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Innovation Configuration Map for Principal Evaluations

An innovation configuration map is a document that identifies and describes the main constituents of a new practice and explains how it can be used, Lash L. (2009). It creates a mental image of what each of the essential constituents and segments of the teaching cycle looks like when implemented by principals and teachers. Effective school-based professional development requires principles to gain additional knowledge and skills about professional learning, collaborative, school culture and the process of change. Principles are expected to create learning communities in their schools and engage the broader school community in creating and achieving a compelling vision for schools that typically command and control views of leadership and to be instructional leaders steeped in curriculum instruction and assessment, who can coach, teach, develop and distribute leadership roles to those in their charge. Although high-quality teaching is critical for the success of students, the role of the principal is one of the most crucial in attaining high levels of student achievement. According to Lash L. (2009), the principal’s instructional leadership helps create and maintain school-wide focus in student learning. Good principals also create trust within their schools, share responsibilities for students learning, and ensure a school culture that fosters collaborative professional learning opportunities.

The policy makers in the education sectors agree that principals are critical to the school success and they have repeatedly pointed out the need to aggressively recruit and select highly qualified candidates. In the recent past, the evaluation of principals has attracted much less interest. There is a growing pressure to increase the achievement of students especially the passage of no child left behind that generates a new thinking in the principal evaluation in boosting individual and organizational performance.

Principal evaluation is a great challenge. This is because this is a complex job position that has multiple messages about job expectations. More so, it is context dependant and has multiple paths to success.This is because it is very hard to know how effective is a principal program as confirmed by recent research is done public Agenda survey, also how is the knowlge base of principal preparation being refined meaning how do the knowledge come from theory to be practiced. This lead to many questions how are principal typically evaluated? What are the shortcomings of the current evaluation practices? , what are the key element of effective evaluation? What standards should be used to determine if the program is effective? And finally which instrument should be used to achieve those standards?. Politics in this job position also brings problems in the evaluation. The principal evaluation aims at achieving good communication, development, accountability and symbolizes control of how the school is run. Principal evaluation can be outcome based or behavior based. Outcome based approach to principal evaluation is concerned with change in attainment while behavior-based approach is concerned with the assessment of personal conduct. These two approaches of principal evaluation must work together for sufficient results to be obtained.

The school’s mission, vision, and strategic leadership

Principles are essential because they provide strategic leadership in their institutions. They will create conditions that result in strategically re-imaging the school’s vision, mission and goals, Leithwood K. and Paul T. (2004). Principals must understand that schools ideally prepare students for an unseen but altogether unpredictable future. They have to create a climate of inquiry that challenges the school community to clearly re-purpose itself by building on its core values and beliefs about its preferred future and then developing a pathway to reach it, Gordon K. (2009).

The principal plays a big role in the success of his/her school. He/she should develop a vision for changing the school’s performance. A principal must lead and implement a process for developing a shared vision and strategic goals the student achievement that reflects high expectations for students and staff. He/she should also maintain a focus on the vision and strategic goals throughout the school year. Together with other stakeholders, a principal should create a vision for the school that captures the people’s attention and imagination. They should also design and implement collaborative processes to collect and analyze data about the school’s progress for the periodic review and revision of the school’s vision, mission and strategic goals. The school’s identity is derived from the vision, mission, values, beliefs and goals of the school. The principal should ensure that the school’s identity actually drive decisions and inform the culture of the school. He/she is required to initiate changes to the vision and goals based on data to improve performance, school culture and school success, Leithwood K. and Paul T. (2004).

The school mission helps to establish the purpose for the school’s existence. The principal must determine if the vision and mission exist in the school. He/she should locate the vision and mission statements that already exist in the school. The principal assembles a taskforce made up of representatives from stakeholder groups if in fact mission and vision do not exist or if the existing statements need to be revised. The principal is required to ensure that the staff is aware of the vision and mission of the school. He/she gathers and examines the values and beliefs of staff and school community to ensure the alignment between beliefs, values and mission or vision statements. This also helps principals to see what obstacles might interfere with realizing the vision and mission of the school. The principal plans time for stakeholders to question, discuss and debate in the process of creating or revising the mission for the school. Furthermore, the principal facilitates the creation and revision of a mission statement that expresses the school’s purpose for existing. A principal facilitates the creation and revision of a vision statement that provides a clear, robust and compelling sense where the school is headed. The vision describes the desired future and embraces the school’s purpose.

