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Instructional Leadership Interview
Transcript of Instructional Leadership Interview
The key to improving student learning is to improve teaching... need to invest in teachers
Spend time getting to know each staff member and make the time meaningful (faculty meetings, professional development)
Continuous learning and improvement applies to students, teachers, AND leaders!
Focus on a few important things at time, create ways for staff to experience success, and celebrate progress
A collaborative and positive culture will improve outcomes for all
1. What does it mean to you to be an “instructional leader”? What gets in the way?
2. What do you think is the most powerful strategy for improving both teaching and learning?
3. How can a leader develop a collaborative culture and the collective responsibility of a professional learning community? How can a leader support teachers/staff to ensure that professional development will have an effect on student learning?
4. What do you think truly makes a “great” teacher? What types of skills, outlook, and attitude do the most effective educators possess?
5. How can leaders create positive change to improve teaching practices? How do you motivate teachers (especially ineffective teachers) to improve?
6. How does the new supervision and evaluation system relate? Do you think it will effectively improve teaching and learning?
Instruction needs to be first and foremost concern
Leaders need to get into classrooms
Lack of time is a barrier - have to prioritize
Have to run with people who take initiative and want feedback, push out the "dead wood" if needed
Leaders need to model what they expect from staff
*Biggest changes occur when teachers see results with students and there's a sense of positive peer pressure
Need to create a collaborative environment and create structures for collaboration - if teachers model it in their own practice then they can pull it into their own classrooms
Steele: Teachers can be unaware, aware, capable, or inspired. In order to reach the "inspired" level, teachers need to be reflective, have a thirst for continuous learning, and learn from everyone in their world.
DuFour & Mattos: "The most powerful strategy for improving both teaching and learning is to create the collaborative culture and collective responsibility of a PLC... The most vital support a principal can give these collaborative teams is helping them to use evidence of student learning to improve their teaching."
Whitaker: "We have two primary ways to improve our schools - hire better teachers and improve the ones we have... Teachers need to visit other classrooms - start with your new teachers and your best teachers; do a mutual exchange at the beginning of the process; have teachers go on walkthroughs."
Theory to Practice:
Teachers and leaders need to be reflective and have a continuous improvement mindset
Leaders need to create a collaborative culture
Collaboration should not be a one-time or separate event - teachers can observe teachers; needs to be ongoing; teachers need feedback from leaders and each other; focus needs to be on collective analysis of student learning
In order to be an "instructional leader", you need to create opportunities for teachers to engage in focused discussions about student learning (model!)
Utilize teams and shared leadership
PLCs need to stay focused on results-oriented goals, which helps to create interdependence, mutual accountability, and positive peer pressure
Wanted to interview someone that works in a different organization, has varied experience, and a great reputation
Background -15 years in education:
5 years of teaching in three states (Ohio, California, and final 1.5 years in Allentown)
1.5 years - Assistant Principal at Perkiomen Valley
5 years - Principal at Stewart Middle School (Norristown)
2 years - Principal at Norristown Area High School
2 years - Current position as Program Director for Quakertown
Rachel Holler, Ed. D.
Director of Educational Programs
Quakertown Community School District
In charge of K-12 curriculum (math, science, social studies, business/information technology, FCS, technology education, ESL and Title 3, health and physical ed.)
Another teacher is currently on special assignment and in charge of English/LA and world language
Also have “learning facilitators” – this team can provide supporting roles and shared leadership (teachers that are full-time instructional leaders)
Created 4 "small learning communities" and had structures in place (time, logistics) and created protocols to use time effectively
Selected great leaders for the communities to guide the work and gave them tools to be successful
After you visit a classroom - How do you debrief that? What are the challenges?
Great teachers need to collaborate, be open to change, welcome feedback, and engage in self-reflection
New rubric can be used for self-evaluation
Leaders need to focus on a few things at a time that are the most important and create small wins
Need to build individual relationships with staff, hold people accountable, establish trust, and be transparent
Carol Frederick Steele, "
: By developing a deep reserve of techniques, good teachers learn how to read each situation"
Rick DuFour & Mike Mattos, "
How Do Principals Really Improve Schools?
Instead of micromanaging teachers, principals should lead efforts to collectively monitor student achievement through professional learning communities"
Todd Whitaker, "
Help Teachers Be Their Best:
Sow the seeds for duplicating teacher excellence"
Current Research - Articles: