From the Editor: Well-Rounded Leadership

By Kaylen Tucker Principal, September/October 2016

By Kaylen Tucker
Principal, September/October 2016

Kaylen Tucker, Ph.D.We all have an idea of what it means to be a well-rounded student. The phrase brings to mind images of children who not only thrive in school, but also are social, physically active, and engaged in activities that matter to them. But what does it mean to provide a well-rounded education? Fortunately, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is pushing states and districts to deliver on this ideal, formally acknowledging what principals and other education leaders have long believed: Today’s students deserve access to not only high-quality instruction in English-language arts and math, but also in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. Additionally, they deserve learning environments that are conducive to honing social and emotional competence.

Arts-integration stands out as an essential strategy to realize the vision of a complete education. It serves as a catalyst to develop 21st century skills, enrich curriculum, and stimulate deeper learning. Research, best practices, and project ideas on how to use the teaching strategy are featured in the Champion Creatively Alive Children supplement that accompanies this issue, and is generously sponsored by Crayola.

But beyond broadening the curriculum and including skills to help students thrive in school and in life, it is equally important that principals reflect on their own roles in what has emerged as a “foundational element” in ESSA. Whether it is in introducing a creative-leadership team or competency-based learning for early learners, teaching non-cognitive skills such as grit, or recalibrating the approach to assessment to honor student learning, principals must provide strategic direction in leading initiatives schoolwide. Practitioners, researchers, and education leaders of all stripes have contributed their best thinking to this issue. I hope that you can apply the strategies they offer to achieve your own vision of well-rounded leadership.

— Kaylen Tucker, Ph.D.

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