The other role of the principal in defining the mission and vision of the school is to establish a learning culture with the mission and vision as the guiding principles for all decisions made for the school. The principle is required to ensure that the vision and mission of the school are clear and specific to the district’s vision and mission. The principal also ensures that a school mission is forefront and is fundamental to every decision made by the school, Roy P. and Hord S. (2003).

According to Gordon K. (2009), The principal works with the staff to communicate how the mission statement addresses what the students are expected to learn how to determine whether the students are learning, what to do to students if they don’t get what is expected and how they will engage the students in their own learning. The principal highlights the mission and vision throughout the school. He/she also evaluates school policies and procedures to ensure that the entire school population adheres to the mission. The principal is required to check performance against the vision, adjust the system to make the achievement of the mission and vision possible and recognize and celebrate the positive steps and results in making the mission and vision a reality. Moreover, the principal provides ongoing assistance to promote and sustain implementation to include coaching, problem-solving, resource allocation, highlighting benefits to students and investing in professional development opportunities.

A school must have clearly stated mission, vision, and goals in order for it to achieve success. For example, the principal can state the mission of his/her school as having light. This will enable the students of this particular school to have the desire to be holy and to be driven by their God-given gifts in the service of others and for nation building. The principal can state the vision of such a school as encouraging students to serve others and to be instruments of change. A school can have various goals. One of the goals of a school can be conscience. A school will ensure that students have the conscience in whatever they do.

The students must be encouraged to have good moral reasoning in order for them to succeed. Another goal of a school can be to build good character of all the members of the entire school population. Community service is another goal of many schools. A school will have the goal of producing students who will be of good help to the community. Competence is another school goal where the school aims at being competent as compared to other schools in the community. Compassion and school culture are other school goals and the principal is required to ensure that each of these goals is met, Roy P. and Hord S. (2003).

Innovation of change

In schools, the principal is the person to initiate change for the success of that particular school. The principal must create time structures for teachers to meet. He should provide support to learning teams by bringing in an outside facilitator to initiate change. Moreover, he should demonstrate an appreciation for congenial and collegial relationships. It is the duty of the principal to create time for the teachers to discuss teaching and learning topics that can help improve the performance of all the students. The principal provides the necessary opportunities for team leaders to learn about group structures, group processes, group dynamics, the stages of group development and decision-making. The principal provides leadership facilitation and coaching during the collaborative process. The principal is supposed to lead change in their schools. He/she must ensure a co-management with coordination and joint planning enhanced through the development of consensus between staff and related members at all levels about desired goals for education, Gordon K. (2009).

The principal identifies the changes necessary for the improvement of student learning. He/she systematically considers new and better ways of leading for improved student achievement and engages stakeholders in the change process. More so, the principal adapts leadership styles with major changes in implementing processes and accomplishing the necessary tasks. He/she routinely and systematically communicates the impact of change processes to acquire essential skills. In addition, the principal is driving forces behind major initiatives that help students acquire essential skills. He/she systematically challenges the status quo by leading change with potentially beneficial outcomes, Joellen K. (2006).

The principal e+nsures that the role of group facilitator becomes the responsibility of everyone and rotates as the skill level of group member’s increase. He/she should provide training and support to develop faculty members to serve as skilled facilitators who provide support during whole school and learning team meetings. The principal works with teachers to create and implement an incentive system for learning teams. He/she recognizes and rewards joint work that results in student gains and accomplishes school goals. The principal creates structures and processes to ensure there is mutual support among teachers expecting each person to focus work on school goals and outcomes. The principal has to request all members of staff to cooperate with each other. He/she is supposed to build a culture that respects risk taking, encourages collegial exchange, identifies and resolves conflicts, sustains trust and engages the entire staff in a learning community to improve the learning of all students. Together with other members of staff, the principal creates a variety of learning teams to attain various goals of the school. He/she facilitates conflict resolution among group members. In addition, the principal supports learning by providing articles, videos and charts that are used during team times, Lash L. (2009).

