Principal Evaluation and Effective Dialogue

How to maximize supervisor guidance in coaching-based principal evaluation.

February 2018, Volume 41, Issue 6

Traditionally, conversation as more than an afterthought to a principal’s evaluation has been fairly uncommon. In situations where summative mid- and end-of-year evaluations were the norm, principals most often learned they were doing either a good job or a not-so-good-job. And best of luck with that.

But as principal assessment has begun moving away from that wooden model and into the nurturing realm of ongoing coaching and mentorship, conversations have become central to fostering principal leadership and, by extension, student achievement.

Important and revealing examples of this new approach have been developed by 12 large districts that received support from The Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative (PPI), and then refined these ideas in the Principal Supervisors Initiative (PSI). Contributing to the initiatives have been ongoing Principal Perception surveys documenting the most and least helpful practices in building leadership. Among the findings: Compliance-heavy professional development and evaluations are ineffective, but mentor and supervisor guidance on data analysis, instructional leadership, and other pressing school issues are encouraging and key to professional growth.

Read the full article, “The Conversation: Effective Dialogue Between Principals and Their Supervisors,” for insight into how administrators involved in Wallace’s PPI and PSI are developing and honing the processes and procedures of coaching-based principal evaluation, and how conversations are helping to create and optimize the circumstances for success.

Takeaways for Practicing Principals

Here is a sampling of what supervisors look for in a principal:

  • Provides teachers with resources for the successful implementation of effective instructional strategies.
  • Monitors and evaluates the use of diagnostic, formative, and summative assessment to provide timely and accurate feedback to students and parents, and to inform instructional practices.
  • Possesses knowledge of research-based instructional best practices in the classroom.
  • Analyzes current academic achievement data and instructional strategies to make appropriate educational decisions to improve classroom instruction, increase student achievement, and improve overall school effectiveness.
  • Works collaboratively with staff to identify student needs and to design, revise, and monitor instruction to ensure effective delivery of the required curriculum.
  • Participates in professional development alongside teachers when instructional strategies are being taught for future implementation.

From the Long Beach School District “Teaching and Learning” section of the Principal Evaluation Handbook.

*This article was originally published in Principal magazine as “The Conversation: Effective Dialogue Between Principals and Their Supervisors.”

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