The Saskatchewan Principalship Study
Report Four: Formula for Effectiveness
By Pat Renihan
SSTA Research Centre Report #126: 46 pages, $11.
|Introduction||Four pervasive themes which have never been far
from the surface in this major discussion of the principalship, and which would seem to
have considerable relevance for effectiveness within the role are:
a) The professional philosophy of individual principals;
b) The credibility of the principalship;
c) The competence of individuals performing the role;
d) The constraints experienced by individuals in the performance of the role.
|The Effective Principal|
Back to: Leadership
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The opinions and recommendations expressed in this report are those of the author and may not be in agreement with SSTA officers or trustees, but are offered as being worthy of consideration by those responsible for making decisions.
Numerous issues have been identified through the first three Reports of the Saskatchewan Principalship Study. These have focused on a) demographic and role characteristics; b] concerns in the performance of the principal's tasks; and, c) the relationship of the principal to the community.
These major issues will be reintroduced in the present Report with a view to developing and explicating policy directions relating to the principalship, around the general theme of effectiveness in the performance of the job.
Four pervasive themes which have never been far from the surface in this major discussion of the principalship, and which would seem to have considerable relevance for effectiveness within the role are: a) The professional philosophy of individual principals b) The credibility of the principalship; c) The competence of individuals performing the role; d) The constraints experienced by individuals in the performance of the role.
The various issues identified during the first three reports would seem to point to specific means by which effectiveness in the performance of the principal's role might be enhanced. In order to translate the issues into recommendations for policy and, in turn, action, the greater part of this final Report will be presented along the lines of a simple formula:
CONVICTION + CREDIBILITY + COMPETENCE = EFFECTIVENESS
Where "conviction" refers to a clear vision on the part of the principal, not only as to where the school is going and where it should be going, but where he is going in regard to administrative philosophy and goals;
where "credibility" refers to a view of the principalship on the part of educators and the community at large, which recognizes the centrality of the position in the total educational picture, and which gives the position a level of esteem with some potential influence over the direction which the school will take;
where "competence" refers to the attainment of a minimum standard of preparation on the part of principals, and the expectation for high standards of principal preparation and performance on the part of those charged with hiring them;
.and where "constraints" refers to those various forces within the control of principals or school boards or educational agencies, or governments, which impede principals in the adequate performance of their tasks.
During this final Report, specific recommendations for individuals and agencies will be presented, thus providing elaboration upon the otherwise simplistic formula for effectiveness which has been outlined.
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The ultimate goal of this discussion is to point out directions for effectiveness in the principalship. A description of the characteristics of the effective principal is a logical point from which to establish policy implications and recommendations.
One of the questions asked of directors, principals, teachers and trustees in the questionnaire survey requested their perceptions as to the three most important characteristics of an effective principal. This was an open question which allowed for free verbatim responses. In other words, no existing "list" of characteristics was provided for respondents. Some of the verbatim comments were as follows:
TEACHER COMMENTS: "The principal should act as a catalyst - stimulating people to work together to question, to strive for learning experiences which work for children." "Should know what we are doing, our strengths and weaknesses. God knows, it's a tough job!" "An effective principal is firm but flexible. Ability to be as professional as need be for an administrator, but not to lose the human aspect needed to be a caring teacher." "Wise, judicious, firm and yet tolerant. Ability and ambition to go with training and knowledge." "Principals should establish the atmosphere for the school - he should endeavor to exert a positive influence, especially an the staff - too often the principal is a negative force in the school (a reminder of everything that is going wrong)."
TRUSTEE COMMENTS "Organizer (putting the right person in charge of less important things so (he, she) can have the time to be available to smooth. out problems. Like a boss who knows about all the workings of the business but also leaves himself open to handle the business more than the jobs."
"Must be good at identifying problems and solving them - not running a central office. A man or woman of good judgment
"Must care for the student and his or her family as a prime consideration in all school activities. (Let the parent in the bloody school)l"
"Has the ability to get the best out of staff members and have them happy to do their best.'
