Keeping Up With Hot Topics In The Field

By Learning Forward
Categories: Research
December 2016

Principals at Work

Principals’ Time, Tasks, and Professional Development: An Analysis of Schools and Staffing Survey Data

Institute of Education Sciences, October 2016

This study describes how principals reported spending their time and what professional development they reported participating in, based on data collected through the Schools and Staffing Survey by the National Center for Education Statistics during the 2011-12 school year. The study analyzes schools by grade level, poverty level, and within poverty level by whether schools made adequate yearly progress on student performance the previous year.

Overall, principals reported spending an average of 59 hours a week on the job, with most of their time spent on internal administrative tasks. Principals of high-poverty schools that did not make adequate yearly progress reported spending more time on the job per week than did principals of high-poverty schools that made adequate yearly progress. Regardless of school poverty level, principals of schools that made adequate yearly progress reported spending more time on administrative tasks, curriculum- and teaching-related tasks, and parent interactions than did principals of schools that did not make adequate yearly progress.

Though almost all principals reported participating in professional development, the most frequently reported type was workshop or conference attendance. The least frequently reported type was university courses.

Choosing Principals

Great Leaders for Great Schools: How Four Charter Networks Recruit, Develop, and Select Principals

Center for American Progress, October 2016

To deepen the education field’s understanding of effective leadership development practices and provide models for districts and other charter networks, this report examines case studies of four high-performing networks of charter schools that are generally outperforming other schools in their areas and posting strong graduation rates. The charter school networks include Achievement First Public Charter Schools, Green Dot Public Schools, IDEA Public Schools, and High Tech High, which together represent 110 schools.

This report shows how these networks identify, recruit, select, and match principals to their schools. While the school models, geographies, and even principal job descriptions may differ, patterns emerge. Innovative districts are beginning to employ similar strategies, and efforts are underway to spread best hiring and development practices across the country. This report shares recommendations for scaling best practices across the education sector.

Teaching Attributes

The Heart of Great Teaching: Pearson Global Survey of Educator Effectiveness

Pearson Education, 2016

Pearson surveyed more than 13,000 people in 23 countries asking the question: “What do you think are the most important qualities of an effective teacher?” The most common response, regardless of country, gender, or other factors, is that relationships between teachers and students matter most. The top five most valued qualities for teachers across 23 countries are: The ability to develop trusting, compassionate relationships with students; patient, caring, and kind personality; professionalism; subject-matter knowledge; and knowledge of learners. The survey explores how people answered by country, role, development level, and many more characteristics. The report provides recommendations for how to use these findings.

Teachers and Common Core

Listening to and Learning From Teachers: A Summary of Focus Groups on the Common Core and Assessments

Center on Education Policy, October 2016

This report summarizes discussions from five elementary teacher focus groups conducted in Delaware, Illinois, Utah, and Wisconsin in spring and summer 2016. Topics include Common Core, curricula, instructional materials, Common Core-aligned state assessments, student achievement data from those assessments, and accountability. The report includes policy recommendations based on the discussions, including the recommendation that states and districts provide teachers with relevant professional learning so they can better use assessment results to improve their instruction.

Principal Prep

A Bold Move to Better Prepare Principals: The Illinois Story

The Wallace Foundation, October 2016

The first episode of this four-part video series details how the state passed tougher guidelines for program accreditation and required all programs to reapply for state approval. This resulted in fewer but stronger programs and candidates who actually wanted to lead schools. The second and third episodes profile preparation programs at New Leaders Chicago and the University of Illinois/Chicago that helped inspire the new standards. In the last episode, Chicago principals describe how these innovative training programs prepared them for the real demands of leading a school.

Turnaround Leaders

Coaching and Developing Turnaround Leader Actions

Center on Great Teachers and Leaders, Center on School Turnaround, Public Impact, and University of Virginia Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education, October 2016

School turnaround requires strong leaders with the necessary competencies and skills to take high-leverage actions that support school success. Coaching can help school leaders develop these capabilities. This professional learning module on coaching turnaround leader actions is free and designed to support regional comprehensive centers, state education agencies, and districts in developing a strategic plan for providing this crucial coaching to school leaders.


Competency-Based Micro-Credentials for Educators: Powerful Lessons from Two Years in the Field

Teaching Matters, 2016

Teaching Matters conducted interviews, surveys, observations, and focus groups of coaches, teachers, and administrators and analyzed evidence of teacher leader competencies to learn more about how to begin building a microcredentials system that creates value for educators and the systems in which they work. This paper presents findings and reflections generated by three cases. Key findings include:

  • Microcredentials are a good form of professional learning.
  • Currency and incentives for earning microcredentials matter greatly in adoption.
  • Coaching, feedback, and support are important to demonstrating competency and increasing the likelihood of educators earning microcredentials.

+ posts

Learning Forward is the only professional association devoted exclusively to those who work in educator professional development. We help our members plan, implement, and measure high-quality professional learning so they can achieve success with their systems, schools, and students.

Categories: Research

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