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New and Featured Publications | NCSL Publications | Wallace Foundation Publications | Legislative Reports | Other Publications


New and Featured Publications

 

Education Leadership: An Agenda for School ImprovementEducation Leadership: An Agenda for School Improvement
Date: April 2010
 The idea that education leadership is key to improving teaching barely registered among policymakers in 2000. A decade later, however, officials from the federal Department of   Education to individual school buildings agree on the necessity of strengthening the corps of principals leading the nation’s lowest-performing schools. They also acknowledge that the task is complex and difficult. This report on Wallace’s 2009 national education leadership conference takes stock of how far the field has come in the last ten years and looks at the crucial issues in leadership today, such as improving principal training programs and changing district offices so they focus squarely on what principals need to improve schools. It also offers ideas and insights from prominent researchers in the field as well as from leaders in federal and state government, central district offices and schools. Conference speakers quoted include U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; Delaware Governor Jack Markell; Adrian Fenty, mayor of Washington, D.C.; district superintendents Joel Klein of New York City and Michelle Rhee of Washington, D.C.; and the two principal-protagonists of The Principal Story, a PBS documentary.

Central Office Transformation for District-Wide Teaching and Learning ImprovementCentral Office Transformation for District-Wide Teaching and Learning Improvement
Date: April 2010
One of the first and most comprehensive studies of its kind, this report identifies five major changes that can help transform the focus of school district central offices from administration and compliance to improving classroom instruction. The report is based on an in-depth study of central office reform efforts in Atlanta, New York City, and Oakland, California. The changes identified include the offices’ strong engagement with school principals on improving instruction in their schools, and the reorganizing and “reculturing” of every central office so it centers its work on the classroom. The report is part of a series by University of Washington researchers that investigates how leaders can contribute to improved student achievement, particularly in challenging schools and districts.

Companion Brief (2-page report) How District Offices Can Help Lead School Improvement
Date: April 2010

Book coverImproving School Leadership: The Promise of Cohesive Leadership Systems
Date: December 2009
An evaluation by RAND examines efforts by ten states and 17 districts that have participated in Wallace’s education leadership initiative to develop “cohesive leadership systems” whose goal is to create well-aligned state-district policies to ensure that principals have the training and conditions they need to improve teaching and learning in their schools. Among RAND’s key findings: achieving and sustaining such policy cohesion is very difficult. But in states where progress has been greatest, principals say they are better able to devote more time to improving instruction and feel more empowered to control resources (people, time and money)

[Companion Document] Wallace Knowledge in Brief: What States and Districts Can Do – Together – To Improve School Leadership
Date: December 2009

 

Publication coverEvaluation of the School Administration Manager Project
Date: December 2009
From its beginnings in a handful of schools in Louisville, KY, the School Administration Manager Project – supported by Wallace as part of its educational leadership improvement initiative – has sought to help principals delegate some of their administrative and managerial tasks and spend more of their time interacting with teachers, students and others on instructional matters. Often, this has meant hiring a new school-level employee – a School Administration Manager, or SAM – to assume non-instructional tasks. This report, and an accompanying executive summary  examines the results to-date of the SAM project, which involved schools in 37 districts in nine states at the time of the study. The analysis, by Policy Studies Associates, finds that this approach can indeed increase the amount of time principals devote to instruction each week. But it also offers cautions, including the critical importance of ensuring that the project is well-aligned with district improvement goals

Executive Summary: Evaluation of the School Administration Manager Project

Publication coverLeadership for Learning Improvement in Urban Schools
Date: October 2009
This report is part of a series by researchers from the University of Washington’s Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy that investigates a range of topics concerned with how leaders can effectively and equitably contribute to improved student achievement, particularly in challenging school and district contexts. The questions examined in this report included: (1) what it means for leaders to work in a demanding environment; (2) what “supervisory leaders” (principals, assistant principals, department heads) do in these kinds of settings; and (3) what nonsupervisory leaders do. Examining 15 schools in four diverse districts, the authors conclude, among other things, that in these demanding settings, principals need to behave as “leaders of instructional teams, as much as individual instructional leaders.” 

