Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Teaching quality: Henderson County checks leadership focus

Henderson County launched an unusual study process recently: tracking how each principal spends his or her time all day, every day, for a week. The resulting data will provide new insight into how much time principals invest in instructional leadership, as compared to other issues with less potential to raise student performance. The Courier-Press reports that:

Once the elementary school principals receive the results of the study, there will be an individualized follow-up visit by their shadow.

For the middle and high schools, however, the principals are visited by a coach every month who helps them spend more time on instruction, [assistant superintendent for curriculum Robin] Thacker said.

"The biggest benefit I see out of (this study) is for me to stop and think, 'Am I being effective and what do I need to do to improve to make sure our kids get better?' " [Bend Gate Elementary Principal Steve] Steiner said.

The study will also give a sense of whether middle and high school principals are indeed being freed to lead by their School Administrative Managers (often called SAMs).

Henderson County's work in this area is part of a sustained collaboration with the Wallace Foundation on leadership issues.

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