Characteristics (of Professional Excellence) Aren’t Just for Hiring

Source Newsletter for School Heads Header Image
Source Newsletter for School Heads Header Image

School Heads

In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey recommends that we “begin with the end in mind.” This maxim holds true for Heads seeking to enhance their school’s hiring process.

By considering the end goal—a highly skilled, motivated teacher who embraces the school’s mission, culture, and values—Heads can design a process that increases the chances of hiring just such a candidate. Here’s the even-better news … there is a technique schools can use that will not only improve their hiring process, but that will also improve their evaluation and professional growth programs.

The “answer,” ISM believes, is identifying and using “Characteristics of Professional Excellence” as the basis for the school’s hiring, evaluation, and growth programs.

Characteristics of Professional Excellence

By reflecting on the performance of exemplary teachers who are well-aligned with the school’s mission, culture, and values, a school can identify particular “characteristics” that those teachers demonstrate on a regular basis. Once identified, these same characteristics (or performance traits) can be used as the basis for the school’s hiring, evaluation, and growth programs. For example:

  • The characteristics can be communicated in the job posting for an open faculty position.
  • Interview questions can be asked that focus on ways that the candidates have demonstrated the characteristics in past positions.
  • A hiring decision is made based on which candidate exhibits the required characteristics and skills most fully.
  • The importance of these characteristics is emphasized in the school’s induction program.
  • Teachers are advised that their performance will be evaluated against these same criteria.
  • Administrators provide ongoing coaching and feedback in support of these characteristics and skills.
  • Teachers are encouraged to reflect on these characteristics when developing their annual professional growth programs.

In this way, the school’s unique mission, culture, and values are reflected, supported, and re-energized—faculty and administrators are constantly focused on the characteristics that are most important for delivering your mission with excellence.

Additional ISM resources of interest
ISM Monthly Update for Division Heads Vol. 9 No. 6 Can Evaluation Really Drive Faculty (and Student) Performance?
ISM Podcasts: What Can You Use “Characteristics of Professional Excellence’ For? And Faculty Evaluation

Additional Resources for ISM Consortium Gold members
Ideas & Perspectives Vol. 37 No. 2 A 21st Century Teacher Evaluation Model
Ideas & Perspectives Vol. 31 No. 8 Purpose and Outcomes Statements: Characteristics of Professional Excellence
Ideas & Perspectives Vol. 33 No. 10 Characteristics of Professional Excellence: Faculty Interviews

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