"Must be presentable, efficient and concerned with school, community and administrative duties and able to correlate all in a well planned matter of fact way."
. "Ability to work as part of a team, to work through others and to engender these abilities in others - not a loner or one who must always have things done in his own way
"Perceived leadership: lead not dictate "
"Expects high degree of commitment from teachers, students, parents - and is leading the war in this regard."
"A person who sees kids, not paper."
"An effective principal is concerned about the welfare
of teachers and students."
"A sensitive agent of organizational change and improvement-"
"Is willing to spend time - in discussion, in planning in organization, in general decorating, in
extracurricular activities. In other words, principaling takes time." "Has an understanding of what constitutes an effective school, and what constitutes effective teaching." "Good nerves." "Has the ability to develop a team spirit on staff, so that the staff will see the principal as a source of guidance and help. This involves principal-teacher relations when the principal visits the classroom."
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The responses of teachers, directors, trustees and principals were categorized in order to determine the aspects of effectiveness perceived to be most important by each group. From a frequency count of these categories, seven characteristics of effective principals emerged. These, in order of overall importance, were: 1. Human relations skills 2. Leadership skills 3. Organizational skills 4. Communication skills 5. Understanding, empathy and patience 6. Consistency and objectivity 7. Academic background. The proportion of each respondent group selecting each of these characteristics as one of their preferences is illustrated in Table l.
In regard to the preferences of individual groups, leadership skills emerged as the first priority for the principals and trustees, while directors identified human relation skills, and teachers selected the quality of consistency and diplomacy more frequently than any other.
Academic background was selected more frequently as a desirable characteristic by directors than by any of the other groups of respondents. However, each group rated it lower on their list of priorities than such skills as leadership, human relations, organization, communication, consistency and understanding. The directors' selection of academic background as a characteristic of effective principals is possibly a reflection of their close association with the hiring process, and the fact that academic background is often used as a significant criterion in the selection of principals.
It is worthy of note that groups in the "May Seminar" also identified interpersonal. and human relations skills as most important requisites for the principalship. Rural principals identified teaching ability as important in the job. An additional point of interest is the absence of political skills from the list. It would seem that, despite the existence of an increasingly "political" environment, Saskatchewan educators do not attribute the level of importance to this quality as that which has been recorded in studies in the United States and other parts of Canada.
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"The effective principal has, above all, a personal vision of where the school is going, and an image of the school as it should be". (Manasse, 1982)The recent literature an effective schools has identified several "factors" which are important determinants of school effectiveness. One consistently mentioned item has been the quality of leadership which is exercised at the school level. It has been pointed out in several studies that effective schools invariably have good administrators. In fact, these studies have been specific in their identification of the leadership qualities required in the effective
school. These are:
assumption of responsibility:
force of character.
Manasse (1982) describes the effective principal as having, above all, a personal vision of where the school is going, and an image of the school as it should be. In the present study of the principalship in Saskatchewan, the same point was echoed many times in questionnaire and interview responses by teachers, trustees, directors and principals themselves. The following comments are representative of this general feeling:
"I think that the principal sets the tone for the whole school - his personality is often reflected in the students and teachers."
"The most important qualities of the principal are the qualities of vision and leadership, being able to See beyond today, the needs of their own little school."
"An effective principal is one who sets his personal and school goals so that his school and the classrooms in it will be places in which the uses of the intellect are given prominence in a setting of elevated language, civilized manners and respect far social institutions."
"The principal must have a commitment to learning, to questioning the status quo, to asking hard questions about what schools should be about."
In addition, one of the interview groups in the "May Seminar" noted that the skills which a principal has should be based upon a sound educational philosophy and that there should be appropriate time set aside by principals for themselves, in order to allow for a degree of self analysis.
