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March 16, 2021

Focusing on Instructional Leadership

“Teachers have a huge effect on their students. Great teachers inspire students to do more than they thought they could do, they help students make up lost ground, and they put students on the path to success. But teachers aren’t born knowing how to do this. They need help to become great … This kind of help comes from great school leaders who understand how to organize schools that support instruction and help every teacher improve.”  — from The Education Trust

I think about the interdependent relationship between teachers and instructional leadership as similar to the wheels on your bike. To get to your intended destination – which in the summer hopefully involves a swimming hole, ice cream, or both — the bicycle wheels have to work in unison. Likewise, to reach the goal of improved learning for all students, teachers and instructional leaders together must establish the conditions that promote student learning. In the absence of instructionally-focused leaders, teachers become isolated and their impact limited. And without effective teaching, leadership teams can do little to improve instruction.

I’ve been fortunate to spend the last several years working on the development and dissemination of Success at the Core, a suite of materials built to equip school leadership teams and teachers to improve instruction. The set of materials includes 24 Teacher Development strategies focused on helping teachers improve their classroom practice, and seven Leadership Development modules designed to guide leadership teams in instructional improvements.

Success at the Core is thrilled to partner with Teaching Channel to bring you 44 Success at the Core videos, as well as supplementary downloads to help you get started.

While the Teacher Development strategies look and feel much like the classroom videos currently on Teaching Channel, the Leadership Development materials are unique, featuring video footage of leadership teams (including schoolwide, content, and interdisciplinary teams), coaches, and teacher leaders working collaboratively. For example, in Data-Driven Professional Development, you will learn how a schoolwide leadership team responds to data findings by training teachers on specific instructional approaches. In Guiding Instruction Through CFAs, you’ll see a math team review student performance on a common formative assessment, identify a learning gap, plan a lesson to address the gap, and teach the lesson in their respective classrooms. These videos, and 18 others, are embedded into a team learning experience that includes readings, exercises, and discussion questions as well as a facilitator guide.

Below are the seven Leadership Development modules provided by Success at the Core:

As the school year comes to a close and you begin to think about what you’d like to improve for next year, remember that bicycle. Then use these resources to help your school get its leadership and teaching wheels spinning together, toward the destination of better learning for all students.


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