Support for School Leaders
Schools are unique institutions that require special leaders. Given the complexity of school systems, principals must possess a set of skills that dynamically intertwine business practices, a spirit of civil servitude, and ultimately a sheer will for educating youth.
School leadership is a tough job, and those who are called to the role of the principalship must be prepared to face a barrage of challenges from multiple arenas. There was a time when the role of principal was viewed as a manager and a democratic leader who had very little direct interaction with students, and simply delegated task to adults. Today, that is no longer the paradigm for effective school leadership. Principals are now viewed as community leaders and moral agents of change. They are expected to interact with their students, train and motivate staff, encourage parent involvement, and engage the surrounding community. Oh, and let’s not forget, provide high quality equal education to ALL students.
At College Summit, we’ve begun to explore the special role of the school leader in creating college-going culture by bringing together a cohort of our highest achieving school partners. With the generous support of the MetLife Foundation, we were able to bring together seven principal consultants from across the nation to develop a principal training and support program, which consists of a suite of training modules focusing on equipping school leaders (principals and assistant principals) with the skills, knowledge and tools they need to build and lead a college-going culture in their school buildings. We hope to pilot these training modules at two-day events in select regions across our network this summer. We see these training events as being crucial to the success of our program, because, as one of our consultants put it so eloquently, “Principals need a roadmap and reference guide to efficiently and effectively create college-going cultures, because high schools need to be launchpads to college and career success.”
With so many demands placed upon principals, however, the need for continuous and on-going support and professional development is great. The School Leaders Network (SLN), headed by Founder and CEO Dr. Elizabeth Neale, is one such organization that is doing just that. College Summit was introduced to SLN, during a recent webinar discussing results from Metlife’s 2010 Annual Teacher Survey in which Dr. Neale served as the presenter. Given College Summit’s current initiatives around principal support and school program ownership, we hope to learn from the work Dr. Neale and SLN has done since their beginnings in 2000.
College Summit recognizes the tough task principals are faced with every day, and commend them for their dedication and commitment to educating our nation’s youth; we look forward to exploring all the ways we might provide support to our principals in their charge to establish strong sustainable college and career going cultures. Stay tuned to learn more about our pilot principal initiatives as they develop!