Offers rigorous ways to explore the meaning and action implications of contemporary reform movements in the P-12 public school system. Examines a different topic each quarter concerning reform at school, district, state, or federal levels through readings, discussion, projects, and analytical writing assignments. Offered: AWSpS.
Developing District-wide Expertise in Leading Instructional Improvement
The leadership expertise needed for the improvement of instruction is a complex phenomenon. It requires the development of a mix of subject matter content knowledge, knowledge of various means for how children learn that content, and pedagogical knowledge regarding ways to teach the subject matter content. As well, this particular kind of expertise requires knowledge about how individual teachers learn to teach more effectively, high level skills with observing for those elements in the instructional process, and the ability to craft feedback to teachers about what is observed that supports their current practice, and at the same time challenges them to improve. Furthermore, in order to create and sustain a professional community that flourishes with continuous learning, leaders need to be able to engage in the adaptive work of cultural change. If teachers are to thrive in challenging school environments, then leaders need to be able to influence the ways in which teachers work and learn together.
This course examines what it means for a school district to tackle the improvement of instruction as the central leadership challenge to be addressed. How does it go about developing the expertise of its leaders to do this work? What strategies might a district employ to realize improvement of this kind for district level leaders, principals and teacher leaders? And, how would they determine if leaders’ expertise was improving? How can leaders develop, sustain and leverage instructional improvement while simultaneously re-shaping the culture of schools and districts? What do school and district leaders need to know and be able to do in order to nurture and seize upon the instructional improvement capacity in their system?
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