Implementing change

The principal understands statutory requirements regarding the school improvement plan. He/she facilitates the collaborative development of the annual school improvement plan to realize strategic goals and objectives. He/she surveys the working condition for the teachers and other data sources to develop framework for school improvement plan. According to Leithwood K. and Paul T. (2004), the principal facilitates successful execution of the school improvement plan aligned to the mission and goals set by the state board of education and the local board of education. He/she systematically collects analyses and uses data regarding the school’s progress towards attaining strategic goals and objectives. The principal incorporates principles of continuous improvement and creative concepts for the improvement of the school. In order to implement the school’s plan, the principal has to distribute leadership and decision making throughout the school.

The principal must seek input from variety of stakeholder groups including teachers, parents and guardians. He/she must understand the importance of providing opportunities for teachers to assume leadership and decision making roles within the school. Moreover, the principal must involve parents, guardians, and the community and staff members in decision about school governance, curriculum, and instruction. The principal also provides leadership development activities for staff members. It is also the duty of the principal to ensure that parents, guardians, community members and staff members have an autonomy to make decisions and support the decisions made as part of the collective decision making process. Furthermore, the principal creates opportunities for the staff to demonstrate leadership skills by allowing them to assume leadership and decision making roles. The principal also encourages staff members by allowing them to assume leadership responsibilities outside the school. Lastly, the principal incorporates teachers and support staff into leadership and decision making roles in the school in ways that foster the career development of participating teachers, Ginsberg R. and Tom T. (2003).

The principal play various roles and responsibilities in the running of the school He/she must ensure that there is good allocation of resources to do different thing in the school. Good resource allocation helps the principal to ensure that every school Activity is allocated the necessary amount of cash that will help the school stakeholders to accomplish their mission. The principal has to advocate for good allocation of time and fiscal resources that help in the implementation of the school plans.

According to Ginsberg R. and Tom T. (2003), it is the duty of the principal to hold his/her school accountable for development plans. By meeting quarterly or semi-annually with school leadership team and reviewing evidence of progress towards professional development goal, the principal can help schools maintain a focus on results and not the provision of services. The principal should focus on the results required and ask his/her school to use data to review their progress. The principal should monitor the progress of the school and this includes debriefing sessions with the school’s professional development team, leadership team and the whole staff who offer support in the implementation of the school plan.

Resources, solutions for possible challenges and obstacles

The school principal is supposed to help in solving conflicts and obstacles that may prevent the school success. The principal must serve as a role model for the school in how to address conflicts productively. He/she must effectively use the conflict management skills for the success of the school. In this connection, the principal must demonstrate the mastery of conflict management skills and discuss conflicts with other members of the staff. He/she is required to practice effective conflict management with the people he/she has trust in. Moreover, the principal should practice conflict resolution as a limited basis with staff and colleagues, Ginsberg R. and Tom T. (2003).

The principal must encourage the use of conflict resolution skills within the learning team and in grade level and in whole school meetings. He/she should provide coaching observation and feedback sessions to reinforce the use of new skills. In addition, a principal offers skills related to personal conflict management strategies and effective conflict resolution behavior and skills.

On the side of resources, the principal should encourage and provide technology to support collegial interactions. He/she should seek resources to provide technology and encourage staff to participate in subject area networks, action research structures and share lessons with their colleagues. A principal must encourage staff to participate and distribute information about available online discussion forums, websites, and email that supports collegial interaction.

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Leadership behaviors required for principals

Several leadership behaviors are required from all principals. A principal is required to attend regular learning community meetings organized at the district regional state or national level to identify and solve school challenges. He/she should also meet with administrative colleagues to discuss school challenges. Moreover, a principal is required to provide support to learning teams throughout the stages of group development by supplying a skilled group facilitator. A principal must also recognize and reward the accomplishments of teams and improvement efforts. According to Reeves D. (2005), a principal should also recognize the value of teamwork among the staff because this helps to improve student performance.

Another recommended principal behavior is that he/she has to work together with the entire staff to ensure that good student performance is achieved. The principal conducts classroom visits occasionally providing feedback to teachers regarding observations. He/she also uses his/her knowledge from content areas to determine basic levels of curriculum implementation. Good principals have an understanding of what they are looking for concerning the effectiveness of instructional practices implemented in each classroom. Moreover, a good principal must have a strong understanding of the most effective instructional strategies, Roy P. and Hord S. (2003).

