In many Oklahoma districts, a single principal can lead a 40-member staff in charge of nearly 600 students. With such a demanding job, principals need a team who’s committed to building instructional skills and getting things done even when the principal is pulled away.
Typically, instructional leadership teams include teacher leaders, instructional coaches, additional administrators, and reading specialists. While conventional wisdom usually pulls one representative per grade level, consider selecting leadership for performance, coachability, and influence instead. After all, some grades may easily contribute two strong contributors while others may yield none. The big idea is to build a reliable, get-it-done kind of team so selecting leadership based on grade-level alone risks the efficacy and reputation of the team.
What does an instructional leadership team do?
- Gather and analyze data related to school-wide trends, school culture, student achievement data, and strategic priorities
- Develop and monitor strategic plans
- Set vision for and maintain school culture
- Create curriculum and assessment strategy
- Calibrate on tools and protocols (TLE, observation/feedback protocols, data protocols)
- Plan and progress monitor professional learning
How to establish a strong instructional leadership team
Building a strong instructional leadership team moves responsibility away from the principal towards distributive leadership. But it takes some work to get there. First, principals need to select and train leaders. Decide what traits matter and what skills you can train.
Distributive leadership is a critical part of a school’s success but it takes consistent work. By establishing clear responsibilities, training the team, and supporting their work, a principal can shift their focus from leading the entire school to developing the capacity of a few.