How we did this
A 12-person committee of educators, working under the leadership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, developed the standards, with the support of The Wallace Foundation. The standards are grounded in another set of model standards—those for principals themselves.
This report contains what are believed to be the first-ever set of standards for the job of principal supervisor. The standards are grounded in another set of model standards—those for principals themselves.
The Model Principal Supervisor Professional Standards 2015 fall into three broad categories. These three categories of standards need to be integrated to provide comprehensive support to principals.
The first category involves the work surrounding educational leadership. Since the primary role of the principal supervisor is to support and improve principals’ capacity for instructional leadership, it is the focus of four of the eight standards.
- Principal supervisors dedicate their time to helping principals grow as instructional leaders.
- Principal supervisors coach and support individual principals and engage in effective professional learning strategies to help principals grow as instructional leaders.
- Principal supervisors use evidence of principals’ effectiveness to determine necessary improvements in principals’ practice to foster a positive educational environment that supports the diverse cultural and learning needs of students.
- Principal supervisors engage principals in the formal district principal evaluation process in ways that help them grow as instructional leaders.
The second category involves ensuring the smooth and effective functioning of the district.
- Principal supervisors advocate for and inform the coherence of organizational vision, policies and strategies to support schools and student learning.
- Principal supervisors assist the district in ensuring the community of schools with which they engage are culturally/socially responsive and have equitable access to resources necessary for the success of each student.
The third category involves improving the capacity and effectiveness of the principal supervisor as a district leader.
- Principal supervisors engage in their own development and continuous improvement to help principals grow as instructional leaders.
- Principal supervisors lead strategic change that continuously elevates the performance of schools and sustains high-quality educational programs and opportunities across the district.
In addition, principal supervisors should exhibit certain dispositions that are threaded through all of the standards and maintain the focus on students. These dispositions include growth-oriented, collaborative, innovative, analytical, ethical, perseverant, reflective, equity-minded, and systems-focused.
Focus on Continuous Improvement
Like the principals with whom they work, principal supervisors seek to effect continuous improvement. To bring about improvements, they employ a strategic cycle of actions. They study and analyze data and evidence to understand a situation and identify its strengths and weaknesses. Then, they develop the rationale and plan for addressing the weaknesses and building on strengths. They enact the plan next, followed by evaluating the outcome. The cycle then repeats itself, allowing problems that were once invisible to emerge and be addressed.
Using the Standards
State education agencies can use the standards to develop a clear theory of action about how improved school leadership contributes to improved student outcomes. They can share the standards with their governor, legislature, local districts, leadership preparation programs, and professional development providers to start a dialogue about making school leadership a major focus of their strategic plan. These standards can also be incorporated into training and certification expectations for superintendents and other relevant central office roles as they might apply in individual states.
At the local level, the standards can inform the recruitment, selection, induction, professional learning, and evaluation of supervisors of principals.
An expanding base of knowledge from research and practice shows that educational leaders exert influence on student achievement by creating conditions conducive to each student’s learning.
A couple of related reports on principal supervisors are:
The Model Principal Supervisor Professional Standards 2015 fall into three broad categories:
- The first category involves the work surrounding educational leadership
- The second ensures the smooth and effective functioning of the district
- The third involves improving the capacity and effectiveness of the principal supervisor as a district leader
Based on the idea that supervisors can help shape effective principals, the standards emphasize the aspect of the job involving developing principals as professionals who can boost student learning.
The standards are voluntary and intended to assist state education agencies and local school districts, which can adapt them to their needs, in molding the job of principal supervisor.
What We Don't Know
The Model Principal Supervisor Professional Standards 2015 recognize that the duties of a principal supervisor will likely change over time. They are not intended to serve as a job description because principal supervisor positions vary widely from district to district. Rather, these standards are related specifically to the actions that support principals.