Cultivating Shared Accountability

Principal supervisors can impact school improvement and strengthen the principal pipeline by prioritizing the development of instructional leaders through shared accountability. A supervisor’s leadership support is sometimes invisible for assistant principals. Cultivating shared accountability with the campus leadership team may be accomplished by designing a supervisor’s plan to implement relational and structural leadership strategies to positively impact student achievement, teacher growth, school culture and leadership development. This plan influences principal retention and the growth of the district’s principal pipeline.

Relational Strategies 
Supervisors have the potential to influence the development of high performing campus leadership teams. The first step is to build a foundation of trust by prioritizing your time to meet with each campus principal and assistant principal(s). Take time through discussion and observation to identify their strengths and collaboratively develop a leadership plan to support their professional growth. Make authentic connections with your leaders through the implementation of their support plan by participating in principal practices. It is recommended to increase time in schools to work directly with the campus leaders to coach and provide feedback on their identified goals. Commit to measure leadership growth by collecting data, providing feedback and engaging in reflective discussions with each of your campus leaders. The dosage and frequency of the leadership coaching sessions will vary based on the differentiated support you provide and will require you to develop a system for documenting the support plan outcomes. This individualized support fosters an instructional leadership team’s capacity to learn from one another with the shared goal for improving school achievement. To operationalize and implement the individualized support plan for leaders, it is important to design structural processes and systems.

Structural Leadership 
School processes, procedures and systems are rarely monitored by supervisors. Structural leadership evaluates systems in collaboration with the team as a strategy for cultivating shared accountability. Consider the quality of the Special Education programs as one example. Supervisors are encouraged to meet with the campus leadership team to review the structures for developing high quality Individualized Education Program (IEP) plans and understand how the principal and assistant principals monitor IEP goals and services within a Multi-Tiered

System of Supports (MTSS). Supervisors are encouraged to review the campus service delivery models to determine the effectiveness of the design and implementation of services for students. It is important to supervise how IEP goals are used to drive instructional planning to inform the professional learning needs and technical assistance required to strengthen campus systems. These practices may be replicated for all programs and initiatives implemented on the campus.

Supervisors are encouraged to develop a process for conducting classroom walk-throughs with principals and their assistant principal(s) to calibrate their observations and feedback. This allows supervisors to collaboratively develop a shared vision for high quality instructional practices. Coaching and/or monitoring how data is collected from classroom observations and triangulated with student performance, behavior, and attendance data determines the effectiveness of the implementation of the MTSS in data meetings and professional learning needs.

District leaders who participate in principal practices with their teams provide experiential learning opportunities that pave the path for high functioning teams. A supervisor’s plan creates conditions to foster a community of learners while establishing shared accountability to impact school improvement and build a principal pipeline of highly effective instructional leaders.

Dr. Debra Cantú serves as an Associate Professor of Practice and Co-Director of the Texas Principal Leadership Academy at the University of Texas in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy.

The Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA), whose hallmark is educational leaders learning with and from each other, has served Texas PK-8 school leaders since 1917. Member owned and member governed, TEPSA has more than 6000 members who direct the activities of 3 million PK-8 school children. TEPSA is an affiliate of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

© Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association

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