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April 2013 | Volume 70 | Number 7
Teresa K. Preston
Being a principal is a heavy responsibility. Principals have to manage a staff of teachers and support staff, handle student disciplinary concerns, and serve as instructional leaders who guide the faculty to ensure that all students are meeting achievement goals. In addition, they are called on to coordinate such logistical matters as schedules, building maintenance, and budgets. It's no surprise that 75 percent of principals reported in a recent MetLife survey that the job has become too complex. The April 2013 issue of Educational Leadership cuts through some of these complexities and considers what principals can do to improve their chances of success—and perhaps reduce the possibility of burnout.
In a time of tight budgets and staff shortages, principals often struggle to find the time, money, and other resources they need to support teaching and learning in their schools. In "Leadership in Challenging Times" (p. 10), Elizabeth A. City enjoins school leaders to make strategic use of both tangible and intangible resources to overcome the challenges they face.
In "Be a Cage-Buster" (p. 30) Frederick M. Hess says that some obstacles only seem insurmountable. Often, a change in mind-set can help leaders bust out of their imaginary cages. Carol Ann Tomlinson says in her One to Grow On column ("Freed from the Box," p. 88) that the principals she remembers best are those who had a vision that freed them from the boxes that constrict many school leaders.
Principals can't lead a learning community on their own. For students to learn, teachers also need to be at the top of their game. But how can principals best ensure that teachers are as effective as they can be? In "How Do Principals Really Improve Schools?" (p. 34), Rick DuFour and Mike Mattos explain why professional learning communities (PLCs) are one of the best ways to improve teaching and learning in a school. In "A New View of Walk-Throughs" (p. 42), Connie M. Moss and Susan M. Brookhart show how formative walk-throughs focused on student learning can promote a more collaborative culture among teachers and principals.
Besides providing leadership within their school, principals also represent their school to the community. As Patrick Larkin explains in "Tweeting the Good News and Other Ways to Use Social Media" (p. 70), Twitter, Facebook, and other social media can be invaluable tools for staying in touch with the parents and the wider community.
Copyright © 2013 by ASCD
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