Monday, April 26, 2010

School Improvement

Can it be as simple as improving leadership? It's hard to believe that's the key to turning schools around.
Two years ago, district administrators adopted an innovative staffing system intended to put the best principals in the most troubled schools — and give them the autonomy they need to succeed. While Charlotte was already one of the highest-performing urban systems in the country, it has made progress since then.
Something tells me this is critical:
Once at the new schools, the principals are permitted to remove as many as five teachers if they consider them to be hostile to reform. These turnaround schools are also given high priority when their new leadership teams request technology, staffing or new programs.


mlutwak said...

As I work with various schools around Seattle, Hawaii. Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana -- in public, private, parochial and charter -- I am increasingly convinced that principals are the limiting factor.

KAZ said...

I still think a lot depends on the principals' ability to manipulate faculty--strip the dead wood, move teachers around if needed--all of which is contractual and often out of the principals' control. But it's interesting to think that the "Lean on Me" myth is not a myth at all, that one strong figure can turn a school around.

mlutwak said...

Oh I don't think a strong principal is sufficient, but it certainly is necessary. And not just strong, but loving. There is nothing quite like working in a school where the principal hates kids. For a while I thought that, too, was a myth, left over from our own rebellious days, but now I've seen it as an adult. And boy do the kids know it. And the teachers.