Monroe NJ – Kim Marshall – November 21, 2012
“We’re from the central office
and we’re here to help you”
• Bud Spillane’s quip as Boston superintendent in 1982
• Principals’ skepticism about central-office initiatives
• The principal is Grand Central!
• So many layers between superintendent and students!
• Leading from central can feel like pushing a string
• It helps if everyone agrees on key values, strategies.
• Clarity, coherence, and direction across the district
What it all comes down to:
Good teaching
in every classroom
every day
every year
Percent of New York State 7th-graders
proficient and above in ELA, and FRPL
Percent of New York State 7th-graders
proficient and above in ELA, and FRPL
A breakthrough: the 4-point scale
• Differentiates four levels of performance
• Level 3 is solid, expected professional performance
• The goal – all professionals performing at Level 3 and 4
• Quality assurance
But behind some classroom doors…
Teacher on e-mail while students do low-level work
Teacher lecturing, 60% of students tuned out
Teacher teaching while side conversations go on
No wait time after questions
COPWAKTA syndrome; favoring the “smart” kids
Thumbs up/thumbs down to check for understanding
Pile of uncorrected papers on the teacher’s desk
Teacher showing a movie not related to the curriculum
Teacher working in isolation, outmoded pedagogy
Other mediocre practices?
A mediocre hotel – characteristics?
• In a hotel, mediocrity is not a big deal.
• But in classrooms, it is.
• The “Matthew Effect” – gap widens every year.
• A few good teachers here and there aren’t enough.
• We need effective teaching sustained year to year.
• Then students can beat the odds.
• What are the key steps to ensuring that?
The role of district leadership
• Clear vision and mission: college and career success
• Decent funding for salaries, materials, facilities, etc.
• Run interference for schools in the political world
• A common language about good teaching
• An effective teacher-evaluation process
• Effective hiring and firing for all positions
• Student-achievement data analysis, support
• “Consumer information” on instructional materials
The purpose of school visits:
Help principals help teachers help kids
• How to make visits authentic?
• What to look for
• How to give feedback to principals
• How to use technology – iPads, laptops, smartphones
• What data to examine and how to follow up
• How to rubric-evaluate at the end of the year
• What is the principal’s job, exactly
Principals must do all of these well
1. Mission & strategy – Achievement, goals, theory of action, big rocks
2. Climate – Safe and humane, students “with the program”
3. Curriculum planning – Clear outcomes, calendar, unit, lesson plans.
4. Resources & operations – Materials, schedule, budget, resources
5. Instruction – Effective teaching in every class through recruitment,
hiring, supervision, evaluation, coaching, PD, tough-love feedback
6. During-the-year assessments – Teachers, teams use data well
7. Collaboration and growth – Teams plan, analyze, share, strategize
8. Safety nets – Prompt, effective help for struggling students
9. Parents – Families trust the school, are guided toward effective help
So what should a superintendent
look for in school visits?
• Sitting with each principal at the beginning of year
• Going over the list of 9 core tasks, student
achievement data
• Focusing on the school’s 2-3 unique “big rocks”
• But throughout the year, keeping an eye on four big
drivers of teaching and learning
Team curriculum
unit planning
PLC interim
Time and
But first, principal evaluation rubrics
Quite a recent idea
• Reeves, Marzano, Marshall, others
• No gold-standard research yet
• But there are compelling advantages…
• Provided they’re used well. Some possible mess-ups?
