Working Conditions for School Leaders

Create a balanced work environment that supports the school leader's ability to be effective.


Create a balanced work environment that supports the school leader's ability to be effective.

    Why It Is Important
    • Proper working conditions for principals are necessary if they are to implement each of the six essential leadership practices established in theOhio Leadership Development Framework (Ohio Department of Education, 2008).
    • Poor working conditions, such as long hours, stress, and a disconnect between accountability and authority, can impact decisions to enter or remain in a school leadership position.
    • The characteristics of school leaders' work environments impact their satisfaction and performance.
    • The principal's role increasingly has become that of instructional leader, responsible for promoting and developing effective teaching practices that result in positive student outcomes. Principals need support structures in place to allow them to focus on instructional leadership responsibilities.

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    Consider the extent to which working conditions may deter qualified leaders from taking on or remaining in a leadership position.

    Research suggests that working conditions are a factor in decisions to enter or remain in a principalship, or to leave a particular principal position for another placement. Determine whether this is the case in the district (or community school).

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    Ensure that the school leader has sufficient resources, support, and authority to carry out job responsibilities.
    • Research suggests that the adequacy of the school building and facilities to support staff and students is among the strongest predictors of principal satisfaction. Determine the extent to which this is an issue in the district (or community school).
    • Provide school leaders adequate administrative support to carry out their responsibilities.
    • Provide school leaders the authority to develop solutions to problems related to instruction.
    • Provide school leaders the authority to address issues for which they are held accountable.
    • Provide school leaders access to student- and school-level data that can help inform decisions related to such issues as curriculum, instruction, and teacher and student supports.
    • Revisit the Ohio Leadership Development Framework's(Ohio Department of Education, 2008) essential practices, which suggest supporting and equitably allocating resources to support the CIP and SIP.

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    Reduce the number of nonessential interruptions in the principal's workday.
    • Consider the principal's role as instructional leader and the importance of being present in the building to the extent possible when scheduling meetings and placing other demands on the principal.
    • View the principal as an executive who must work closely with those at the core of the organization in an often fragmented and fast-paced workday.

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    Consider ways in which leadership responsibilities could be effectively shared (formally and informally) with other leaders in the school.
    • Revisit the Ohio Leadership Development Framework(ODE, 2008)the Ohio Improvement Process, and theOhio Standards for Principals(ODE, 2010b) for further guidance on shared leadership.
    • Use shared leadership to alleviate some of the principal's workload, foster community, provide teachers with opportunities for leadership, and develop and advance shared goals.
    • Create formal leadership positions such as assistant principals and department chairs to impact principal working conditions and promote shared leadership.
    • Consider using school administration managers to restructure the principal role. These school administration managers take on managerial tasks so that the principal can become more efficient and effective as an instructional leader.
    • Foster shared leadership through the facilitation of BLTs and TBTs.

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Last Modified: 5/8/2013 2:14:14 PM