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Log in to Witsby: ASCD’s Next-Generation Professional Learning and Credentialing Platform
May 1, 2002
Vol. 59
No. 8

Web Wonders / Beyond Instructional Leadership

What does “instructional leadership” mean? A review of the articles in this issue reveals that a new consensus is emerging: Instructional leadership cannot be separated from education leadership in general. Good education leaders keep student learning at the center of their work, no matter what task or activity they undertake. The following Web sites can help you expand your understanding of effective education leadership centered on student learning.

Defining Instructional Leadership

In 1996, the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) released a comprehensive set of standards for effective education leaders. Thirty-five states now use the ISLLC Standards for School Leaders and are in different stages of implementing these standards in reforming education leadership within the states. The full text of the standards is available on the Council of Chief State School Officers' Web site (www.ccsso.org/isllc.html).
The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) recently published its own set of standards in Leading Learning Communities: Standards for What Principals Should Know and Be Able to Do. You can find information about these standards and the full text of the document on the association's Web site (www.naesp.org/comm/prss10-29-01.htm).
Examine instructional leadership from a variety of viewpoints at the ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management (http://eric.uoregon.edu/trends_issues/rolelead/index.html). Topics include visionary leadership, facilitative leadership, ethical leadership, and creating a learning organization.

Teachers as Instructional Leaders

Teachers play a vital and growing role in providing instructional leadership.
Why is teacher leadership needed? What forms can teacher leadership take? These are some questions addressed by the National Teacher Forums hosted by the U.S. Department of Education. Examine Teachers Leading the Way: Voices from the National Teacher Forum—April 1998(www.ed.gov/pubs/TeachersLead) for results from the fourth forum, which included ideas of 120 exemplary teachers.
Changes and promising practices that are redefining the teacher's role in public education are highlighted in Leadership for Student Learning: Redefining the Teacher as Leader, on the Web site of the Institute for Educational Leadership (www.iel.org; click Publications and then School Leadership for the 21st Century Initiative). The report includes questions that schools can use to examine their own teacher leadership issues and plan specific actions.
The ERIC Digest Developing Teachers' Leadership Skills (www.ed.gov/databases/ERIC_Digests/ed330691.html) describes specific leadership roles for teachers and the types of training available to help them assume those roles.

Improving Instructional Leadership Skills

Many online workshops, seminars, and networks help administrators develop their instructional leadership skills. Here are a few links of interest.
Principals and superintendents. If you'd like to become part of a network of education leaders helping define the new face of instructional leadership, you'll find information on the Annenberg Institute for School Reform's Web site (www.annenberginstitute.org/leadership). The institute sponsors networks for superintendents and principals. Members work as formal learning communities to better understand their roles in education and to advocate specific leadership strategies.
Elementary school principals. The NAESP Leadership Academy offers programs and events ranging from single-day workshops to conferences and seminars (www.naesp.org/pdev.html). Many of the programs deal with aspects of instructional leadership, including the ISLLC standards.
Secondary school principals. To improve your leadership skills on your own, try the Individual Assessment Exercises and Development Guide available on NASSP's Web site (www.principals.org/training/04-03.html). The guide includes a self-assessment instrument and suggestions for growth activities based on the self-assessment.
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