Monday / June 17

The Story of Volusia County Schools, FL—A Case Study

“In 2012, we began work to develop instructional leaders at our schools that would have the expertise in the critical areas of leadership to effectively lead their schools to meet the increasing requirements in faculty development and student achievement. Through our work with Dr. Julie Smith, our district designed a multi-year series of sessions targeting the focus areas for leaders as defined by needs assessments. Following support in the new teacher evaluation system, we launched the Impact Leadership Series and Feedback for Learning. Now in our fourth year, we continue to engage in progressive learning to improve the performance of instructional leaders and can document significant improvement in faculty performance and student achievement.”
—Karen L. Beattie, Principal
Chrisholm Elementary School

Volusia County Schools, FL:

Teacher Population:


Student Population


Free/Reduced Lunch:


SWD/ESE Population:


English Learner Population:


Number of Schools:


The Context

Volusia County Schools (VCS) is located on Florida’s east coast, bordered on the west by the historic St. Johns River and by the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Its most notable city is Daytona Beach. VCS is the 13th largest school district in Florida. Prior to beginning the work with Dr. Julie Smith and Corwin, the principals and assistant principals received professional learning primarily on school operations and legislation rather than instructional leadership. With the advent of a new evaluation system, VCS recognized a significant need to engage school leaders with focused and intense professional learning aligned with the expectations of 21st century instructional leaders.

Early Work 2012–2013

Initially the work centered on ensuring all school administrators were informed practitioners according to the district’s new evaluation system. The Florida School Leader Assessment dimensions are comprised of ten proficiency areas. Through a series of professional learning sessions, administrators were exposed to the expectations of the system and then the newly designed Deliberate Practice Plan (DPP). The DPP required leaders to identify goals aligned to the school improvement process and the improvement of their individual professional practice.

Read the full case study

Evaluating Instructional Leadership — Volusia Case Study

Written by

Julie Smith is an accomplished author and a former school administrator with more than 35 years of experience in school and district leadership. Follow Julie on Twitter @DrJulie0689.

Raymond Smith is an accomplished author and former high school principal, Director of High School Education, and adjunct professor with more than 34 years of experience in leadership development. Follow Ray on Twitter @DrRLSmith.

Julie and Ray are the authors of Evaluating Instructional Leadership.

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