The Hamilton County Department of Education’s decision to adopt McREL’s Balanced Leadership framework during the 2017–18 school year was recently profiled on The Chattanoogan.com, an online daily newspaper in Tennessee. This leadership development training and coaching will be connected to the district’s mission and vision, and is intended to focus on specifically supporting school-level leaders. The article quotes McREL consultant Mel Sussman, who explained how school- and district-level leaders will gain access to “a validated research model in how quality, shared instructional leadership should be carried out throughout the district.” Justin Robertson, the district’s assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, expressed that learning about “McREL’s research-based findings that link school-level leadership with student achievement,” will help ensure that the district’s students are college- and career-ready upon graduation.
Category Archives: McREL in the News
The superintendent of the Rome City School District in upstate New York won praise from his board recently—and by extension so did McREL’s Superintendent Evaluation System, which is based on McREL’s Balanced Leadership™ Framework. The Rome Sentinel reported that new Superintendent Peter Blake finished his first year with a “proficient” rating following a McREL evaluation process, which the Sentinel explained is a notable achievement for a first-time superintendent given the rigor of the McREL superintendent evaluation process. The board adopted the McREL evaluation system two years earlier because it was “more comprehensive” than their previous process. The McREL Superintendent Evaluation system helps district leaders and boards focus their reviews on:
- Purposeful community – using assets to accomplish goals that matter to all community members.
- Managing change – understanding the implications and adjusting leadership behavior accordingly.
- Focus of leadership – targeting appropriate areas for school improvement efforts.
- Management – having a system in place for organizing the work of the school district and prioritizing student learning and safety.
What do principals do, and how does their role differ from that of central office administrators? How have their roles and responsibilities changed over the years? In this op-ed in TriCorner News, Pam Vogel, superintendent of Connecticut’s Regional School District No. 1, answers these questions and tells the community that competent principals and central-office leaders influence student achievement. Citing McREL research, Vogel states that “Principals see that student learning and progress occurs in their building; superintendents are to oversee that each school is making progress. This is accountability. This is what students and parents should expect of us and what we owe them.”
McREL International was named in August 2017 by the Tennessee Department of Education (TNDOE) as one of a group of agencies and school districts that will receive $1 million in grants to support the state’s Principal Pipeline Partnership. Tennessee needs 260–270 principals every year and has the nation’s most advanced school leadership development program, Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said. Among in-school factors, only teacher quality plays a greater role than leadership in influencing student achievement, she said. The grant program funds principal pipelines in nine regions; McREL is collaborating with Wilson County Public Schools and the Center for Educational Leadership at the University of Tennessee to provide aspiring leaders with training, transition support between program completion and job placement, and an induction program for newly placed leaders.
A dozen educators received kudos from the Blount County, Tennessee, school board for completing the district’s Aspiring Administrator Academy, which is based on McREL’s Balanced Leadership Framework. The Daily Times of Maryville reported that this is the fifth group to complete the training, which is “designed to build potential leaders” through monthly seminars, during which the educators learn the responsibilities of effective leaders in “creating a positive school culture, driving change and focusing on meaningful structures and routines.”
Roseburg (Oregon) Public Schools Superintendent Gary Washburn has crafted an improvement plan derived from McREL research on effective teaching and school leadership, the News-Review of Douglas County reported. Washburn told the paper that improving the quality of teaching is the best way to improve student achievement, and he was impressed with McREL’s work with Colorado schools. “My experience with the McREL team personally and professionally leads me to believe that its model will work well for us and offers a framework that we can use to develop a plan specific to Roseburg Public Schools,” he said.
A year ago, high school teachers across Guam attended a McREL training on how to make STEM come alive for students through underwater robotics; on April 21, that work resulted in a successful first-of-its-kind competition. Teams of students from six high schools used remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) they designed and built to collect and transfer items from a pool, simulating reef cleanup and recovery. “This builds the confidence of our kids as far as STEM careers go,” said STEM Project Director Leah Beth Naholowaa. “There’s a lot of jobs on the island that cannot be filled because we don’t have the workforce, so this program helps create awareness.” A member of the winning team from Tiyan High School will now be able to attend the 2017 MATE International ROV competition in Long Beach, California.
Last year, teachers across Guam participated in a McREL STEM education training on underwater robotics—and now their students are taking the plunge. Eleventh graders in Dymphnia San Nicolas-Diaz’s math class at Tiyan High School in Barrigada have been working together to design and build their own remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), which they recently got to test out in an inflatable pool. Said student Franklin Babauta, “We all designed something from scratch and trying to find the right design was hard, but luckily we all came together as a team. We learned a lot of real-life stuff in that class, and this is probably one of my favorite things that we’ve done.”
To spark student interest in STEM, the Guam Department of Education and McREL are working together to train teachers on astronomy and planetary science, including how to build rovers that can travel to different worlds throughout the universe. The CosmoQuest Project, which is supported by NASA, offers teachers first-hand experiences in order to get them engaged in STEM and “take that energy and excitement back into the classroom and be truly inspiring to their students,” said McREL consultant Whitney Cobb.
An article in the Abaconian highlighted McREL’s Balanced Leadership work with school leaders throughout the Bahamas, including the Abaco Islands. The article focuses on how Balanced Leadership supports the Abaco district’s theme for the current school year, “Educate Students to Create Long Time Learners,” by providing training sessions that will help school leaders adjust to the shifting, more demanding expectations placed on them. According to Superintendent Dr. Lenora Black, principals cannot meet all of these expectations alone, and the district’s goal is effective leadership at all levels, from teachers and teacher leaders to district administrators and national education leaders.