The vision, leadership and commitment referred to in the foregoing comments amount to the possession of a conviction, on the part of the principal, which has two important dimensions:
a) a conviction or belief that the school can improve: and
b) a conviction or belief that the principal can make a difference.
Related to this conviction is, of course, a sense of mission as to the directions which the school should be taking.
The possession, by principals, of the type of conviction which has been referred to is related to several of the issues which were identified in the various sub-reports of this study. In particular, the issue of credibility, the lack of aspiration to the job, the waning respect for the position, the perception that the position lacks autonomy and power, can be addressed by the elevation of the position to one which has significance for the direction taken by the school, and the school system, one in which the principal is more "origin" than "pawn" in making key decisions. This point is also related to the issue of multiple expectations for the principal's role, and to the issue of administrative time.
How can a principal operationalize a vision of what the school should be if he has not got the time to put it into effect, or if he is torn five different directions by the incompatible expectations of administration, boards, community, teachers and students On the other hand, without clear evidence of this vision, school boards would be hard pressed to justify the allotment of time and resources in the name of "enhancing school administration". Consequently, the first recommendation of this study is directed at the principal:
As a key individual at the school level, the principal must have a clear educational platform: a carefully thought out administrative philosophy which encompasses personal professional goals, the goals of the school and the goals of the educational system.
This recommendation, simple as it is, provides a rudimentary base for the reminder of the recommendations of the study.
.One final note should be made in regard to conviction. The motives which the individual principal brings to the performance of the tasks would seem to have significance for the impact he has upon the school. Same ineffective administrative practices are motivated more by a concern for personal survival than by a concern for the
success of the school operation as a whole Individuals with a concern for survival would seem more inclined to be influenced by dominant minorities, over-involved with paper-work, inclined to allow "end runs", unable to delegate tasks meaningfully. In short, they are less inclined to be effective team leaders.
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The "credibility crisis" experienced by principals is undoubtedly an issue in this study. The responses of all groups pointed, in various ways, to this conclusion. The explanation for this situation may well rest in a combination of several factors: the proliferation of new tasks, busy work, time constraints and, as Lucas illustrated in Report 03, the inability of administrators to be proactive in dealing with pressure groups. Addressing this general concern is no simple task, but it does point to a few basic recommendations. These pertain to three areas of consideration:
a) Role clarification,
b) Professional identity,
c) Professional credentials.
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Concerns with both the legislated and the perceived role of the school principal are in need of same resolution. The confusion around the role of the school principal would appear to be a significant concern in regard to the credibility of the position.
THE LEGISLATED ROLE.
Issues identified in both the first and second reports of the Principalship Study commented upon the legislated role of the school principal in Saskatchewan. It was noted that role clarification for the principal is more appropriately conducted at the system level, because specific descriptions need to be in keeping with the unique characteristics of the system. However, the Saskatchewan Education Act (1978) has had a significant impact upon the principalship. As indicated in Report #2, it has served to increase the number of mandated responsibilities of the principal.
Unfortunately, principals throughout Saskatchewan have had to face the increased mandatory responsibility without the resources and the support to perform them Satisfactorily. Consequently, teacher comments reveal a lack of confidence in their principals, while principals' comments reflect an uncertainty and a marked discomfort with such aspects of their job as classroom supervision. Many are driven into a "survival" mode of operation.
Six years have elapsed since the implementation of the Saskatchewan Education Act. Two recommendations related to The Education Act emerge from this Study: It is recommended that the Saskatchewan Department of Education solicit reactions from school systems as to those items in the Act relating to school administration, and that the input of school level administrators into this process be encouraged. It is recommended that school systems take stack of the specific implications of the Education Act for the principal's role, and that they review the resources which are provided for principals in helping them meet their mandated responsibilities.
