Superintendents today are faced with a sophisticated set of challenges on a daily basis. Not the least of which is understanding the relationship between teaching, instructional leadership and student learning. In order to successfully lead district improvement, superintendents must build their instructional leadership expertise while doing the same for principals and others in the system.
The Center for Educational Leadership’s Superintendent Network Facilitation and Training develops the capacity of superintendents to lead for instructional improvement. Participants in CEL-led superintendent networks get to experience a cohort model with other local superintendents while building their own abilities. Typical superintendent network engagements begin with a two-year commitment and focus on the following practices:
- Developing a vision of high-quality instruction for their district.
- Understanding why principal leadership is key to improving student achievement and why principals need support in order to develop as instructional leaders.
- Creating a theory of action to improve student learning, teaching and instructional leadership.
- Learning the protocols and process for school-based walkthroughs focused on problems of student learning, and teaching and leadership problems of practice.
- Deepening understanding of the research and actions that effective districts implement to support principals as instructional leaders.
- Engaging with the CEL Principal Support Framework to determine strengths and areas of needed improvement for supporting principals as instructional leaders.
- Beginning to understand the designs and structures necessary to support principals as instructional leaders.
- Developing strategic plans that guide the work of supporting instructional leadership to support the improvement of instruction and student learning.
Over the two-year sequence superintendents focus on answering the following questions:
- What do superintendents need to know and be able to do in order to nurture and build the instructional improvement capacity in their system?
- How can superintendents develop, sustain and leverage instructional improvement while simultaneously re-shaping the culture of the district and its schools?
- How can a school district (superintendents) go about developing instructional leadership at scale?
- What conditions need to be in place to fully support the role of principals as instructional leaders?
- How would superintendents determine if leaders’ expertise was improving?
CEL contextualizes its approach to facilitating and leading superintendent network meetings to meet the unique needs of the region or state. In order to determine the best learning design, we begin with an assessment of system supports for the development and support of instructional leadership. Toward that end all network participants take CEL’s 5D™ Assessment to determine their ability to analyze classroom instruction. From that assessment as well as planning meetings we will work with your planning team to create a network experience that best meets your needs.
Most networks begin with a two-day retreat followed by monthly full-day sessions that involve facilitated walkthroughs in schools along with time to learn from case studies and participant problems of practice.