Thursday, May 20, 2010

Strategies for Expanding Leadership Capacity

A principal can't do everything so it is important to nurture the leadership skills among teachers and other staff in your school. You can ask them to assume leadership roles as part of the leadership team or a school committee, invited them to shadow you for a day and then talk with them about the experience or you might ask them to work with you, and others, to solve a "real-life" problem in your school.

The following ideas are adapted from a NASSP publication, Practical Suggestions for Developing Leadership Capacity in Others (

1. Expand Their Skills and Knowledge Base
  • Invite them to work on a project outside of their area of expertise;
  • Ask they to work with you in dealing with a challenging parent;
  • Ask then to help screen and interview potential employees.
2. Invite Them to Work on School Improvement Projects
  • Ask them to serve on the leadership team;
  • Ask them to lead a book study group;
  • Invite them to chair a curriculum planning committee.
3. Provide Opportunity to Observe and Reflect
  • Encourage them to maintain a journal and reflect don the "good," "bad," or "flawed" leaders they know and observe;
  • Talk with them about how and why you handled a situation as you did.
4. Support Participation in Professional Development
  • Ask them to serve as a mentor of a new teacher;
  • Ask them to present information to the staff after attending a conference or other PD activity.
Expanding the leadership capacity of your school is important. Working together to improve the rigor of your school requires everyone's energy and committee to improve curriculum and instruction. I'd enjoy hearing from you about ways you use to nurture leadership among your staff.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dealing with Social Media in Schools

A recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 73% of teens use social-networking sites. Most of us are aware of the explosive growth of popular sites like MySpace and Facebook. Social media provide a way for students to socialize and meet new people. But there are also problems associated with social networking. The anonymity of the Internet combined with the impulsivity of youth leads to making poor choices about what is said and what is shared. The growing problem of using technology to bully (cyberbullying) others has led to serious consequences for some students.

I recently wrote a Research Brief on "Social Media" that discusses the issue and provides links to resources that principals can use to reduce the negative effects of social networking. You may want to take a look at the strategies recommended for schools.

As with most technology, there is a positive side and many schools have begun to use social media to improve communication with families and community, to improve instruction, and to access curricular resources. Many of these ideas are also included in the brief.

I would enjoy hearing from you about the challenges, as well as the benefits, you face in using social media.