Without panaceas, silver bullets, or quick fixes, the eighth-largest district in Tennessee climbed from the middle of the pack among the state’s 134 districts to 13th, achieving the highest student growth rate of any district in the Volunteer state—all while experiencing rapid enrollment growth and demographic changes.
What was the magic?
No magic, at all, insists BJ Worthington, superintendent of Clarksville-Montgomery County School System (CMCSS). In many ways, what they did was pretty plain vanilla. The key to CMCSS’s success was a concerted, ongoing, and intentional focus on school leadership. “If I have learned one thing from my thirty plus years in public education, it is that leadership matters,” Worthington wrote recently in a blog for Education Week.
More than a decade ago, CMCSS crafted a comprehensive leadership development plan, focusing its energies on building strong school leaders for today and tomorrow. For its current leaders, it provided intensive leadership development. For its next generation of principals, it launched an Aspiring Administrator’s Academy.
Both of these efforts tied back to a single, cohesive, research-based framework for effective school leadership: McREL International’s Balanced Leadership Framework ®.
In my newest ASCD book Balanced Leadership for Powerful Learning, my coauthors and I detail the framework’s big ideas and practical strategies that drove these gains in CMCSS and other schools and districts across the United States and around the world. The book from McREL International, a nonprofit education research and consulting organization, weaves together compelling insight from decades of research and current studies that shed light on how to effectively lead schools. The book includes real-life stories of ordinary people who became extraordinary leaders by learning to apply the science—and balance the multiple demands—of school leadership in their schools.
On March 31 and April 1, please join me, my coauthor Greg Cameron, and our and our special guest BJ Worthington, for a Two-Day Pre-Conference Institute at ASCD’s Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in Atlanta as we share big ideas from this research and offer up plenty of strategies you can take back and apply right away in your school, whether you’re a principal, assistant principal, teacher leader, or a district administrator. You’ll learn how to focus schools on doing the right things, manage the messy (yet ultimately rewarding) process of helping people change their mindsets and behaviors, and create a community that’s driven by moral purpose and committed to continuous improvement.
This highly interactive session will be filled with lots of information and new ideas. You’ll actively engage with colleagues to think through the challenges of leadership and figure out how to get better, every day, in your role as a leader. We encourage both individuals and teams of leaders from schools or districts to attend the workshop. Either way, you’ll quickly find yourself engaged with an active community of learners who, together, will learn how to help their teachers and students flourish.
Register now for this Pre-Conference Institutes at the ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit show. Make the most of your conference experience with ASCD’s GoExpo Conference Planner and the ASCD 2016 Conference App. During the conference, attendees can connect with ASCD and with each other by following @ASCD on Twitter, by following ASCD’s official Instagram account @officialascd, and by using the official social media hashtag for the conference, #ASCD16.
Bryan Goodwin is the president and CEO of McREL International, a Denver-based nonprofit education research and development organization. A former teacher and journalist, he has authored or coauthored several books, including Balanced Leadership for Powerful Learning: Tools for Achieving Success in Your School, Simply Better: Doing What Matters Most to Change the Odds for Student Success, The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching: A Checklist for Staying Focused Every Day, and The Future of Schooling: Educating America in 2020. Goodwin writes a monthly research column for Educational Leadership.