This blog doesn’t grapple over whether school leaders affect students’ outcomes—they do. This is noncontroversial. In fact, the research has largely moved away from whether leadership matters. Researchers moved on from this question in the 1970s and 1980s.
Instead, researcher and practitioner attention has focused instead on what effective leaders actually do.
More specifically, what conditions or actions do effective school leaders create or execute that lead to improved achievement and other school outcomes?
Because these roles are so impactful, we have several tools that can help you measure:
A) Are leaders all oriented toward the same goals?
B) Is everyone staying in their lane?
Most recently, we began rolling out the Administration and Board Pulse Check Survey, taken by both your board members AND district/school leaders. This survey is organized around establishing a shared vision, climate and support, working relationships, data and decision-making, and community connections.
Below is a description of each of our leadership tool surveys. Each measures to what extent you’ve achieved the areas we know each group must do to lead your schools effectively.
Administration & Board Pulse Check Survey
Board members AND district/school leaders
You can have a strong school board and effective administration, but unless they work closely together, you will struggle to improve. Collaboration between these two groups is essential to ensure educational policies are well-informed, resources are effectively utilized, and the needs of students and the community are met.
Need more info?
Annual Board Development Tool
School board members only
The Annual Board Development Tool was designed on the principles of The Key Work of School Boards. This tool allows board members to individually reflect on their work, quickly discern where your board is aligned and where differences remain, and review with all members the array of board responsibilities.
Need more info?
School Leadership Planning Tool
District and school leaders only
No matter your school district’s size, good leaders build strong teams where everyone is working on accomplishing shared goals. This tool will help align your planning efforts and, as a result, help create an environment where students can thrive.
Need more info?
In sum, school boards do not “create learning.” Rather, they do their work via employees by creating conditions that promote learning for children. Despite this degree of separation, the actions, practices of, and relationships among school board members do, indeed, impact student achievement—for better and worse.
At the same time, school administrators affect student achievement levels. In fact, the positive association between successful leadership and student learning is second only to the impact between classroom teaching and student learning. School leaders also affect a great deal more than just achievement. Administrators have significant effects on improvement processes; mission, vision, and goals; the use of evidence; appropriate instructional guidance; professional development; district-school relationships; and the quality of parent-school relationships.
Are your leadership groups performing their roles and responsibilities effectively?
The School Perceptions Blog and Resource Center features the voices of our team members. This post was written by Rob DeMeuse, Research Director.