Publication coverHow Leaders Invest Staffing Resources for Learning Improvement
Date: October 2009
Urban districts and their leaders face a set of common challenges with respect to staffing high-needs schools: how to maximize the quality and longevity of high-quality teaching staff; how to deploy and support novice teachers; how to manage and minimize teacher mobility and attribution; and how to align the diversity of teaching staff with the diversity of the student body. This report is part of a series by researchers from the University of Washington’s Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy that investigates a range of topics concerned with how leaders can effectively and equitably contribute to improved student achievement, particularly in challenging school and district contexts. Based on their analyses of four urban districts and 14 schools, the authors of this report describe a new way for school leaders to frame their decisionmaking about staff resource allocations: “Rather than relying on the traditional pattern of isolating a funding need and allocating resources to meet that specific need, leaders need to consider the types of approaches and strategies for investing resources in coherent, effective, equitable and sustainable ways.”

Publication picture Research Findings & Action Items to Support Effective Educational Policymaking
 Date: September 2009
 The following Wallace Foundation research synthesis will be of use to policymakers at all levels of education who are developing comprehensive approaches to achieving the Race to the Top reform objectives and other federal strategies to improve public education. Drawing from more than a decade of experience and research in the fields of educational leadership, out-of-school time learning and arts education, the report presents evidence-based policies and practices critical to the success of educational reforms at the local, district, and state levels.   

Publication picThe New York City Aspiring Principals Program: A School-Level Evaluation
Date: August 2009
In 2003, the New York City Leadership Academy was launched by the city’s Department of Education, with Wallace Foundation support, to train a cadre of new principals capable of turning around underachieving schools. Today, graduates of the Academy’s Aspiring Principals Program are leading 15 percent of the city’s schools. This report is the first systematic comparison of student outcomes in schools led by Academy graduates after three years to students in comparable schools led by other principals. Among the findings: students in schools run by APP graduates bettered their counterparts in schools run by non-APP principals in English Language Arts. The report also compares APP graduates to other principals and finds, among other things, that they are likelier to be younger and black than the comparison group. 

Publication picState Strategies for Turning Around Low-Performing Schools and Districts
Date: July 2009
Despite decades of reform, states continue to struggle with how best to assist failing schools and districts. This policy update by the National Association of State Boards of Education offers ways for state education leaders to frame a coherent state response. The brief, which summarizes a conference on this topic in March 2009 hosted by NASBE and the Council of Chief State School Officers, includes a summary of a panel on recent turnaround efforts in Massachusetts and Maryland, moderated by Richard Laine, Wallace’s director of education programs. 

SREB PicThe District Leadership Challenge: Empowering Principals to Improve Teaching and Learning
Date: July 2009
Principals frequently face an uphill struggle to meet the goal of improving teaching and learning because of the often-difficult working conditions of school leadership. What can districts do to better support principals? This report by the Southern Regional Education Board proposes seven specific strategies, including: establishing a clear focus and strategic plan for improving student achievement; organizing and engaging the district office in support of each school; providing instructional coherence and support; investing heavily in instruction-related professional learning for principals; providing high quality data that link student achievement to school and classroom practices; optimizing the use of resources to support learning improvement; and using open credible processes to involve school and community leaders in school improvement.

Building a High-Quality Education Workforce: A Governor's Guide to Human Capital Development

Published: May 2009
This guide includes recommendations for state action on each strategy. It includes examples of both cost-neutral strategies and strategies that require new and sustainable investments to provide states with a range of options as they consider improving the education workforce.

Wallace's Report '08 
Published: May 2009
As Wallace’s chairman, Kevin W. Kennedy, and president M. Christine DeVita write in their foreword to Report ’08, it’s “a strategy for all seasons” that is at the essence of the Foundation’s work: “institutional change takes more than money and requires new knowledge about what works and tools that help put that knowledge into practice.” Report ’08 provides a detailed progress update on the work of Wallace and its grantees in education leadership, arts and out-of-school learning. And it includes examples of how emerging knowledge and lessons from this work – for example, the importance of system thinking, the use of data and careful planning – are demonstrating their value in helping weather a rough economy.