• Origins of mine: New Leaders “Exit Outcomes” 2004
• Built on further research, tightened them up
• New York State adopted 2011, New Jersey 2012
Marshall rubrics domains
A. Diagnosis and planning
B. Priority management and communication
C. Curriculum and data
D. Supervision, evaluation, and PD
E. Discipline and parent involvement
F. Management and external relations
Labels convey important messages
Early version
4 – Expert
4 – Highly Effective
3 – Proficient
3 – Effective
2 – Needs improvement
2 – Improvement Necessary
1 – Does not meet standards
1 – Does Not Meet Standards
Key features of Marshall rubrics
• Aligned with ISLLC standards
• Comprehensive – all aspects of leadership
• But succinct and compact – six pages
• Each domain fits on one page
• Page score, then summary page
• Descriptive language, observable behaviors
• Level 3 is solid performance, 4 is a high bar
• Clear distinction between 3/4 ratings and 2/1
Parallel to teacher rubrics
• Similar structure, layout, philosophy
• How these are introduced makes a big difference.
• Particular – General – Particular
• See how you react to this approach
• You’re welcome to use these slides
Mission –
• Diagnosis and planning
Culture –
Curriculum –
Resources –
• Priority man. & communic.
• Curriculum & data
Instruction –
Assessment –
Collaboration –
• Supervision, evaluation, PD
• Discipline, parent involvemt.
Safety nets –
Parents –
• Management, external relation
Let’s try one page
• Think of a principal you know well.
• Pick one domain (D?)
• Start with Level 3, look left and right
• Circle the best description of performance.
• Did anyone get all 4’s?
• Could you fill this out based on one school visit?
• What are pros and cons of using this rubric?
Flip through the rest of the packet
• A total of 60 facets of leadership
• They put the puzzle pieces together at the end of year.
• Questions:
– How would a superintendent gather evidence?
– Feedback along the way?
– Heads-up to principal along the way?
– How much evidence would you need in June?
A possible game plan
• Introduction at end of the summer
• Each principal self-assesses
• Sets goals in areas at Level 1, 2
• Charting district-wide leadership data
• School visits, ongoing feedback
• Training during the year, videotapes, “The Class”
• Reading each others’ brief classroom write-ups
• A mid-year check-in using the rubrics?
• End-of-year process – “the reveal”
Software to reduce paperwork
• An elegant software package for laptops, tablets
• Created by school administrators in Tennessee
• Avoided the mistakes of other packages
• 1,000-character maximum for mini blurbs
• Rubric scoring, principal self-assessment, goal-setting
• Used in Hamilton County (Chattanooga) on their
mini-observations and rubrics starting 2010-11
(Kim has no financial interest in this company.)
Sample T-EVAL write-up
Good to talk to you about your 6th period English class today. What
an enigma! The lesson was perfectly planned and differentiated, and
yet, somehow, many of the students were not working as hard as I felt
they could have. They had a set of questions to answer based on their
reading of and listening to the short story, and several of the students
were not actively answering the questions. You and I discussed when
we met that you had also had frustrations with them not reading when
you asked them to. One recommendation that I came up with was to
try a timer and check in with them at intervals through the lesson.
Grading their class work each day may also work. They also need a
pep talk about college, as many of them are not currently passing the
marking period. Finally, in some cases, I think a parent phone call
and/or letter can help. The student aides can assist with this. I look
forward to working with you to get these kids working well this
Teacher rubrics, Hamilton County, TN
Policy questions with rubrics
• A different rubric for rookies?
• More weight for some pages? criteria?
• Must leaders be Level 3 on certain pages?
• Add up ratings into a total number? (Newark, NJ)
• Different pay for 4-3-2-1 ratings?
• Rubrics for other job categories: Westwood, MA work
– Lisa Freedman – [email protected]
• Using “The Class” to build inter-rater reliability
Keys to successful implementation
Transparency – a clear explanation up front
Self-assessment and goal-setting up front
Frequent school visits
Home in on a few key areas for improvement
The more informal, the better
Open, humble
Above all, develop trust – the glue that holds it all
Rubrics take-aways
• What strategies are you going to use?
• Where are your people at in terms of skill? Will?
• What can superintendents do?
• What can principals do?
Contact information
Kim’s e-mail:
[email protected]
Marshall Memo website for
rubrics and articles (click
on Kim bio/publications):

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