3 Minutes: August 2017

At each Baltimore County Board of Education meeting, CASE has three minutes to present information to the board in the interest of our organization. The following is a transcript from one of those meetings.

Good evening Chairman Gillis, Superintendent White, and members of the Board.

I would like to speak with you tonight about two very important documents:

First, the “Professional Standards for Educational Leaders” (PSELs). These 10 Standards were recently adopted into COMAR by the Maryland State Board of Education and replace the former Maryland Instructional Leadership Framework, and the ISLLC Standards.

The PSEL standards will be the foundation of the Professional Competencies component on the State model for Principal Evaluation beginning in the 2018-2019 school year. These standards apply to principals, assistant principals, and to district leaders as they engage in similar domains of work as school leaders.

The PSELs have been developed by the National Policy Board for Educational Administration and their national member organizations which includes the National School Boards Association.

At your last meeting, I spoke of the significant impact that leadership has on student learning. In all realms of their work, educational leaders must focus on how they are promoting the learning, development, and well-being of each student. The PSELs reflect interdependent domains, qualities and values of leadership work that research and practice suggest are integral to student success.

The companion document to the PSELs is “Model Principal Supervisor Professional Standards.” These voluntary standards address the need for supporting current principals so they are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to be instructional leaders. Principal supervisors are positioned to provide that support.

Traditionally, principal supervisors have focused on ensuring that school leaders, and the buildings they run, complied with local policies and state regulations. Recent research suggests that principal supervisors can positively affect student results by helping principals grow as instructional leaders.

A recent Wallace Foundation report asked, “If principal supervisors shift from overseeing compliance to sharpening principals’ instructional leadership capabilities, and if they were provided with the right training and support, would this improve the effectiveness with whom they work?”

This question informed the development of the Supervisor Standards. The shift from compliance monitor to coach is the foundation of the standards. They maintain a focus on student learning through the ongoing development and evolution of the principals’ skills.

This is done through a district lens, by one on one principal and supervisor interactions involving open and honest communication and discussions, targeted goal setting, and supportive professional development.

I will be speaking with the executive leadership in the future about how CASE might collaborate to prepare our district for the PSELs, as well as how principals and supervisors can continue to aspire to a 21st century concept of continuous improvement vs. a compliance mentality.

Thank you.

— Tom DeHart, Executive Director