Improving Schools: Only Two Rules

Only two rules for improving schools.

  1. Appoint the best teachers
  2. Improve the teachers you have

Get both right and your school will improve.

There are only two rules for improving schools: provide effective teachers and professional learning. These two areas encompass everything that happens in a school.

Rule One: Appoint the Best Teachers

Recruiting is the first step to improving your school. Not all students can succeed without a great teacher who ensures they make progress every day. Getting the best teachers may be a difficult task, but a skilled principal can make a difference.

When principals look at the resume, they should be looking for teachers with potential to value add their school. Most teachers are capable and competent instructors, but often what thy do outside the classroom offers greater insight into the quality of the teacher. The basic aim of an interview is to get a sense of how someone views their role as a teacher by asking questions about how they like to teach and what lessons were effective. A more in depth approach is to inquire into how they would contribute and value add to the direction of the school.

Recruiting the best teachers requires a lot of leg work and often some convincing. (What can your school offer a high performing teacher that another school can’t.)

Rule Two: Improve the Teachers You Have

Once you have recruited effective teachers, now you need to hold them accountable for being better every day. Your focus as principal on professional learning is on improving teaching practices through evidence-based strategies to improve student learning.

The best professional learning is intentional, targeted, and produces results. Establishing a culture of continuous improvement will help principals better manage staff by holding them accountable for improving every day. Some effective principals develop a growth mindset culture by providing every teacher with personalised professional learning opportunities. Suggested opportunities may vary based on student needs, but improving schools requires consistent action.

These are just two rules for improving schools. Follow these guidelines to ensure students succeed in your school!

Author: Dr Jake Madden

Jake Madden (Dip Teach; B.Ed; Grad Dip: Leadership; M. Ed: Leadership; EdD; FACEL; MACE) Dr. Jake Madden is currently the Principal, St Edward’s Primary School, Tamworth. He has enjoyed a successful teaching and principal leadership career over the last thirty years building teacher capacity through the development of learning in the contemporary world, the promotion of flexible learning spaces to meet the needs of the 21st century learner and curriculum for global mindedness. Jake is a leader in the notion of teacher-as-researcher and is widely published in this area, authoring and co-authoring books and a number of journal articles showcasing his experiences and research into leading educational change.

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