CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) is looking to the public for input on ways to redesign principalship programs in the state. The board, during its monthly meeting, discussed Recommendations for Transforming School Leadership in West Virginia.
The report, compiled by ICF International for Imagine West Virginia, sets forth recommendations that would update the training and roles of school administrators.
“This document sets the stage for monumental changes in the way we prepare principals to step into one of the most important roles within a school,” said Gayle Manchin, WVBE president. “The decisions and actions regarding school principal leadership taken at this time will determine the state’s future regarding the performance of our schools and students. The proposed recommendations turn how we have always done things upside down, forcing leaders to rethink what works and what has not worked for decades.”
Recommendations for a redesigned principalship include:
RECOMMENDATION 1: Redesign the role of the principal from building manager to instructional leader.
Learning and student achievement improve in schools where the principal is an instructional leader.
RECOMMENDATION 2: Redesign principal preparation programs in West Virginia's institutions of higher education to align with the role of instructional leader and incorporate a strong clinical foundation.
Transforming the school leadership will require the WVBE to adopt more stringent program approval criteria based on the new role and program elements of a rigorous clinical preparation program.
RECOMMENDATION 3: Establish WVBE, or an independent authority established by the Board, with the authority to screen and approve applicants to principal preparation programs.
Transforming school administration should include a well-designed process for selecting and approving applicants. Applicants should be screened by a committee of the WVBE based on selective criteria established by the Board. Successful completion of an approved program, assessment of competencies, and licensure would follow a similar Board approval process.
RECOMMENDATION 4: Redesign the salary schedule for school administrators.
Salary adjustment for successful completion of an approved principal preparation program should be conferred when the program participant assumes the position, not when he or she receives the credential.
RECOMMENDATION 5: Adopt a career ladder for teachers; one that clearly articulates advance instructional roles and credentials, accompanying clinically-based graduate level training for each advanced credential, and corresponding salary adjustments for various clinical positions.
One attractive possibility is the creation of the position of "master teacher" or "teacher leader," where good teachers are trained and assigned the additional role of assisting other teachers. These teacher leaders would be paid extra for performing this role.
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