for external accountability.
Six components of a PLC: a focus on learning, a collaborative culture, collective inquiry, an action orientation, a commitment to continuous learning, and a concentration on results (from Dufour, Dufour, and Many (2006)).
Synthesized statement (my words): In a study done by Sisodia, Wolfe, and Sheth in Firms of Endearment when companies focus on changing culture their productivity soars! The companies in this study were compared to Jim Collins set of 11 (2001 Good to Great), and they outperformed his set, over a ten year period, by 1,026%.
…the heart of what’s worth fighting for within the school is creating deep cultures that work daily on purposeful, continuous learning.
…system context is always more powerful than that of a single school.
…district wide reform depends on schools leveraging one another forward.
De-privatizing teaching involves opening up the world of the classroom ro scrutiny and continuous development of instruction
Leading knowledgeably must be the core role of the principal. (24)
Marzano’s studies have shown: ” Students who have a teacher at the 75th percentile in terms of pedagogical competence will outgain students who have a teacher at the 25th percentile by 14th percentile points in reading and 18 percentile points in mathematics…students who have a 90th percentile teacher will outgain students who have a 50th percentile teacher by 13 percentile points in reading and 18 percentile points in mathematics.”
Leading knowledgeably means bringing all teachers to a high level of pedagogical effectiveness; but more than that, it means fostering interactions that keep teachers at that level through continuous application and refinement. (25)
Gawande says it is all about cultivating habits of “diligence,” “doing it right,” and “ingenuity.”
So, it is essential for school leaders to foster relentless consistency relative to those practices that are known to be effective practices that come to have the statis of being “non-negotiable.”
Pedagogical leadership is more effective than transformational leadership (paraphrased)
“effect sizes” of principals promoting and participating directly with teachers in the formal and informal learning of the use of data to influence appropriate instructional activities was more than twice as powerful as any other leadership dimension.
Knowledge is literally the substance of change
First, principals must make teaching and learning the driving focus.
I am saying principals should make ongoing instructional expertise a priority for themselves, as well as for their teachers.
Molding good leadership by coaching, praising, and empowering others (Munby, 2007)
There are many reasons principals should seek peer interaction with other schools.
No matter how you cut it, school principals have new opportunities and new obligations to help their schools participate in purposeful peer networks. The school benefits, the system benefits.
Stimulating purposeful interaction – horizontally and vertically – provides the glue that helps complex systems to focus.
Six guidelines for principals:
Model instructional leadership.
Build capacity first.
Grow other leaders.
Divert the distractors.
Be a system leader.
One of the most powerful instructional practices involves assessment literacy – the strategic use of data to improve teaching on a daily basis (assessment for learning), and the capacity to monitor results and engage the external accountability system.
Six tasks of leadership identified by Tim Brighthouse (2007)
Meet and minimize crises
Secure and enhance the environment
Seek and chart improvement
Extend the vision of what is possible
Districts need to promote transparency while playing down judgmentalism.
I am again listening to one of my favorite books Good To Great by Jim Collins.
One section particularly struck me today, and I think the words are worth listening to, especially for school leaders who believe in learning and leading infused with technology:
We need to be leaders who think about “technology” as a piece, yes a major piece, but a piece in the puzzle. School leaders must be grounded in best practices, and be lifelong learners! We need to be able to model great teaching, support our teachers, share leadership, help establish quality PLNs, encourage collaboration, analyze and use data to help adjust practices, be open to paradigm shifts, design professional development that leads to student results, and work systematically and systemically with our district.
Wow! The role of the school leader is an important one and there are so many pieces to the puzzle!
Via C-Span “House Education Committee hearing on Education policies aimed at improving teacher quality. This is one in a series of hearings looking at the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.”