Education Week - Calendar of Events & Professional Development Directory - Spring 2013 - (Page C5)
leadership for learning innovation at the Education Development Center, a Waltham, Mass.based nonprofit organization that
evaluates and designs education
programs and provides self-assessments for university- and
In the 41,000-student Sarasota
County district, educators created
a leadership academy and mentorship program for leaders.
“In our experience, developing
our own leaders has helped our
district maintain its focus on longterm goals,” said Lori White, the
superintendent of schools. “[Academy graduates] are familiar with
our culture and have an understanding of our vision.”
Since 2006, 15 of the 25 new
principals in the district and 31
of 43 assistant principals have
graduated from the leadership
academy. The school’s leaders
credit that leadership flow with
the district’s top-level A ranking
from the state.
That kind of support also appeals to aspiring leaders. David
Jones, the principal at the district’s North Port High School,
says he chose to move to Sarasota
County after seeing a presentation on the school system’s leadership program.
But such programs are often
dependent on a district’s budget
situation, says the nassp’s Flanary. “In today’s economic times,
with budget cuts and scarce and
diminishing resources, it’s a commitment on the part of a district
to create an academy,” he says. In
some districts, he says, those commitments are not possible.
Even Sarasota County has had
to put its principal academy on
hiatus for a year because of budget pressures. And Jones says he’s
seen how the lack of the program
has had an impact. One of his assistant principals, he says, “who
has phenomenal talent and ability, needs the opportunity to participate in something like that so
he can move his career forward.”
The district agrees: It is planning to bring the leadership academy back this spring.
In New York’s Hudson Valley,
the Ulster Board of Cooperative
Educational Services, based in
New Paltz, managed to continue a
principal-training initiative that
focused on district-specific content
and initiatives even after initial
grant funding dropped off.
“The overall value of the program is significant enough that
it’s no longer in question,” says
Jane Bullowa, the assistant superintendent for instructional services at the Ulster boces. But the
program’s been unable to build a
network with neighboring leadership programs or forge a partner-
ship with the State University of
New York at New Paltz, as the
creators of the initiative had intended, Bullowa says.
Elsewhere, districts are increasingly collaborating with universities
to provide more coaching and longer-term internships and residencies for aspiring principals. A 2010
paper from the New York City-based
Wallace Foundation found that districts could improve the quality of
principals by acting as “consumers,”
encouraging local universities to
craft programs that met their needs.
(The Wallace Foundation also supports coverage of educational leadership in Education Week.)
The edc’s King says such training
is helpful “particularly in chronically
low-performing schools, where context matters so much. Leaders are
given an induction into what the
experience is like, and how it differs
from different contexts.”
The University of Illinois at
Chicago’s program, for instance,
which is focused on preparing
principals to improve low-performing urban schools, puts students in full-time residencies in
schools similar to those where
they are likely to end up working.
“We didn’t believe the best place
to train future leaders of Chicago
schools was in high-income suburban schools or selective-enrollment schools,” says Steven Tozer,
a professor of education policy
PAGE 6 >
ber. I think the lack of morale comes in the frustration
that the average, isolated educator feels because the
problems we face are so enormous, and they are being
solved by people who are so desperate for a magic bullet that they’ll throw anything at the wall to see what
sticks. They throw this policy, that policy, this legislation, that legislation, this reading program, that reading program. And nobody follows through, nobody calibrates the system or returns to these programs to see
if any of them are working. No one actually gives us a
faithful and honest shot.
Everybody’s reform measures are very well-intentioned. Because everybody does want the same thing.
It’s just that we teachers hunger for a solution that is
crafted out of what we know works, that gives us the
best shot at succeeding, and that happens over time and
with great and careful stewardship. It is a process that
should involve teachers every step of the way.