Assessing the Effectiveness of School Leaders: New Directions and New Processes 
Published: March 2009
Research concludes that most assessments of school leaders in use today are not as focused on learning as they should be, nor are they effective in gathering reliable facts about how leaders’ behaviors are or are not promoting learning. This Wallace Perspective describes the elements of a possible new direction in leader assessment – what should be assessed, and how. It highlights newly-developed assessment instruments that seek to apply those elements. And it discusses the potential, the challenges and the unknowns of using assessment as a key means of promoting not only better leader performance but also systemwide improvements that benefit children.

Leveraging Leadership Development Through Principal Evaluation
Published: February 2008
According to Vanderbilt researchers, the tools we have today for assessing leaders are not up to the task.  A reliable assessment tool should reinforce standards for current and future leaders; privilege instructional and transformational leadership that raises student achievement and changes organizations; and assist decision-makers in creating strategies to improve leader performance across the district and the state.  With Wallace support, Vanderbilt has developed the only research-based, validated “360 degree” assessment involving the principal, superintendent and every teacher in the school.  This article provides background on the conceptual framework of The Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education, or VAL-Ed, and updates readers on its development process. There are two dimensions of VAL-Ed: six core components of school performance and six key processes of leadership. The article notes that the conceptual framework of VAL-Ed is “anchored in and significantly aligned with the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium standards.”

Becoming a Leader: Preparing Principals for Today’s Schools 
Published: June 2008
If there is a national imperative to improve our failing schools, there is also an imperative to strengthen the preparation of those who lead them. The good news is that new research and a growing range of efforts by states and districts point more clearly than ever to effective ways to greatly improve the training principals receive for their jobs. This Wallace Perspective describes the key attributes of effective principal preparation and offers a set of action-oriented lessons that could help states, districts and universities do a better job in providing that training.

ISLLC Standards CoverEducation Policy Standards: ISLLC 2008 
Published: 2008
A document published by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) represents the latest set of high-level policy standards for education leadership. It provides guidance to state policymakers as they work to improve education leadership preparation, licensure, evaluation, and professional development.

 

Turning Around Chronically Low-Performing Schools 
Published: May 2008
This report from the Institute of Education Sciences that contains specific recommendations on turning around low-performing schools.
 

Schools Need Good Leaders NowSchools Need Good Leaders Now: State Progress in Creating a Learning-Centered School Leadership System
Published: October 2007
Today’s principals must understand how students learn, provide teachers with leadership and support, and create an environment in their schools in which all students and adults can improve their skills. To achieve this vision of “learning centered” leadership, principals also need to be supported by the school system, university and state education leaders. Yet a new report by the Southern Regional Education Board that rates the progress of 14 states in adopting the necessary policies to reach this school leadership goal concludes that the pace of change in all but a few states remains “modest at best.” The report lists a number of policy strategies to accelerate progress: (1) say what you mean about school leadership; (2) choose the right people for the job; (3) get university leadership programs on track; (3) make sure aspiring principals learn on the job; (4) use licensing power to drive reform; (5) cast a wider leadership net; (6) make low-performing schools a top priority; and (7) learn from the pacesetters.
 

How Leadership Influences Student LearningHow Leadership Influences Student Learning
Published: 2004
Leadership not only matters: It is second only to teaching among school-related factors that affect student learning. And its impact is greatest in schools with the greatest needs, according to a comprehensive review of evidence on school leadership by researchers at the Universities of Minnesota and Toronto. This report, the first in a series that seeks to establish how leadership promotes student achievement, summarizes the basics of successful leadership and sets out what leaders must do — including setting a clear  vision, supporting and developing a talented staff, and building a solid organizational structure — to meet the challenge of school reform.


