School Improvement in Maryland

A Principal's Role in Structuring Regular Examinations of Student Work

Principals play a critical role in setting the expectation that planning and examining student work and performance data should be an ongoing, collaborative process. Principals need to provide time for this to happen. They need to consider how they could use staff meetings or other meeting times to build capacity and set expectations for how teams or departments will examine student work as a regular activity at their team meetings. Principals must also monitor the process and products and recognize it when it is successful.

Principals need to

  • Set expectations
  • Find and structure time
  • Model engagement in the process
  • Monitor process and end products
  • Recognize / showcase

They must address the following questions:

  • How and how often do you expect these teams of teachers to collaboratively plan and examine evidence of student learning?
  • How can you communicate these expectations and the high priority you place on it?
  • What do you want the end product(s) to look like?
  • How can teachers demonstrate that they have used this information to make the kinds of instructional decisions that would result in improved student achievement?

How do you communicate expectations?

It is probably a good idea to communicate expectations both in a meeting and a memo. Your presentation and memo should describe your expectations that teams or departments participate in ongoing examination of student achievement data and student work. You need to identify the reason, focus, and end products for these meetings.

They must address the following questions:

  • How and how often do you expect these teams of teachers to collaboratively plan and examine evidence of student learning?
  • How can you communicate these expectations and the priority you place on it happening?
  • What do you want the end product(s) to look like?
  • How can teachers demonstrate that they have used this information to make the kinds of instructional decisions that would result in improved student achievement?

When your staff hear your presentation and/or read your memo, they should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Why does my principal expect me to participate in team meetings?
  • What does my principal expect me to do in these meetings?
  • How will it benefit students?
  • How often does my principal expect me to participate? When?
  • Who's in charge of ensuring this happens?
  • What are we expected to produce as end products to these dialogues?
  • What am I expected to do with these end products?
  • How do I assess the effectiveness of my instructional decisions?