Study: Successful schools have strong leadership

28 May

A strong principal is a strong leader for his or her particular school. A strong principal is particularly important in schools which face challenges. Now, we get into the manner in which strong principals interact with their staff – is it an art or is it a science? What makes a good principal can be discussed and probably depends upon the perspective of those giving an opinion, but Gary Hopkins of Education World summarizes the thoughts of some educators:

Top Ten Traits of School Leaders
Last month, 43 of the Education World Principal Files principals participated in a survey. The result of that survey is this list of the top ten traits of school leaders, presented in order of importance.
1. Has a stated vision for the school and a plan to achieve that vision.
2. Clearly states goals and expectations for students, staff, and parents.
3. Is visible — gets out of the office; is seen all over the school.
4. Is trustworthy and straight with students and staff.
5. Helps develop leadership skills in others.
6. Develops strong teachers; cultivates good teaching practice.
7. Shows that he or she is not in charge alone; involves others.
8. Has a sense of humor.
9. Is a role model for students and staff.
10. Offers meaningful kindnesses and kudos to staff and students.
http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin190.shtml

These traits can be summarized that a strong principal is a leader with a vision for his or her school and who has the drive and the people skills to take his or her teachers and students to that vision. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/new-research-school-principal-effectiveness/
Also see, Are rules which limit choice hampering principal effectiveness? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/04/08/are-rules-which-limit-choice-hampering-principal-effectiveness/

Nick Morrison reported in the Forbes article, It’s Not Teacher Quality Or Class Size, It’s Leadership That Makes Schools Successful:

Unlocking the secrets of high-performing schools is understandably the focus of much education-oriented research, and now academics think they have found the key. Their findings conclude that it is not teacher quality or class size, it is leadership that makes schools successful.
Researchers at the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics used techniques developed over the last decade to analyze management practices in schools in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Germany, Sweden, Italy, Brazil and India.
Based on interviews with headteachers at more than 1,800 schools, the study collected data on four key areas: operations management, performance monitoring, target setting and talent management. This was used to create an index, measuring schools from 1 to 5 according to how far these practices had been adopted….
Quality of leadership has long been regarded as one of the most important factors in school improvement. Previous studies have also attempted to pinpoint what it is that makes an effective school leader, as I reported last year.
What makes this particular report so significant is that it elevates leadership to the most influential factor by some distance. It is not conclusive, however. The study’s authors acknowledge that there may be other – as yet unidentified – factors at play, but it does present a convincing case.
It is possible that a study based on interviews with school leaders will overestimate the role that school leaders play. Staff in these schools may well have very different views of how the schools are managed.
There are also question marks over the desirability of applying one set of standards across the board when so much of the effectiveness of one approach or another is context specific. What works in one school may not work in another.
In addition we should be wary of taking a purely prescriptive and data-driven approach to leadership. While a rigorous focus on achievement may be necessary to success, it is by no means sufficient. School leaders also need to have a sense of moral purpose as a reason for the journey and the emotional intelligence to take their staff with them.
Some of what makes a leader successful, and of what makes a school effective, is intangible, and it is important not to fall into the trap of valuing it just because we can measure it.
Nevertheless, this study surely reinforces the importance of providing schools with robust and purposeful leadership, and puts a priority on recruiting and developing the individuals who can deliver sustainable improvement…. http://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorrison/2014/05/22/its-not-teacher-quality-or-class-size-its-leadership-that-makes-schools-successful/

Citation:

In brief: Does management matter in schools?
Renata Lemos, May 2014
Paper No’ CEPCP424: | Full paper (pdf) Save Reference as: BibTeX BibTeX File | Endote EndNote Import File Keywords: Education; management; school management index; pupil outcomes; school performance
JEL Classification:
Is hard copy/paper copy available? YES – Paper Copy Still In Print. This Paper is published under the following series: CentrePiece Magazine Share: Google Bookmarks Google Bookmarks | Facebook Facebook | Twitter Twitter
Abstract:
Better school management is associated with better pupil achievement, according to CEP analysis of the quality of management practices in schools in a range of developed and developing countries. Renata Lemos notes that the quality of school management is related to leadership traits of the head teachers – and that management practices have a greater effect on pupil outcomes than the effects of class size, competition or teaching quality.
Centre Piece 19 (1) Spring2014 pages: 24-25 http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/abstract.asp?index=4434

See, Principals Matter: School Leaders Can Drive Student Learning http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Karin%20Chenoweth/principals-matter-school-_b_1252598.html?ref=email_share
A strong principal is a leader with a vision for his or her school and who has the drive and the people skills to take his or her teachers and students to that vision.

Resources:

The Performance Indicators for Effective Principal Leadership in Improving Student Achievement http://mdk12.org/process/leading/p_indicators.html

Effective Schools: Managing the Recruitment, Development, and Retention of High-quality Teachers http://www.caldercenter.org/upload/Effective-Schools_CALDER-Working-Paper-37-3.pdf

What makes a great principal? http://www.greatschools.org/improvement/quality-teaching/189-what-makes-a-great-principal-an-audio-slide-show.gs

Related:

Wallace Foundation study: Leadership matters in student achievement
https://drwilda.com/2012/07/29/wallace-foundation-study-leadership-matters-in-student-achievement/

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