How a Principal Impacts Instruction

As I reread the Handbook of Instructional Leadership by Blase and Blase, I remembered one of the things that made me enjoy my first read. It made me reflect on how I was impacting instruction in the school where I was the principal.


This time around, it made me physically write down the different ways I work to impact instruction within OUR school. All educators could come up with a pretty detailed list. My challenge was to whittle it down to the five I felt were the most impactful. I would guess that if ten principals completed the exercise, we might get ten different lists. That is OK. We emphasize different components. Here is what I settled on.

1. 5D+ Teacher Evaluation – A growth model. Collaborative. Based on focus areas and reinforced by coaching. Supporting each teacher with specific feedback in a model built on trust, collaboration, and growth.

2. Staff Professional DevelopmentAll staff meetings, early releases, late starts, in-services, and other designated times are spent on teaching and learning. You can say whatever words you want, but how you allot your time is the message staff gets about what is important. If you spend it talking about teaching and learning, the message is clear.

3. Differentiated/Small Group PD There are times where one size fits all staff PD is appropriate. However, that’s not how we ask our teachers to teach.  I feel like an area that I can continue to grow in is to better differentiate our staff meeting time to fit the needs of our staff. My plan for next year increases this:…/differentiated-pd-for-teachers-in-a-one-year-plan

4. Grade Level / PLCTeachers learning from and with other teachers.  As powerful PD as there is.  Sometimes, I just need to stay out of the way.  Other times I need to help plan, co-facilitate or reflect.  We add to this by incorporating “lab classrooms” and “data dialogues.”  Structures that further promote teacher to teacher collaboration.

5. Teacher to Teacher Collaboration I’m talking about the kind that takes place when the principal isn’t looking.  I think the trust and transparency the principal creates impacts this, but this is really how willing individual teachers are willing to go to work with each other.

Now, you’d actually have to ask my staff to see if the perception of how I impact instruction in OUR school is the reality!  But I certainly hope so.

I’d love to hear what other principals would say are in their top 5. It would also be great to hear from teachers on what they consider to be the top 5 factors in their school. Thank you for sharing and helping me continue to grow as an educator!

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