These recommendations may appear, at first glance, to be unnecessary. They were prompted, however, by the startling amount of confusion and uncertainty evident in the findings, concerning the prescriptions of The Saskatchewan Act for the principal's role. One additional point should be made in regard to the above recommendations. When the present Education Act was being consolidated, there was an unprecedented, and commendable, involvement of various educational groups and agencies throughout Saskatchewan. It would be consistent with this philosophy if the same spirit of participation were encouraged in the process of monitoring and assessment Of the Act.
THE PERCEIVED ROLE.
In each of the sub-reports of this Study, the issue of lack of understanding of the role of the school and the principal, made more difficult by multiple expectations for the principal's role, emerged very clearly as an area in need of attention, particularly in the case of rural principals. How do we cope with community conflict, power plays, the lack of general dialogue around the principalship? Lucas, in his Report, asked, "Haw do we cultivate public understanding and appreciation of the tasks, responsibilities, and achievements of teachers and principals" Addressing these questions is not a simple task. There are no simple solutions, but the implementation of two recommendations may be a useful starting point:
It is recommended that boards of education develop specific role descriptions for school principals in their systems, that this be included in the Policy Manual for the Division, and that dialogue on the principal's role, involving parents and teachers, be actively encouraged.
It is recommended that principals seek out opportunities for members of the public to directly observe and experience the work of the school through such mechanisms as parent volunteer programs.
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The identity issue, referred to by same administrators as a "schitzo problem", particularly in regard to the question of whether the principal is a teacher or an administrator, has not been sufficiently alleviated by the professional groups in this province. Principals belong to the Teachers' Federation, and, from the findings of this study, it is best that they do, but at the same time, they need an outlet to express their professional identity and cater for their specific professional needs, rather than "piggy-backing" on the provisions of a professional group aimed at teachers generally.
Many principals in this Province currently belong to a Provincial administrators' organization which comes under the umbrella of the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation. A separate high school principals group also exists, with a membership of about 160. Recently, a move has been made to establish an elementary principals' group within the Province.
Such groups have, in themselves, been useful means by which principals can establish a sense of professional identity, but these moves alone will not necessarily further the credibility of the principalship-
There is need for clear direction from a distinct professional organization which is truly representative of principals in the province, and which provides an opportunity for professional interaction among principals 'ram a variety of types of school and school systems.
It is recommended that principals' organizations in this Province take a leadership role in regard to the professional identity of principals and the public profile of school administrators- this would include the promotion, within their constitution of an attitude of professional sharing and collegiality between rural and urban principals, and the exertion of leadership in the ongoing professional growth of principals.
Principals' organizations should, in short, be a visible presence in the province's educational development with a much higher public profile than that which they currently project.
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One of the defining characteristics of a profession is that it places, as a condition for those who wish to enter its ranks, a set of rigid requirements. It has been noted earlier that teachers, principals, directors and trustees were strongly agreed that the principalship is a vocation requiring training beyond that of staffs. Bearing this in mind, it seems surprising that there is no requirement that principals undergo this kind of training as a prerequisite to the job.
Certification of teachers evolved initially through a need for quality control of the educational service provided in schools, and to assure a degree of competence on the part of professional employees. It is also a means, of course, by which professional practitioners may protect themselves and the profession.
The question, when this reasoning is applied to principals, is whether there should be a requirement whereby the fitness of prospective principals far the job can be determined. For several reasons, it is a recommendation of this study that there should be such a requirement. Those reasons, strongly substantiated in the study findings, are:
The conventional opinion that principals do require special training.
The existing poor state of principal training in Saskatchewan
The potential of such a requirement for enhancing the professional image, and credibility, of school principals-
Haphazard criteria and methods currently used for the recruitment and selection of principals.
The agreement, among teachers, principals, directors and trustees that there should be a program of courses leading to a principal's certificate.
In regard to the latter point, respondents to the principalship questionnaire were given the option of responding in any of four categories to the question of principal certification: (a) in favor: (b) not in favor; (c) not sure: (d) no response.
Table 2 contains a summary of the responses of the four groups to the question.
