Principals should be literacy leaders in their schools
- Published: Monday, 15 August 2016 10:25
Strong leadership improves teacher quality and gives students the reading skills they need for life
Most organizations recognize the critical importance of strong leadership. But Steve Tozer, director of the Center for Urban Education Leadership at the University of Illinois at Chicago, says education institutions have been late to that insight, focusing on the teacher-student relationship to the near exclusion of all others.
That may not be serving students well.
A 2011 Wallace Foundation report on best practices in principal leadership highlights that education research shows most school variables have only small effects on learning when considered on their own.
“The real payoff comes when individual variables combine to reach critical mass,” the report's authors write. “Creating the conditions under which that can occur is the job of the principal.”
Strong principals have created environments that get teachers excited to come to work and students excited to come to school. They prioritize collaboration and professional learning so teachers continue honing their craft long after they get their first job or achieve tenure. They set high priorities for all students, regardless of family background, and set goals and pair them with a plan for achieving them.
They turn their schools into outliers.