State Education Board Supports Recommendation to Revamp Principal Leadership Programs

October 09, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) signed a proclamation in support of the Recommendations for Transforming School Leadership in West Virginia. This action comes after a 30 day comment period during which the board reviewed nearly 70 suggestions from the public.

"I am encouraged with the number of people who took the time to review the report and offer comments regarding the crucial topic of improving school leadership," said WVBE President Gayle Manchin. "We received positive feedback to support moving forward with a focus on school leadership."

Imagine WV's Recommendations for Transforming School Leadership paper, outlines practices to update the training and roles of school administrators.

"Imagine WV is delighted that the state Board of Education has endorsed our proposals for transforming school leadership in the state," said Jack Bowman, executive director of Imagine WV. "West Virginia's teachers and principals are deeply committed to providing quality education to our young people and we believe our recommendations should provide a solid basis for assisting them in their efforts."

“We know that a strong leader sets the student success expectations and the attitude of a school community," said Manchin. "This white paper and recommendations are important because they provide ideas to reshape educational leadership programs in the state and set the stage for meaningful changes in the way we prepare principals to step into one of the most important roles within a school. The recommendations will guide us away from the traditional mindset by asking leaders to rethink the role of school leaders."

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 "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.

The WVBE's next step is determining priorities and policy that can leverage the changes in school leadership. The WVBE's High Quality Educator Committee will address action steps going forward.

For more information contact Liza Cordeiro in the West Virginia Department of Education Communication Office at 304-558-2699.

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