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ERIC Number: ED533672
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Nov
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 5
Exemplary Programs Produce Strong Instructional Leaders. School Leadership Study: Developing Successful Principals
LaPointe, Michella; Davis, Stephen
Stanford Educational Leadership Institute, Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the University Council for Educational Administration (San Antonio, TX, Nov 9-12, 2006)
In an effort to increase the knowledge about professional development programs that promote strong instructional leaders, the Wallace Foundation recently commissioned a study of innovative principal professional development programs and the policy and funding mechanisms that support them. In fall 2003, the foundation awarded a grant to a team of researchers from the Stanford School of Education to design and implement a nationwide study of both the pre- and in-service professional development of school principals. A central goal of the study was to determine if graduates from exemplary programs reported leadership practices that are more instructionally focused than graduates from other programs. In an effort to answer this question, and several others related to the characteristics of pre- and in-service programs, the Stanford researchers examined the literature on school leadership development, interviewed dozens of scholars and experts in the field of educational leadership, reviewed the curricula and structures of numerous pre- and in-service programs across the country, conducted surveys of school principals and teachers in several states, participated in extensive on-site visits of several promising programs and schools led by program graduates, and studied the policy and funding frameworks of the states where exemplary programs were identified by the research team. Based on interviews with experts in the field, a review of the research, and initial research on a much larger sample of programs, the research team selected eight programs with reputation in the field for being effective. To facilitate deep study of context, a sample of both pre- and in-service programs was selected that consisted of several cohorts of graduates who work in a concentration of districts. These exemplary programs were also selected to represent a variety of approaches with respect to their design, policy context, and the nature of the collaboration with surrounding school districts. Sample programs include: (1) San Diego (CA) Unified School District working in partnership with the Educational Leadership Development Academy (ELDA) at the University of San Diego; (2) Region 1 of the New York City Public Schools, in collaboration with Bank Street College; (3) University of Connecticut's Administrator Preparation Program (UCAPP); (4) Hartford (CT) Public School District; (5) Jefferson County (KY) Public Schools; and (6) Delta State University (MS). Results from the Stanford study show that principals who graduated from the eight exemplary programs are strongly focused on leading teachers and improving instruction in the classroom. An examination of the eight exemplary programs reveals some common characteristics. First, admission into principal preparation programs includes demonstrated competence as a master teacher as well as the support of school district leadership. Second, exemplary programs provide a coherent curriculum framed around the theories, principles, and practices of instructional leadership. Third, course content and internship experiences are closely aligned. Fourth, district programs use leadership development to reinforce reform initiative, to concentrate their efforts on improving student achievement. Fifth, districts are developing a leadership pathway, to encourage talented teachers to become instructional leaders (leader leaders, then instructional coaches, then principals, and finally directors or assistant superintendents). Finally, professional development activities are career staged and frequently part of a continuum of learning activities designed to address the particular goals and objectives of participating school districts. Keeping the focus of the professional development on teaching and learning appears to produce stronger instructional leaders. (Contains 2 tables.) [This paper was commissioned by The Wallace Foundation. For the main report, "Preparing School Leaders for a Changing World: Lessons from Exemplary Leadership Development Programs. School Leadership Study. Final Report," see ED533003.]
Stanford Educational Leadership Institute. Available from: Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. Barnum Center 505 Lasuen Mall, Stanford, CA 94305. Tel: 650-725-8600; Fax: 650-736-1682; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: Adult Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stanford Educational Leadership Institute (SELI); Finance Project
Identifiers - Location: California; Connecticut; Kentucky; Mississippi; New York