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Student Achievement and Leadership

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Student Achievement and Leadership

Student Achievement and Leadership

We often hear comments from the media and politicians that American students are falling behind. In our modern era, students are compared to their peers around the world. The measurable results of education, such as competency assessments, are how schools, teachers and students are judged. I believe that quality educational leadership can help with student achievement on assessments. An effective educational leader creates a culture of achievement by being visionary, creative and proactive.

To create an achievement culture the leader must be visionary. Vision is what provides meaning and purpose to the activity of the school. Successful educational leaders hold in their mind a vision of their school and what they want students to achieve. In my experience I have found that the best leaders have the ability to convert a vision into reality. They not only are able to clearly see an objective, but they convincingly invite others to share in that vision. A good example would be a reading specialist, with whom I have worked closely. He had a vision of every student, second through fifth grade, reading at grade level. He shared his vision by developing a plan and getting teachers to implement the plan. The result was that each year the percentage of students reading at or above level increased. His vision was the fuel that had driven this achievement.

Good administrators are creative innovators. They take steps to create a culture of achievement. They do this by protecting instructional time and eliminating many distractions form learning. The current principal I work with often asks of new programs, "How is this going to help the students?" Good educational leaders also create this culture by building a foundation of data driven accountability. This can be done by gathering results of formative tests and analyzing feed back about student achievement. Supervising teachers and helping them to explore strategies for best practices are also a part of this process.

Successful educational leadership requires being proactive. Effective leaders take initiative. Often a school principal is asked to take on dual roles. They are required to be both leaders and managers. In a school, administrators are often responsible for the vision as well as the implementation of steps needed to achieve that vision. They recognize the needs of schools and take action. Steps are always being taken forward to help increase student achievement. Being proactive is acting on a vision to make it a reality. Proactive principals are problem solvers. They foresee and resolve potential problems and distractions. One principal I worked with spent each Tuesday visiting with different employees of the school. He even spent time

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