Impact of Teacher Effectiveness on Student Achievement
The work of Bill Sanders, formerly at the University of Tennessee’s Value-Added Research and Assessment Center, has been pivotal in reasserting the importance of the individual teacher on student learning.4 One aspect of his research has been the additive or cumulative effect of teacher effectiveness on student achievement. Over a multi-year period, Sanders focused on what happened to students whose teachers produced high achievement versus those whose teachers produced low achievement results. He discovered that when children, beginning in 3rd grade, were placed with three high-performing teachers in a row, they scored on average at the 96th percentile on Tennessee’s statewide mathematics assessment at the end of 5th grade. When children with comparable achievement histories starting in 3rd grade were placed with three low-performing teachers in a row, their average score on the same mathematics assessment was at the 44th percentile, an enormous 52-percentile point difference for children who presumably had comparable abilities and skills. Elaborating on this body of research, Dr. Sanders and colleagues reported the following: Continue reading
Thanks for the email letting me know that you’d been appointed as an assistant principal. Congratulations! I am not surprised that you’ve been given responsibility for discipline, and I was delighted that you asked me for some ideas as you start this new position.
As you know, I have been observing assistant principals and other school leaders for quite some time. It seems that assistants are usually given jobs like discipline and/or supervision of classified staff. In comparison with the bigger picture of educational leadership, being responsible for discipline or classified staff may not seem very important, and it’s tempting to take on the attitude that this lowly assignment is something that everyone has to endure on their way to being a principal–like an initiation or right of passage. This attitude blinds one to the leadership opportunities in these seemingly lowly assignments. I’d encourage you to avoid this “rite of passage” attitude and become a leader in the area of discipline. Don’t just endure—LEAD! Continue reading
A great curriculum in the hands of a mediocre teacher—even one with a credential—is nothing more than a mediocre curriculum
Leadership, Nov-Dec, 2005 by Pete Pillsbury (While this was written 8 years ago, it is still relevant in today’s search for hiring outstanding educators)
Most administrators would agree that hiring a teacher is the most important decision they make. This decision has a greater affect on children than any other administrative decision. What a teacher believes and does as a teacher will either open or close doors to learning for students. Continue reading
As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth.
Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same.
However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.
Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant.
It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big “F” at the top of his papers. Continue reading
Several years ago when I accepted the job of principal at Yuba Feather Elementary School, a K-8 school in Northern California, I was told by a colleague that I was crazy to take the job. She told me that the atmosphere was hopelessly negative, that the staff was demoralized, and that students’ pride and interest in school were dismally low.
Having been given this advice and background information, I guess I was a little crazy, for I took the job. Despite the poor condition of the school, I sensed a powerful reservoir of potential. I saw a butterfly inside a tightly closed cocoon and believed a metamorphosis could happen. The metamorphosis of Yuba Feather School is something of a miracle? Today it is a school recognized through Northern California for its academic excellence, positive climate, and innovative atmosphere. The school has an award-winning writing program, a successful mastery learning “levels” math program, intense peer collaboration, a peer observation program, a highly successful literature-based reading program, a staff trained in teaching critical thinking, and an adult learning and problem solving environment for the teachers. Teachers from our school are sought out to make presentations locally and for other districts through Northern California. Two video films which focus on the Yuba Feather Writing Project have been distributed nationally and won first place in the 1986 National Education Film Festival. In 1986 the school was chosen as a California Distinguished School as a result of our students’ improved performance on the California Assessment Program test and our outstanding pride in their school.
It is common knowledge that public education has a critical shortage of qualified and talented people stepping into school leadership roles. A common lament among school districts is that there are so few candidates for principal positions. Educators who do take on a principalship often voice, very early on, frustration over the complexity and demands of the job. After being appointed, new and even experienced principals get little effective guidance and support, and there are few places for them to turn to for support and direction. This situation especially affects the brand new principal but is also a concern for those with experience entering a new job. Continue reading