Working on the University of Florida’s College of Education Online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership has provided me a golden opportunity to learn more about Florida’s educational leaders. The last few years of my career have led me into very divergent, but exceptional, learning opportunities. From leading the development of curriculum for online courses to setting up methods for large-scale registration and submissions for district-based inquiry, I have not been able to rest much on what I have learned previously in my career. I am constantly in challenging (but insanely exciting) situations.
With the Online M.Ed., I have been given the chance to search out and interview principals at all levels of career experience to be included in the courses. I believe this “real-world” perspective from leaders in widely varying school contexts provides the students with an extraordinary unique advantage. It has provided me something extraordinary as well. Next to finishing my dissertation and teaching my elementary and high school students, learning from these wonderful leaders has been the best part of my career in education.
The leaders pictured include (L-R): Hudson Thomas of Pompano Beach High School (Broward County), Roxana Herrera of Palm Springs Elementary School in Hialeah (Miami-Dade County), Dr. Joseph Joyner- Superintendent of St. Johns County Public Schools, Lynette Shott of Flagler-Palm Coast High School (Flagler County), Scott Schneider of Terry Parker High School (Duval County), and Lawson Brown of Charles Duval Elementary School (Alachua County). These are only a few of the leaders we have interviewed.
The cover stars of the flier below are two exceptional leaders: Christy Gabbard and Stella Arduser of P. K. Yonge Developmental Research School at the University of Florida. They are also featured on our website now (https://education.ufl.edu/edleadership-med/).
Norman Hall courtyard, Spring 2014, UF
Basic summary- Approx. 100 Miami-Dade County Public School principals are the sample in a longitudinal study of their instructional leadership behaviors as predictors for student achievement. Interestingly, coaching, evaluation and development of the instructional programs of the school are identified as predictors of student achievement growth. However, classroom walkthroughs negatively predict student achievement growth (especially in secondary schools). This, according to the study, is due to the lack of association of the walkthrough as part of the overall instructional program or school improvement strategy. Intersting. Evaluation as just a “to-do” activity has no power in improving anything really. But, read it yourself and conclude what you want.
Study- Grissom, J. A., Loeb, S., & Master, B. (2013). Effective instructional time use for school leaders: Longitudinal evidence from observations of principals. Educational Researcher, 42 (8), 433-444.