It is well-established that effective school leadership contributes to better outcomes for students and schools. However, a 2021 research report, How Principals Affect Students and Schools A Systematic Synthesis of Two Decades of Research (Wallace Foundation), suggests that the difference effective principals make may be greater than previously thought.
The research team found that:
The impact of an effective principal has likely been understated, with impacts being both greater and broader than previously believed: greater in the impact on student achievement and broader in affecting other important outcomes, including teacher satisfaction and retention (especially among high-performing teachers), student attendance, and reductions in exclusionary discipline (Refer to page vIIII).
This new understanding of the size and scope of the impact of effective school leaders is a compelling argument for state, district, and charter leaders to prioritize the development of effective school leadership in all school leaders.
This website is designed to support Utah district and charter leaders’ efforts to prepare, develop, and support effective school leaders through evidence-based school leadership development practices.
State leaders can play an important role in supporting school leadership development across the state. A few recent reports that help establish effective state-level practices include:
District leaders can play an incredibly important role in the preparation, development, and support of effective school leaders. Two district-led strategic approaches to developing effective school leadership include the redesign of district offices and the implementation of principal pipelines.
District leaders can look for opportunities to redesign district offices to ensure practices and systems across all district departments support the kind of instructional leadership that leads to better outcomes for students and schools. The District Leadership Design Lab at the University of Washington is one place where district leaders can access research and tools that support this work.
District leaders can also consider implementing principal pipelines. A 2019 RAND study Principal Pipelines: A Feasible, Affordable, and Effective Way for Districts to Improve Schools (Wallace Foundation), confirms that principal pipelines are feasible, affordable, and effective in developing the kind of school leadership that contributes to better outcomes for students and schools. Comprehensive, aligned, principal pipelines are a district-led, evidence-based approach to developing effective leaders. They are comprehensive in that they support district leaders’ strategic implementation of school leadership development policies, processes, and infrastructures across seven interrelated domains through collaboration with a variety of partners. They are aligned in that the efforts of district leaders and pipeline partners are coordinated within and across the domains and are focused on districts’ specific school leadership development priorities. The research on principal pipelines is growing and promising. It is also readily available to district leaders and their pipeline partners.
A few additional resources that help establish effective district practices that support school leaders include:
Information coming soon.