Yesterday, AWSP learned that it will continue its work with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction as the provider of individualized principal leadership support to administrators whose schools are in the state's School Improvement Assistance Program.
Bob Mc Mullen, AWSP's director of high school programs, has been leading this effort for the Association -- an effort that at times means several days on the road touring the state. During these site visits, he meets one-on-one with principals for 90 minutes about their individual needs as school leaders. This has been one of the more popular, though labor intensive aspects of the program. For the cohort principals, participation in the program means not only putting your school under a public microscope, but your own leadership, too.
Each principal is teamed with a mentor and participates in a "360" evaluation of their skills, meaning the administrator is systematically evaluated based on survey data gathered from a variety of sources (parents, staff, teachers, etc.). This data guides their leadership training as school leaders for the duration of their stay in the program. For some participants, some who may be geographically bound, access to this kind of individualized professional development is invaluable.
The initiative began in 2003 with a small cohort of schools that did not meet Adequate Yearly Progress under the new No Child Left Behind Act. Fast forward to this year, and the program is now working with its seventh cohort of schools, which is set to include 15 schools (a cross-section of elementary, middle, high school and alternative schools). Another five may be added before the school year begins.
To qualify for School Improvement assistance, schools must receive federal dollars. And while it's currently a volunteer program, the State Board of Education is thinking about changing that.
What do you think about this model of professional development for principals? Should it be expanded?