But a lot of teachers aren’t staying in their jobs long
enough to figure out what works either—they’re leaving
within three years or five years. How do you propose we
retain effective teachers? One way is to legitimize the
profession by giving teachers a career path. So a teacher
could enter as a novice and earn an income that’s sustainable for their lives. And then as they develop skills,
as they develop talent, as they deliver results for kids
and schools, they could move into another lane, where
they could have a different job title—maybe a mentor
teacher—and make a new salary that’s reflective of
their new responsibilities, such as to train new teachers and to enact ideas at a school site. And then after a
few more years of building skills and getting even more
results, they could move into a master-teacher role or
a veteran-teacher role and make more money that
would be commensurate with more responsibility, such
as acting more administratively, enabling large-scale
National Teacher of the Year
Rebecca Mieliwocki speaks widely
on the issues facing schools. She
believes teachers need more
opportunities for career growth.
programs at a school or district to happen, writing curriculum, teaching other teachers, and leading professional-development opportunities. This lattice or ladder
or tiered system would ensure that a teacher actually
has somewhere to go if they’re ambitious, if they’re a
results-getter, if they’re admired by their peers.
Right now, the way virtually 90 percent of school systems are run, it’s just a step-and-column model. You get
to the end just by entering and you get to the top of the
pay scale by living longest. That has to go away. That
is such a dinosaur. It doesn’t honor ambition, it doesn’t
attract talent. It just attracts longevity.
Also, if I’m a really good teacher, I don’t want to have
PAGE 7 >
Creating a School Culture
That Is Collaborative
By Justin Minkel
Kids pay more attention to what we do as educators than what
we say. That simple truth has profound implications for teaching
21st-century skills: If we want students to collaborate, innovate,
and solve problems, we need to model these skills ourselves.
During the best week of professional development I have experienced, my colleagues and I taught one another. On Monday,
our school’s math coach stopped by my classroom to look at student work together and plan next steps. The following day, she
observed me teaching and gave me the constructive criticism
I had invited. Later that week, I went down the hall to watch
an outstanding new teacher in the grade above mine integrate
technology with productive group work. On Friday, the teacher
next door came over to observe how I use the Writers’ Workshop
method to teach expository-text structures.
My colleagues and I did what teachers in Singapore reportedly
do so well—we took part in an “ecosystem” of education, an open
system that enables best practices to escape the confines of each
teacher’s classroom. We also did what Ronald Thorpe, the head of
the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, talked
about at last year’s International Summit on the Teaching Profession. Observing good teaching is not enough, he emphasized.
Teacher leaders need to make explicit not just what they’re doing,
but what they’re thinking.
We made time to share the thought process behind the instruction we observed in each other’s classrooms. This intellectual
aspect of collaboration has reportedly made Finland a leader in
teacher recruitment and retention as well as student achievement. In that country, teaching is a knowledge profession where
teacher leaders engage in inquiry together.
At my school, the benefit of this collaboration to our students
was twofold. First, we became better teachers that week. Second, we practiced what we preached. We set goals to hone our
strengths and address our weaknesses, then worked together to
meet those goals, just as we expect our students to do.
In high-achieving countries, action research isn’t just something
preservice teachers do to get their teaching credential. Instead,
designing questions about the craft of teaching is an integral part
of teacher leaders’ ongoing professional development.
At a policy level, the best systems bring teacher leaders and
policymakers together as partners rather than adversaries. We
have all seen politicians who cite the United States’ rankings on
international assessments to highlight the need for improvement
and then go on to suggest reforms like privatizing education or
punishing “failing” schools that are the exact opposite of the best
practices implemented by high-performing nations.
As teacher leaders, we need to make this simple case: If we
want to transform the systems that shape 21st-century students,
we need to transform the systems that shape 21st-century teachers, too. n
Justin Minkel, the 2007 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, teaches 2nd and 3rd
grades at a high-poverty elementary school. This piece originally appeared
in Education Week Teacher’s online forum Teaching Ahead: A Roundtable.
education Week 2013 CALENDAR OF EVE NTS & P RO F ES SI O NAL DEV EL O P ME NT DI RE CT O RY 5
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - Calendar of Events & Professional Development Directory - Spring 2013
Education Week - Calendar of Events & Professional Development Directory - Spring 2013
Principal Development Goes Back to School
National Teacher of the Year: Educators Need Career Paths
Creating a School Culture That Is Collaborative
Teacher Satisfaction: A Matter of Principal
Lessons From Reality TV on Supporting Teachers
2013 Calendar of Events
Sponsors of Events
Directory Table of Contents
Education Week - Calendar of Events & Professional Development Directory - Spring 2013