What does instructional leadership look like? Here’s what 5 school leaders say.

As our team’s instructional leaders, it’s our job to keep teaching and learning at the center of all we do. 

That means having an intentional focus on the growth of teachers and students. It means diving into the data and researching best practices. It means creating trust and providing instructional feedback to teachers, supporting them as they work to support students’ engagement and achievement.

I recently co-moderated a #PrincipalOfficeHours chat in which a group of our fellow school leaders shared their reflections and ideas about approaching instructional leadership – from giving quality feedback to building an anti-racist school community. I wanted to share just a few highlights below.

Joel T. Brown, middle school assistant principal in Washington, NC

P.S. You can see the full conversation by searching #PrincipalOfficeHours on Twitter.

When I work with teachers, my approach is always to focus on what supports teachers need from me to help them get from where they are to where they want to be. The bar of excellence should not change. The level of support is the variable that we must adjust to support people as we help them reach the standard.”
Sanée Bell, middle school principal in Houston, TX

“We talk a lot about the importance of clear learning targets for our students, but teachers need learning targets, too! Give clear expectations at the outset. Tell them where they are going. Help them identify where they are in relation to the target and then collaboratively create a plan that will get them there that includes formative checks along the way.”
Michael McWilliams, elementary school principal in Denton, TX

“I’m a huge fan of bringing people together. When someone needs support in a certain instructional area, I pair them with someone who is strong in that area. Teachers thrive when they can lean on each other and help each other grow.
Dennis Schug, middle school principal in Long Island, NY

Meet folks where they are, but don’t forget to move forward with them. We do no one any good when capacity isn’t built and growth is nonexistent. People innately want to be and perform at their best.”
Latrese Younger, assistant principal in Culpeper, VA

“Part of our role as instructional leaders is to guide our team toward anti-racist practices. When collaborating around anti-racist work, it is important that everyone feels safe, but it’s equally important that many feel uncomfortable, because that is when growth happens. It’s only through being honest that we develop for the better.”
Alexa Sorden, elementary school principal in New York, NY