Leadership

Great leaders produce great schools. We work with educational leaders at all levels to build their capacity and skills to plan and support continuous improvement, communicate goals and expectations, build staff capacity and morale, motivate others to action, allocate resources, and evaluate results. We also work with policymakers, state education agency staff, superintendents, principals, and other experts in the field to increase knowledge about the role of effective leaders.

Featured Resource

“The implementation of effective PLCs depends on engaging teachers in ongoing conversations about teaching and learning that are directly related to their daily work with students. For that to happen, district and school leaders must provide support and purposeful feedback, cultivate an atmosphere of trust, and create the conditions in which PLCs can thrive.” — SEDL Insights,Vol. 2, No. 3
Photo of the cover of SEDL Insights

SEDL Insights: Implementing Effective Professional Learning Communities

The term “professional learning communities” (PLCs)  has become so overused that we often don’t think about its meaning. Only when teachers reflect on their instructional practice, consider the impact instruction has on students, and implement insights gained from a meeting to improve their teaching performance, can this process be called a professional learning community. This issue of SEDL Insights explores ways that education leaders can guide their staff in the implementation of effective PLCs. Read more

Significant Work

Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC): The SECC provides professional development and technical assistance to the state education agencies of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina to build their capacity to support districts and schools engaged in improvement efforts. This includes knowledge sharing that informs decisions regarding the revision of teacher and leader evaluation policy and procedures, professional learning offerings for traditional and charter school leaders, and more. Work varies by state.

Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC): The TXCC provides professional development and technical assistance to the Texas Education Agency and the state’s 20 regional education service centers to build their capacity to support districts and schools engaged in improvement efforts, including support for leadership.

Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southwest: The REL Southwest assists the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas in using data and research evidence to address high-priority education needs in the region. The project addresses education leadership through several of its research alliances. For example, the Educator Effectiveness Research Alliance seeks to use data and research evidence to inform the design, implementation, and evaluation of educator effectiveness initiatives and policies across the REL Southwest region, with an initial focus on Texas.

Center for High-Performing Schools: Through this Center, SEDL builds the capacity of district and school leaders to plan, implement, evaluate, and sustain improvement efforts, including initiatives. 

  • Fort Worth Independent School District: In Texas, SEDL has been providing training and support for the implementation of professional learning communities in Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD). Center staff provided ongoing training for district network leaders, network specialists, principals, teacher leaders and curriculum staff in using PLCs as a continuous improvement approach. Staff have also provided training and coaching at 12 schools in FWISD to support the implementation of PLCs at these schools. 

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Resources

Image of publication cover SEDL Insights, Vol. 1, No. 1: Leadership Actions for Transforming Schools
Effective leadership is a crucial part of school improvement. Yet leaders at schools in the process of transformation often struggle with how to best guide their staff and students to better outcomes. Our experiences serving as turnaround principals in Texas and South Carolina and then working with underperforming schools while at SEDL have revealed insights on the core actions that leaders take in successfully leading school transformations. These actions can create the conditions needed to shape a school culture where teaching and learning can improve.
Image of publication cover Southeast Comprehensive Center eBulletin, Volume 2, Number 2: The Challenge of Educational Leadership

The message for leaders is clear—relationships matter, and character counts. Time must be spent developing and mentoring strong ethical leaders who understand that trusting relationships among adults and among children and adults will determine the success of our students. The challenges for educational leadership are many, but the journey toward best responses is interesting and important work.

Image of publication cover Identifying Competencies and Actions of Effective Turnaround Principals: Southeast Comprehensive Center Briefing Paper, January 2013
Research over the past 30 years has found that effective principals can significantly improve various components of student achievement and learning. In addition, there are few examples of improving student achievement that were not led by an effective principal. Research has also identified the need for the change to be systemic or comprehensive in the school turnaround process to ensure sustainability. Along with a systemic improvement process, Duke (2006), identifies 10 “essential” school components for the turnaround principal’s focus and action as keys to sustained success for the benefit of all students. This briefing paper addresses the essential competencies and actions of the turnaround principal.
Image of publication cover The Data-Informed District: Research on How Educators Use Data to Inform Practice (Webinar)
This webinar presented research on how school districts can use data more effectively to improve district, school, and classroom practice. Dr. Jeffrey C. Wayman, an award-winning researcher and education consultant, drew upon his study with Texas school districts to present five components of the Data-Informed District.
Image of publication cover SEDL Insights, Vol. 2, No. 3: Implementing Effective Professional Learning Communities
“Professional learning communities,” the name given to teachers’ collaborative professional learning—or PLCs, as they are often called—has become so overused that we often don’t think about the term’s meaning. Only when teachers reflect on their instructional practice, consider the impact instruction has on students, and implement insights gained from a meeting to improve their teaching performance, can this process be called a professional learning community. This issue of SEDL Insights explores ways that education leaders can guide their staff in the implementation of effective PLCs.
Image of publication cover Transforming Low-Performing Rural Schools: Texas Comprehensive Center Briefing Paper, Number 10
This brief examines how rural districts and schools can integrate the unique attributes and resources found in rural communities into improvement efforts to promote the transformation of low-performing schools.
Image of publication cover Beyond Adoption—Implementing Rigorous College- and Career-Readiness Standards: Southeast Comprehensive Center Briefing Paper, December 2011
This briefing paper provides details on the meaning of college- and career-readiness standards, effective implementation of these standards, next steps in the implementation process, and progress being made by state departments of education in the Southeast toward this crucial goal.
Image of publication cover Rapid Response: Compensation Strategies to Address Teacher Shortages
This resource was produced in response to a request from a state department of education (SDE) served by the Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) at SEDL that requested information regarding teacher shortages, specifically merit pay, compensation strategies, and other actions taken or under consideration by SDEs to address this issue.
Image of publication cover Teacher Preparation Programs: Research and Promising Practices: Texas Comprehensive Center Briefing Paper, Number 11

The literature on teacher preparation programs in the United States is extensive. However, there is limited scientifically based research on what kind of program produces effective teachers; rather, the literature consists mostly of calls for change in teacher preparation programs. Almost all experts agree that major changes are needed in these programs, with the emphasis being to produce teachers who are effective in enhancing student learning.

This paper reports evidence-based research and offers suggestions based on studies that include theoretical work, qualitative analysis, statistical analysis, and randomized experience that could provide strong causal evidence of the effects of teacher preparation on student learning.

Image of publication cover SEDL Insights, Vol. 1, No. 2: Managing the Implementation of School Improvement Efforts
For a school improvement initiative to succeed, education leaders must do more than adopt a new program and train staff. This issue of SEDL Insights explores steps that leaders can take to ensure the successful implementation of a new program or practice.
Image of publication cover SECC Information Request: Policies, Programs, and Practices States Use to Differentiate Levels of Intervention and Support for High-Need Schools

This report describes various states¹ differentiated levels of intervention and support for high-need schools.

Image of publication cover SECC Information Request: Sustaining Statewide School Improvement Initiatives
This report discusses strategies and practices for sustaining statewide school improvement initiatives.
Image of publication cover The Professional Teaching and Learning Cycle: Introduction
The professional teaching and learning cycle (PTLC) is a professional development process in which teachers collaboratively plan and implement lessons aligned to state standards. PTLC is a critical component of the Working Systemically approach that directly impacts classroom instruction and student learning.
Image of publication cover Leadership: An Imperative for Successful Change: Issues About Change, Volume 1, Number 2
Originally published in 1991 and revised in 2000, this paper reviews the literature on leaders' strategies for school change, identifies five strategies, and describes how the strategies are applied at the district and local school levels.

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