As indicated in Table 2, well over 50 percent of the respondents in each group were in favor of certification far school principals. The strongest vote in favor of certification came from the directors group, 74 percent of whom believed that there should be a program of studies leading to an administrator's certificate. The rural directors were particularly strong in support of the question, 78 percent responding in favor of certification. As for the other groups 67 percent of the principals, 61 percent of the trustees and 58 percent of the teachers responded positively.
Responses in the "not in favor" category were most frequent for teachers (40 percent) and trustees (37 percent), than for principals (11 percent), and directors (15 percent). But there were numerous principals and directors who indicated that they had not made up their minds on the issue. Twenty percent of the principals, and 10 percent, of the directors were "not sure". It seems that the issue for teachers and trustees is more "cut and dried". There were no responses in the "not sure" category for these two groups.
Urban and rural responses were fairly similar, with one or two noteworthy exceptions. There were interesting contrasts, for example, between urban and rural directors. The "in favor" response for directors was made up of a 60 percent vote by urban directors, and a 70 percent vote by rural directors. It is also worthy of Same attention that a significantly higher proportion of urban than of rural directors were "not sure". In fact, 4 percent of the urban, and 27 percent of the rural directors indicated that they were "not sure" on the question of principal certification.
The results of questionnaire surveys, interviews and discussions seem to point to a receptivity to the idea of examining the relative merits and shortcomings of such a system. Several points bath in favor of, and opposed to, the idea of certification of principals have been identified by those involved in the study- The more commonly raised points on both sides of the question were as follows:
Certification provides an opportunity far a clearer perspective on the principalship - a professional approach;
Teachers require certification -Why not principals
The practice can provide for a systematic way of dealing with administrative tasks - a link between theory and practice:
There is a waste of human resources under the present system;
Certification may provide the thrust we need for an on-going process of professional development;
New principals need some sort of course to provide direction in the job;
Certification could provide for a statement of "minimum standards and skills in the principalship"; Certification gets away from the assumption that an effective teacher will necessarily make a good administrator;
This practice will force administrators to "think" in terms of running a school;
Certification can provide principals with greater prestige and esteem;
Certification would provide objectivity rather than subjectivity in the hiring process.
The more you make the principal different from the teacher through certification, the more trouble Not enough is known about what makes a good principal to provide appropriate training; Administrators should get the experience first, train them later;
In small schools with a high turnover, who will take the job if certification is necessary?
A special certificate could be obtained by anyone, but this does not necessarily guarantee a good principal: Personality is the key in the principalship. There is no training for that!
We don't need a high degree of standardization such as that which would be provided by administrator certification;
Situations are so vastly different. Common certification criteria may not provide for these differences;
If certification were based on university work, it may not be all that relevant;
Certification could reduce the "pool" of those available for the principalship. Individuals with good credentials may be put off by the requirement for certification.
The issue of certification has implications for several important facets of school and school system administration, and touches such activities as the hiring, recruitment and the preservice and inservice training of school administrators. In the more general sense, this question also has implications for the way in which the principalship is viewed by educators and by the community at large. For these reasons, and on the basis of information collected throughout the study, the following recommendation has been formulated:
It is recommended that the Saskatchewan Department of Education establish a "Board of School Administrator Certification", to include representatives from various educational groups in the province (LEADS, The Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation, the Trustees' Association. The Department of Education and the two Colleges of Education),- that this Board be given the task of determining the alternative programs of training which would be required, and the agencies which would be involved in such programs; and that the Board be given the responsibility for establishing time lines and criteria fat the phasing in of such a program.
In that certification (or accreditation) of principals has some considerable potential as a means of furthering the credibility and professional identity of principals,
It is recommended that the Saskatchewan Council an Educational Administration actively support and promote the idea of a program leading to certification or accreditation of school principals in this Province.
