May 6th Podcast – Organizational Management for Instructional Improvement

Recognition of the importance of school leadership has led to increased attention to recruiting and preparing school leaders. Yet, principal preparation and development programs tend to emphasize the role of principals as instructional leaders. In this seminar, Professor Susanna Loeb, Executive Director of the Center for Education Policy Analysis program at Stanford University, discussed the findings of her leadership studies that highlight the importance of organizational leadership and the development of organizational structures for improved instruction. Strong organizational managers, the studies have found, are effective in hiring and supporting staff, allocating budgets and resources, and maintaining positive working/learning environments. Schools that have demonstrated academic improvement are more likely to have effective organizational managers.

Strong instructional leadership is essential for a school to be successful. However, one must be careful about how instructional leadership is defined. Defined narrowly with a focus on curriculum and classroom instruction only, instructional leadership is unlikely to result in increased student learning or other school outcomes of interest. The studies discussed in this seminar have found that growth in school outcomes is more likely to be related to organizational management for instructional improvement. School leaders are more likely to influence teachers’ classroom practices, and consequently student learning, by supporting teachers and fostering effective teaching and learning environments, rather than focusing narrowly on classroom instruction alone.

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