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This free web-based toolkit is based on years of research about principals’ practices

Principal-GuideSchool principals juggle a multitude of responsibilities each day, as they attempt to balance building-level tasks with administrative and district-level duties.

Now, school leaders have access to a free online learning guide, based on research about principals’ best practices, to help them strengthen their skills and leadership.

Launched by Learning Forward, a professional learning association, the online learning guide pairs excerpts from the PBS documentary, The Principal Story, with educational leadership research from The Wallace Foundation.

(Next page: Five resources for principals)

Principals, along with professional development facilitators, can use the guide’s five online units to help improve practice and knowledge.

The units focus on what The Wallace Foundation has identified as five key practices of successful principals:

1. Shaping a vision of academic success for all students

This unit helps participants assess their own approaches to establishing a school-wide vision of high standards and student success.

2. Creating a climate hospitable to education

This unit includes activities to help participants pinpoint which behaviors lead to positive educational climates.

3. Cultivating leadership in others

Principals will have an opportunity to evaluate their own leadership practices and apply unit materials to those practices.

4. Improving instruction

Principals will identify how their own practices help teachers improve their own instruction.

5. Managing people, data, and processes to foster school improvement

Effective principals make the most of their time and ask informed questions to improve processes. This unit will help principals identify what practices they already have in place, or could add, to do so.

Watch this clip from The Principal Story:

The Principal Story is produced by Tod Lending and David Mrazek of Nomadic Pictures. It first aired on PBS in 2009 and features a year in the lives of two dynamic public school leaders in Illinois–one a veteran; the other a novice–who seek to make a difference in the lives of students.

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Laura Ascione

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