In the development of a program of certification (or accreditation) of school principals, several additional considerations merit attention. What consideration would have to be given to small schools, or schools with a high rate of administrative turnover? Haw might current programs be utilized Should there be a mandatory practicum Dialogue around these and other questions might shed same light on ways in which the professional identity and credibility of principals may be advanced.
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"The growth of the system of education itself is dependent upon the strength and skills of its leaders". Directions, Saskatchewan Curriculum and Instruction Review, 1984. Several matters which came to the forefront during the principalship study were directly related to the competence of the individual on the jab. While there is an element of truth to the comments made by some "respondents, that same principals have an inherent administrative capability that can not be provided by training, most of the individuals surveyed in this study perceived preservice and inservice programs to be necessary for principals in general. The phrase, "principals are born, not made" falls far short of the mark when it comes to addressing the preservice and inservice needs of principals.
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It has been pointed out in the second sub-report of this Study, that a significant number of principals in Saskatchewan have not undertaken training for the position, despite the recognition that such a position does require special training. The three reasons put forward in that Report were, a) principals are not required to undertake such training; b) the relevant programs are not available or accessible, and c) principals are not sufficiently motivated to undertake programs of training.
The problem of access to preservice training programs for administrators and aspiring administrators in Saskatchewan is a major concern. In fact, one of the issues identified in this study related to the shortcomings of existing programs of preparation, in that they were not seen as providing sufficiently for clinical and experiential aspects of administrator training. An additional access consideration relates to principals in more isolated areas who have less opportunity than their urban counterparts, to take advantage of university offerings. The wide disparity between rural and urban principals in regard to graduate and undergraduate qualifications is a graphic illustration of this concern. On the basis of the foregoing points, the following recommendations are made:
It is recommended that institutions involved in administrator preparation conduct a review of programs and course offerings in the light of administrative training needs of rural and urban school administrators.
It is recommended that institutions involved in administrator preparations review course offerings to allow greater provision for clinical work and experiences specific to the principal's role
It is recommended that institutions involved in administrator preparation examine alternative methods of delivery of Preservice courses to rural areas with a view to improving the visibility and accessibility of training programs
It is recommended that the principal's role in school community relations be specifically included: ~ inservice and preservice preparation fat the principalship.
It is recommended that an interagency committee be established to monitor and review preservice and inservice training of principals in this Province could be performed by the Board of Administrator Certification or Accreditation referred to in an earlier recommendation.)
Another type of preservice training, the Saskatchewan Principals' Short Course, has been in operation for almost thirty years, and continues to be very highly regarded by principals and prospective principals from rural and urban systems. This program is also an excellent example of interagency cooperation, as the major organizations in Saskatchewan are involved in the planning and financial support of the program. Interagency cooperation in this area, therefore, is not new, and it is felt that such cooperation could provide the thrust for same further development of the "short course" idea to involve a greater number of administrators over a greater" period of time in such activities.
It is recommended that the Short Course Planning Committee devote further attention to possible expansion of the Principals' Short Course to allow for the involvement of more people over a longer time-period
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This study has found serious shortcomings in professional development opportunities for principals, particularly, though not entirely, in rural schools. These shortcomings relate to poor coordination, lack of follow-up, isolationist attitudes on the part of some systems, and lack of policy and guidelines at the system level to provide for programs of inservice professional development for principals. Key agencies in education in this Province, with the exception of a few isolated instances, have been silent partners in the provision of professional development activities for administrators. From the investigation of inservice provisions, the following conclusions can be made:
There is a perceived need for improved coordination of budgeting, scheduling, and personnel to facilitate improved inservice opportunities for school principals at both system and provincial levels. In this respect, there is a need for improved input from educational agencies and from professional associations.
There is a need for inservice activities which are more longitudinal. In addition to the brief information- giving workshops which continue to be in demand, efforts should be made to provide ongoing activities which build upon themes and allow for follow-up.
Intersystem (and interschool) sharing and intervisitation are possible means by which, according to administrators, inservice may be more effectively provided. It might also help to address the shortcomings experienced by rural principals in the inservice opportunities available to them.
