Transforming K-12 Schools by Investing in Leadership Development
Accelerating School Success
In-depth studies in the field of K-12 education confirm that investments in high-quality, research-based leadership development for school systems can directly impact student success — in the classroom and beyond.
And now more than ever, meeting the complex challenges of a rapidly changing world requires schools to equip young people with the skills they need to become productive workers, engaged citizens, entrepreneurs, and lifelong learners.
“The goal of our nation’s education system should be to prepare every young person to become an engaged and thriving participant in society,” notes the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. This results in the need to learn beyond content mastery and develop deeper learning skills. Students need to be able to adapt quickly, be continuous learners, and able to collaborate across many social boundaries. Success in the 21st Century depends on critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. Building students’ capacity for this new era requires investments in teacher and administrator professional development to create the educational ecosystems that foster students’
mastery of these skills.
These days, decision makers in K-12 education face myriad choices when deciding how to spend their limited capacity-building dollars. Many invest in technical resources such as literacy training, new curriculum, or the latest student assessment tools.
But does this approach yield the lasting improvements that schools want — and need — to achieve? Can these dollars be used in ways that leverage all the other investments instead of adding one more discrete investment that divides attention and overwhelms leaders rather than builds capacity.
Our research has found that investments in leadership development for principals, teachers, staff, and students play an essential role in creating the transformational change needed in education today. That’s because leadership development focuses on the single most important part of any school system, public or private — its people.
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