Let us face it. Leaders have just experienced the two most trying years of their careers. The pandemic and increasingly intense political and social issues are fueling the pressures that are driving leaders, often amazing leaders, away from the profession. In fact, in 2022, NASSP’s annual survey reported that “Three-quarters of school leaders (73%) … report they needed help with their mental or emotional health last year.”
In the same study, one principal remarked, “The survey results make clear that while we love working with students and teachers, our conditions are unsustainable and if left unaddressed, could result in principal shortages that will be difficult to overcome.” We cannot allow this to happen. Following are 4 Reasons supported with some solutions, as to why states and districts should be investing in leadership, NOW.
Reason 1: The Return on Investment is Irrefutable
A 2021 Wallace Foundation Report found that:
- A principal in the 75th percentile of effectiveness yields an increase in student learning in reading and math of about three months, compared to a principal in the 25th percentile of effectiveness, nearly as much as the four months of increased learning generated by a teacher at the 75th percentile compared to a teacher at the 25th percentile, but across an entire school.
- The principal’s effects on students are largely indirect, coming in good measure through teachers, with the principal influencing factors including teacher hiring and development as well as the conditions for sound learning.
The study also concluded, “it is difficult to envision an investment in K-12 education with a higher ceiling on its potential return than improving school leadership”
Reason 2: Investing in Leadership Diminishes the Impact of Churn and Saves Districts Money -Substantial Money
Research conducted by the School Leaders Network reports
Principal Churn for new leaders is an issue. 50% of new principals are not retained beyond their third year; only 30% remain after 5 years. Furthermore, conservative estimates of the cost to develop, hire and onboard each principal is $75,000; principal retention is a very real financial strategy. Unfortunately, average districts lose 15% to 20% of principals each year, a costly loss.
The study offers 4 strategies to defeat churn.
Strategy 1: Invest in ongoing PD, far beyond the first two years, much like we do for teachers,
doctors and lawyers.
Strategy 2: Engage principals in meaningful network opportunities.
Strategy 3: Provide executive coaching (One-on-one support, beyond the first 3 years).
Strategy 4: Restructure central office roles and policies.
Reason 3: Districts Should Reimagine How They Use Federal Funding – Money is There to Invest
Another Wallace Foundation Report (2021) notes:
There is a lot of money available for investing in campus leaders: ARP, ESSER, Title funds; districts should examine and reimagine how they can use their funding differently. Are districts getting the biggest bang for their buck the way they have been spending federal money? LEAS have tremendous flexibility on how to use federal funds.
The report also notes that districts often “roll over” their federal funds and assign them to previous efforts, some of which may be yielding a poor turn on investment. Reallocating funds for leadership development is highly stressed in the report. ARP/ESSER funds are available through 2024, allowing districts time to analyze how they are using federal funds. Finally, the report notes that districts should think and plan for sustainability, not simply for filling holes.
Reason 4: Rice University with Leadership Partners in Houston, TX, Checks All the Boxes for Research-Based Leadership Development
With a focus on “The Whole Leader”, Leadership Partners and Rice University collaborate to provide the best leadership development available in Texas and beyond.
A combination of Rice MBA professors, Leadership Partners programming, Executive Coaching, learning within a cohort model replete with strategic networking, transforms leaders into the best versions of themselves. These are all supported by current research on what leaders need the most.
The one thing leaders want above all, even over salary increases, is “work-life balance” (NASSP, 2021). Therefore, Leadership Partners focuses on “The Whole Leader”; our coaching and programming help create the work-life balance campus and district leaders crave, while giving them new skills and competencies to apply in their schools and districts.
Based on research mentioned above, Leadership Partners provides:
- A research and competency-based curriculum based on the highest standards for leadership development.
- Highly credentialed executive coaches who are International Federation of Coaching certified and who provide seven rounds of coaching for leaders (along with a 360 Leadership Assessment).
- The best professors from Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business (giving MBA acumen to school leaders), one of the top ranked business schools in the US.
- A cohort model in which we deliberately network leaders over the course of nine months and add them to a network of over 1200 like-minded leaders statewide.
- A four-day Leadership Summit, featuring the most sought-after leadership speakers in the nation.
- Results. Positive, powerful results.
We are proud to partner with over 50 districts in the state and to have professionally developed over 1200 campus and district leaders.
Now is the time to invest in leaders! To learn more, contact Lawrence Kohn at firstname.lastname@example.org or text/call 281-850-4992.
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