A principal must behave well in his/her school by monitoring student progress in the school. This can be done by assessing the performance of the students as compared to other students in the neighboring schools. It is also a good behavior for a school principal to define the mission of the school and lead the whole school fraternity to achieving that mission. Another recommended leadership behavior for a school principal is that of managing the school curriculum. It is the duty of the principal to manage both curriculum and co-curricular activities of the school. He/she should ensure that the school participates in all that it is required to participate in.

Another good leadership behavior of school principals is that of supervising teaching, Reeves D. (2005). The principal should act as the school supervisor and ensure that teaching is done well to improve the student’s performance. Principals can supervise teaching in their schools by monitoring the way teachers are attending lessons, student’s class attendance and the general conduct of both students and teachers. Moreover, it is a good leadership behavior for a school principal to promote instructional climate. The principal should do away with any practice or activity within the school compared that prevents good learning. Such activities and practices may include absenteeism of both teachers and students, mismanagement of school funds and poor learning facilities.

Collaborative leadership is another good leadership behavior for school principals, Gene E. (2011). A school principal should collaborate with other school stakeholders in order to realize good student performance. School stakeholders can include district heads and the entire school staff who must work together in order to realize good academic performance. Moreover, the principal should also collaborate with other teachers in the school and encourage them to actively work towards achieving the school goals.

The other leadership behavior recommended for principals is professional development. The principal should encourage professional development in the school. This is done by ensuring that all the things that inhibit professional development in the school are avoided. Unity of purpose is another leadership behavior for principals. A good principal must ensure that there is unity among the entire school fraternity to ensure that all school members work collectively to achieve the school mission and goals. Collegial support is another leadership behavior that is required for school principals Gene E. (2011). Every principal must ensure that the entire school fraternities have friendly relationships that will help them to achieve their common goals. In addition, principals must ensure learning partnership in their schools. Learning partnerships help schools to share learning information with other schools, this helps them to share, and gain knowledge with other schools and this contributes to good performance.

IC map:

beginning stage making progress getting results making a big difference
Implementing a process for developing a shared vision and strategic goals the student achievement that reflects high expectations for students and staff create time structures for teachers to meet facilitates the collaborative development of the annual school improvement plan to realize strategic goals and objectives recognize and reward the accomplishments of teams and improvement efforts
maintain a focus on the vision and strategic goals throughout coordination and joint planning enhancement through the development of consensus between staff and related members solving conflicts and obstacles that may prevent the school success The principal conducts classroom visits occasionally
design and implement collaborative processes to collect and analyze data systematically considers new and better ways of leading for improved student achievement and engages stakeholders in the change process encourage the use of conflict resolution skills monitoring student progress in the school and supervising teaching
establish a learning culture with the mission and vision as the guiding principles encourage and provide technology to support collegial interactions

Conclusion

For schools to operate efficiently, their principals are required to have knowledge about professional learning, collaborative school culture and the process of change. A good principal should create learning communities in their schools and incorporate the broader school community in creating and achieving compelling vision for schools. The school vision should be clearly stated and known by the entire school staff. More so, good school principals should create trust within their schools and share responsibilities for student’s learning with the other school staff.

The school principal is supposed to clearly state the school’s vision, mission and goals and guide the entire school fraternity in achieve them. He/she must ensure that the school mission is known by all the school stakeholders and encourage them to work together to achieve the school mission. It is the duty of the principal to establish if there is vision and mission in the school. He/she can also revise the school vision and mission when there is need to do so.

The other duty of the principal is to innovate change in the school. The principal should know any area in the school that requires changes. In addition, it also the duty of the school principal to implement changes. After knowing the school areas that require changes, the school principal has to ensure that such changes are implemented. A school principal is also required to ensure that school resources are shared well and all school challenges and conflicts are solved in the best way possible. Principals must have good leadership behaviors that can help to better the school’s performance. Some of these leadership behaviors include promoting good learning environment, collaborative leadership, encouraging professional development and supervising teaching. Good leadership behaviors help principals to ensure good academic performance in their schools.