NCSL Publications

 

Central Office Transformation for District-Wide Teaching and Learning ImprovementCentral Office Transformation for District-Wide Teaching and Learning Improvement
Date: April 2010
One of the first and most comprehensive studies of its kind, this report identifies five major changes that can help transform the focus of school district central offices from administration and compliance to improving classroom instruction. The report is based on an in-depth study of central office reform efforts in Atlanta, New York City, and Oakland, California. The changes identified include the offices’ strong engagement with school principals on improving instruction in their schools, and the reorganizing and “reculturing” of every central office so it centers its work on the classroom. The report is part of a series by University of Washington researchers that investigates how leaders can contribute to improved student achievement, particularly in challenging schools and districts.

Strong Leaders Strong Schools: 2009 State Laws (Coming Soon!)
Published: May 2010
This third annual roundup summarizes state laws enacted during the 2009 legislative sessions related to strengthening school leadership.
 

publication coverStrong Leaders Strong Schools: 2008 State Laws
Published: June 2009
This second annual roundup by the National Conference of State Legislatures summarizes state laws enacted during the 2008 legislative sessions related to strengthening school leadership. 

 

Preparing High Quality School Leaders Front PageTeacher Leaders
Published: June-July 2009
Principals rely on the leadership of key teachers and administrators. Teacher leaders serve as mentors, facilitate professional development and lead school improvement efforts. State, school districts and schools are recognizing the effect teacher leaders have on teaching and learning and in building instructional and organizational capacity in schools and classrooms.

 

Preparing High Quality School Leaders Front PageNational School Administration Manager Project
Published: February 2009
The National School Administration Manger (SAM) Project brings together tools, training and strategies to help principals focus on instructional leadership. 

 

Preparing High Quality School Leaders Front PageMayoral-Appointed School Boards
Published: 2008
At least 10 state and the District of Columbia grant some authority to mayors and manage school districts.

 

Preparing High Quality School Leaders Front PagePreparing High-Quality School Leaders
Published: April 2008
More states are beginning to examine how they prepare school leaders. Several legislatures acted to help prepare and support high-quality school leaders during the 2007 legislative session.
 

Preparing High Quality School Leaders Front PagePrincipals Using Data to Improve Student Achievement
Published:
October 2008
Under the federal No Child Left Behind law and similarly demanding state requirements, principals face public pressure to turn around low-performing schools and significantly improve student achievement.

Strong Leaders Strong Schools coverStrong Leaders Strong Schools: 2007 State Laws
Published: April 2008
Under the federal No Child Left Behind law and similarly demanding state requirements, school leaders (principals and superintendents) are under increased public pressure to turn around low-performing schools and significantly improve student achievement. Landmark research commissioned by The Wallace Foundation tells us that leadership is second only to classroom instruction among all school-related factors that contribute to student learning, especially in high-need schools. More than ever, states need to develop and implement comprehensive strategies to ensure that today’s leaders have the skills, knowledge and support required to guide the transformation of schools to meet higher standards and new requirements for progress.
 

Developing Leaders for Successful Schools CoverDeveloping Leaders for Successful Schools
Published: June 2006
Leadership is increasingly regarded as a key factor in whether schools fail or succeed. Pressure on school leaders has intensified since the passage of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001.  The multiple expectations of the job may be deterring many prospective leaders who feel unprepared to keep pace with the changing demands of contemporary school leadership.  The shortage of quality teachers is translating to a shortage of potential school leaders.


Wallace Foundation Commissioned Research & Reports

 

Leadership For Learning

A Wallace Perspective: Leadership for Learning: Making the Connections Among State, District and School Policies and Practices
Published: September 2006
A Wallace Perspective paper describes how a cohesive leadership system for K-12 public education could support improved teaching and learning.

