3 Minutes: July 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, Interim Superintendent White, and members of the board.

I have come full circle. I spent a career in Baltimore County Public Schools as an elementary teacher, middle school teacher, middle school assistant principal, alternative school principal, middle school principal, and finally a high school principal. I have spent the last 11 years at the Maryland State Department of Education researching leadership theory and creating and facilitating professional development opportunities for principals, assistant principals, and executive leadership in all 24 Maryland school districts.

It has been well documented that the single most impact on student growth is the teacher in the classroom. A meta analysis conducted by Rand for New Leaders quantified the teacher impact at 33%. While that may sound low, it is still the most important factor.

While there is a myriad of factors that contribute to the remaining 67%, research has shown that second only to the teacher… the principal, and by extension, the assistant principals, is the second most powerful influence on student achievement. Again, Rand was able to quantify that influence at 25%.

This 58% total influence on student achievement is important because it is a number that is under our control.

Relative to the leadership component, it is important that we continue to identify and develop leadership within the existing employee ranks in a systematic and purposeful fashion to build the bench of future assistant principals, principals, supervisors and coordinators.

If we look at the baseball model, the most successful teams year in and year out have strong minor league systems where players learn the game in the mold of the major league team. Those successful teams then compliment their teams by an occasional free agent who may have a skill set that is missing in the organization.

This process supports team vision, continuity, culture, consistency, and loyalty.

Once promoted, ongoing and purposeful professional development is just as important. Again, baseball teams have spring training every year, as well as batting practice and coaching on a regular basis for all players.

I look forward to working with executive leadership and the Board to help ensure that we recruit and prepare the absolute best candidates and then support their work after their promotion.

25% of student achievement cannot be overlooked. It is after all the reason for our professional existence.

— Tom DeHart, Executive Director