Imagine we found a cure for cancer and didn’t use it! Or a cure for the common cold and didn’t use it. People would be incensed. That is how Ron Edmonds felt about creating effective schools:
“We can whenever and wherever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us. We already know more than we need to do that. Whether or not we do it must finally depend on how we feel about the fact we haven’t so far. “
The question is why and at least part of the answer can be found in people’s resistance to change. One of the better ways to overcome resistance is to explain the change and let people know how they will benefit from the change.
Ron Edmonds, Wilbur Brookover, and Larry Lezotte developed a body of research that support these basic beliefs
- All children can learn & come to school motivated to do so
- Schools control enough of the variables to assure that virtually all students do learn
- School should be held accountable for measured student achievement
- Schools should disaggregate measured student achievement to be certain that students, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, are successfully learning the intended school curriculum
- The internal & external stakeholders are the most qualified & capable people to plan & implement the changes necessary to fulfill the “learning for all” mission.
What are the Seven Correlates?
In their search for what makes schools effective, the researchers first identified effective schools (“schools that were successful in educating all students regardless of their socio-economic status or family background”). Then they identified common traits of these schools. These were culled down and are known as the Seven Correlates of Effective Schools:
- Instructional Leadership
- Clear and Focused Mission
- Safe and Orderly Environment
- Climate of High Expectations
- Frequent Monitoring of Student Progress
- Positive Home-School Relations
- Opportunity to Learn and Student Time on Task
In this post, we are going to look at Instructional Leadership.
- Place a priority on promoting growth in student learning
- Make instructional quality the top priority of the school and take the necessary steps to make that vision a reality
- Foster and lead learning teams/communities that meet regularly
- Work with their staff to discuss work and data
- Collaborate with staff on problem solving
- Develop leader among their teachers
- Take responsibility for what students learn
Instructional leaders exhibit the following behaviors (Blase and Blase-2000):
- Make suggestions
- Give feedback
- Model effective instruction
- Solicit opinions
- Support collaboration
- Provide professional development opportunities
- Give praise for effective teaching
Ron Edmonds: There may be schools out there that have strong instructional leaders, but are not yet effective; however, we have never yet found an effective school that did not have a strong instructional leader as the principal.