Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Effective school leadership as a strategy for success

As state and local school leaders consider efforts to improve student learning under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, a new report by the RAND Corporation offers guidance for promoting effective school leadership as a strategy for success.

The report describes the opportunities for supporting school leadership and discusses the standards of evidence required for federal funding under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

The report also provides a synthesis of the evidence about the effectiveness of school leadership interventions, identifies activities that should be allowable under the Every Student Succeeds Act, and offers guidance to educators and policymakers on the use of research-based practices in school leadership.

Research suggests that school leadership can be a powerful driver of improved educational outcomes, with research suggesting that principals are second only to teachers as the most important school-level determinant of student achievement.

School leadership is explicitly acknowledged as a valid target of educational-improvement activities in the Every Student Succeeds Act and the RAND report provides analysis of how Every Student Succeeds Act can further opportunities to improve school leadership.

Potential steps include the support of school improvement programs that have strong leadership components and efforts to strengthen steps in the principal pipeline, such as preparation programs, certification, professional development, and recruitment and placement.

In implementing school improvement efforts such as school leadership, federally funded interventions require the use of evidence-based activities. The report examines the four tiers of evidence established in the Every Student Succeeds Act to guide educators and policymakers in their efforts to identify and use effective programs.

The report offers specific examples and analysis of school leadership improvement efforts that meet federal requirements, including school leadership evaluations, principal preparation programs, strategic staff management, professional learning opportunities, working conditions and comprehensive school improvement models.

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