Most of my recent blogs have targeted the efficiency and academic impact of private, charter, and public schools. As you might expect, this is an ongoing debate with no end in sight. I am particularly interested in school improvement. In this piece from Chalkbeat, the author notes that a good first step is coaching new principals. That responsibility falls to those who supervise principals. In terms of school-related factors on student outcomes, school leaders are second only to teachers in terms of importance.
A study by Vanderbilt University and Mathematica Policy Research suggests completely changing the job description to emphasize coaching and mentoring. The study, conducted between 2014 and 2017, looked at six urban districts in Miami, Baltimore, Cleveland, Des Moines, Long Beach, and Minneapolis. The study found that professional development for principals doesn’t focus enough, if at all, on coaching and problem-solving. These neglected skills are fundamental to the overall performance of principals. A focus on coaching and mentoring could refocus school districts on improving student achievement, retaining more teachers, and strengthening school culture.