Our research has revealed that certain actions and behaviors have a positive effect on student achievement and staff success—and that all school leaders can learn these practices and ways to implement them with efficacy. Through comprehensive consulting, professional development, and coaching, we help school- and district-level leaders find the delicate balance between specific leadership actions—when to emphasize which actions and why—to become true instructional leaders and lift up the performance of all students and staff.

Want more information about our consulting services, PD and training options, and customized solutions in this area? Contact us today at 800.858.6830 or info@mcrel.org.

Leadership of a school

Balanced Leadership® School Level

Based on the largest-ever analysis of research on effective school leaders, our school-level leadership PD guides principals in choosing the right focus for school improvement efforts; effectively leading changes in your school; and transforming your school culture into a purposeful community that believes it can make a difference. We also offer a consortium for school leadership teams across a state, region, or district and Training-of-Trainer sessions for staff developers wishing to become certified providers.



school leadership meeting

Balanced Leadership® District Level

This program turns research on effective district leadership into guidance that ensures all leaders across a district are focused on the right practices. The Foundation Series connects the research on school- and district-level leadership; the Framework Series examines the components of the Balanced Leadership Framework; and the Future Series puts it all together, challenging leaders to apply the knowledge, tools, and strategies they’ve learned in their own districts.



leadership meeting in a school

Building Shared Leadership

It takes a team to create and maintain a high-performance school, but some teams may need help getting started. Our workshops and consulting guide your leadership teams in establishing the structures and processes they need to be productive, work together well, and gain the confidence and support of their entire staffs.

School leadership in school hallway

Monitoring Improvement Efforts

When schools begin new initiatives, they often don’t see the immediate benefits of their work. We’ll show you how to monitor and adjust the implementation of an initiative, including how to use the right tools, measure effectiveness, and make adjustments to increase effectiveness.

School leadership in a meeting

School District Leadership That Works

This meta-analysis of decades of research on effective superintendent leadership—perhaps the largest ever—is the basis of McREL’s district-level leadership work. Key findings include: district-level leadership affects student achievement; effective superintendents focus on creating districtwide goals; and superintendent tenure is positively correlated with student achievement.


Woman with tablet

EmpowerED Suite

This comprehensive software, developed in partnership with MediaX, makes it easy for teachers, coaches, and school leaders to work together to improve the use of instructional strategies and other professional practices. The suite includes our Power Walkthrough® software for collecting and sharing classroom observation data; a Survey component for gathering feedback from teachers, parents, and students; a Reflection tool that helps teachers develop SMART goals and track their own growth; and a Coaching component that provides tools for enhancing coaching conversations and helping teachers be the best they can be.



preschool teacher with students

Power Walkthrough® Seminar

Learn how to get the most out of our Power Walkthrough (PWT) software, making your classroom observations more meaningful and coaching teachers to a deeper level of improvement. Based on the research-based strategies of Classroom Instruction That Works (2nd Ed.) and compatible with any mobile device, PWT includes tools and templates that help school leaders and coaches look for and collect data on the most important elements of effective teaching. Training options include a two-day workshop at your location or our Video Training Package.


a teacher typing on a computer

BrightBytes Leadership Module

Developed in partnership with BrightBytes and based on McREL’s research on effective school leadership, this module offers district leaders a tool for using data analysis to determine which improvement initiatives have the biggest impact on student learning and whether they have the support they need to lead those initiatives effectively. The module gives actionable recommendations for fostering change and enabling leadership teams to move the bar on student learning. This module is available through BrightBytes.