Tuesday, October 4, 2016

How Public School Principals Spend Their Time

A new report from Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands provides a look at how much time principals spend on job-related tasks and professional development. The report is based on an analysis of data from the 2011/12 Schools and Staffing Survey by the National Center for Education Statistics. The authors analyzed schools by grade level, poverty level, and within poverty level by whether schools made adequate yearly progress on student performance the previous year.

The study found that:

•    Principals reported spending an average of 59 hours per week on the job, and more than half their time was spent on administrative tasks and curriculum and teaching-related work;

•    High school principals reported spending more hours per week on the job than middle school and primary school principals did;

•    Principals in high- and low-poverty schools reported spending a similar number of hours per week on the job;

•    Regardless of school poverty level, principals of schools that did not make adequate yearly progress during the previous year reported spending more hours per week on the job than did principals of schools that made adequate yearly progress; and

•    Principals’ most commonly reported type of professional development was workshop and conference attendance. The least frequently reported was university courses.

The report may be useful to state and local leaders making decisions about principal training and providing the necessary support to meet the demands of the position. The findings may also inform discussions around additional staffing and mentoring supports for school principals.

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