Several organizations collaborated to release Professional Standards for Educational Leaders, or the former ISLLC standards--for Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium--published in 1996 and last updated in 2008. The first-ever Model Principal Supervisor Professional Standards 2015, authored by CCSSO, accompanied the release. Funds from The Wallace Foundation supported both projects.
The new version of standards describes competencies effective school leaders should hold as they pursue high achievement for staff, schools, and students. Use is voluntary for principals, assistant principals, and others in school-level leadership positions, though the considerations synthesize years of research to share what is required of principals as academic rigor and student support goals are sought.
"In all realms of their work, educational leaders must focus on how they are promoting the learning, achievement, development, and well-being of each student. The 2015 Standards reflect interdependent domains, qualities and values of leadership work that research and practice suggest are integral to student success," the authors note.
Supervisor standards were created to assure principals receive close support as they pursue teaching and learning achievements. The considerations deemphasize compliance-related tasks and focus supervisors' responsibilities on coaching and instructional leader development. Several notes complement the standards. Though managers hold a deep understanding of quality leadership, these staff may lack knowledge about certain principalship areas. In such instances managers bridge gaps by connecting principals with resources. Second, supervisors do not fix problems; instead they help principals identify needs, determine strategy, and enact change.
"Traditionally, principal supervisors have focused on ensuring that school leaders, and the buildings they run, complied with local policies and state regulations. Now that job description is under review. Recent research suggests that principal supervisors can positively affect student results by helping principals grow as instructional leaders. With the right training and support, they can assess and evaluate principals' current leadership practices and identify professional learning opportunities most likely to lead to improvements in the quality of teaching, learning and achievement," the report explains.
Both sets of standards function as a tool state education agencies can reference as they seek funds for principal improvement initiatives and engage a range of education stakeholders, like legislators, local districts, and leadership preparation programs, in dialogues around the school leader agenda.
Professional Standards for Educational Leaders
- Develop, advocate, and enact a shared mission, vision, and core values of high-quality education and academic success and well-being of each student.
- Act ethically and according to professional norms to promote each student's academic success and well-being.
- Strive for equity of educational opportunity and culturally responsive practices to promote each student's academic success and well-being.
- Develop and support intellectually rigorous and coherent systems of curriculum, instruction, and assessment to promote each student's academic success and well-being.
- Cultivate an inclusive, caring, and supportive school community that promotes the academic success and well-being of each student.
- Develop the professional capacity and practice of school personnel to promote each student's academic success and well-being.
- Foster a professional community of teachers and other professional staff to promote each student's academic success and well-being.
- Engage families and the community in meaningful, reciprocal, and mutually beneficial ways to promote each student's academic success and well-being.
- Manage school operations and resources to promote each student's academic success and well-being.
- Act as agents of continuous improvement to promote each student's academic success and well -being.
Model Principal Supervisor Professional Standards 2015
- The supervision of principals should be a primary responsibility, not an afterthought.
- Principal supervisors should receive training in the supervision process and have ongoing opportunities for reflection and professional development to improve their practice.
- The primary focus of principal supervisors should be to improve principal performance.
- Principal supervision should be ongoing, connected to the principal's growth from year to year, and grounded in a coaching relationship.
- Principal supervision should be driven by a vision of the supervisor and principal as leaders of professional learning communities.
- Principal supervision should be informed by multiple data sources.
- Principal supervision should be consistent with adult learning and professional development best practices, including collaboration and a sense of shared ownership.