Principal - September/October 2019 - 45

Even for small initiatives, principals need to work to
keep the culture positive and encourage collaboration
among staff to solve any problems that might arise.

2. Assess and develop your leadership skills. Once you complete
your initial year as principal, take
stock of what you do well and
where your leadership might need
strengthening. For example, you
might be uncomfortable with
conflict or avoid difficult conversations. Once you identify your
strengths and limitations, you can
create a plan to develop the skills
you'll need to be successful.
3. Gather data about the school.
Data that lets you and your building leadership team know what
needs to be addressed is crucial
to a successful improvement
process. Not only will data help
determine the plan's components
and goals, says John P. Kotter
in Leading Change, but it can
also provide a sense of urgency
that will help staff buy into the
change. Involve a building leadership team, PLC group, or other
teacher-led group in gathering
the data; their input can validate
its credibility and inform the
eventual plan for change.
4. Obtain commitment from the
district. While schools can make
many changes on their own,
they will be more successful if
they can get assistance from
the district. School districts
can provide support in areas
such as staffing, professional
development, and communications, helping the governing
board understand and support
the change. Principals should
discuss their school's needs and
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improvement plans with the
superintendent or direct supervisor to ensure they are informed
and on board with the effort.
5. Maintain a positive work climate
and collaborative culture. The
school climate and culture will
be key to your success. Even for
small initiatives, principals need
to work to keep the culture positive and encourage collaboration
among staff to solve any problems
that might arise. If implementing
a schoolwide behavior management system, for example,
principals should hold periodic
updates and problem-solving
meetings. When teachers identify
elements that aren't working well,
you can help them develop solutions and guide consensus.
6. Build capacity. As the change
project moves forward, look for
ways to build staff capacity. For
example, teachers who struggle
with the strategies required for
the new plan can build capacity
with the help of professional
development, instructional
coaches, grade-level or departmental study groups, classroom
observation, and other strategies.
As the school moves ahead, everyone should be able to learn and
grow in order to be successful.
7. Manage change. Understanding
the change process and people's
needs during a change is critical
to success in any school improvement. If the principal and the
building leadership team understand the process, they can deal

proactively with any emotions
experienced during a change.
Identifying and adopting a
change process also gives you and
your staff a checklist to follow as
the change unfolds.
8. Build structures and processes
for success. As the school
improvement plan moves forward,
principals must work to build
structures that support continued
success. For example, building
the leadership team's skills helps
ensure the new effort will stay
on track. If a school is looking
to implement professional goalsetting, a goals coach might be
part of the structure. Structures
and processes provide support for
advanced skills and expectations
that might come about in subsequent years of implementation,
acting as forms of follow-up.
Most principals find things
that need to be improved in their
schools once they have completed
their first year on the job. Whether
the needed changes are significant
or minor, the steps we have identified here will be helpful in guiding
proposed changes to fruition.
John F. Eller, a former principal, is a
professor of educational leadership at
St. Cloud State University and president
of Eller and Associates, which provides
support to education leaders.
Sheila A. Eller is principal of
Highview Middle School in New
Brighton, Minnesota.
Principal n September/October 2019

45


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Principal - September/October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Principal - September/October 2019

From the Editor
Snapshots
5 Things
Getting to Why
A Brighter Future for Personalized Learning
Models of Voice and Choice
When Rural Gets Personal
Research Roundup: The Personal Touch
New Sensation
The Language of Learning
Giving Back, Together
In the Spotlight
Practitioner’s Corner
Early Career
Raising the Bar
The Reflective Principal
Speaking Out
Parents & Schools
NAESP Partners & Advertiser Index
Principal - September/October 2019 - Cover1
Principal - September/October 2019 - Cover2
Principal - September/October 2019 - 1
Principal - September/October 2019 - 2
Principal - September/October 2019 - 3
Principal - September/October 2019 - From the Editor
Principal - September/October 2019 - 5
Principal - September/October 2019 - Snapshots
Principal - September/October 2019 - 7
Principal - September/October 2019 - 5 Things
Principal - September/October 2019 - 9
Principal - September/October 2019 - Getting to Why
Principal - September/October 2019 - 11
Principal - September/October 2019 - 12
Principal - September/October 2019 - 13
Principal - September/October 2019 - 14
Principal - September/October 2019 - 15
Principal - September/October 2019 - A Brighter Future for Personalized Learning
Principal - September/October 2019 - 17
Principal - September/October 2019 - 18
Principal - September/October 2019 - 19
Principal - September/October 2019 - Models of Voice and Choice
Principal - September/October 2019 - 21
Principal - September/October 2019 - 22
Principal - September/October 2019 - 23
Principal - September/October 2019 - When Rural Gets Personal
Principal - September/October 2019 - 25
Principal - September/October 2019 - 26
Principal - September/October 2019 - 27
Principal - September/October 2019 - Research Roundup: The Personal Touch
Principal - September/October 2019 - 29
Principal - September/October 2019 - New Sensation
Principal - September/October 2019 - 31
Principal - September/October 2019 - The Language of Learning
Principal - September/October 2019 - 33
Principal - September/October 2019 - 34
Principal - September/October 2019 - 35
Principal - September/October 2019 - Giving Back, Together
Principal - September/October 2019 - 37
Principal - September/October 2019 - 38
Principal - September/October 2019 - 39
Principal - September/October 2019 - In the Spotlight
Principal - September/October 2019 - 41
Principal - September/October 2019 - Practitioner’s Corner
Principal - September/October 2019 - 43
Principal - September/October 2019 - Early Career
Principal - September/October 2019 - 45
Principal - September/October 2019 - Raising the Bar
Principal - September/October 2019 - 47
Principal - September/October 2019 - The Reflective Principal
Principal - September/October 2019 - 49
Principal - September/October 2019 - 50
Principal - September/October 2019 - 51
Principal - September/October 2019 - Speaking Out
Principal - September/October 2019 - 53
Principal - September/October 2019 - Parents & Schools
Principal - September/October 2019 - NAESP Partners & Advertiser Index
Principal - September/October 2019 - 56
Principal - September/October 2019 - Cover3
Principal - September/October 2019 - Cover4
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