E-Mail news for the K-12 education profession | May 24, 2005
Leadership (Part I)
Effective leadership by teachers and principals is the linchpin of any school's success. Just as good leadership can significantly boost student learning, poor leadership can lead a school down the wrong path. This two-part special report provides a wealth of resources on leadership intended to help educators perform their jobs more effectively. Part I focuses on the importance of teacher leadership in boosting student learning and covers numerous issues including teacher preparation, professional development and evaluation practices. Part II, scheduled to be published on Thursday, takes a look at principal preparation, instructional leadership and management strategies.
At A Glance 
Surviving Day One ... and Beyond
Four fledgling educators -- an assistant principal of an intermediate school, an elementary school principal, a junior high school language arts teacher, and a high school summer school teacher in science -- share their stories about surviving and thriving in the world of education. Educational Leadership
Successful schools defy logical expectations
Wilfrid Laurier University economist David Johnson compared test scores for more than 3,000 Ontario elementary schools against their demographic data to identify 13 successful campuses where students outperformed peers from similar socio-economic backgrounds. He finds the higher-performing schools share common traits of strong principal leadership, teaching teams, well-run extracurricular programs and effective communication with parents.   The Toronto Star (3/28)
Education, in-school support key to developing teachers' skills
Teacher quality has taken center stage in the U.S. now that the federal government is requiring schools to ensure all teachers are highly qualified. Ramping up the intensity of teacher-education programs may improve the overall preparedness of the teaching work force, but in-school support from principals and positive leadership from school boards also are crucial, experts say.   American School Board Journal (4/2005)
Leadership resources
  • Teacher Leaders Network
  • Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning
  • Teacher Magazine blog written by 2003 National Teacher of the Year Betsy Rogers
  • The Wallace Foundation

