The variability in instructional standards’ definitions and content led us to explore whether the same level of variability exists in implementation and support. We spent some time digging in to how states are supporting principals and their supervisors in the implementation of these systems, and whether that support is focused on building instructional leadership capacity.
To understand the role that states are playing in supporting LEA implementation of principal evaluation systems in the area of instructional leadership, we reached out to all state education agencies (SEAs) via email with a set of questions centered around supporting implementation of principal evaluation. (See Methods section for more information.)
We received responses from 39 SEAs and were able to conduct phone interviews with 28 of those agencies. Based on these communications and our review of information available on SEA websites, we identified themes in the types of support that states are providing.
We learned that states are supporting instructional leadership in a variety of ways.* Nearly all states, for example, are providing some level of training and resource guides to evaluators on evaluation systems; while some are organizing principal networks, leadership academies, and induction and mentoring programs; and others are adding more staff or creating partnerships to provide individualized support to leaders at the school and LEA level. This visualization highlights those findings.
Within these varying approaches, states also differ in to whom they provide support. While most states (43) are providing support to both principals and their supervisors in the form of training and online resource guides that accompany evaluation instruments, fewer states are providing more in-depth supports such as leadership academies and mentoring programs—10 states for principals and 4 states for principals and their supervisors—or adding capacity through additional staff or partnerships to provide individualized support to leaders at the school and LEA level—2 states for principals and 4 states for principals and their supervisors.
Our report, Guiding Principals, delves deeper into how states are supporting implementation of evaluation systems at the local level, and provides detailed profiles of how three states—Missouri, Texas, and Minnesota—are supporting instructional leadership in practice.