As Iowa works toward implementing a cohesive leadership system for school administrators, a National Staff Development Council JSD article lays out what's being learned along the way. It includes a description of the scaffold of supports that has been developed to equip leaders in progressing to meet the learning needs of every student in Iowa.
The recent article "Data present a clear picture of time spent on instructional tasks" featured in JSD's April issue on leadership provides insight into how principals are prioritizing their days. The story further describes Iowa's School Administration Manager project, and additional details are offered on the SAI site. You can learn more about the national project on The Wallace Foundation website.
Iowa Featured in RAND Report, 'Improving School Leadership: The Promise of Cohesive Leadership Systems'
The Improving School Leadership: The Promise of Cohesive Leadership Systems report identifying Iowa as one of three states in which progress toward a cohesive leadership system is “exemplary” is available on The Wallace Foundation's Web site.
Five key dimensions of a cohesive leadership system are identified in the report:
- Comprehensiveness in the scope of state and district initiatives—for example, in addressing standards, licensure, training, evaluation and improving conditions;
- Alignment of policies and practices within and between different levels of the system;
- Engagement of relevant stakeholders in planning and implementing policy changes;
- Agreement on the importance of leadership, what it should consist of and how to improve it; and
- Coordination that promotes alignment, engagement and agreement around leadership improvement initiatives among the key players at all levels of the system.
Deepening, spreading and sustaining a cohesive leadership system in Iowa will require additional, ongoing efforts. Business, government and education organizations continue to work together to make the emerging leadership system a reality.
Decision Rubrics for Education Leaders
With Wallace Foundation support, a Web site is now available with rubrics focusing on data-informed decision making, financial resource allocation, governance and human resource allocation. These instruments have been piloted in four states and 20 districts. The site features:
- a complete set of the rubrics with questions that guide users to areas of greatest interest;
- links to best practices;
- annotated resources;
- connections to experts on conditions change who can assist your district in using the rubrics to make changes in policies and practices affecting leaders;
- usage guidelines that include: facilitating a rubrics discussion, prioritizing next steps and taking action.
Listen to a recording of a webinar covering the resources' use.
Facilitation Tools for Tough Budget Times
IASB, IASBO and SAI invite you to take advantage of a new, free toolkit, "Facilitation Tools for Tough Budget Times." The tools provide a multi-step process that takes a board/superintendent team from brainstorming and initial prioritizing to identifying consequences and barriers to budget options, prioritization and quantification, and decision analysis. You may access the toolkit online.
Talking about the ABCs of ATBs: Iowa Schools Budget Communications Toolkit
With several stakeholder groups in each school district, there is a terrific need to accurately communicate these issues in a manner that all audiences understand. Continual two-way dialogue is key to keeping individuals engaged with what is happening in a school district.
Iowa’s AEAs, in concert with Larry Sigel of Iowa School Information Services, have developed this communications toolkit to help school administrators respond and guide community conversations about what implications the governor’s budget cut has for local districts across the state and for education as a whole.
New Toolkit Now Available to Help You Make Long-Term Budget Decisions
School board member/superintendent teams have extremely difficult budget decisions to make for upcoming years and when it comes to making difficult decisions, the process is just as important as the final result.
That's why IASB, IASBO and SAI, have partnered to release a new toolkit, "Facilitation Tools for Tough Budget Times." This suite of tools guides districts through the entire budget process, with exercises that take you from brainstorming and prioritizing to analyzing options and making final decisions so that you, along with your community, can make the right choices for your district and your students. These steps will give you an objective, concrete way of making tough decisions, as well as guidance to help you achieve community buy-in.
Access this online toolkit. Be proactive in preparing to make tough decisions, and let education goals guide the work, not just dollars and cents.
The Iowa Department of Education recently released Iowa's graduation rate, which is among the highest in the nation. When examining efforts to further raise the number of graduates, districts may want to review a policy brief by the Alliance for Excellent Education. This brief lists early indicators that can help administrators and teachers identify students who are unlikely to graduate without additional intervention. Examples are provided from schools that have used this data to guide interventions.
What interventions are you using in your school(s), and what grade levels are you targeting? Provide your answers in the Member Forum area on the right-hand side of the page.