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The Role of Administrators in Advancing Student Learning

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Submitted By 1973ChrisJ
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The Role of Leadership in Advancing Student Learning
Marzano (2003), shared three principles of effective leadership for change. He uses research and his experiences in schools across the country to form the principles and descriptions. Using research wisely, and not ignoring it can lead to the best of times in education. The three principles are formed from an overview of characteristics associated with effective leaders as well as their behaviors.
Principle 1. Leadership for change is most effective when carried out by a small group of educators with the principal functioning as a strong cohesive force. Principal plus a strong leadership team operate as key players and working with a dedicated group of classroom teachers because teachers must be involved in day-to-day decisions that affect their day-to-day lives (Marzano, R. J., 2003). For example in creating a guaranteed and viable curriculum, it is important that the principal assumes the role of visible head of this reform effort with the ability to mentor and guide direction for a leadership team and all teachers. Time is a factor that yields success when information is shared in a routine and timely manner. Even though obstacles may arise, the principal can offer adequate information in time for planning the curriculum teachers are responsible for, such as assessments and activities for higher order thinking from students. Effective leadership is present when teachers know the principal is time conscious of what improvements are needed in the months to come and shares this in a collegial manner. With artifacts from the school year such as student reports, test reports, and other forms of reflection on components of the educational program, the principal can be conceptual in sharing information and evidence, leading the team and teachers to relevant changes for improvement ahead of a teacher/school crisis. Distributing curriculum documents and other research-based materials is always helpful when given ahead of time for purposeful planning of instruction. Also, distribution of student progress data and classroom observation data should be done in a predictable and consistent fashion where the data can be used in a timely manner.
Principle 2. The leadership team must operate in such a way as to provide strong guidance while demonstrating respect for those not on the team. Principals are accessible and attentive to matters of concern to teachers and collaborative problem solvers and decision makers on instructional issues in the context of mutual respect because, the principal has indirect influence on those who come into direct contact with students in the instructional setting (Marzano, 2003). For example recruiting teachers to serve on committees should be a mutual decision and not come out of nowhere to those involved. If the teacher or team leader is not aware or interested in the committee and its purpose for student achievement, he/she more likely will not do what it takes to form an effective team or increase student achievement very much. Teachers should have time to buy into the responsibility and be included in the decision making process. Communication is best in a two way manner. Also, working with teachers before and after evaluations includes the teacher on how best to serve students and families. Their ideas are considered with what direction to take for students’ benefit.
Principle 3. Effective leadership for change is characterized by specific behaviors that enhance interpersonal relationships. Optimism, honesty, and consideration are specific behaviors displayed by the effective principal when interacting with their colleagues, where members of the leadership team should cultivate the same relationships with those not on the team (Marzano, 2003). Leading education to the best of times is characterized by a positive outlook on what has happened, where the educational program stands and where it is headed. Predicted results and actual results of reform efforts should be reflected upon with care and as a team. Efforts for improvement are technical as well as interpersonal, because human factors will outweigh the benefit of any other resource in educating students. Principals are responsible for encouraging teams and teachers to be confident, wise, and caring with what they do. It would be more likely to happen this way in classrooms if they are guided by a leader who does the same. For example, sharing data from standardized tests should include a solution or means for a solution to decrease gaps in student performance. Looking at this information as an opportunity to improve is better than dwelling on it as a failure with no way to fix it.…...

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