A large percentage of public school districts across the U.S. are comprised of 15 or fewer schools; 46 percent of districts have fewer than 1,000 students and a third have fewer than two schools. While many of these smaller school districts face the same challenges as larger school systems, they often lack the infrastructure and supports of larger districts—especially in the form of peer collaboration.
Several research studies have pointed out that educators in these districts—many of which are located rural areas—often experience “professional isolation,” making it hard to gain traction with the greatest school-related influencers on student achievement: the recruitment, development, and retention of teachers, teacher leaders, and principals.
As research has clearly stated for decades, there is no greater school-related impact on student achievement than the teacher in the classroom. The second-greatest school-related impact on student achievement growth is principal effectiveness. Not surprisingly, the largest impact on teacher retention is administrative support and school culture, both of which are impacted directly by the principal.…Read More