So, you’re trying to help principals, or principal evaluators, or principal-candidates understand the ISLLC Standards:
- Setting a widely shared vision for learning
- Developing a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff professional growth
- Ensuring effective management of the organization, operation, and resources for a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment
- Collaborating with faculty and community members, responding to diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources
- Acting with integrity, fairness, and in an ethical manner
- Understanding, responding to, and influencing the political, social, legal, and cultural contexts.
Maybe you do an overview of the six standards and then ask your audience to try to makes sense of them graphically. Sooner or later the conversation shifts to using the ISLLC Standards for evaluation — and how to collect evidence of the Standards. A natural activity would be to have the participants generate lists of the artifacts and other sources of evidence for each of the Standards. That’s a logical approach and not unlike one I’ve employed in the past. What do you get when you do this? You get a cacophony of potential artifacts — and everyone reaches for a 4″ three-ring binder in which to collect all this stuff and which will eventually accompany the other three-ring binders in the vinyl library.
We can do better! We can use the ISLLC Standards for school improvement and not just evaluation. A colleague, Dawn Shannon from Broome-Tioga BOCES, showed me how to use the ISLLC Standards in a way that can guide school improvement initiatives and provide a scheme for growth-producing feedback and evaluation.
Here’s how: Rather than collecting all sorts of evidence about all sorts of efforts, the principal and superintendent (or supervisor) should identify an initiative for the school year (yes, this overlaps with the goal) and use the ISLLC Standards to guide, follow, and evaluate the success of the initiative/goal. The evidence that is collected, therefore, is centered (and authentic) on the initiative. The initiative will benefit from the analysis and application of the ISLLC Standards and the evidence will be collected for proposes of evaluation. This is a win-win situation! We can comply with the APPR regulations while also helping principals with their authentic initiatives and goals.
This is a much better alternative to just collecting binders full of evidence that is disconnected — the shotgun approach to evidence collection. Instead, follow an initiative (and improve the initiative) while collecting evidence. Along the way, monitor the progress of the initiative with the ISLLC framework. It can be a trifecta: growth-producing feedback for the principal, evaluation for the regulations, and initiative improvement for the school. Win-win-win!