Leading Systematic School Improvement (Preview)

Part 1: Intro & Objectives

Without effective school leaders, many schools simply have “pockets of greatness”. An effective school leader must take steps to ensure the entire system is functioning effectively.

This lesson focuses on some of the practices that can help a school leader make systematic change in their school.

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  1. Understand ways data analysis can help change instruction
  1. Recognize some of the most important practices school leaders use to impact teaching and learning

Part 2: Demonstration Videos

Prior to watching the video, consider the process your school uses to analyze data. Consider ways that a school leader should lead the data analysis process.

How does your school address a content area where students score poorly?

Now that you have watched the video, you probably have some feelings and opinions about the school leaders behavior.

Below are some questions and statements to consider and discuss and even write down before talking to a colleague about them:

  1. How can data analysis impact teaching and learning?
  1. What steps are the most essential to the data analysis process?
  1. What additional suggestions would you give to the principal that weren’t provided by the mentor?

This video captures a conversation between a school leader and mentor focused on data analysis. The mentor challenges the leader to critically analyze data in an area where the school has performed poorly. The mentor also encourages the principal to include others in the data analysis process.

Part 3: Resources & Activities


Due to copyright law, several readings cannot be hosted on this site. However, we encourage you to ask for assistance locating materials from your library media specialist. Many library services are freely available to educators.

Using test data to focus instruction

This article highlights the journey of teachers from Camden County, Georgia learning how to objectively view data and use it to improve their teaching. With support from the lead teachers, a transformation from confusion and frustration to accepting data as information and using it to modify instruction takes place.

Trimble, S., Gay, A. & Matthews, J. (2003). Using test data to focus instruction. Middle School Journal, 34(4), 26-32. Retrieved from https://www.principals.org/

View Article

The School Principal as Leader: Guiding Schools to Better Teaching and Learning

This report from the Wallace Foundation identifies the important role of the school principal in improving teaching and learning. The report highlights research and provides real examples of leaders impacting the teaching and learning environment.

The Wallace Foundation (2013). The school principal as leader: Guiding schools to better teaching and learning. Retrieved from http://www.wallacefoundation.org/

View Article

Part 4: Review & Reflect

Please address the following questions and issues below. If you have difficulty, go back and review the lesson.

  1. As a school leader, what are some of the most important things you can do to improve teaching and learning?
  1. How can you use data to transform teaching and learning?
  1. Compare the recommendations from the article to a school leader you are familiar with. What things did your school leader do that aligned with the articles?
  1. What things didn’t that leader do?

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