There is a significant role for directors and boards of education in facilitating opportunities for principals under their jurisdiction. This would imply a need for the development of policy at the system level which gives prominence to opportunities for professional development of school principals, and which allows for continued examination of alternative procedures.
On the basis of these conclusions, several recommendations have been developed:
It is recommended that boards of education develop policy at the system level which is based upon a commitment to the professional development of Principals, and which provides time and resources for long-term (longitudinal) rather than short-term (one-shot) professional development programs.
It is recommended that educational agencies and professional associations became more involved in the coordination of aspects of the inservice professional development of principals at the provincial level. For this purpose, an interagency professional development committee should be formulated to ensure that educational groups play a leadership role in this activity.
It is recommended that school boards and agencies encourage programs of intersystem and interschool sharing and intervisitation as means of overcoming problems of isolation and lack of identity experienced by some principals.
It is recommended that the Regional offices of the Department of Education assume a leadership role in providing information, identifying resources, and exploring alternatives relative to professional development programs for principals, particularly those in rural schools.
It is recommended that principals' groups at the system level attempt to have provisions for principal professional development specifically incorporated in the local agreement.
The "instructional leadership" role of the principal is a source of a great deal of concern for principals in systems throughout the province. It seems that brief workshops an supervision do not sufficiently address the concern.
It is recommended that instructional leadership and staff supervision be on-going, recurring items in
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Several studies have found that there are shortcomings in regard to the assessment and evaluation of school principals in Saskatchewan. Few systems have a formalized system of principal assessment in this Province (Renihan, 1979). In addition, King (1982), in a review of rural school boards found that very few boards had a specific policy outlining the system's procedures for assessment of school principals.
A well-planned program of assessment of principal performance which provides for clear, personalized and constructive feedback, can be an extremely useful means of enhancing the professional credibility and competence of individuals on the job. It also has the following advantages for the system and the individual:
it can provide a specific feedback on skills and abilities;
it can highlight continuing education needs of the principal;
it can clarify the individual's role;
it can enable the principal to better see the requirements of the job;
it can motivate self-improvement:
it can contribute toward higher morale and improved professional attitudes.
It is recommended that school boards establish specific policies and procedures for an on-going program of assessment of administrative performance within their schools.
It is recommended that directors, together with their principals' groups, hold inservice sessions specifically oriented to administrator assessment, and that assessment procedures be jointly developed in these sessions for submission to the board for appeal-
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A vital consideration in the overall effectiveness of the principal is the care taken by director and board in the selection of the principal. Two previous studies of principal selection in Saskatchewan (Sauer, 1966; Loder, 1982) illustrated a marked difference between what should ideally be happening and what is happening in regard to principal selection in this Province.
The Loder study, conducted under the auspices of the Principalship
Project, revealed the following:
1. The selection of school principals in this Province remains an inconsistent process;
2. Very few systems have written policies on principal selection;
3. There is a dependence upon a very limited number of procedures for selection.
On the basis of this information,
It is recommended that boards of education give serious attention to the development, or improvement, of policies for principal selection with a view to improving the criteria and procedures used.
In addition, as was noted in Report 41, human resources are not used to their fullest potential in school systems, particularly in regard to the female teaching force.
It is recommended that boards and directors attempt to recognize and develop administrative potential within their systems and that individuals with administrative potential be encouraged to put themselves forward for such positions
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"How can a principal operationalize a vision of what the school should be if he has not got the time to put it into effect, or if he is torn five different directions by the incompatible expectations of administration, boards, community, teachers, and students "
Several constraints, or factors which serve to impede principals in the performance of their professional responsibilities, became apparent during the various stages of this study. By far the most serious of such constraints related to administrative time. While it is quite apparent that principals, and other groups, continue to view the administrative aspect of a principal's work to be a logical and necessary part of the role, many individuals expressed concern about the increased complexity of the role which, in many cases, has not been considered in administrative time allotments by school boards. One of the issues identified in Report 03 addressed the concern as follows:
Time to perform tasks adequately appears to be a common, ongoing concern for principals. There is an obvious conflict concerning the expectation that principals be involved in (and exercise) curricular leadership, supervision of personnel, administrative tasks, and teaching on one hand, and being allowed no formal time to perform these tasks, on the other. The increased .fragmentation of the principal's role in recent years has exacerbated this concern.
