District Leadership

District Leadership

District leaders can play an incredibly important role in the preparation, development, and support of effective school leaders. Two district-led strategic approaches to developing effective school leadership include the redesign of district offices and the implementation of principal pipelines.

District leaders can look for opportunities to redesign district offices to ensure practices and systems across all district departments support the kind of instructional leadership that leads to better outcomes for students and schools. The District Leadership Design Lab at the University of Washington is one place where district leaders can access research and tools that support this work.

District leaders can also consider implementing principal pipelines. A 2019 RAND study Principal Pipelines: A Feasible, Affordable, and Effective Way for Districts to Improve Schools (Wallace Foundation), confirms that principal pipelines are feasible, affordable, and effective in developing the kind of school leadership that contributes to better outcomes for students and schools. Comprehensive, aligned, principal pipelines are a district-led, evidence-based approach to developing effective leaders. They are comprehensive in that they support district leaders’ strategic implementation of school leadership development policies, processes, and infrastructures across seven interrelated domains through collaboration with a variety of partners. They are aligned in that the efforts of district leaders and pipeline partners are coordinated within and across the domains and are focused on districts’ specific school leadership development priorities. The research on principal pipelines is growing and promising. It is also readily available to district leaders and their pipeline partners.

Additional Resources for State and District Leaders:

(External Web Content)

National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA)

Center for School Turnaround and Improvement (CSTI)/WestED:

Wallace Foundation:

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