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.
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.”