Great article by Larry Cuban on the Washington Post that you should forward to principals.
"Yet studies of principal behavior in schools makes clear that spending time in classrooms to observe, monitor, and evaluate classroom lessons do not necessarily lead to better teaching or higher student achievement on standardized tests. Where there is a correlation between principals’ influence on teachers and student performance, it occurs when principals create and sustain an academic ethos in the school, organize instruction across the school, and align school lessons to district standards and standardized test items. There is hardly any positive association between principals walking in and out of classrooms a half-dozen times a day and conferring briefly with teaches about those five-minute visits.The reality of daily principal actions conflicts with the theory."
Relationships are vital. Principals need them, especially with their teachers. It keeps coming back to leadership! Good principals have good relationships with their teachers. Also, the perception of how well the school principal works with the teaching staff as a whole.
"Why do so many beginning teachers quit the profession or change schools? Surprising new research finds it’s not a heavy workload or lack of resources that has the most significant effect, but instead the relationship between teachers and their principal."
Yes, we need great principals - I totally agree with George Corous in this excellent post. I couldn't live without my principal. He's overworked and likely underpaid but he is a good, honest man who cares about the kids and the teachers. He's not perfect (who is) but he's an incredible leader. I'm thankful to serve at the school with him. I'm so glad that George wrote this post, which I think will become a must read for principals.
I love how Nathan Gray (@maccprincipal on Twitter) shares small, short snippets of what he is thinking and what he wants for his school. Whatever your thoughts are about what he shares here, this is a great example for principals to see. This principal shares about once every two months a small paragraph or two about what he is thinking and what he wants for the school. It is enough that I could read it and get a feel for who he is as a person. If a parent needs to interview anyone for a school it is the principal. So much flows from the front office into the classroom. Great best practice.
Is absenteeism a problem. Read this current study in which principals were given more autonomy to dismiss teachers on probation. Guess what, when the principal has more control like this, teacher absenteeism declines! This is not surprising - is it doable - well it depends on who is in control, doesn't it?
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