4 Dimensions of Instructional Leadership™

Among school-related factors, school leadership is second only to teaching in its potential influence on student learning. Instructional leadership is a critical aspect of school leadership. The work of instructional leaders is to ensure that each student receives the highest quality instruction each day. Doing so requires that instructional leaders lead for the improvement of teaching and student learning.

The Center for Educational Leadership offers a variety of services focused around the 4 Dimensions of Instructional Leadership (4D™) framework. This framework is a researched-based description of the leadership practices that lead to effective instruction and improved student learning. Through professional development opportunities, school leaders and their supervisors develop a clear understanding of the instructional leadership practices that will help them increase student achievement in their schools.

CEL offers a variety of services to increase school leaders’ understanding of and ability to lead for improved teaching and learning in their schools. Components of this professional development include:

Overview Session

A full-day or half-day group session allows participants to develop an understanding of and rationale for the 4 Dimensions of Instructional Leadership.  The overview provides time for delving into each dimension, learning more about the research behind and the practices within each dimension, followed by an activity in which participants apply their learning to a case study.  Participants complete a brief self-assessment to identify areas of strength and growth, develop next steps to address an area of growth, and leave ready to take action on improving their instructional leadership.

Leadership Coaching

Customized one-on-one and small group coaching focuses on the specific needs of the school leader. The goal of this work is to help school leaders improve their practice through work on a targeted area of focus. CEL uses an inquiry-based coaching protocol that takes the school leader through a series of steps, guided by a coach, that includes:

  • Self-assessment to identify strengths and areas for growth.
  • Development of an area of focus.
  • Co-construction of an implementation plan to tackle the area of focus.
  • Side-by-side guidance as the school leader takes action to change his/her practice.
  • Analysis of the impact of the leader’s actions. 

Content Sessions

School leaders cover one or more of the 4 Dimensions of Instructional Leadership through a comprehensive review of the research and leadership practices encompassed within the dimension.  These sessions are customized to the needs of participants and can accommodate various group sizes over the course of a half day to several days, depending on the needs of the group.

Leadership Institutes

School  districts may customize a leadership institute ranging from 1 – 8 days focused upon various leadership practices

The 4 Dimensions of Instructional Leadership is being used widely among the Center for Educational Leadership’s district partners. School districts and individual school leaders use the tool to define best practices and establish goals and next steps in improving instruction and student learning in their schools.