What are leadership standards for school leaders and how should they be measured?

Posted by Ronald | November 15, 2012  |  No Comment

Medical doctors have become increasingly accustomed to prescribing a pill for patients to address a sickness, combat a potential illness or accommodate student’s academic needs. In fact, 60 Minutes news program reported that 50-60% of upper class college students are using ADD/ADHD drugs to boost their brain power for studying and completing final examinations. For effectiveness, many doctors now recommend patients take a pill for Vitamin D rather than have them to expose their skin to the sunlight, particularly those with heavily pigmented skin. As a standard of practice, the old parent remedies of medicine to combat a cold such as using Vicks VapoRub combined with wrapping a towel around your neck is placed with a pill such as antibiotics.

The same is true in America’s schools. The old standard of teaching in your seat rather than teaching on your feet is obsolete. The teaching profession requires teachers who can facilitate, guide and monitor students through the educational process. It also requires school leaders who can ensure the instruction is delivered effectively in accordance with acceptable local, state and federal standards. Thus, the questions to be asked are: What are the leadership standards for school leaders? How should school leaders be measured?

While the leadership standards for school leaders may vary slightly from state to state, the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) provides six national standards for educational leaders. These standards include ensuring that the school administrators are educational leaders who have the knowledge and ability to promote the success of all students by (1) facilitating the development, articulation, implementation and stewardship of a vision of learning that is shared and supported by the school community; (2) advocating, nurturing, and sustaining a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff growth; (3) ensuring management of the organization, operations and resources for a safe, efficient and effective learning environment; (4) collaborating with faculty and community members, responding to diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources; (5) acting with integrity, fairness, and ethical behavior; and (6) understanding, responding to, and influencing the larger political, social, economic, legal and cultural context.

Many states are using the ISLLC standards to train current and potential school leaders. The Wallace Foundation notes that professional development should focus on the challenges of the school districts to address the lack of training of school leaders in order to improve teaching and learning. Other research reports that school leaders play a vital role in the academic success of schools. Thus, an effective professional development program can be used to recruit, employ, train and retain highly skilled leaders.

Just as teachers are required to master the standards for teaching and participate in professional development to reinforce mastery of the standards, it is imperative that school leaders master the standards for educational leadership and participate in professional development to reinforce mastery of the standards as well. In my view, district superintendents should ensure that professional development is provided to school leaders utilizing state and national standards such as ISLLC, assess periodically the knowledge of school leaders related to the standards, provide periodic feedback to school leaders on their strengths and weaknesses of the standards, make the standards a part of school leaders’ evaluation instrument and summarize performance of school leaders according to the standards and productivity of the school at large.

Just as medicine science is ever-changing, the same is true for education. The ultimate goal of professional development training is to enable the school leaders to expand and apply their knowledge, skills and attitudes to the challenges of their schools in order for them to become exemplary leaders. For best results, this type of professional development should be established in partnership with state education agencies and universities.

Dr. Ronald Holmes is the author of two books, “Education Questions to be Answered” and “Current Issues and Answers in Education.” He is publisher of “The Holmes Education Post,” an education focused Internet newspaper. Holmes is the national superintendent of education for the National Save the Family Now Movement, Inc., a former teacher, school administrator and district superintendent. He can be reached at [email protected]

Categories : K – 12 Schools  |  Tags :

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