Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Alabama is among leaders for standards for school principals


Alabama is among the South’s leaders in making sure quality principals lead every public school.

The state has shown improvement since 2002 in five of six areas for designing programs to train and certify principals, according to a report from the Southern Regional Education Board.

Those strides trail only Louisiana among the nonprofit board’s 16 member states.

Kathy O’Neill, director of SREB’s learning-centered leadership program, said Alabama’s progress is impressive because the state has only worked on the issue for two years, compared to six years in Louisiana.

“Alabama has a brand new set of standards, which I personally share with other states,” she said. “They have done a wonderful job with them.”

The board is helping states coordinate efforts to shift the role of principals from their administrative duties to focusing on the teaching and learning happening in schools.

“When I was a school leader, we were charged with making sure the books were in place, the halls were clean, the buses ran on time,” O’Neill said. “We still have to do that. But the issue of student achievement wasn’t even on the radar. If we train potential leaders right, they can really make a difference.”

SREB is encouraging states to look at six areas to ensure principal quality, including:

• Recruiting future principals.

• Requiring internships with proven leaders.

• Redesigning programs that train principals.

• Offering extra help to schools with poor performance.

• Maintaining certification only for principals who show improvement.

Alabama lagged only in creating alternate paths to becoming a principal.

See the full story here.

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