Spring 2013 Letter from the Director’s Desk

According to the calendar it is officially Spring although the weather certainly does not feel like it.  It is however, a very busy time for educators working in schools. There is much to get accomplished in April, May and June before students and teachers leave for the summer break. DASL staff is busy providing support and technical assistance to school leaders in Delaware. I like to use DASL’s newsletter to highlight some of the exciting work that is taking place in schools with whom we have partnered and to provide you with national news as well. It is important for Delaware’s school leaders to stay informed regarding current research and innovative practices that are receiving national attention.

In January I participated in a national convening of state policy leaders sponsored by the Education Division of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. This convening was focused on helping states think about the policy implications to connect teacher and leader effectiveness to performance measures of effective teaching and leading. Experts were asked to share the work they were doing in the area of performance assessment of teachers and principals and to help states think about steps that are necessary to develop a cohesive leadership system to support teacher and leader effectiveness. Experts also discussed the preparation and training of school leaders and the connection to evaluation and effective teaching and leading. It was exciting to participate as a panelist and share the lessons I have learned about the importance of state policy related to standards, training and working conditions for school leaders.

The Capital School District is aggressively tackling the issue of the principal pipeline by collaborating with DASL to identify and develop a pool of aspiring school leaders. Dr. Marion Proffitt, Dr. Eileen McAllister, and Katie Dumas are using DASL’s ASPIRE Program to develop a principal pipeline for the Capital School District. The district has identified teacher leaders and they are investing in them by providing them with a professional learning experience and coaching. The Capital School District is developing a pool of individuals ready to take on administrative responsibilities.

Dr. Sharon Brittingham and DASL’s nine Development Coaches designed and facilitated a New Administrators’ Boot Camp on behalf of the Delaware Department of Education. The goal of the program is to credential Delaware principals to use the Delaware Performance Appraisal System II-r. New principals learn both the content and process of Delaware’s teacher and specialist appraisal system so that they can use the system to improve teacher and specialist effectiveness and improve learning and achievement for all students.

Teacher Leaders at Polytech High School and principal, Jason Peel, have been working with DASL staff this year to improve how they use the time they spend working in Professional Learning Communities. Working with Dr. Jackie Wilson, Debbie Grise, Dave Sechler and Katie Dumas, teacher leaders at Polytech have engaged in discussions about the 5 C’s of PLC’s and their new roles and responsibilities in leading the work related to curriculum, instruction and assessment in preparation for the shift to the Common Core Standards.

These are just a few examples of the exciting work taking place in Delaware schools and nationally. We are pleased to be a partner with schools, districts and professional organizations as we improve learning opportunities for all children. I am motivated and inspired by the principals and teacher leaders with whom we work. We have invited many of these outstanding educators to share their work and experiences at the 11th Annual Policy and Practice Institute which will take place at Dover Downs Conference Center on July 26th. We look forward to providing you with a terrific program and opportunities to network and celebrate successes.

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