CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Department of Education, in collaboration with the state’s higher education institutions and other stakeholders, are working together in an effort to strengthen principal preparation programs and ultimately student achievement in the 21st century. On Tuesday, the state Board of Education learned the project started last spring is gaining momentum as it progresses.
After convening the West Virginia Leadership Development and Support Collaborative for the first time last spring, the group’s 50 members have been busy developing leadership standards for superintendents, principals and teacher leaders. Members include representatives from higher education, public education and government.
The collaborative is to present the new standards to the West Virginia Board of Education by January and a master plan to the board by July. The master plan will address such issues as preparation, certification, recruitment, professional development, induction and evaluation.
“To develop the top students in the world, we need to develop the best schools and adequately prepare principals to lead them,” West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine said. “We can no longer prepare leaders sitting in the classroom listening to lectures. Just as we are changing how we teach our children, we also must incorporate real-world experiences in our principal preparation programs.”
Improving the effectiveness of public school principals is an urgent task as schools across the country work to incorporate 21st century skills, tools, content and assessments into the classroom. Effective leadership is a crucial element that can have a positive effect on school climate, staff morale and especially student performance. Recent research shows that leadership can affect achievement up to 30 percent.
As part of West Virginia’s effort to strengthen the leadership training available to educators in West Virginia, the collaborative has reviewed current West Virginia policy, national standards (including the Educational Leadership Policy Standards: ISLLC 2008 as adopted by the National Policy Board for Educational Administration and the ELLC standards), other state standards and numerous research documents.
The final documents will serve as the basis for making changes to current code, policy and practices that affect leadership.
“This collaborative will help address fears that the pool of qualified principals and other leaders is shrinking in West Virginia,” said Lydia McCue, who is overseeing the project for the department. “It also will encourage counties to establish their own grow your own leaders programs to fill leadership gaps.”
For more information, contact the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.