Every principal is expected to be an instructional leader. Don’t forget, however, that still means that you are the operations leader and the relationship leader. We didn’t take away anything that principals did in the past, we just added another big piece.
Now that you have digested that spoonful of truth, let’s look at how your roles blend together in your work to create conditions of success for all of your people.
When I visit schools across the nation in the work that I’m engaged in now, I spend lots of time in classrooms talking to students about what they’re learning, seeing how students interact with each other, seeing the level that teachers facilitate learning.
On the way to those awesome classroom settings, I do take great notice to the surroundings. What is the physical environment of the school? How much pride is shown both outside the building as well as in?
You may consider such things as window-dressing, or low-level indicators from which we have evolved in our work in school. I’d agree that if that were the only things on your mind as the principal, you may be stuck in the eighties, but if you are neglecting the environment of your school, you may be building a great structure of instruction on a shifting foundation.
Your school needs to be clean, inviting, and create a sense that something awesome is happening here. Those pieces keep your building in a sanitary and clean fashion that is much more important than we sometimes think.
We know that people respond to the stimuli around them. If we are teaching in a mess, our students are going to respond in kind.
Healthy classrooms begin with the essentials, but extend much further. They are places where students’ needs are at the forefront. They include nutritional needs, wraparound services for health needs, and social and emotional needs. This sounds like so much, but when do in a concerted effort led by effective school leaders, it builds on itself and leads to success.
For more about healthy schools, check out this link: https://healthyschoolscampaign.org
The focus of work in our Principal and Assistant Principal Academies during January 2017 has been on standard five of the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders, listed below. Today’s Leadership365 is dedicated to the topic to support that learning.
You can see the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders in entirety here: (http://www.ccsso.org/Documents/2015/ProfessionalStandardsforEducationalLeaders2015forNPBEAFINAL.pdf)