 

Preparing School Leaders

Executive Summary: Preparing School Leaders for a Changing World Lessons from Exemplary Leadership Development Programs
Published: April 2007
Principals play a vital role in setting the direction for successful schools, but existing knowledge on the best ways to prepare and develop highly qualified February candidates is sparse. What are the essential elements of good leadership? What are the features of effective pre-service and in-service leadership development programs? What governance and financial policies are needed to sustain good programs? The School Leadership Study: Developing Successful Principals is a major research effort that seeks to address these questions. Commissioned by The Wallace Foundation and undertaken by the Stanford Educational Leadership Institute in conjunction with The Finance Project, the study examines eight exemplary pre- and in-service program models that address key issues in developing strong leaders. Lessons from these exemplary programs may help other educational administration programs as they strive to develop and support school leaders who can shape schools into vibrant learning communities.
 

A Bridge to School ReformEducation Leadership: A Bridge to School Reform - The Wallace Foundation
Published: December 2007
Comments by Linda Darling-Hammond, Kati Haycock, Richard Colvin and Wallace President M. Christine DeVita on the cirtical importance of school leadership, and how states and districts are improving it, are featured in this special report on the Foundation's recent national education conference.
 

Leading for Learning
Published: September 2008
Education Week’s 2008 Leading for Learning report, funded by The Wallace Foundation, focuses on the leadership and management challenges facing charter school leaders. As the charter school movement scales-up, the number of administrators with the leadership competencies needed for these school will also grow. Issues such as recruitment and preparation of principals, governance, and the management and support of schools will need to be addressed. The report features seven stories, each highlighting an aspect of charter school leadership.
 

Improving Leadership for Learning: Stories from the Field 
Published: May 2008
This collection of five reports by distinguished education journalists candidly describes the possibilities and challenges of a range of strategies being tested by states and districts that are part of The Wallace Foundation’s education leadership initiative:

  • How Atlanta is “growing its own” school leaders using its innovative “SABLE” training program

  • How Louisville and other districts are testing a new way to help principals spend more time each day on instruction

  • How Delaware has developed standards and assessments designed to strengthen the connection between leadership and learning

  • How a Michigan principal is mastering the use of data to help turn the tide in a troubled school

  • How New Mexico is supplying better data to districts along with the skills to make effective use of it to lift student achievement
     

Out of the Office and Into the Classroom CoverOut of the Office and Into the Classroom: An Initiative to Help Principals Focus on Instruction
Published: January 2008
For many principals weighed down by the time demands of bus schedules and budgets, improving instruction too often takes a back seat. This brief journalistic account describes how schools in nine states are testing a new position, called School Administration Manager (SAM), whose job is to help free principals of many of these administrative distractions and allow them to spend more time on instructional matters. The goal of this promising new approach, pioneered by the Jefferson County (KY) Public Schools with Wallace’s support, is to hire a SAM to assume operational functions, track the principal’s time to see how much she is spending on instruction, and provide coaching to ensure that the principal actually becomes more focused on instruction.
 

Making State Accountability Count CoverMaking State Accountability Count: How New Mexico Supports Principals with Data Tools
Published: November 2007
Good, usable data is a must for wise decision making, especially as district and school leaders struggle to meet tough standards aimed at making all students successful as learners. Too often, however, states supply their school leaders indecipherable mountains of test data with no guidance on how to use it. New Mexico, a participant in The Wallace Foundation’s education leadership initiative, is among states leading the way to making data much more useful by increasing the “data literacy” of district and school leaders and by transforming the vast amount of student achievement data it collects into a tool that can help leaders transform instruction and chart the progress of individual students. This lively journalistic account shows how it’s being done.
 

A Mission of the Heart CoverA Mission of The Heart: What Does It Take to Transform a School?
Published: October 2007
Transforming failing schools presents special leadership challenges.  What do successful “turnaround” principals actually do? What skills do they need? Where should we be looking for such leaders and what support do they need? For answers, The Wallace Foundation asked Public Agenda to interview principals currently working in high-needs schools as well as education leaders with experience working with effective principals. The results of these interviews can be found in this preliminary report (a final report by Public Agenda is expected later this year). Among the many preliminary insights from these interviews: school leaders tend to fall into two categories – “transformers” who have a clear vision for their schools and a can-do attitude that enables them to get past obstacles; and “copers” who seem overwhelmed by the challenges and have difficulty prioritizing teaching and learning.
 

