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Leadership Links

July - August 2005

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Welcome to ECS Leadership Links, a bimonthly e-mail publication with links to key information on education leadership.

The ARKANSAS Legislature also recently passed a law that creates the Arkansas Leadership Academy School Support Program to train principals and teachers in schools and districts designated as being "in school improvement." The law specifies that any school district in school improvement may be invited, strongly encouraged or required to participate in the program as provided in the rules of the State Board of Education. It also requires participating schools to remain in the program for at least three consecutive school years.

In COLORADO, Denver Public Schools Superintendent Michael Bennet recently identified equipping principals to be instructional leaders as one of three specific goals in his action plan to “rebuild Denver’s public education system and lead the nation’s cities in student achievement.” Bennet stated that Denver should create its own principal academy to recruit and train principals to be instructional leaders.

As districts nationwide seek ways to ensure a sound education for all children, Montgomery County, MARYLAND, has drawn notice for its unusual concentration on human resources. The 139,000-student district spends 3 percent of its annual budget—or $50 million a year—on recruiting and developing its people.

Also in MARYLAND, the legislature recently passed a law establishing the statewide Maryland Principal Fellowship and Leadership Development Program in the State Department of Education. Among other provisions, the new law requires the Department to develop criteria for the selection of fellows and receiving schools; and authorizes the state superintendent of schools, subject to the approval of the State Board of Education, to require specified school systems to participate in the program.

MASSACHUSETTS has adopted a leadership development program that borrows heavily from the military and corporate worlds to train about two-thirds of its urban school principals over the next five years.

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The issues surrounding the experience of change in schools are ripe for examination and have serious implications for leaders. Transitions are particularly relevant to those in our public schools and an apt topic for the latest METLIFE SURVEY OF THE AMERICAN TEACHER. Since our schools are filled with people in transition, the survey asked them how they experience those transitions, what their biggest challenges are and what support helps them succeed.

“SCHOOL LEADERSHIP STUDY: DEVELOPING SUCCESSFUL PRINCIPALS” is the first in a series of Wallace Foundation commissioned reports that will examine in-depth the strengths, shortcomings and promising approaches in principal preparation programs. Conducted by the Stanford Educational Leadership Institute in conjunction with The Finance Project, this publication briefly surveys existing research on the essential elements of good leadership; program features that make for effective leadership preparation; different pathways to quality leadership development; and the need for more research on how programs are financed, implemented and governed.

Frederick Hess and Andrew Kelly have authored two research papers on PRINCIPAL PREPARATION. In the first paper, "Learning to Lead? What Gets Taught in Principal Preparation Programs," they find little evidence that principal preparation programs are introducing students to a broad range of management, organizational, or administrative theory and practice. In the second paper, "Textbook Leadership? An Analysis of Leading Books Used in Principal Preparation," Hess and Kelly analyze widely adopted education administration textbooks and report that these texts paid little attention to accountability, efficiency or how to make critical personnel decisions. Moreover, the books provided little guidance on how to use accountability as a management tool or use resources more efficiently.

The Summer 2005 issue of Threshold: EXPLORING THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION, published by Cable in the Classroom in partnership with the Institute for Educational Leadership, features articles focused on educational leadership. The article "Leaders in Learning" profiles 12 leaders who have demonstrated vision, innovation, action and transformation in improving learning for young people; "Leaders on Leadership" is about proven leaders, including Senator Mike Enzi, Monte Moses, Aditya Tata and Elizabeth Stock who define effective, innovative leadership for education; and "Engaging All Leaders" offers insights from Martin Blank, Betty Hale and Ira Harkavy on the full range of educational leadership roles.

The new issue of LDR Magazine, published by the National College of School Leadership in England, highlights the importance and nuances of KEY PARTNERSHIPS that help school leaders advance student achievement. While directed to a British education leadership audience, the articles offer great insight to American leaders on topics such as the role of school boards, student leaders and business.

In Yonkers, SUPERINTENDENT TURNOVER has taken its toll on the community’s effort to close the achievement gap. This article focuses on the city’s experience in order to highlight the nation-wide need for stable, focused leadership.

Written for an audience of superintendents, the article "BOARD-SAVVY SUPERINTENDENT", published in the August issue of Administrator, explains how to help board members be owners by involving them creatively and appropriately in shaping the most important governing products you expect them to act on, such as the annual budget or a policy statement.

A new "Education Leadership" newsletter article by Vivian Stewart, vice president for education at the Asia Society, states that education has to reinvent itself for a new world. If our students are to succeed in the interconnected world in which we live, they will need a new set of 21ST CENTURY KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS. How can state and school leaders lead change on this critical emerging set of issues while simultaneously satisfying older mandates, where all the resources and accountability pressures are? According to Stewart, the answers lie in building coalitions and partnerships and in harnessing the technologies of the 21st century.

Dr. Phillip Schlechty's new book, CREATING GREAT SCHOOLS, presents a framework for understanding the norms, behaviors, and structures that make school systems so intractable to change and offers strategies and guidance for introducing the "disruptive innovations" that are necessary to revitalize our schools. Schlechty outlines six critical systems that define the norms and expressions of a school's organizational culture and shows what it takes to lead effective systemic change in order to sustain new values and direction.

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Stay tuned to ECS’ website for UPCOMING ECS LEADERSHIP RESOURCES, including interviews with ECS/MetLife leadership advisory board members, a new publication on innovative leader development programs, and materials from our 2005 National Forum on Education Policy.

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In collaboration with the Wallace Foundation, the New York Times’ Knowledge Network maintains the LEADERSHIP FOR LEARNING PROJECT, a website dedicated to education policy and leadership news.

Academic Leadership has launched a new page on their Web site that is dedicated to creating a "recipe box" of ACTION TIPS FOR LEADERS. Each week a new tip will be posted to sharpen your wit and wisdom and meld your actions into sustained leadership planning.

e-LEAD has added a new resource to their Web site -- a blog, LeaderShipShape, that is focused on PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR SCHOOL LEADERS. The blog will offer information on news, controversies, research, events and opportunities in the field of education leadership.

e-LEAD also has added a new topic to their resources page: LEADERSHIP-DEVELOPMENT POLICY. The page offers an overview of the issue and links to related resources.

Do you know someone who has the drive, passion and ability to successfully lead a large urban school district? The BROAD SUPERINTENDENTS ACADEMY is a rigorous, ten-month executive management program designed to prepare the next generation of public school chief executives. The Academy is seeking: outstanding senior executives from business, government, the military, higher education and nonprofit organizations who have successfully managed large, complex organizations; educators with a proven track record of success: superintendents from non-urban communities; deputy, associate and area superintendents from medium and large-sized urban districts; and executives from private school and charter school systems; and dynamic entrepreneurs and risk takers who challenge the status quo. To submit a nomination or find more information about the application process, please visit the Broad website. The final application deadline is September 15, 2005.

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To read more about Leadership, visit the ECS Issue Site on Leadership.

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