The role of a school leader

Discussion topics

I just read this article by The Role of a Leader in Building Capacity”

Here are some points to consider, is this what you are doing in your school? If not should you?

Visit Classrooms Routinely

This seems so easy yet is a constant struggle.  Consider increasing the number of formal observations conducted each year and commit to a schedule to get them all done.  We formally observed each of our teachers three times a year regardless of experience.

Streamline Expectations and Eliminate Ineffective Practices

Think about establishing a shared vision, language, and expectations for all teachers.  We did this by using the Rigor Relevance Framework.  This will provide all teachers with consistent, concrete elements to focus on when developing learning activities.

Improve Feedback

Provide at least one suggestion for improvement, no matter what is seen during an observation or walk-through.  There is no perfect lesson.  Suggestions for improvement should always contain clear, practical examples and strategies that a teacher can implement immediately.  Timely feedback is also essential.

Be a Scholar

Being a scholar helps you as a leader to improve professional practice and puts you in a position to have better conversations with your teachers about their own improvement.  This adds a whole new level of credibility to the post-conference.


Don’t ask your teachers to do anything that you are not willing to do yourself.  This is extremely important in terms of technology integration in the classroom and professional learning to improve practice.  If a teacher is struggling with their assessments, don’t just say you need to work on building better ones.  Either provide an example that you have created or co-create an assessment together.

Make Time to Teach a Class

This can be accomplished regularly during the year or by co-teaching with both struggling and distinguished teachers.  During my first couple of years as an administrator, I taught a section of high school biology.  This is leading by example at its best.  It also provides a better context for the evolving role of the teacher in the digital age.  A leader who walks the walk builds better relationships with staff and will be in a much better position to engage staff in conversations to improve instruction.

Constantly Seek Out Ways to Grow

Attend at least one conference or workshop a year that is aligned to a significant initiative or focus area in your school/district (the annual Model Schools Conference is a fantastic option).  Try also to read one education book and another related to a different field such as leadership, self-help, or business.

Reflect Through Writing

Writing has enabled me to process my thinking resulting in a more critical reflection of my work in relation to teaching, learning, and leadership.  Our reflections assist us with our growth and can also be catalysts for our staff and others to reflect on their practice or grow professionally.  Having teachers write a brief reflection prior to the post-conference is an excellent strategy to promote a conversation on improvement that isn’t one-sided.

Integrate Portfolios

Portfolios were a requirement for my teachers and complimented our observation process nicely.  They provided more clarity and detail on instruction over the entire course of the school year.  Portfolios can include learning activities, assessments, unit plans, examples of student work, and other forms of evidence to improve pedagogical effectiveness.  They can also be used to validate good practice.


I would love to hear from you