HD4 - Final Report of the Commission to Review, Study and Reform Educational Leadership
[See also interim report -- HD14, 2003; and Final -- HD16, 2005]
Adopted by the 2002 Session of the General Assembly, HJR 20/SJR 58 established a two-year, 21-member commission to "review, study and reform educational leadership." Acknowledging that "effective leadership is inextricably linked to excellence in public education and student academic achievement in our public schools," the resolutions cite the Standards of Accreditation designation of the principal as the "instructional leader of the school ...[who is] responsible for effective school management that promotes positive student achievement, a safe and secure environment in which to teach and learn, and efficient use of resources."
Supporting the commission's study was one of only 15 National State Action for Educational Leadership Project (SAELP) grants from the Wallace Reader's Digest Funds, sought by and awarded to the Commonwealth and implemented in cooperation with the Commonwealth Educational Policy Institute (CEPI) at Virginia Commonwealth University in January 2002 on behalf of the Department of Education and the Commonwealth. The three-year grants of $250,000 each to 15 states were to support research and policy development to aid the preparation of principals and superintendents.
Pursuant to HJR 20 and SJR 58, the General Assembly assigned the 21-member commission a number of responsibilities, specifically, to "(i) evaluate the policy environment for educational leadership; (ii) propose necessary statutory amendments or changes based on research, surveys, analysis and review of pertinent laws, guidelines, policies, regulations and practices; (iii) communicate regularly to the Board of Education any relevant findings with recommendations for needed regulatory action; and (iv) provide a forum for educational leaders to report to the commission the challenges of, and impact on, their work." The commission was to submit an interim report of its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the 2003 Session of the General Assembly, and is to complete its work by November 30, 2003, and submit its final written findings and recommendations to the 2004 Session of the General Assembly.
The Commission met five times in 2002, receiving testimony from school administrators, education experts, and representatives of state and national education leadership organizations. The Commission's 2003 Interim Report, House Document No. 14, included six recommendations:
Recommendation 1: That the Board of Education, by October 1, 2003, examine and revise its administrative licensure requirements to ensure alignment with the evaluation criteria for principals, administrators, and central office instructional personnel as set forth in the Board's "Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers, Administrators and Superintendents".
Recommendation 2: That the Board of Education and the State Council of Higher Education coordinate to ensure that the performance and leadership standards described in the Board's "Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers, Administrators, and Superintendent" are reflected in preparation and training programs for principals and superintendents in institutions of higher education.
• This recommendation was supported by HJR 608 (Hamilton), which was passed by the 2003 Session.
Recommendation 3: That the Board of Education and the State Council of Higher Education develop guidelines for mentorships for administrators within approved administrator training programs.
Recommendation 4: That approved higher education programs, in collaboration with school divisions, develop and implement models for internships for aspiring principals and assistant principals.
Recommendation 5: That the Board of Education review its regulations as may be necessary to incorporate an alternative licensure route for principals and assistant principals that recognizes the various and particular skills required for the particular functions of such positions as well as potential alternative sources of training for such licensure.
Recommendation 6: That, recognizing that personnel decisions such as hiring and termination of personnel are administrative, not policy, decisions, Article VIII, Section 7, of the Virginia Constitution be amended to authorize the General Assembly to provide by law for the delegation of school board authority over the hiring and termination of instructional personnel.
-- This recommendation was supported by HJ 570, (Hamilton), which was tabled by the House Committee on Privileges and Elections (21-Y 0-N) during the 2003 Session.
Additional issues considered by the Commission in 2002 included recruitment of minority candidates; identification and "cultivation" of potential principals; credit toward probationary service for out-of-state service; increased staffing levels; reward programs similar to national certification; job-sharing and potential delegations of authority; additional assistance for struggling schools; and induction and internships.
Delving further into potential methods of ensuring effective preparation and ongoing professional development for school leaders in its second year of study, the Commission met three times in 2003. Having received invaluable input from representatives of the Task Force to Evaluate and Redesign Preparation Programs and Professional Development for School Leaders, professional organizations, and education leaders, the Commission agreed upon the following recommendations, based upon the recommendations of the Task Force, as revised and herein presented:
Recommendation 1: That the Board of Education develop and approve a model core curriculum for principal preparation programs that is consistent with the administrator performance standards and evaluation criteria established by the "Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers, Administrators, and Superintendents".
Recommendation 2: That the Board of Education revise its regulations for the initial licensure of principals to require a comprehensive internship, including minimum content and activity standards and clock hour requirements, and that joint supervision would be the responsibility of participating school divisions and partnerships with institutions as a component of the initial school leadership program.
Recommendation 3: That the Virginia public institutions of higher education ensure that adjunct faculty members are an integral part of their respective school leadership programs.
Recommendation 4: That the Board of Education revise its current evaluation processes for the continuing accreditation of principal preparation programs to incorporate objective and uniform standards for and to assess the effectiveness of such programs.
Recommendation 5: That the Board of Education require, as a condition of initial licensure as a principal and other school leaders, as may be appropriate, passage of the School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA).
Recommendation 6: That school divisions, institutions of higher education, professional education organizations, and other entities be encouraged to establish local and regional leadership academies to prepare and support school leaders and to continue to provide ongoing high quality professional development.
Recommendation 7: That school divisions be encouraged to implement induction/mentor programs for school leaders.
Recommendation 8: That the Board of Education study the feasibility of establishing a two-tier licensure system focusing on initial preparation and proven student and school achievement and report its findings to the Commission or the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education, as the case may be, before the 2005 Session.
Recommendation 9: That the Board of Education develop a marketing campaign to inform the public about the complex role of school administrators in fostering student and school achievement.
Recommendation 10: That the Commonwealth and its school divisions provide compensation for school leaders that is commensurate with the complex demands of the job.
Recommendation 11: That institutions of higher education, local school divisions, professional associations, and other entities be encouraged to provide high-quality professional development based on best practice, including targeted training activities in which school leaders and leaders from other enterprises study leadership issues together.
Recommendation 12: That institutions of higher education, local school divisions, professional associations, and other entities collaborate to ensure that principal preparation programs reflect the service demands of the region to be served.
Finally, the Commission also recommends:
Recommendation 13: That the Board of Education review its regulations as may be necessary to determine the feasibility of incorporating an alternative licensure route for principals and assistant principals that recognizes the various and particular skills required for the particular functions of such positions as well as potential alternative sources of training for such licensure.
Recommendation 14: That the work of the Commission be continued for one year, to receive reports and information regarding the Board's recommendations regarding alternative licensure routes and a two-tiered licensure system, and that, if the Commission is not continued by the 2004 Session, that the Board report its findings and recommendations to the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education and Health prior to the 2005 Session.