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    Teacher Preparation 
    New AACTE chief leads education schools into new era
    Sharon P. Robinson, the newly minted chief of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, comes to her position at a turbulent time for education schools. College and university programs are under pressure from politicians to churn out teachers who can produce results immediately, and Robinson must show the schools are nimble enough to change with the times.   Education Week (5/4)
    Report: Southeastern states de-emphasizing pedagogy in teacher training
    A report from The Southeast Center for Teaching Quality found that NCLB's emphasis on subject-specific knowledge has compelled southeastern states to lower qualification standards for teachers. The report also found that rural and urban schools have difficulty finding and keeping teachers, because they cannot compete with the higher salaries offered by suburban districts.   Stateline.org (8/2)
    Certified teachers more effective than uncertified ones, research says
    A six-year Stanford University study of 4,000 Houston teachers and their 130,000 students found certified teachers produced stronger student achievement than uncertified educators participating in the Teach for America program. Rather than hire uncertified teachers, education professor Linda Darling-Hammond said districts should combat staffing shortages through improved pay, mentoring and subsidies to attract them to traditional certification programs.   Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.) (4/17)
     TFA founder disputes study's results in Op-Ed: Wendy Kopp, founder and president of Teach for America, criticizes the Stanford University study in a Stanford Daily opinion piece. Kopp calls the Stanford study flawed and notes TFA teachers' results compared favorably with other teachers in another study by Mathematica Policy Research.
    Florida district develops its own teachers
    Frank Till, superintendent of Broward County Public Schools, talks about a unique program in his district that grooms high school students to become teachers. Participants receive instruction in teaching methods and log time as student teachers in elementary school classrooms. They also receive scholarships to attend local colleges and are promised jobs in the district upon successful completion of their training.   Scholastic.com (4/29)
    Research Matters/Improving Teacher Induction
    Education researchers look at what we know and what educators can do to support new teachers. In 1990, if you had asked a group of new teachers whether they received mentoring or participated in an induction program, about half of them would have said yes. By 2000, the proportion had jumped to about four of five. Researchers still lack a clear definition of what induction means, however. What schools call "teacher induction" may consist of as little as a one-day orientation program or a casual assignment of another teacher to act as a mentor. Educational Leadership
    Report: North Carolina needs to give more support to lateral-entry teachers
    A special committee of the North Carolina Board of Education says career-changers new to the field of teaching need five weeks of orientation rather than the 10 days they receive, as well as beefed-up mentoring once they're in the classroom. Lateral-entry teachers, who need only a college degree, at least a 2.5 GPA and a major in the subject they'll teach, constitute more than 20% of the teaching staff in some poor districts.   The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) (1/11)
    Professional Development 
    Three crucial elements of productive group learning
    Collaboration among teachers and a culture of inquiry are key to raising student achievement, but not all efforts to achieve these elements work out, says Robert J. Garmston, a professor emeritus at California State University, Sacramento. According to Garmston, three elements underpin successful group learning plans: Leaders who can communicate goals and are public learners; leaders who can arrange time and space for collaboration and conversations about learning; quality self-reflection after the professional development sequence is finished.   Journal of Staff Development (5/2005)
    Schools use 'Net to boost professional development
    Some school districts are taking their professional development initiatives to new levels with Internet applications designed to make programs more interactive and dynamic. For instance, Springfield, Mass., schools are using software that allows master teachers to mentor less-experienced teachers. In another innovative use of the Internet, Gwinn Middle School in Gwinn, Mich., is encouraging teachers to share lesson plans with each other and with parents.   Scholastic.com (4/29)
    The Principal Connection/Meeting New Teachers' Personal Needs
    Thomas R. Hoerr argues that while the high attrition rate for teachers can be attributed to the overwhelming nature of the job, there is another area often overlooked by administrators: teachers' lives outside of school. New teachers also must confront the changes that teaching brings about in the rest of their lives. Educational Leadership
    New British TV channel for teachers hits airwaves
    Teachers' TV, a public-service channel funded by the British government yet editorially independent, began broadcasting in February. The station provides weekly education news and frequently repeats its 15-minute programs centered around professional development and the curriculum.   The Guardian (London) (5/10)
    Survey: Teachers evaluate working conditions
    Respondents to an online survey prepared by The Southeastern Center for Teaching Quality found that teachers felt more constrained by having to perform tasks outside the educational mission than were principals. The results of the survey, gleaned from responses by thousands of educators in North Carolina and South Carolina, suggest that professional development, access to reliable technology and good working conditions contribute to teacher retention and overall job satisfaction.   Education Week (3/30)
    As a new teacher support provider in California's Beginning Teachers Support and Assessment program, Mary Patterson tackles a problem in schools that has largely gone unnoticed: new teacher hazing. In a school setting, hazing refers to institutional practices and policies that result in new teachers experiencing poorer working conditions than their veteran colleagues. Educational Leadership (May 2005)
    Boston plan may have veteran teachers review novices
    Boston Public Schools this fall may use a system that will have veteran teachers visiting novice teachers' classrooms on a regular basis. The idea behind the plan is to give new teachers support and to give veteran teachers more say in performance evaluations. However, similar efforts in other districts have stirred up controversy and have achieved mixed results.   Principals.org /The Boston Globe (1/17)
    Peer evaluation can boost skills in the classroom
    Teachers have few opportunities to receive feedback from peers on the quality of their teaching, says Tony Wagner, co-director of the Change Leadership Group at Harvard University. Superintendents and principals should seek to implement systems that bring teachers together in small groups to discuss strategies that might make them more effective in the classroom, Wagner says.   Teacher Magazine (free registration) (1/1)
    Study examines viability of performance-based school improvement plans
    A handful of school districts in the U.S. -- particularly those in urban areas -- have adopted or are considering adopting performance-based practices for teachers as part of an effort to raise student achievement. This study by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management of Education takes a look at 28 school districts in various stages of implementing performance-based assessment plans. The study found focused leadership, effective professional development, sharing of student achievement data and updated technology to be crucial in developing such programs.   NewSchools Venture Fund (4/1)
    Interview with OYEA recipient Pete Hall
    ASCD SmartBrief posed questions about professional leadership to educators to gauge how practitioners are grappling with this issue.

    Pete Hall, principal of Anderson Elementary School in Reno, Nev., and recipient of the 2004 ASCD Outstanding Young Educator Award, had this to say:

    "The school leader can affect the school culture dramatically by remaining upbeat and positive, encouraging collegiality and following the three golden rules."

    Read more about Hall's leadership philosophy.

    ASCD Resources 
    Books and other leadership resources
  • How to Thrive as a Teacher Leader
  • Linking Teacher Evaluation and Student Learning
  • Accountability for Learning: How Teachers and School Leaders Can Take Charge
  • Staffing the Principalship: Finding, Coaching, and Mentoring School Leaders
  • Leadership for Learning: How to Help Teachers Succeed
  • Leadership Capacity for Lasting School Improvement

  • Product announcements appearing in SmartBrief are paid advertisements and do not reflect actual ASCD endorsements. The news reported in SmartBrief does not necessarily reflect the official position of ASCD.

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