Preparing School Leaders for a Changing World CoverPreparing School Leaders for a Changing World: Lessons from Exemplary Leadership Development Programs 
Published: April 2007
For years, the training and ongoing professional development of schools principals have been criticized as inadequate for the demands of their jobs. This executive summary of a Wallace-commissioned report by Stanford and Finance Project researchers fills a major knowledge gap with case studies of eight effective programs that document the key characteristics of high-quality school leadership training.
 

Assesing Learning-Centered LeadershipAssessing Learning-Centered Leadership: Connections to Research, Professional Standards, and Current Practices
Published: March 2007
Responding to a longstanding field need, this report and two companion documents preview the basics of a new learning-centered principal assessment system that will allow districts to evaluate how school leaders' on-the-job behaviors add value to student achievement.

 

Getting Principal Mentoring Right CoverA Wallace Perspective: Getting Principal Mentoring Right: Lessons from the Field
Published: March 2007
With more states and districts than ever enacting principal mentoring, a close-up look by Wallace analyzes the common strengths and shortcomings of these new programs and offers guidelines on how they might be improved. 

 

When Learning Counts CoverWhen Learning Counts: Rethinking Licenses for School Leaders
Published: December 2005
State licensure requirements for principals could play a valuable role in ensuring that schools get the kinds of leaders they need to meet current demands for improving student achievement. But a Wallace-commissioned national study by the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education concludes that in most states, licensure requirements are not sufficiently focused on the skills and knowledge leaders need to improve learning. The report offers policymakers a new “Licensing-Plus” framework to restructure state licensing systems to include “entry-level” and “expert-level” certifications and to better align licenses with the current job demands on principals.
 

Buried Treasure CoverBuried Treasure: Developing a Management Guide From Mountains of School Data
Published: January 2005
Educators confront mountains of data about district performance but frequently lack the resources or know-how to break it down and use it effectively. This Wallace-commissioned publication offers a “management guide,” grounded in seven evidence-based indicators, that can help district leaders mine the richest nuggets that can inform school improvement and reveal critical problems or promising opportunities. It explains how school systems can find a valuable middle ground between oversimplification and too much information.


Legislative Reports

Illinois School Leader Task Force: Report to the Illinois General Assembly
Published: February 2008
This report presents the findings of the Illinois School Leader Task Force in response to HJ0066. 

Virginia Commonwealth Educational Roundtable Report
Published: January 2008
A report by the Virginia Board of education regarding the Commonwealth Educational Roundtable as required by House Joint Resolution 622.

Other Research and Reports

The District Leadership Challenge: Empowering Principals to Improve Teaching and Learning
Published: May 2009    
Principals can profoundly influence student achievement by leading school change — but they cannot turn schools around by themselves. District leaders need to create working conditions that support and encourage change for improved achievement, rather than hindering principals’ abilities to lead change. This report includes principals’ perceptions of the working conditions their districts create and outlines key actions districts need to take to empower principals to improve teaching and learning.

SREB Learning-Centered Leadership Program: Developing and Assisting Effective, Learning-Centered Principals Who Can Improve Schools and Increase Student Achievement 

Published: November 2008  
The SREB Learning-Centered Leadership Program is an effort to redesign educational leadership preparation and professional development programs. SREB recognizes the key role leadership plays in creating and sustaining schools that help all students achieve high standards. This brochure describes the initiative's goals, critical success factors, research and modules.

Leadership and Learning: A Hechinger Institute Primer for Journalists

Published: September 2008
Leadership lurks as a critical but often-overlooked issue in nearly any story a reporter writes about education. This new guide by the Hechinger Institute, an independent organization based at Teachers College, Columbia University that is dedicated to enhancing the coverage of education journalism, arms reporters covering education issues with a deeper understanding of how leadership, or the lack of it, affects day-to-day events in schools and districts, provides basic questions to ask, and offers on-the-ground accounts by fellow journalists of how they are improving their own stories by asking the right questions about leadership.
 

