Wednesday / May 29

How to Build Effective Leaders for Student Achievement [CASE STUDY] 

Even with great teachers, student achievement hinges on an effective principal. Behind every great principal is an airtight system of leadership evaluation that consistently rewards excellence and remedies deficits. While teacher evaluation methods have improved, instructional leadership evaluation has often stood still—and student learning and achievement have paid the price. 

Based on their highly-regarded book of the same name, Julie and Ray Smith have created Evaluating Instructional Leadership: a suite of professional development research-based offerings that articulate a clear and process-focused outline for building instructional leadership capacity.

An excerpt from the Volusia County Schools Case Study 

It was during the early work that it became apparent to district leaders that school administrators needed more extensive learning in key areas of leadership. Working with Dr. Julie Smith, VCS contracted for Impact Leadership and Feedback for Learning sessions for all school administrators. Having worked with VCS leaders for over a year, Dr. Smith took existing leadership content and customized the professional learning sessions to ensure the specific needs of VCS were met. Impact Leadership is a two-day session on the topics of time management and the decision-making process. A needs assessment of administrators had revealed the chief concern with meeting the expectations of the new evaluation system was lack of time, and the content of Impact Leadership directly addressed these needs. 

Simultaneously during the work of Dr. Smith, the district professional learning staff was developing a program to support new principals. Through an examination of the feedback received from school administrators, district staff and Dr. Smith designed the VCS Coaching Series for new principals and principal interns. The content was to include the Impact Leadership two days, Feedback for Learning, Learning/Linking Walks and individual coaching support for Deliberate Practice Plans. The first cohort contained 25 participants. Due to significant positive feedback on the Learning/Linking Walks process, the district expanded the opportunity to all principals and assistant principals.  

As a result of the increasingly proactive and engaging professional relationship of Dr. Julie Smith with VCS, the district benefited from learning of leading educational researchers. Dr. Smith introduced VCS to the work of Dr. John Hattie and facilitated the Visible Learning Foundation day for school administrators and district instructional staff. Additionally, VCS was introduced to the work of Dr. Russ Quaglia on Student Voice. 

Read the complete case study here 

Meet Julie and Ray Smith 

 Dr. Julie R. Smith is a thirty-five year veteran educator, speaker, consultant, and author. Her passion, area of focus, and expertise is in building leadership capacity within people and systems; school improvement planning, and teacher, principal, and district evaluation models. Dr. Smith continues her learning by providing workshops in North America and Canada around Professor John Hattie’s research in Visible Learning as a Visible Learning Plus Consultant with Corwin. 

Prior to joining Corwin, Dr. Raymond Smith served as adjunct professor at the University of Colorado Denver Health Sciences Center teaching within a principal preparation program and currently works with Florida Atlantic University in their aspiring leader program. Dr. Smith’s diverse experience includes over 38 years of teaching and leadership at the building (high school principal), central office (Director of Secondary Education), and university levels. 

Want to learn more about Evaluating Instructional Leadership? 

Visit the program pages to learn more about alignment, outcomes, consultants, and more. 

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Written by

Sasha Strunk is a Marketing Specialist who supports on-site PD, Leadership titles, and higher education. After work, she tries new Hello Fresh recipes and watches Jeopardy with her husband, daughter, stepdaughter, and rescue dog, Biscuit. She loves all things New Wave and would love to own an Eichler home one day. #dreams

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