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April 1, 2004
Vol. 61
No. 7

Web Wonders / Leading in Tough Times

Web Wonders / Leading in Tough Times- thumbnail
The Web has many resources for education leaders that stimulate thinking about leadership practices and suggest innovative ways to facilitate the complex job of leading schools.

Laboratories for Leadership

Visit the Leadership and Organization Development topic area on the Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) Web site (www.mcrel.org) for McREL's newest leadership report, Balanced Leadership: What Thirty Years of Research Tells Us About the Effect of Leadership on Student Achievement, and for related policy briefs on leadership topics.
The North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL) Web site (www.ncrel.org) tackles a number of leadership issues, such as how leaders can effectively address accountability challenges, build committed teams, create high-achieving learning environments, and lead and manage change (www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/le0cont.htm). NCREL's leadership checklist (www.ncrel.org/cscd/pubs/lead21/2-1l.htm) provides thought-provoking questions that will help you reflect on leadership skills and on current practices in your schools.

Leadership Styles

School board members and superintendents can access an array of leadership action items that link to student achievement on the National School Boards Association (NSBA) Web site (www.nsba.org). Click on “School Governance” for leadership tips on accountability, alignment, assessment, school climate, vision, and related issues. Or use NSBA's education leadership tool kit, a free online technology resource for school board members (www.nsba.org/sbot/toolkit). It provides guidance on identifying leadership styles and responsibilities and outlines characteristics of successful professional development programs.
For a Leadership Performance Matrix, go to the Center for Performance Assessment Web site (www.makingstandardswork.com). Click on “Resources” to access articles on the leadership-learning connection.

An Eye on Reform

Visit the Center on Reinventing Public Education Web site (www.crpe.org) for a look at major leadership issues in education reform and governance. Click on “Leadership Series” to access three reports on the topic: A Matter of Definition: Is There Truly a Shortage of School Principals?, An Impossible Job? The View from the Urban Superintendent's Chair, and Making Sense of Leading Schools: A Study of the School Principalship.
In its recent report, Better Leaders for America's Schools: A Manifesto (www.edexcellence.net/foundation/publication/publication.cfm?id=1), the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation suggests ways to address the lack of qualified leaders in schools. The authors advocate replacing some conventional certification requirements for public school principals and superintendents with criteria that stress leadership qualities.

Focus on Principals

For information on principal preparation programs, visit the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) Web site (www.iel.org). Click on “Preparing Principals” for IEL's recent report on principal preparation programs, which focuses on two areas in which state policies and programs can have particular influence on school leadership: licensure, certification, and accreditation requirements; and administrator training and professional development. Also, take a look at IEL's School Leadership for the 21st Century Initiative, available under “Publications.” Five reports tackle such topics as leading urban schools, state leadership in student learning, and restructuring school district leadership.
ASCD's new online course, Contemporary School Leadership, by Vera Blake, addresses topics that contemporary school leaders need to know about, such as defining instructional leadership, using data to support continuous progress, and dealing with complex change. Check it out athttp://pdonline.ascd.org/pd_online/new/course_description.cfm?sid=58.

Need a Little Inspiration?

If urgency is ruling your life, if you're frequently stressed out, or if you think you need help with time management, take a look at the Covey Leadership Center's Personal Insight Profiles (www.franklincovey.com/ez/asector) and rate your effectiveness in such areas as life leadership, planning balance, information management, and technology know-how. Or click on “Mission Statement Builder” for an online template that can help you define your values and create a personal mission statement that's right on the mark.
Visit the Lorraine Monroe Leadership Institute Web site (www.lorrainemonroe.com) and click on “The Monroe Doctrine” for some words of wisdom for leaders from acclaimed educator Dr. Lorraine Monroe.

Amy Azzam has contributed to Educational Leadership.

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