Defining an Urban Principalship to Drive Dramatic Achievement Gains
Published: March  2008
This report from New Leaders for New Schools offers a look at the lessons learned from those schools that are making dramatic gains in student achievement through improved school leadership.  The report also includes an account of the implications of redefining urban principalship.

From Knowledge to Wisdom: Using Case Methodology to Develop Effective Leaders
Published: February 2008
A new report from McREL that explores how case methodology plays a role in developing effective school leaders.

Principal Compensation: More Research Needed on A Promising Reform
Published: December 2007
This report, from the Center for American Progress, includes new empirical research using national data on principals and their salaries to determine whether there appear to be significant shifts in the way principals are paid over a 10-year period from the 1993–94 school year to the 2003–04 school year.

Progress Being Made in Getting a Quality Leader in Every School
Published: July 2007
This report, from the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), examines how 16 states have fared in producing principals who can improve student learning. In benchmarking these efforts, the Southern Regional Education Board poses four questions for all states to consider: Are we training people with potential? Do we teach them strategies to improve student learning? Do our licensing standards reflect their actual ability to do the work? Are working conditions conducive to their success? The report recommends how state policymakers, districts and universities can work together toward answering those questions in the affirmative.

Good Principals Aren’t Born — They’re Mentored: Are We Investing Enough to Get the School Leaders We Need?
Published: June 2007
Drawing on a new survey of seasoned principal mentors and other data, this report by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) concludes that the weak quality of many mentoring programs for aspiring principals “is retarding state efforts to ensure that every student attends a school where strong leadership results in high academic performance.” Among the common failings: haphazard selection of mentors, poor training for those mentors, and mentoring that often consists of busy work rather than meaningful experiences in leadership. The report calls on districts and universities who provide training for aspiring principals to assume more shared responsibility for mentoring, clarify expectations, and make the process and its participants much more accountable for achieving agreed-upon standards, so that new principals arrive assume their positions much better prepared to lead needed changes.

Schools Need Good Leaders Now: State Progress in Creating a Learning-Centered School Leadership System 
Published: 2007
This report calls for states to designate school leadership as a visible state, district and school priority, focused on the principal’s role in leading schools toward higher student performance. It describes the progress that states should make to ensure that they have the learning-centered school leaders they need to succeed in the 21st century.

Schools Can't Wait: Accelerating the Redesign of University Preparation Programs
Published: May 2006
Arguing that states have displayed “a lack of urgency” in pressing universities to improve the way they prepare principals, this Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) report offers a detailed action plan for states to pick up the pace in creating better training programs and assessing their effectiveness against progress indicators. The report gives mediocre grades to a sample of 22 universities in SREB states for their efforts to date in meeting core quality indicators. And it calls for a number of steps, including the development of state-level commissions, to encourage and guide statewidecritical redesign of principal training programs.

SREB Leadership Curriculum Modules Engaging Leaders in Solving Real School Problems
Published: March 2007
This guide catalogues 17 innovative training modules developed by the Southern Regional Education Board with Wallace's support to help universities, state academies and districts to redesign their school leadership preparation programs around the goal of improving instruction and student achievement.

The Principal Internship: How Can We Get It Right?
Published: April 2005
Internships offered by many principal-training programs fail to adequately prepare school leaders. They may lack hands-on activities tied to improving student learning, high-quality mentor relationships, or a chance to gain experience in real leadership situations. In this report, the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) evaluates more than 60 internship programs within its states and urges policymakers, universities and school districts to create apprenticeships that better prepare aspiring principals for the current demands and expectations of their jobs.

Good Principals Are The Key to Successful Schools: Six Strategies to Prepare More Good Principals
Published: June 2003
Too often, argues this report from the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), finding qualified school principals is more a matter of chance than deliberate policies. To cultivate successful principals, the report recommends that states and districts redesign training programs; choose people with real potential to enter them; ensure that they receive full licenses only after demonstrating job performance; provide alternative certification programs that will broaden the field of good candidates; and offer support for school leadership teams that have a collective impact on student achievement.

 

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