The apportionment of administrative time, however, does not appear to be a simple task. For school boards, it gives rise to a number of questions: What would principals do with a greater proportion of release time? Could the functions which principals are performing during such time be delegated to other people? What are the financial implications of the provision of administrative release time throughout a system?
How should such time allotments be determined?
According to grade structure? According to school size?
What is an "adequate" proportion of administrative release time for principals?
To what extent are principals being forced to complete tasks outside school time and during vacation periods in order to meet their" responsibilities within the school?
Answers to these questions would quite naturally vary from system to system and from school board to school board. Responses to same of the questions might well vary according to economic circumstances, in which case the general concern is whether the finances devoted to administrative release time in the system are well spent.
In dealing with this question, two considerations for school boards came to light:
a) At the system level, and at the provincial level, is there a requirement far the performance of tasks, by principals, above and beyond normal classroom responsibilities?
b) Are those tasks being perform? In the light of this discussion, the following recommendations present themselves:
It is recommended that boards of education establish a formal procedure for establishing administrative release time for principals within their system with a view to assisting principals to adequately perform their legislated responsibilities, and the responsibilities assigned to them by school board policy.
A second source of constraint for principals in the performance of their tasks are the "multiple expectations" for the "role on the part of the various "reference groups associated with the position. It was stressed in this study that these multiple expectations continue to have a serious impact upon the principalship, particularly when such expectations conflict.
The one single vehicle which can ease this constraint is, quite simply, the promotion of greater dialogue around the principalship. This dialogue should include trustees, community members, staff and students. Such dialogue would have the additional benefit of bringing the principalship into higher profile, thereby addressing the credibility issue identified earlier in this Report.
It is recommended that inservice activities an the clarification of the role of the principal and school administration be held periodically at the school and school system levels, and that these activities involve parents, community , trustees, teachers, and members of the student body.
It is recommended that parents, students, teachers, local trustees and other individuals who work closely with the principal be appraised, by the division hazard, of the role of the principal as established in the policy manual for the system.
Though "time" and "multiple expectations" constitute the more serious constraints to principals in the performance of their role, a number of other ever present, but smaller constraints were identified during this study. These relate to working conditions and feelings of insecurity in the position, community politics (particularly in regard to relationships with local boards of trustees], personal preparation for supervisory responsibilities and general morale problems associated with student control.
Boards and central office administrators would be well advised to make themselves aware of these types of constraints and to take steps to ease their negative impact on school administration. In short, even though principals might have the conviction, the credibility and the competence to do an excellent job within the school, their effectiveness will be drastically reduced if the types of constraints which have been identified are allowed to counteract the principal's professional efforts.
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In this study of the principalship, the situational and role characteristics of the principalship have been examined, major concerns in the principalship have been identified and the principal's broad role in relation to the community has been investigated. The evidence collected during the study has underlined, quite forcefully, the fact that the principalship is a joint concern. A principal may have grandiose visions for the school, but without the respect of community, students and teachers, without the opportunities made accessible by universities and professional organizations, without the guidance of senior administrative personnel, or the support of the board of education and government agencies, such visions may remain well beyond reach.
Whether schools will be "beacons of brilliance" or "potholes of pestilence" depends largely upon the quality of leadership brought to the situation by the principal. How effective that leadership will be depends, in turn, upon the conviction, credibility and competence of the principal and upon the degree to which constraints can be effectively removed or negated.
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