Principals and districts benefit when principal supervisors move beyond the role of administrator to coach and mentor, according to a new Vanderbilt University report.
It is the first of three studies of The Wallace Foundation’s Principal Supervisor Initiative, a four-year, $24 million effort studied by Vanderbilt and Mathematica Policy Research.
The report, “A New Role Emerges for Principal Supervisors: Evidence from Six Districts in the Principal Supervisor Initiative,” details the implementation of five key components to reshape the supervisor position in six large, urban school districts.
Each district changed the job descriptions and restructured central offices so that principal supervisors could step away from operational, administrative, and compliance tasks to coach, mentor and advise principals to be more effective as instructional leaders.
The six districts are: Broward County (FL) Public Schools, Baltimore City (MD) Public Schools, Cleveland (OH) Metropolitan School District, Des Moines (IA) Public Schools, Long Beach (CA) Unified School District, and Minneapolis (MN) Public Schools.
“Executive coaching is prevalent in high-performing organizations, but it’s not typically done in school districts,” says lead investigator Ellen Goldring, Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development. “After three years, we saw substantial change in all districts. They came up with efficient and effective ways to position supervisors so they could fill the coaching and supporting gap.”