THE PRINCIPAL’S ROLE AS INSTRUCTIONAL LEADER
By Tim Wilder
As the students exit the buildings for summer vacation, the principal’s work is just beginning. In June, school districts receive the results of their state tests from the Department of Education. As instructional leaders, principals must review the data and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the students and teachers as they relate to performance and instruction in his or her school. During this time, each principal develops a plan of improvement to increase student achievement for the upcoming school year. Regardless of the beginning level of a student, academic growth of each student is the key factor in this plan.
In August, during the first teacher work day, the principal presents the results of the state test scores to the teachers and meets with them individually to discuss their results and to plan for the upcoming school year. After the evaluation of the academic results from the past school year is completed, the principals give the teachers their new data on their current students. That data provides the teachers a starting point for their students. The principal reviews the school plan of action that teachers follow to ensure excellent student success.
Three times during the school year the teachers administer a common assessment test to their students. This data is analyzed by the principals and teachers to review the strengths and weaknesses of the individual students. Instructional plans to address these weaknesses during the next 9 week period. Classroom instruction is driven by these results.
Principals also visit classrooms daily to observe students and teachers in their day-to-day work environment. During these visits, they also check lesson plans to ensure that the plans are positioned at the proper performance level and depth of knowledge.
Principals are also responsible for teacher evaluations. These evaluations provide feedback for teachers that may need improvement and on areas in which they are performing well.
The principal also disseminates positive results and achievements and rewards student and teacher performance. All principals have plans for rewards in place, such as Field Day, Awards Day, etc.
All of these factors and responsibilities work together to achieve the ultimate goal of each principal as instructional leader, the academic growth and development of each individual student.