Schools need effective principals

Posted on Monday, 9/30/2013 5:18 PM


Whether principals work at the elementary or high school level, there is no denying the important role they play in students' academic development. 

Principals have multiple responsibilities, from supervising teachers and other school staff to ensuring that educators have the instructional materials they need to be effective teachers. This particular task will only become more important as states finish implementing the Common Core State Standards. After all, if instructors don't have the appropriate tools, such as textbooks and student software, pupils are less likely to fully benefit from the CCSS.

Fortunately, work is being done to ensure that schools in need receive assistance by helping principals become more effective leaders.

Grants for principal development
In a recent press release, the U.S. Department of Education announced that more than $13 million in grants will go toward initiatives designed to place better principals in high-need schools and districts. Overall, 20 School Leadership Program projects will receive funding to recruit, train and mentor principals and assistant principals.

Money will go to grantees in multiple states. Using their funds, recipients will be able to take such measures as providing professional development to current principals and assistant principals, as well as helping future school leaders meet certification requirements.

"There are no great schools without great principals and teachers," said Arne Duncan, the U.S. secretary of education, in a statement. "High-quality examples of leadership can help shape a school's culture and create an environment where students are excited to learn. These grants aim to support the development of these leaders, ultimately improving the effectiveness of educators and the academic achievement of students."

Leading CCSS implementation efforts
In states that have adopted the CCSS, principals play a key role in ensuring a smooth transition to the new standards. The National Association of Elementary School Principals is among the organizations committed to helping leaders successfully guide their teachers through this process.

For instance, the NAESP created a CCSS implementation checklist that principals can follow to make sure they are on the right track. Using this resource, principals can see if their teachers are ready for the Common Core, or if they will require professional development. In addition, principals may find their schools need more help implementing the standards, such as financial assistance to cover transition costs, as they work through the checklist.

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