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Effective School Leadership

Effective School leadership today must combine the traditional school leadership duties such as teacher evaluation, budgeting, scheduling, and facilities maintenance with a deep involvement with specific aspects of teaching and learning.

Some key elements of Instructional leadership and what I believe to be most important and effective elements in the leadership role include the following:

Prioritization: Instructional Leaders make adult learning a priority and set high expectations for performance (NAESP, 2001).While leaders cannot neglect other duties, teaching and learning is where the majority of a leader’s scheduled time needs to be allocated.

Visible Presence: Placing the focus on learning objectives, modeling behaviors of learning, and designing programs and activities on instruction are essential for instructional leadership (Whitaker, 1997).Having leaders as teachers of instruction serves as a model for many teachers who may struggle with certain concepts and can help build trust and relationships.

Curriculum: Principals need to know about the changing concepts of curriculum (Approaches to Leadership).

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The goal of any leader should be to increase student achievement; therefore, the curriculum, instruction, and assessments must all be aligned with the standards. Leaders need to be knowledgeable with curriculum and state standards and provide professional development and continuous learning for adults.

Data: In their focus on improving achievement, effective leaders use multiple sources of information to assess performance (NAESP, 2001). Many leaders use data to help guide the instructional focus and professional development for teachers. Effective leaders skillfully gather information that determines how well a school organization is meeting goals and use that information to refine strategies designed to meet or extend the goals.

Effective leaders make student success pivotal to their work and, accordingly, pay attention to and communicate about instruction, curriculum, and student mastery of learning objectives, and are visible in the school. Learning needs to occur throughout an organization, and instructional leaders need to become participants in the learning process in order to shape and encourage the implementation of effective learning models in their schools. To illustrate, effective leaders don’t just arrange for professional development; rather, they participate in staff training provided to their staffs.

Additionally, good leaders foster the idea of working together as a valuable enterprise because they understand that this kind of collaborative learning community ultimately will build trust, collective responsibility, and a school wide focus on improved student learning (Mendez-Morse, 1991).

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